Chiriquí birds & wildlife September 2015 tour (pt. 2)

On the second day of our tour we stayed in Boquete, spending the morning in the Pipeline Trail which has been covered on previous posts. The day was not very good, there were not many fruiting trees but at least there were flowering plants that attracted mixed flocks of siskins and lesser goldfinches that apparently like to eat the seeds, and hummingbirds that eat the nectar from flowers.

Yellow-bellied Siskin (Spinus xanthogastra) - male


Scintillant Hummingbird (Selasphorus scintilla) - female


Stripe-tailed Hummingbird (Eupherusa eximia) inhabits subtropical moist forests and adjacent clearings from the Gulf slope of southeastern Mexico to western Panama. The male (as shown) has metallic green upperparts that grade to bronze at the rump and tail. It sports a conspicuous rufous wing patch when the wings are folded. The underwing is mostly rufous-cinnamon. On both sexes, the bill is straight and black. In Panama it's uncommon in western highlands eastward to Veraguas.

White-throated or Purple-throated Mountain-Gem (Lampornis sp.) - female

It's more likely to be a White-throated (L. castaneoventris) given the location. Both species are common, and found sympatrically in Panama's western highlands but Purple-throated's (L. calolaemus) range extends eastward. The gorget color is diagnostic on males, while females are hardly distinguishable in the field. Female L. calolaemus  is slightly darker than L. castaneoventris.


The Bromeliaceae (the bromeliads) are a family of monocot flowering plants of around 3,170 species native mainly to the tropical Americas, with a few species found in the American subtropics and one in tropical west Africa. This family includes both epiphytes and terrestrial species (such as the pineapple). Many bromeliads are able to store water in a structure formed by their tightly-overlapping leaf bases, providing breeding place to amphibians and insects.


Some of the flowers observed in the trail

Malvaviscus arboreus is a species of flowering plant in the hibiscus family, Malvaceae, that is native to the Southeastern United States, Mexico, Central America, and South America. The specific name, arboreus, refers to the tree-like appearance of a mature plant. Goes by many English names including lazy hibiscus, turkcap, Turk's turban, wax mallow, ladies teardrop and Scotchman's purse. Its flowers do not open fully and help attract butterflies and hummingbirds (Green Hermits and Violet Sabrewings, for example).

While leaving the trail we observed families of woodpeckers (Acorn, Red-crowned), other birds including migratory warblers (Black-and-white, Wilson's), a Torrent Tyrannulet, and other hummingbirds (Snowy-bellied, White-tailed Emerald).


Red-crowned Woodpecker (Melanerpes rubricapillus) - male



Wilson's Warbler (Cardellina pusilla)
After lunch we went to Boquete Tree Trek (http://www.boquetetreetrek.com) basically to know the place, on our way we stopped for some Turkey Vultures that were posing. The idea to visit Boquete Tree Trek is to make future photographic work over there, they are currently constructing hanging bridges that provide good chances to photograph canopy inhabitants but first we have to overcome our fear of heights. They also have trails that go around the mountains. We took a short walk on a trail were we were able to observe some birds like Collared Redstart, Silver-throated Tanager and Yellow-throated Chlorospingus, down in a stone-wall by a stream we saw a nesting pair of Green-fronted Lancebill, we also heard an American Dipper in the stream. Photo opportunities were not enough and weather was not that good neither. Nevertheless, I was extremely happy when a Slaty Flowerpiercer, a bird I was trying to photograph earlier during lunch stopped right before our feet, and collaborated for a fast burst of pictures.


 Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) - immature


This Rufous-collared Sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis) which was captured carrying a seed and calling its mates is an American sparrow found in a wide range of habitats, often near humans, from the extreme south-east of Mexico to Tierra del Fuego, and on the island of Hispaniola. Local names for this bird include the Portuguese "tico-tico", the Spanish "chingolo", "copetón" in Colombia, "comemaíz"  in Costa Rica, and "tio chicho" in Panama. In Panama it is very common in western highlands becoming less common moving eastward. It's found in fields, gardens, towns and other open areas.


Slaty Flowerpiercer (Diglossa plumbea) is endemic to the highlands of Costa Rica and western Panama. This is a common bird in mountain forest canopy and edges, and especially in sunlit clearings and areas with flowering shrubs, which can include gardens. It has and odd bill with hooked upper mandible and paler, slightly upturned lower mandible. As its name implies, the slaty flowerpiercer pierces the base of the flowers of shrubs and epiphytes with its bill and extracts the nectar through the hole with a brush-like tongue. It also feeds on tiny insects taken from foliage or in flight. It is attacked by territorial hummingbirds defending their feeding areas. The adult male (as shown) is blue-grey with a lead-grey throat and breast. The tail and wings are blackish with grey feather edges. The female is olive-brown above with a paler throat and breast shading to buff on the belly.