Thursday, September 28, 2017

Wedding Bells (and Bellbird)

The last couple of months have been quiet on the birding front, with various travel and family commitments keeping me from getting into the field.

The highlight was an all-to-brief-visit to Panama for a friend's wedding in late August,  travelling via Florida to see my in-laws.  Florida in August (two weeks before Hurricane Irma hit) was extremely hot, humid and birdless, instead being filled with jet lag and family time - birding highlights there were limited to the usual suspects, but this being Florida the "usual suspects" are quite spectacular birds in very suburban settings -  so a Loggerhead Shrike in a neighbours front yard, a family of four Sandhill Cranes in next door's hard and a Limpkin in the in-laws front yard were about all I could muster - but given that I've only seen the latter I think once before on four trips to central Florida, that's I guess not a bad garden bird!

Our time in Panama was  focused on catching up with long lost friends, but with the wedding taking us to the remote Bocos del Toro archipeligo there was always hope of snagging a few birds along the way, and with this being my first trip to the neotropics in more than a decade, I was keen to make sure of it.  the wedding was on Isla Popa and we took over the only resort on the island (Popa Paradise) which proved to be an excellent destination.  The birding highlight was doubtless me finding a femal-type Three-wattled Bellbird from the balcony of our cabin - not only an iconic Central American bird, but apparently rare and hard-to-find in Panama (so much so that the other Panama-based birders at the wedding never seen one...and didn't get to see this one...ooops!).

Three-wattled Bellbird