Friday, 28 February 2020

Panama City...

Our trip to Panama was coming to an end and we planned to spend the last few days filming  in and around Panama City itself. Panama City is a striking place, it has a stunning skyline that overlooks the Pacific Ocean and a Metropolitan Park just 2 km from the city core that is home to many wild animals.

Panama City from a drone perspective

The park was our first port of call. It's home to 284 species of trees, 254 species of birds, 45 mammal, 36 reptile and 14 amphibian species. A one hour steady climb uphill along a good path brought us to a view point with fantastic views of the city. Joining us were a nice male Summer Tanager, Lineated Woodpecker, a Double-toothed Kite (sitting at head height just feet away) and a family of Geoffroy's Tamarin.



View from the top

Filming the view for the show

Our main reason for coming here was to see a very special bird though. Rosy Thrush-Tanager is nearly always difficult to see and Metropolitan Park is one of the best places to catch up with them if you're lucky.  We were fortunate to see a pair but the male was much more elusive.

Rosy Thrush-Tanager, female

Rosy Thrush Tanager, female

Rosy Thrush-Tanager, female

Rosy Thrush-Tanager, female

He sat further back and only gave brief but stunning views.


Rosy Thrush-Tanager, male

Rosy Thrush-Tanager is in its own monotypic genus with no particularly close relatives. Surprisingly perhaps its nearest species on a molecular level, are the Calcariidea (buntings including the more familiar Lapland Bunting and Snow Bunting). The pair also share the song, when one finishes its phrase the other takes over and it's really challenging to tell where one ends and the other begins. For me they are one of the highlights of the trip.

Back in the city there are dozens of kettling Turkey Vultures using the thermals from the skyscrapers to their advantage. A 10 minute drive later and we are overlooking Panama Bay, one of the most important migrating wader spots in Central America. Thousands of birds can be seen here at certain times of the year and as the tide comes in we get good views of Marbled Godwit, Willet, Greater Yellowlegs, Semi-palmated Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Sandwich (Cabot's) Tern and a beautiful Tri-coloured Heron.

Nature on your doorstep if you live in the city.


Laughing Gull, Panama Bay...is that a suitcase?


Marbled Godwits

Hudsonian Whimbrel

Semi-P, Short-billed Dowitchers and Marbled Godwits

This was the one and only place we saw horrendous rubbish problems, more to do with the tides washing into this bay rather than people specifically dumping here. They appear to be fighting a loosing battle but could certainly do with more help cleaning it up as it's very much out of control...

Mike filming from the litter strewn beach

That was it!  Filming over we spent the last few hours relaxing and packing at the hotel before heading to the airport for an evening flight back to London via Madrid. 

I've been incredibly lucky this last year and gained invaluable filming experience. 

Wild Costa Rica, Wild Guatemala and Wild Panama will be out on a variety of channels later this year. Hopefully I'll be filming again soon.


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