Well, I was hoping that my last blog of 2014 would be about the engine problems and the solving of them. Unfortunately – we are not quite there yet, so you will have to wait until next year for that thrilling installment!
Meanwhile, having had to entertain myself during our extended stay here – and after getting a new camera for my birthday, I have developed a bit of a hobby taking photographs and you are therefore going to be subjected to lots of pictures of some of the flora and fauna found around Shelter Bay. If you don´t like birds, animals and flowers I guess its time for you to close down this post, but hopefully you will persevere .
To begin, it seems fitting to try to describe Shelter Bay – so that you can get a “feel” for the environment. It started life as a US Army base –“Fort Sherman”….
…… staffed during the time the US ran the Panama Canal – and was also used for jungle training during the Vietnam war. Our friend Allen [“Nauti Nauti”] told us he was sent here for that purpose. It is now rather dilapidated with most of the original buildings in ruins and the road full of potholes.
The walk to Diablo beach takes about 25 minutes and has become one of my two favourite strolls …..
Actually, the above statement is a bit of a lie because, after all, insects are also creatures and Dragonflies can be found on the river….
……where there are several Toucan nesting in the trees. I have heard them many times and seen them flying well above the treeline but, as yet I haven´t managed to capture one on camera.
Two birds which are impossible to miss, because there are so many of them, are the black vulture and the turkey vulture.
These birds can be seen overhead at all times of day…
Mike really doesn´t like them and I think most people find them quite foul and dirty, which is hardly surprising when you think that more than 500 toxins and other mictroorganisms live on a vultures face – not to mention other things. Although the result is a bit blurry I have made a close up of the turkey vultures face and you can see the maggots on it….
Whilst we might not like them, there are concerns in Asia that vulture numbers are dropping because the result is actually a greater spread of disease among the human population. By scavenging the rubbish, as they do at Shelter Bay….
Another creature I spotted perusing some rubbish early one morning was a Coatimundi….
Far more nosy and “friendly” are the Howler Monkeys – but only if you consider having twigs and monkey shit thrown at you as constituting “friendly”! However, they are quite happy to have people wander around gazing up into the trees to look at them.
Beautiful brilliant blue butterflies are everywhere – except where I want them to be when I have my camera with me – and all of them flit from flower to flower so much that they are hard to follow. This small butterfly [Yes, I know, its not the alliterative blue one!] finally landed so I snapped it quickly – and I rather like the flower as well….
I was practicing with macro and rather liked the dewdrops – but surprised myself even more [yes, its fairly obvious I am an amateur at this hobby because I get excited about the smallest things!] when I managed to catch a raindrop falling from a leaf [to the middle right of the photo]….
….which peck around in the grass near the water´s edge and I also saw what I think is some kind of wagtail…
I am less sure about the last of the above three but one thing I have learnt about the first two birds is that they are “Passerines”. Approximately half of all birds are in this category and their most distinguishing characteristic is the anisodactyl arrangement of toes – three facing forward and one backward which allows them to cling to both horizontal and near vertical perches.
One of the largest Passerines is the Giant Cowbird….
The final bird I haven´t been to identify at all is this beauty….
Two hawks which I have been able to put names to are the Yellow Headed Caracara….
Another migratory bird which visited for a few weeks is the Baltimore Oriole….
One bird who´s tune is heard regularly is the beautiful Kiskadee.
There is also another similar looking bird – which may or may not be a female Lemon Rumped Tanager….
An obvious foliage loving bird is the Hummingbird….
The most well known are, of course parrots and macaws. On one occasion Mike and I saw a red parrot but the camera battery had died – too many monkey photos! I have, however seen quite a few green parrots….
My “best find” birds have been two different Trogon. They belong to the same family as the Resplendent Quetzal which, you might remember, I got a vague photograph of when we visited Boquete. Oh that I had had my new camera.
Here is the White Tailed Trogan….
….it is a “Nocturnal Wasp´s” Nest. I took it on one of my earliest sorties with the camera. I thought I had taken a photograph of a tree bud until I saw the photo on the laptop and realized it was something rather more special.
But, my most special find of all is this super Sloth.
In the meantime, I hope you have enjoyed looking at the wildlife. I have certainly enjoyed it and am so glad I have my camera to capture some better shots. I will finish with the first shot I took with it – its not in Shelter Bay, it was taken in Panama – but it is wildlife and a bird I love to see….