Just a few quick thoughts from the morning: down here on the isthmus you will see toucans, trogons and other tropical bird species. But this time of year-migration time-you’ll see your backyard buddies in an exotic new context. How fun is it to wander down a muddy trail surrounded by lianas and palms and great buttressed trees (see the last post) and encounter a mixed flock of twittering antbirds, antshrikes, antvireos, and in the midst of them, a Swainson’s thrush? Or how about sitting high in a scaffold tower, swaying to and fro and looking down onto the dense rainforest canopy foliage, only to see a familiar face- a Red-eyed vireo? Yesterday while swinging in a hammock and sketching on a balcony overlooking a fruiting spondias tree (this is the finest way to work, let me tell you) teeming with Bluegray tanagers, Blue dacnis, Palm tanagers and Plain-colored tanagers, a yellow flash joined the crowd: a Yellow warbler. Two weeks ago it might have been splashing in my backyard goldfish pond. Or your birdbath, if your birdbath is also in North America.
Yesterday evening I stood in a clearing as the sky grew dark and a storm rolled over the island, and saw a flock of “our” Common nighthawks winging like big bats overhead, more than two hundred of them, some flying in a straight line, others veering off to snag insects, but all flowing together in the big river of migration, heading southward across the isthmus of Panama.