Your Backyard Birds on Vacation

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.

2 thoughts on “Your Backyard Birds on Vacation

  1. Deepa says:

    Been following your blog for quite some time….ever since I got to see the deer sketch almost a year back (that particular sketch is still my favourite though. Inspiring I must say. Your description took to me to the foliage with a little aid from the snaps taken. Blissful picture.

  2. Mike says:

    Blue-gray tanagers are one of my favorite species. It sounds like you are having a spectacular time. I am so jealous.

    So few people understand how connected North American temperate zones are to the Neotropics. “Our” birds are a lot more worldly and well-traveled than most of us are!

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