Greetings from Gamboa, Panama. Ant Man and I rented a house for six weeks on a hill above the Panama Canal, with a view of cecropia and palms and fruiting miconia trees attracting every known tropical and neotropical bird that’s ever thought about eating fruit.
Speaking of neotropicals, lots of migrants still here. If you’re up north looking for Eastern kingbirds, a LOT of them are still here gorging on miconia berries.
Gamboa is a sleepy tropical town originally constructed for Panama Canal builders and their families, who have been more or less replaced over time by scientists and their families. Ant Man and I are here trying to get some writing done (scientific papers for him, a book for me) and tune out the toucans, if possible. Not always possible (see below).
The book is taking slow shape. For want of a better elevator pitch, it’s a bowl of bird-sketch salad tossed with natural history dressing.
It’s been (mostly) fun going through old journals and field notes. Much of it won’t make it into the text, but I hate to waste a good field note, so it could wind up here:
Watched spider monkeys go to bed in a huge tree awash with purple flowers. The youngsters hang by their tails and smack each other until their mom comes over and yells at them to go to sleep. Barro Colorado Island 2005
We poled through an opening in the mangroves to search for pygmy kingfishers where the water was dark and quiet. A cormorant came flapping wildly upstream, veering to avoid branches and striking them with its wing-tips. Celestun, Yucatan, 1988
A toddler in a house down the street just screamed, and a white-breasted wood wren burst into song. Gamboa, Panama, 2016
Happy Friday, and Happy Earth Day.