Panama Day 2: Torrential Rains And A Visit To Summit Botanical Gardens And It’s Famous Harpy Eagle
After our morning hike near the Canopy Tower eco-lodge in Panama we gathered to discuss the birds and other animals we saw on our walk and add them to a very elaborate check list provided by the lodge . It was a very informative experience. We the enjoyed a nice lunch. Soon afterward the skies clouded up and torrential rains began to fall shortly. Well I was in a rain forest so I wasn’t surprised. I watched the heavy rains from my balcony. The howler monkeys in the forest didn’t seem to like the rain. They howled loudly as it fell and even louder when there was an occasionally rumble of thunder. It rained for a couple of hours which gave me time to edit photos and call my office back home in Pennsylvania. When the rains stopped we climbed aboard our Birdmobile, a truck we would use often to transport us to our birding adventures.
We were on another birding adventure We drove about five miles under the cloudy skies to the Parque Municipal Summit.
This park was a botanical gardens created in 1923 under the United States occupation of Panama. It is now a part of the Soberania National Park. It also has a small zoo with rehabilitated animals who can not be reintroduced into the wild. It is also home to many native and migratory bird species living in the trees growing in the botanical gardens and surrounding rain forest.
The skies were cloudy with and an occasional light drizzle when we entered the gardens late in the afternoon, not the most ideal conditions for bird photography. The park was closed to the public but we were allowed in because of the relationship the gardens had with Canopy Tower.
It didn’t take long for Jorge to introduce us to the many birds that live in, and visit the gardens. We soon saw a yellow rumped calique,
a black vulture and
a flock of orange chined parakeets in the tree tops of the tall palm trees near the entrance.
Nearer to the ground we saw a red crowned woodpecker.
Since my travels to Africa, the Antarctic and other parts of our planet, and seeing animals living free in the wild I do not like to visit zoos anymore. It is sad to see animals captive in small enclosures. While many zoos do try to make the homes of their captive animals as close to their natural environments as possible, I still don’t like seeing these animals trapped in cages, however large they may be. However, I do visit wild animal rehabilitation centers on my travels. Here you can see animals who are injured and will be rehabilitated and returned to their natural habitat. And, sadly there are some animals who are unable to live in the wild again. Such was the case of this most beautiful creature, the national bird of Panama, this magnificent harpy eagle.
The harpy eagle is one of the largest raptors on the planet. It can easily swoop and carry off a howler monkey. It once roamed the skies from Mexico to Argentina but is now extinct or endangered in most of it’s former range. Fortunately hundreds still survive in the vast and remote rain forests of Panama.
The harpy eagle sat on a perch moving it’s large plume crested head from side to side, seemingly, as much interested in us as we were in her, ( I am pretty sure it was a female bird). It eyes were piercing.
an amphibian, I believe this is a South American common toad, and a few mammals
We were on a birding adventure and our guide made sure we also sawte the overcast and rainy conditons, a few more birds, including a crimson backed tanager,
a pretty great kiskadee,
a rusty margained flycatcher, all new birds to me,
and this one, one I have seen hundreds of back in my home in Northeastern Pennsylvania, a common house wren.
We walked though the gardens and made our way to see one more exotoic, buty captive animal, a jaguar. It was asleep behind some trees so we couldn’t get good photos but it was another beautiful creature that still rooms the rain forest of Panama. Near the jaguar cage I found these large fruits on the ground. They were heavy and solid and I learned they were the fruit of the cannonball tree. They really looked and felt like cannonbals. They are rare in the rain forests of Panama but have been domesticated to feed to pigs and other live stock. Monkeys love them too. I cracked one open and it had the most interesting aroma, sweet, earthy and putrid would be a way to describe it.
It was now getting dark, the sun sets around 6 p.m. in Panama, so we made our way out of the botanical gardens. On the way Jorge spotted another beautiful this magestic great black hawk on a tree branch.
And we would see one more bird , in a tree top as we left the park. not as magestic as the harper eagle or great black hawk, but interesting and exotic, a chickenlike gray headed chachalaca. We ended our short but amazing birding adventure seeing many more native birds then I expected. I already was completley satisified with making this trip to the rain forest of Panama and staying at the Canopy Tower. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with more photos of the birds I saw at the botanical gardens. Panama Day 2. Summit Botanical Gardens birds October 17 2023.
A delicious inner was served soon afterwards and we had a visitor join us a Central American Wooly Opposum. Here is a link to a galley with more photos from my visit to the botanical gardens. Panama Day 2 Summit Botanical Gardens October 17 2023.
Sublime harpy eagle sits in a tree. Beyond divine is his majesty.
To abyss not continuity. Is connected his destiny
His surreal yet physical form. Stands like proud warrior before the storm…
Harpy Eagle Patrycjusz Kopec