Planning for Panama 2014

Woo-hoo!  It’s back to birding on the this birding blog.  I have a busy upcoming fall with events here in Ohio, Ontario, Colorado, Virginia, North Carolina, and Massachusetts.  Check out my calendar (you can access it by clicking on the Calendar tab above or by clicking here).  Today I have Panama on my mind.  Yup.  January 18-25, 2014 with Wildside Nature Tours!  Check out the details for Panama Canal Zone and Pipeline Road Birding with Greg Miller!

Did you know that is only about 21 weeks away?  I know you are thinking to yourself “That’s a long time–waaay into next year”.  And being completely bored with summer you are probably thinking of innovative ways to use up all your extra time.  Haha.  I am speaking in jest, of course.  Reality for most folks is “When will I get a breathing moment to do anything for myself?”

Magnificent Frigatebird

Magnificent Frigatebird near Tampa FL March 2013. Photo by Greg Miller

But what if you have never been to Panama?  Aren’t there a bazillion birds species there?  Yes, there are a lot of species.  In fact, it is not impossible to see nearly 300 species in a week.  Whoa!  That is lot of birds!  And have you seen the field guides to the birds of Panama!  Wow.  That is sobering.  So many birds to learn.  But did you know that you already probably know how to identify about 100 species of those Panamanian birds?  Yep.  Take the Magnificent Frigatebird shown above.  According to eBird, this is one of the top 10 most frequently recorded species in Panama.

Speaking of eBird, the wonderful Citizen Science project that collects bird sightings from around the world from birders like you and I–what if you had an inkling of what to expect on your trip to Panama with me?  You are going, right?  Still not convinced?  Ok.  I will let you in on a tiny secret:  I have never been to Panama myself.  Shhhh!  Don’t tell anyone!  Haha.  So I have to prepare for bazillions of birds myself.  Since I have to do a lot of work to learn as many species as possible, I thought I would pass along the rewards for my efforts.  Since we have about 21 weeks, at a rate of 10 species per week I will have familiarized myself with 200 of those 300 species in Panama.  So using the power of eBird’s Frequency of Checklists–the percent of checklists submitted with a specific species–here is a start: the Top 10 Most Frequently Reported Birds in Panama for late January (weeks 3 & 4–covering January 16 through the end of the month).

Top 10 Most Frequently Reported Birds in Panama for late January

1. Black Vulture 
2. Turkey Vulture 
3. Tropical Kingbird 
4. Great-tailed Grackle 
5. Keel-billed Toucan 
6. Blue-gray Tanager 
7. Crimson-backed Tanager 
8. Clay-colored Thrush 
9. Magnificent Frigatebird 
10. Social Flycatcher

See?  That’s not so bad.  You probably have seen more than half of those birds in your North American field guides!  So why not join me for a week full of lifer celebrations?  See #5 up there?  The Keel-billed Toucan?  Yeah.  That is one bird I REALLY want to see.  And it is in the Top 10?  AWESOME!  Next week you will get a look at the list for birds ranking 11-20.  I can’t wait!  And did you check out where we’ll be staying?  The Gamboa Rainforest Lodge.  Very nice.  Ok.  I gotta run now.  I am going birding today (here in Ohio).


One thought on “Planning for Panama 2014

  1. Pingback: 2014 Panama Target Birds 31-40 | Greg Miller Birding

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