Thursday, July 30, 2009

As a Last Resort

Last full day at the Canopy Tower - Thursday, July 30.

Today we got a good, solid taste of the "green season". It rained a little yesterday, and it rained a lot last night. When we got up around 5:30 AM it was not raining. But by the time we were eating breakfast at 7:00, it had started to rain, and it soon became torrential.

The staff ran around shutting windows on the south side of the building. We were scheduled to go to Plantation Road, but it was hopeless. We checked the weather radar, and the storm was huge enough that we knew it would not abate for at least a couple hours. So the departure time and the destination were changed - 8:30 AM to the Miraflores Locks (on the Canal.) Les and I had been there briefly a week or so ago, so we opted to stay at the Tower to do a little writing, record-keeping, reading and studying. Jorge decided to go with the flow, and joined the small group to the Locks.

After lunch we went with our guide Jose to the grounds of the Gamboa Rainforest Resort. Although much of the area is heavily manicured, there are some wilder areas, and a good number of very good birds can be seen. Highlights included more excellent views of White-throated Crakes, a Black-breasted Puffbird, Chestnut-mandibled Toucans, a male Barred Antshrike, a cooperative Jet Antbird and an equally cooperative White-bellied Antbird, Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet, Cinnamon Becard (beautiful bird, and not very common during our travels so far in Panama), Golden-fronted Greenlet, Mangrove Swallows, Blue-black Grosbeak, Giant Cowbird, Yellow-tailed Oriole, Rusty-margined Flycatcher, Social Flycatcher, Lesser Kiskadee.

Lesser Kiskadee © 2009 George Griffeth

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A few little things

Still at the Canopy Tower.

Wednesday, July 29th, Domi took us to Pipeline Road in the morning, and as always, the Road produced. Our biggest highlights there were Great Tinamou
(ambled through our field of view as we were watching the leaftosser), Little Tinamou (two, foraging next to the road as we drove back for lunch - Les was shooting the video through the window of the van),

Greater Ani, Streak-chested Antpitta, Spotted Antbird, White-bellied Antbird, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Black-faced Antthrush, Buff-throated Foliage-Gleaner, Scaly-throated Leaftosser.

And in the afternoon, we went with our guide Alexis to the Ammo Ponds. His first feat was pulling in not one, but two White-necked Crakes. Anyone who has ever tried to see this species can tell you how difficult it almost always is. We all enjoyed a nice view of at least one of them.

For many years, one of my most-wanted species has been the Olivaceous Piculet. (I'm a sucker for the teeny, tiny ones, a predilection I share with my good friend Debra - think Rifleman in New Zealand, or Puerto Rican Tody.) Another guest at the Tower this week said he saw the piculet at the Ammo Ponds a day or two before we arrived, so we knew that at least one was in the neighborhood. Alexis heard one calling, and after much perusing of the treetops, he spotted one chipping bark off a small branch high overhead. It moved out of sight after a few seconds, but then it and another flew to a tree across the road, where we all saw it through the scope. Hooray! Also new for us at the Ammo Ponds were Ruddy-breasted Seedeaters.

We saw many other exciting and wonderful birds that day - below is an incomplete list to supplement the highlights mentioned above (in case anyone wants to read more bird names.)

Rufescent Tiger-Heron, Striated Heron, Snail Kite, Purple Gallinule, Wattled Jacana, Smooth-billed Ani, Squirrel Cuckoo, Slaty-tailed Trogon, Black-tailed Trogon, Violaceous Trogon, White-tailed Trogon, Cocoa Woodcreeper, Plain Brown Woodcreeper, Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet, Greenish Elaenia, Southern Bentbill, Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Great Kiskadee, Lesser Kiskadee, Rusty-margined Flycatcher, Social Flycatcher, Streaked Flycatcher, Piratic Flycatcher, White-winged Becard, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Golden-collared Manakin, Lesser Greenlet, Scrub Greenlet, Green Shrike-Vireo, Black-chested Jay, Black-bellied Wren, Rufous-breasted Wren, Plain Wren, White-breasted Wood-Wren, Song Wren (amazing little fellows who manage to produce beautiful, musical songs while simultaneously muttering a series of varied call notes), Gray-headed Tanager, White-shouldered Tanager, Red-throated Ant-Tanager, Crimson-backed Tanager, Blue-gray Tanager, Palm Tanager, Thick-billed Euphonia, Plain-colored Tanager, Golden-hooded Tanager, Blue Dacnis, Green Honeycreeper, Red-legged Honeycreeper, Yellow backed Oriole, Yellow-tailed Oriole, Scarlet-rumped Cacique.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Las Brisas de Canopy Tower

Canopy Tower © 2009 George Griffeth On Monday, July 27 we said our fond farewells to Sharon and Kathy at Simply Devine Homestays and were transported by Lorenzo to the Canopy Tower. (See Jorge Griffeth's photo of the Tower.) It is wonderful to be back (for Jorge, it's only the first visit), and the refreshing breezes up here are especially wonderful. In Gamboa, a breeze would waft through once in a while, giving us a little hope, but we soon learned that none of them ever lasted long enough to make a difference in the general (dis)comfort level.

After lunch, we went out with Domi, our guide, to Summit Park. The Harpy Eagle exhibit (complete with a caged Harpy Eagle) was our first stop within the park, but the enjoyable part of the field trip was walking around the grounds. In addition to a few other caged animals (Tapirs & Hippos, for instance) there are many wild and unfettered birds on the grounds. They are mostly common lowland species such as White-vented Pigeon, Orange-chinned Parakeet, Keel-billed Toucan, Collared Aracari, Red-crowned Woodpecker, Panama Flycatcher, Masked Tityra, Golden-collared Tanager, Plain-colored Tanager, Blue-gray Tanager, Palm Tanager, Green Honeycreeper, Red-legged Honeycreeper, Tropical Gnatcatcher, Clay-colored Robin, Lesser Goldfinch. We also saw a Gray Hawk that day, two Common Nighthawks roosting in an old snag that was festooned with epiphytes, a Yellow-backed Oriole and a Giant Cowbird.

Jackie & Greg WillisAt dinner Monday night, Les, Jorge and I had the incredible good fortune to be seated at the same table as Jackie and Greg Willis. (Photo by Les Lieurance) They have studied the mammal population on Barro Colorado Island for the past 27 years. (They even spent their honeymoon on BCI!) They were at the Tower to consult on the installation of cameras on the property here.

In 1983, Greg saw a Jaguar on BCI, but no photo was taken, and he said almost nobody believed him at the time. People just didn't realize that Jaguars do occasionally visit the island - they swim back and forth from the mainland and some even spend weeks or months on the island. Since then, Jackie and Greg have installed motion-sensitive cameras at various locations on BCI. In April 2009, one of the cameras caught a few photos of a Jaguar, and it was big news on the mammal hotlines and throughout the rest of the world. Greg and Jackie have gotten some great photos over the years, and through careful record-keeping, they know a lot about the personal lives of most of the Ocelots and other mammals who live on BCI - their nightly routines, their territories, their consorts, their menus, their families, etc. After dinner, Jackie used her laptop to give us an impromptu slide show and showed a little video from their research. Jackie and Greg answered our many questions, which led to more questions - it is a fascinating subject - we still can't believe how lucky we were to spend the evening with the Willises.

On Tuesday morning, July 28, we walked along Semaphore Road (gated, and leads from the Tower down to the main road) with our guide Jose Soto. Les and I met Jose in December, and were very pleased to be birding with him again.

Highlights for us included fantastic views of a Great Tinamou sauntering through the forest at close range, a Great Potoo on the same day-roost where it was when we left at the end of December, both Rufous and Broad-billed Motmots, a White-necked Puffbird, a Southern Bentbill, an Olivaceous Flatbill, and a beautiful Orange-billed Sparrow. Jose commented that the sparrows here are a lot easier to ID than the ones we have in the U.S.A.

In the afternoon on Tuesday, we went with Domi to the Summit Ponds. It began raining pretty heavily as soon as we got there, so we sat in the van for a while. Finally, some of us got antsy, and Domi agreed to take a walk with us.
The rain had eased, so it wasn't impossible for birding, and after about 20 minutes, the rain stopped and more birds became active. Highlights there were Capped Heron (we missed this species twice in Bayano in December, and it's a really cool-looking heron, so we were very happy to see one), Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, Scaled Pigeon, Spectacled Owls, Ringed Kingfisher, Amazon Kingfisher, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied Seedeaters, Black-striped Sparrow, Slate-colored Grosbeaks.

(All video by Les Lieurance)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Our Antiest Day Yet

Sunday morning we went back, yet again, to Pipeline Road. We saw a lot of ants, some antbirds, antwrens, antshrikes - it was great.

Our amigo, Jorge Griffeth, arrived Saturday afternoon. We picked him up at Tocumen. He arrived looking like an experienced, professional traveler, with no checked bags - just a wheelie and a small bag for his laptop. We made a quick stop at El Rey for some staples, then drove directly to Sharon's. She and Kathy prepared a fine dinner for us, and we all retired early.

So we headed to Pipeline about 6:30 AM on Sunday July 26th, stopping at the usual spot in Gamboa for the Bat Falcon and spotting a few Southern Lapwings along the way. We drove in as far as we could, and began the walk. It was not constantly hopping, but we all felt happy and satisfied by the end of the morning.

Among the birds we saw were Dot-winged Antwrens, White-flanked Antwrens, Checker-throated Antwrens, Western Slaty Antshrikes, Dusky Antbirds, Spotted Antbird, Chestnut-backed Antbirds, a female Fasciated Antshrike on a nest, Ruddy-tailed Flycatchers, Plain Xenops, Plain Brown Woodcreeper, Chestnut-mandibled Toucans, Squirrel Cuckoo, Double-toothed Kite, Common Tody-Flycatchers, Blue Dacnis, Thick-billed Euphonias, and many others of the common species. I think Jorge feels like his feet are wet. Tomorrow we will head to the Canopy Tower.

all photos © 2009 George Griffeth

Friday, July 24, 2009

Barro Colorado Island Revisited

Friday morning (July 24) we returned to Barro Colorado Island (BCI). Last week, after enjoying a seminar there one evening, we made a reservation for a full day guided tour on BCI. The tours are available only on certain days of the week, and the current cost is $70/person. The tour includes the boat trip to & from, plus a guided tour for the morning, a good lunch at their cafeteria, an informational slide show in the afternoon, and a visit to the museum and gift shop. Margaret, the person in charge of reservations, told us that we were very lucky to have found spaces only a week in advance. Tours typically book up at least a month ahead.

Our guide was Iann Sanchez, a native Panamanian who went to university in the U.S. Sharon, our hostess here at Simply Devine Homestays, has known Iann since he was 7 years of age. Iann has been guiding on BCI (he also does other guiding and tours around Panama) for many years. He is a geologist and has learned much about the birds, mammals, insects, plants, history and ecology of BCI and Panama over the years.

Today's group of a dozen was comprised of a batch of exchange students and their escort, a local Panamanian family of 3, Les and I and Iann. Iann stopped here at Simply Devine about 6:30 AM to drop off his son with Sharon for the day, and we drove Iann down to the STRI dock. Les and I were the only ones with bins, so stopping for every heard bird was not an option. But we did manage to see a few birds, including Slaty-tailed Trogon, Black-throated Trogon, Keel-billed Toucan, Gray-faced Chachalaca, Western Slaty Antwren, White-shouldered Tanager, Streaked Flycatcher, and another lifer for us: Crested Guan. White-faced Monkey, Howler Monkey, White-lined Bat and Agouti comprised the mammal list, and we also saw a small Crocodile, a wood boring beetle (typically found only up high in the trees, but this one was on a fallen log) and several butterflies and spiders.

It was a very interesting and productive day, and also the hottest and muggiest day ever. BCI makes Gamboa feel cool, it's that bad. The air on BCI was still as could be, not even a whisper of a breeze. Before we departed BCI for the mainland at the end of the day, we could hear much loud thunder, and it began to rain. When we boarded the boat it was still sprinkling, and we had high hopes of cooling breezes coming through the windows as the boat gained speed. I selected a seat near an open window. Once the boat took off from the dock, the young fellow next to the window closed the window and settled down for a nap. All around the edges of the boat, other guys did the same thing - they closed the windows, and most of them napped. They were undoubtedly sweating to such an extent that they were as wet as they would have been if the rain had been pouring in on them, but they chose to sit there and sweat rather than opening the windows for some cooling breezes. Les and I were both astounded, incredulous, vexed. So when we got back to our homestay, we asked a couple locals about the (possible) reasoning behind this behavior. Kathy, the housekeeper & cook here at Simply Devine said the locals are afraid of catching a cold. And Iann said they're afraid of getting sick. Getting cold when wet is a bad thing, they think. Panamanians have what seem to us to be some pretty crazy ideas about certain things. If you are ironing clothes, for instance, you should never take an iced drink - don't drink it or even open the refrigerator door. You might catch a cold or become paralyzed or worse. Don't say we didn't warn you.

Catching Up With Ourselves

It's been a busy week. Monday (July 20th) we met with our lawyer & picked up a rental car. Tuesday we looked at a few houses. Wednesday we squeezed in a birding day - went to Pipeline Road again. Thursday we took a drive to Capira, Lidice, to the beaches (Coronado, San Carlos) and Penonome. Today we returned to Barro Colorado Island for a full day.

The rental car is a tiny 4-door Toyota Yaris hatchback sedan. The wheels are tiny, too. But it has a lot more nice touches and is far more comfortable than the crappy Caliber we rented while we were in Kansas City and Omaha earlier this month. It's also about half the price for a 1-week rental.

We love our lawyer (Mayra Lamboglia de Ruzzi on Calle 50 in San Francisco)- she's brilliant, experienced, warm but business-like, and we feel completely confident that she will be able to guide and help us through the complicated processes of real estate purchase and immigration. She comes very highly recommended, and we both got a good vibe from her.

Pipeline Road on Wednesday was very productive, although there are often slow periods as we walk along. In addition to the usual species we've mentioned before, we found Black-cheeked Woodpecker, Crimson-crested Woodpecker, Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Chestnut-mandibled Toucan, Mealy Parrot, Red-lored Parrot, Slaty-tailed Trogon, White-tailed Trogon, several more Fasciated Antshrikes (previously mentioned, what what an extremely cool bird!), Bay Wren, Dusky Antbird, Checker-throated Antwren, Red-capped Manakin, Blue-crowned Manakin (a pair each of these two species of Manakins were foraging together), Scarlet-rumped Cacique.

Yesterday we drove west from Panama City through Capira and up into the hills above, through the little village of Lidice. The terrain and craggy, rocky peaks above Lidice are spectacularly beautiful. It's not a place we would chose to live, since it's so far from services, medical care and the airport, and the gravel road is rutted and potholed in several sections, but we sure enjoyed the drive. Above Lidice we did a little birding, finding several familiar birds (American Kestrel, Crimson-backed Tanager, Palm Tanager, Blue-gray Tanager, Variable Seedeater, Yellow-faced Grassquit, House Wren, Plain Wren) and one lifer: Yellow-bellied Seedeaters. The locals on the dirt roads above Lidice were so friendly, awkward though it was, since most of them speak about as little English as we speak Espanol. After Lidice we drove a little further, through the beach communities of Coronado and San Carlos. Enjoyed a fabulous pollo picante empanada and pizzas at Carlito's, in San Carlos.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Walk Around Gamboa

When we first began researching places to live in Panama, we were high on the idea of living in Gamboa because of its proximity to Pipeline Road. (As we noted in a previous post, it is only a 20 minute walk from Gamboa to the start of Pipeline.) Then we searched online for houses and realized right away that Gamboa would not be an option for us. This reverted area was "discovered" about 5 years ago. At that time, bargains could still be found and affordable properties were available. That is no longer the case. Now that we've "lived here" for 4 whole days, we realize that the lowlands is not likely where we would want to live for much of the year. But it is a great place to visit.

Today we had no appointments and didn't need to do any shopping, so we took a long, slow walk around Gamboa getting acquainted with the local birds.

Sharon has 2 hummingbird feeders in the yard, dominated most of the time by the resident Rufous-tailed Hummingbird. But other Rufous-taileds regularly sneak in, along with a few Sapphire-throated Hummingbirds. We have also seen a White-necked Jacobin and one or two Long-billed Hermits at the feeders.

In the nearby residential area, we find the regulars to be Orange-chinned Parakeets, Tropical Kingbirds, Streaked Flycatchers, Great Kiskadees, Social Flycatchers, Blue-gray Tanagers, Palm Tanagers, Crimson-backed Tanagers, Red-crowned Woodpeckers, Ruddy Ground-Doves, White-tipped Doves, Pale-vented Pigeons, Clay-colored Thrushes, House Wrens, Tropical Mockingbirds, Thick-billed Euphonias, Variable Seedeaters, Great-tailed Grackles, Black Vultures.

At Carmen's place, a residence that is a regular stop on the Canopy Tower birding route through Gamboa and just a couple blocks from Sharon's place, are several large tray feeders and some hummingbird feeders. Carmen and her staff must be the ones who keep the hummer feeders stocked, and they also put fruit out on the tray feeders, but the Tower guides always take some bananas along to put out when they go there with a group of birders. Today, sliced fresh papaya was on the menu, and the birds eating it included the usual tanagers plus Lemon-rumped Tanagers, also Green and Red-legged Honeycreepers, C-c Thrushes, and the Agoutis were below the feeders snacking on scraps.

Species we see in Gamboa in lower numbers, but they also seem to us like regulars, are Common Tody-Flycatcher (fabulous little birds), Yellow-bellied Elaenia, Fork-tailed Flycatcher (this one had a short, thrashed tail), Tropical Gnatcatcher, Streaked Saltator, Buff-throated Saltator, Bat Falcon.

Today we also saw a few birds that we hadn't seen before in Gamboa, although we are not claiming that they are particularly unusual. First was a Cinnamon Woodpecker - beautiful bird with a jaunty crest and crisp black barring & scalloping on the breast and belly. Next was a Blue-crowned Motmot, followed by Yellow-rumped Cacique, and two quarreling Violaceous Trogons (imagine having those as yardbirds!)

After we walked along the canal for a short distance we birded the entrance road of the Gamboa Resort, where we saw a small party of Gray-headed Chachalacas perched low in the trees above a marshy ditch. Two Spotted Sandpipers were bobbing along on a boom on Lake Gatun, and a Green Heron and some Common Moorhens were on another boom. Les got some video of a Snail Kite.

As we walked uphill to the resort grounds, we saw a few different birds: female Barred Antshrike, many Cocoa Woodcreepers, a vociferous pair of Dusky Antbirds (and we heard several others that we did not see), a pair of White-shouldered Tanagers, a Rufous-capped Warbler, a Ringed Kingfisher and what we believe were 2 Yellow-olive Flycatchers, but we could probably be talked out of it. Maybe they were Yellow-margined - unfortunately, they were quite active, straight overhead, and high in the trees, so no photo-doc was obtained.

We also heard some Manakins snapping on the resort grounds. We never did see them, although I had a glimpse of a lime-green female, but could not see her legs or throat, so we'll have to let that go.

Another fun sighting was a wailing juvenile Yellow-headed Caracara perched high in a pine tree. One of his parents eventually came in and perched nearby but did not feed the kid - see Les's photo below of the adult.

We had planned to have lunch at Los Lagartos, a restaurant at the resort. But on Sundays, we discovered, they serve only a fixed-price brunch - $28 per person! We said no thanks, walked back to Sharon's, and fixed our own lunch. We did notice that there were no customers in the restaurant.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Our First Panama Pelagic

Last night we took our first pelagic in Panama. It barely qualified as such, but we were on a boat that sped across the water to an island, so we're counting it. Also, since we will miss all the pelagics we usually take in California during the late summer season, it was good to get out on the water at least once.

Our hostess Sharon told us about a series of informal seminars given by visiting scientists and others on Barro Colorado Island (BCI.) The speaker last night was Bas Haring, a Dutch philosopher and writer of popular science and children's literature (see "Cheese and the Theory of Evolution".) The subject of his talk was how journalists can make science palatable/understandable to the lay reader.

For $6 each, we got a ride in the water taxi from the STRI (Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute) dock in Gamboa, dinner at the cafeteria on Barro Colorado Island, the seminar, and a ride back on the water taxi. The only "wet" bird I saw was a single Brown Pelican, so we will eventually have to get more serious about this pelagic business. But it was a start.

Since we arrived on the island about 30 minutes before dinner was served, we took a short walk on Sendero Fausto (Fausto Trail.) It was dusk, and we found no birds, but we saw a couple of Agoutis and our first poison dart frog of the trip. It was a beautiful little black one with bright green markings. A researcher at our dinner table (she was from Stanford, studying how mammal species affect plant diversity, but knew a few herps) told us it was indeed a poison dart frog, Dendrobates auratus. We also sat next to a fellow from Germany who was on his third 3-month tour on BCI studying fruit bats. He told us about a carnivorous bat (he's never seen one, but it has a wingspan of 1.5 meters!) that eats other bats, amphibians, small mammals and birds. So it was a really fascinating evening even before the seminar.

The seminar was interesting, entertaining and thought-provoking. Bas is a young, energetic fellow who speaks in plain, non-academic language about academic subjects. We can see why he would be a big hit with children - the short discussion about evolution that he had last night with a few members of the audience was fun and energizing. We were both still talking about the seminar tonight at dinner.

On the ride back to the dock we got to talking about Panama with an STRI scientist John Christy, who provided interesting insights during the seminar into sexual selection in fiddler crabs. About Panama, John advised great caution when entering into any negotiations. The country has a long history of deceptions and outright swindles. It's something we have heard before, but his were sobering words for those new to the country looking to make plans for a permanent residency.

Next week we will go back to BCI for a day-long excursion - and not just because we will get another pelagic out of it.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Birding Pipeline Road

This morning we got up and breakfasted early so we could take a walk with Sharon, our hostess here at Simply Devine Homestays. We left about 6:30, with Sharon setting a good pace - for exercising, not birding. But after all the time we've spent lately sitting in airports and on airplanes, we certainly need some regular workouts, and Sharon happily indulged us a couple of short stops to look at Bat Falcons sitting on snags. She walked us through Gamboa to the start of Pipeline road (about 20 minutes), where she turned back for the rest of her brisk walk and we continued at our birding pace.

Our walk on Pipeline was an entirely different experience than the ones we took there in December with Carlos and Jose, 2 of our excellent guides at the Canopy Tower. Either we've forgotten a lot or we didn't learn it in the first place, because we did not see nearly as many birds and we recognized almost none of their songs and sounds. None of that stopped us from having a good time, and of course we recognize that birding without guides and experts is a crucial part of learning. We will go back to the Tower for a refresher course in less than 2 weeks.

Among the birds we did see and ID (along Pipeline Road and at Discovery Center) were a pair of Fasciated Antshrikes, a pair of Dot-winged Antwrens, a Violaceous Trogon, 4 Collared Aracaris, several Cocoa Woodcreepers and Red-crowned Woodpeckers, 2 Anhingas, Black-breasted Puffbird, Streaked Flycatchers, Great Kiskadees, Social Flycatchers, Long-billed Hermits (see video below shot by Les at Discovery Center), Rufous-tailed Hummingbirds, Sapphire-throated Hummingbirds, White-necked Jacobins, White-vented Plumeleteers, Clay-colored Thrushes, Orchard Oriole, Variable Seedeaters.

One bad thing happened on our Pipeline walk - more accurately, a pair of bad things. Les threw some tread - all he had. On the way up, the sole of his left shoe came off. On the way back, the sole of his right shoe came off. Each sole came clean off, not in shreds, but in one tidy piece. We've heard that this tropical environment is unforgiving, but we're surprised to be victims of it on day 2. Tomorrow we must go shopping for footwear. Shopping - that's worth another post, since we've already been to the grocery store, with great results.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

We made it !

We are back in Panama and glad to be here. We have wanted to return ever since we left at the end of December last year. This time, we will spend exactly 6 weeks exploring this wonderful country. Our first base camp is in Gamboa, a small town east of Panama City in the Republic of Panama. It was one of a handful of permanent Canal Zone townships, built to house employees of the Panama Canal and their dependents. The name Gamboa comes from a tree of the same name in the quince family.

Our lodging for 12 nights, Simply Devine Homestays, lies close to the canal and is within walking distance of Pipeline Road. We hope to make day trips to the Road and Barro Colorado Island between trips to Panama City.

The video is the exterior of the house with Cindy coming out for an after-dinner walk. Kathy, the excellent cook, is going inside. The water feature in the garden is home to the frogs that croak through the night. The forest edge across the road is the location where the Harpy Eagle was seen a few months ago. Kathy also told us the Harpy Eagle captured an iguana behind the house two weeks ago! Mobbing birds making a huge racket drew her attention to it.