Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Chuparosa Challenge-Exotic Numbers

 Off the infamous Pipeline Road in Gamboa, Panama, we went to the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center.  It was a hike into some of the most beautiful rain forest of Panama.  It was also last year that I would be converted into a birder.  The nice thing about a blog is that you can review your notes and journals from the past.  And I have to admit that since our trip there, a lot has changed for me.  I feel smarter about wildlife and especially about birds.  As I was working on the Chuparosa challenge, I came upon a website that reminded me about another aspect of hummingbirds.  We have 17 species in North America.  But did you know that we really have over 356 species in the Americas!!!?? 51 of which are endangered.  And most of them are found in Central and South America.
Long Billed Hermit
 Then I remembered that I had all of these photos from Panama.  I didn't know much about hummingbirds at the time.  And my older camera was difficult to use.  I started discovering limitations on photography.  A couple months later, I'd have a professional camera to capture my shots.  But looking back at these pictures, I'd had to say that they aren't bad at all.  However, I took more shots with that older camera than I would have with my current one just to get that "one shot".
 There are some amazing hummingbirds that truly stand out from the rest in this incredibly beautiful bird family.  So I thought I'd challenge myself and identify the ones I caught on camera.
Violet Bellied Hummingbird
 Some hummingbirds have massive bills like the Sword Billed Hummingbird.  I am not joking when I say their bills are almost longer than the length of their body.  And some have tails that are very elegant and loooong.  I've seen this particular one flying around....it looked like something out of a disney movie. It's called the Booted Racket Tail.  Most of these exotic species are found in Ecuador.  I have yet to go there so when I do, you all know what I'll be doing:)  We were in the Amazon of Peru where I had the chance to observe lots of monkeys and birds....and my infamous Jaguar sighting:)
 Some hummingbirds have a mohawk like the Frilled Coquette. About 10 seconds into the video, you'll have a better look.
Blue Chested Hummingbird
 The fact is that there are so many kinds of hummingbirds that it is probably one of the most challenging jobs out there for a person to have.  I've spoken about the id'ing of females in this group as well as distinguishing the minor differences between species......like the Ruby Throated and Broad Billed Hummingbirds.  It can all be very tricky. And I'm sure there are still species out there that haven't been identified yet in the last remaining untouched areas of the Amazona.
White Necked Jacobin
There are a lot of hummers I haven't mentioned.  But WOW!!!  Next time on my journeys, I'll be better prepared:) For more fun on tropical birds, check out my video below from Panama last year.   More tomorrow....


43 comments:

  1. Podziwiam te malutkie, kolorowe, z długim dziobem ptaszki. Nie mogę się napatrzeć , jak szybko poruszają skrzydełkami. Szkoda, że ich u nas nie ma. Pozdrawiam.
    I admire these tiny, colorful, with a long beak birds. I can not eyes off, as fast moving wings. It is a pity that they did not have with us. Yours.

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    1. I'm glad I can share them. Maybe one day a vacation to the Americas?:) The one thing I always keep in mind....you have incredible things that we don't have here. That's why I enjoy travel so much. Hope you get a chance to see them in person one day. Saludos de Tucson!

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  2. The third shot is perfect. Looks a great place to be.

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    1. Thanks Adrian. It was a nice break from the Arizona heat at this time last year. Although we still suffered with humidity:)

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  3. Very good shots Chris..... nice done.

    Greetings, Joop

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  4. They are beautiful, i love those with open beaks. How similar are sunbirds with hummingbirds?

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    1. You know. I researched the sun bird after both you and Diana of Elephant's Eye mentioned them. They certainly look somewhat similiar but the bills and body structures are a bit different. This is another group of birds I'd love to see in the wild. They have similiar behaviors and like a hummingbird are quite colorful.

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  5. And no humming birds in Tournefeuille! Sniff sniff... I am glad to read your blog.

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    1. True, but you have flowers, historic buildings and wonderful French cuisine:) Remember, Arizona is HOT right now and I've been locked up in my place. Not fun:)

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  6. What a fabulous post Chris, the humming birds are so lovely, their long slim beaks are amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed the video, such beautifully coloured and exotic birds..had to laugh when I saw the Cormorant with it's outspread wings, obviously they do the same thing where ever they are in the world oui!

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    1. Cormorants make me smile although they creep me out with their snake heads in the water. We have those here as well so I always jump when I see them swiming around in water. I have a feeling that we may make it out towards your part of the world next year....it's looking more and more like either Australia or New Zealand. To see Kangaroo in the wild.....wow!

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  7. I had no idea there were so many different species of hummers! An amazing fact. Love these shots.

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    1. I had known there were many but when I did my fact checking, I was shocked at the total number. Very interesting indeed. A teacher friend just came back with all these amazing hummingbird shots from Ecuador. I'd be ID'ing for hours.

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  8. I love hummingbirds. They are all beautiful. You got some really great pictures.

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  9. oh I love your bird photos

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  10. a great collection of exotic birds in that video. and i like that long-billed hermit!

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    1. That one was my favorite as well. He stood out from the rest. One of the most awkward looking of the bunch but my favorite nonetheless. It took me quite awhile to get him in a decent shot. I kid you not when I say that we were there for an hour doing hummingbird shoots.

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  11. Some great shots there Chris and beautiful humming birds. They are such incredibly lovely little birds. Certainly sound an id challenge!

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    1. That group of hummers in Central America was challenging. Some are too close to tell apart from one another. But they are wonderful birds to have around. They bring a smile to the face because they love to get into my face and hover. I laugh and they sit and watch me around the garden work. They've got it made in the shade here:)

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  12. Wonderful pictures, I really enjoyed the video. We were in Costa Rica a few years ago and were amazed by the flora and fauna. Look forward to more.

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  13. Wow! Chris, they are incredible little flying Jewels! If only we had them here :-(

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    1. Yes, but you have the Blue Tit. I'd love to see one of those little guys flying around:) Hummers are very fun and I hope you get to see them one day flying around.....for now, we'll keep sharing our pics of our amazing birds from our gardens:)

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  14. Great post, Chris!
    Wow, I had no idea that we had so many species of hummingbirds. The garden turns magical when a hummingbird comes in to visit.
    Another interesting fact is that they are only native to the new world. You would think that these tropical species would be found flying across oceans to other continents, but they don't think that way. They are specialized to and enjoy the flowers of the Americas and we are very lucky to be gardeners here. I've seen only 2 species in my garden, but I think you have more species over there in Tucson. Costa Rica sounds fabulous. It's on my short list of dream destinations.
    David/:0)

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    1. When you get a break from your "Last project", you have to go. I've been working on this one project now for 2 weeks! It requires me to pull to bamboo clumps and move them to a very difficult stretch of dirt in the planters. The soil is mostly caliche and it's hot outside....so it's taking me time. I don't think our work is ever done:)

      Hope you are enjoying your time in the garden. It looks great. I'd love to take another vacation but the money isn't there right now:) School starts up for us in 2 weeks....then I can start planning again:) Talk to you soon:)

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  15. So much color, so much awesomeness...It's almost unfair, but I guess I can't complain cause I haven't even seen the 17 or so species found in North America yet.

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    1. I'm down to several and they aren't cooperating with me. I have gone high, low, alone by myself in strange places....and nada! There was a wild animal in a river bed that scared me to death. I'm always careful but I wish I knew more birders to go to these isolated places with because you never know:) The Starthroat has been elusive so far. I've heard the calls in Montosa Canyon and tried to get closer to the sounds but it was pretty buggy and rocky around the area it was heard. The Blue Throated is another one. I keep hoping that this one will fly into view soon:) That and the Rufous.

      We have so many wonderful birds here. When I travel abroad, Arizona is always spoken about in high regards(concerning wildlife). In Panama, everyone knew where Arizona was and many had been to visit and bird. That was my wake up call. I live in Tucson, why am I not birding?:)

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  16. The video is inspirational and really gets me more excited about visiting Panama and Costa Rica this winter. I really need to remember to use video more often. That old camera did a great job.

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    1. I'm so excited for you! That is going to a fun trip. If you need any recommendations or help, let me know. I think I was a tour operator in a previous life:) Tell me what you want and I'll get you started on your investigations.:) Costa Rica is incredible. Panama is nice, but we researched these parks before visiting because they are in some spots that require time and energy to get to. In Costa Rica, it's all at your fingertips:)

      I still keep the older camera for the video feature even though I haven't used it for making videos this year:) I think October will be my next attempt in Mexico.

      Have fun today!:)

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  17. I am again having trouble commenting on your blog, but I think I might have worked things out. Now if only I can keep it from happening. I love all your humming bird shots. I have a couple I may post and ask your advice in ID'ing them. :)

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    1. Hello there! I don't know what's going on with the commenting? What issues are you having? Is it with just mine or is it with several other blogs? I had similiar issues on my work computer last year....it would ask me to retype in my password etc and then I still wouldn't be able to leave the comment. So I just had to wait until I got home.

      Id'ing the hummers. Sure...would love to:) Honestly I haven't been hiking like I should this past week. It has been way too hot outside and so I write indoors where it is cool. I don't like it one bit. It's rather confining.

      Anyhoo, hope you are well and staying out of those nasty haboobs up there. Yuck! Don't like those dust storms at all. We don't get them downtown too often but the outskirts of Tucson will have them hit. I was in one in May on the last day of school. They are very ominous and spooky:) But they are really plain ol' messy. Talk with you soon:)

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  18. Fabulous pictures, Chris.... Isn't it fun to visit other parts of our beautiful world --and get to see so many different kinds of birds???? WOW...... Love the hummers you have shown. I've never seen so many pretty ones...The Frilled Coquette is such a cutie... Thanks for sharing...
    Betsy

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  19. What amazing birds. No wonder you became a birder after visiting there.

    Love the big flock of hummers!

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  20. Thanks for that wonderful video. What a treat to be able to watch and photograph so many exotic birds. I have to say I don't know what I would do without all the little bird friends who fly in and out of my garden each day.

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  21. These hummingbirds are beyond words. I am just shaking my head in wonder and delight. How fortunate you are to have seen them! I feel blessed just to see the ones we have in AZ and New England!

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  22. Birds in the video are excellent Chriks.

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  23. I almost hope you never find the elusive Chuparosa and have to keep searching. Is that bad? :-)

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    1. Nope. Not bad at all:) because everytime I go, I end up filming something new and exciting. The hummingbird challenge is fun as well because there is a lot of birder talk that goes on and a lot of the people are really neat. Today we were in the middle of this random canyon by a fast running creek during a rain storm in an area of woods. It doesn't get much better than that. I'm thinking that I'm going to carry a folding chair with me in the car. The rocks were a little harsh:)

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  24. wow...so many hummers! your pictures are amazing...especially the long billed hermit...and that third one down!!

    BEAUTIFUL tropical birds in your video!! your pictures are always so crisp & bright!!

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  25. This reminds me so much of Costa Rica. I was amazed at the amount of hummingbirds always around the feeders. Fantastic series!

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