Monday, March 28, 2011

The elusive Quetzal and an elated hiker!

Our trip to Guadelupe (Cerro Punta) was a huge success, not only for the chance to enjoy some cooler weather ( it is about 40 degrees in David today with a very high humidex) but also because we were able to see these beautiful birds at very close range. Our guide agreed that to be able to see a Quetzal couple as they prepared their nest was a true and relatively rare privilege. The male quetzal in these pictures was busy pecking out a hole to allow his partner to lay her eggs. The wood chips were flying. We first saw the female but by the time I got binoculars and camera ready, she had left. The couple takes 3 days to build the nest and then the female lays 2 eggs. They take turns caring for the eggs until they hatch. The little ones then stay in the nest for about 2 months, according to our guide. The quetzals form a couple for the duration of their lives. Apparently they choose trees like this one that have a smooth exterior and that give off a certain smell that attracts the quetzals, similar to the way pherenomes (spelling) work for attraction between humans and other animals.
We met several very serious birders while at the lodge..they were actually quite funny to watch and listen to as they described their wait to see the various birds that inhabit the tropical forests of Panama, as well as their search for the perfect picture. The names of  birds they could say before the birds flitted off to their next perch was quite incredible. I am afraid that we appeared to be real amateurs compared to the others. Thank goodness they left with a private guide as I think we would have disturbed their birding activities. I can say that my Pentax binoculars that the health service staff gave me as a my parting gift are a great tool each time we hike into the tropical forest. Thanks again everyone!

Hasta la proximas

Jennifer en Panama

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