Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Panama - part 3 (Pacas, Aracaris, Euphonias, Motmots... life is good!)

Having a great time down here... with some outstanding photo opps! First three photos are from the Soberania National Park area in Gamboa. The mammal is a Paca - a rarely photographed jungle animal. It was coming into the grounds of the research station where I was staying at night to feed. I laid down on the ground to get this eye level portrait and had someone shine a flashlight on it so there was enough light to focus.

Fruit Loops is my favorite cereal, so I was determined to get photos of toucan-family birds on this trip. This Chestnut-collared Aracari (below) was an unexpected bonus - it landed on the perch above the fruit feeder!
There's a National Geogrpahic assignment photographer shooting nocturnal mammals in the forest canopy - so he's rigged a tall scaffolding setup with a platform on top. I climbed up there in early morning to photograph canopy birds, but couldn't resist the beautiful sunrise over the forest.
I'm now staying at the beautiful Canopy Lodge ( in El Valle de Anton, and having incredible success with birds coming into the banana feeders. This is one of the best feeder spots I've ever seen and I'm definitely going to bring a bird photography workshop here in the future. Here are a couple from my first afternoon at the lodge yesterday. I'm tweaking the setup this morning and today's results will be even better!

There are abot a dozen male Thick-billed Euphonias (below) coming to the feeder! 
A Rufous Motmot (below) hangs around the lodge and periodically comes into the feeders. It was so close I couldn't fit the whole bird into the frame, so I opted for a head portrait.

All of these photos have been taken with an EOS 1Ds III; 500/4 IS lens [the Paca was shot with a 70-200/2.8 lens], usually with a 1.4x or 2x teleconvertor. A 580EX II flash has been used for fill light on all of the birds.

Gotta run..... many more birds to photograph!


  1. Sweet stuff, Ethan. Looks like you guys are having a great time down there! That Paca looks disgusting!!! :-)

  2. Fantastic work, and it seems you're having a great trip so far! Can't wait for more!

  3. Anonymous1:36 PM

    That Chestnut-collared Aracari might be the coolest bird I have ever seen...well, not in person mind you, but on the screen...

  4. Thanks for the comments! Alex, the Paca is pretty cool... I just caught it mid-chew!

    Amelia, there are a few different toucan species in the tropics and some are quite easy to see. Getting a photo is another story, though!

  5. Anonymous7:50 PM

    Hi Ethan, you are far far away from North Chigrin Reservation :) have fun... Many great shots.

  6. wow quite superb and cute pictures...

    Work From Home India

  7. Anonymous2:56 AM

    I love tht paca.

  8. Anonymous6:30 PM


    The aracari picture depicts a Collared Aracari. Are you confusing it with the very common Chestnut-mandibled Toucan?


  9. Thanks for the catch Mark, that must have been a typo on lack of sleep!