Panama: Panama City to Azeuro Peninsula
During our stay it rained almost every day, usually in the afternoons. The rain varied from sprinkles to a steady drip to a downpour, usually only lasting for a few hours at most. The downpours made me glad to have a roof and air conditioned room to hide in. There were a few thunderstorm. One particular one was so close the thunder clap rattled the windows. It was still hot and especially humid during the wet season. When you walk into an air conditioned room that is set at 25C and say "burr" you know it's hot outside. It was mostly overcast during the wet season, but if the sun should break through it quickly heated up even more.
Aside from the difference in greenery and weather, there was also a noticeable difference in the wildlife. In the dry season, the hermit and land crabs would come out in mass, now they seemed scarce instead the cane toads were more numerous at night. I also didn't see as many reptiles, likely due to the mostly cloudy and sometimes rainy days. As for birdlife, I wasn't too disappointed. Mixed flocks popped around and teased me with glimpses behind the leafed out trees. It was easier to see the birds in the dry season when I only had to look through the bare branches to find the unfamiliar caller. Now in the wet season many birds went unidentified, giving me only a brief view or only movement and a call note. It was definitely more challenging. I did see many more migrants this time. Each day the sky was swarming with swallows and a few swifts. Just outside of Panama City, I saw a huge kettle of about 1000 vultures circling then streaming off in one direction. In the forest near the lab, I saw migrating warblers, vireos, tanagers, and cuckoos. A nice addition to the typical flycatchers and tityras.
Despite the challenges of birding, I did see some interesting birds, including a wider variety of hummingbirds. Well there weren't drastically that many more hummingbird species, but there seemed to be more hummers perhaps because the plants were flowering and there was more food to support them. Often I saw the hummers chasing each other around. I saw one hummingbird taking a bath in the rain that had collected on a leaf. I watched a male Snowy-bellied Hummingbird flap its wings and wag its tail while giving a chirp call - probably a display. I was surprised to see a small group of Brown Noddies just off shore one day. The ocean air is usual void of bird life except for Magnificent Frigatebirds and Brown Pelicans, so it was surprising to see the noddies and a few Common Terns patrolling low over the waters surface.
It was a treat to see the same place during the two season. The differences were drastic in some aspects and in some it remained steady. I do however hope that my next visit to Panama will be to an entirely different region.