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Archive 2009 · 10 Days in Panama (24 pics)

  
 
Peyton
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · 10 Days in Panama (24 pics)


I've gotten behind with putting together a post regarding my trip back in April, but teked and Edward Rotberg have been inquiring, so here it goes...

This was my first international trip....I am a natural science curator, working in the Living Collections division of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences...my professional background revolves around work with native reptiles & amphibians, and I've been working with the captive care of various native and exotic herps for the past 3 years. Panama was always a place I wanted to visit because of its incredible amphibian diversity and cool reptiles too

Luckily, my friend whom had visited the country a few times previously also had an aunt who lived on the central Pacific side, so we had a place to crash and regroup with all of our gear.

When we first set out, we drove across the Carretera Interamerican highway, the only major highway that extends through the country and headed NW to the area around Chiriqui Grande and Changuinola. We arrived late into the night and after setting up camp, headed into the jungle for a night hike. Here's some pics from that night hike:

Wandering spider
1


red eyed treefrog
2


unknown anole species
3


The next day we started exploring for more diversity after waking up to a traditional breakfast of patacones and beef with peppers and onions It was the end of the dry season and just before the wet season began, so activity was sparse. We finally began seeing some of the phenomenal poison dart frogs from the country:

Green and black poison frog (Dendrobates auratus) - should have used a f-stop around f/10, but it hopped out of site before I got a better shot
4


the 'strawberry' or flaming poison frog (Oophaga pumilio) - these frogs are tiny, small enough to fit on your index finger:
5



and another pumilio found beside the one pictured above - great variability in some places with these little guys:
6


After finding some cool diurnal frogs, we rested up and repacked for what would turn out to be a brutal night hike. With this being my first trip out of country, I brought a TON of gear...my camera pack probably weighed in at 50lbs...and most of that went with me every day

Our night hike was pleasantly interrupted with what will likely be one of my most memorable finds ever....this coral snake was crawling in the low vegetation just to the right of the mountain trail...the scary part was three people had already walked in front of me and potentially walked right over this snake! It was roughly 1m long and not very cooperative to photograph...my friend ended up with better photos:

Central American coral snake (Micrurus nigrocinctus)
7


A few more snakes were found along this hike:

Imantodes cenchoa - a snake that specializes on eating amphibian eggs
8


another venomous...a juvenile hognosed viper, Porthidium nasatum:
9


At the end of this hike I nearly collapsed from the weight of my gear and the distance we covered (it wasn't horrible, but I'm not in as good of shape as I use to be...
) I had cankles for 3 days haha.


We came back to Central Panama and did some exploring through areas my friend had traveled before...

El Cope - unfortunately lots of deforestation in the tropical dry forests
10


El Valle - a dry creek bed, resulting from water being diverted for water chestnut cultivation
11


Parque Nacional Omar Torrijos:
12


A cool snake that we found...a type of parrot snake, Leptophis nebulosus, a species that isn't well known from the area, and for a few months, I thought I actually had a new species to science...
13


a brilliantly colored climbing toad, Ollotis conifera
14


a sad sight was finding a magnificent snake, Rhinobothrium bovallii hit on the road just before we got to him. These coral snake mimics grow to 6 feet and feed upon other snakes...
15



One of my biggest interest was getting over to the Bocas del Toro archipelago to find the brilliantly colored pumilio that occur on many of the islands. What makes these frogs so interesting is the fact that each island has a different color variety.

Here are some of the sights and frogs we found while island hopping:

O. pumilio 'Darklands'
16


O. pumilio 'Alimarante'
17


O. pumilio 'Lower Pasatores'
18


dolphins in Bocas:
19


O. pumilio 'Solarte'
20


O. pumilio 'Colon'
21


O. pumilio 'Bastimentos' - this morph is variable, here are two individuals found side by side:
22

23


and last but not least, where I wanna live when I retire
24


10 days was surely not enough, and there wasn't enough Canon L glass in my bag to capture everything I saw...So I hope to go back to watch Solitary eagles soar in Fortuna, watch the sloths in the treetops, track down that crested owl and roadside hawk that got away, and find a damn eyelash viper if its the end of me!

Sorry there weren't any birds or cuddling charismatic megafauna, but thats not my style

Hope you all enjoyed, I could have rambled more, but I didn't wanna bore yall

Edited on Jun 30, 2009 at 03:55 PM · View previous versions



Jun 30, 2009 at 03:13 PM
danjacquitaylo
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · 10 Days in Panama (24 pics)


Hi Peyton,
What a wonderful set of pictures. I really enjoy them. So colorful and such a variety. I tried to pick favs but got lost without them being numbered (Hi Noelle ) so I like them all. Thanks for sharing.
Dan



Jun 30, 2009 at 03:21 PM
Peyton
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · 10 Days in Panama (24 pics)


danjacquitaylo wrote:
Hi Peyton,
What a wonderful set of pictures. I really enjoy them. So colorful and such a variety. I tried to pick favs but got lost without them being numbered (Hi Noelle ) so I like them all. Thanks for sharing.
Dan



I added in some numbers to jog your memory Thanks Dan



Jun 30, 2009 at 03:27 PM
danjacquitaylo
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · 10 Days in Panama (24 pics)


Peyton wrote:
I added in some numbers to jog your memory Thanks Dan


Thanks Peyton. My math is fuzzy after #5....just ask Noelle.

No really, I do like them all...ok maybe 22 of them
Dan



Jun 30, 2009 at 03:30 PM
Martin Good
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · 10 Days in Panama (24 pics)


Thanks Peyton for a veritable tour of your picks of the Panamanian wildlife. I really enjoyed all the pics and the narrative too. A wonderful show.
Martin



Jun 30, 2009 at 03:31 PM
Peyton
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · 10 Days in Panama (24 pics)


Martin Good wrote:
Thanks Peyton for a veritable tour of your picks of the Panamanian wildlife. I really enjoyed all the pics and the narrative too. A wonderful show.
Martin



Thanks Martin. There was actually alot we didn't get to due to days lost in traveling and unexpected finds. I will say the Easter holiday threw a bit of a curve ball in our travel due to alot of things being shut down (fuel stops, ferries, etc) but I think I am going to attempt to go back next year and find those things we didn't get around to



Jun 30, 2009 at 03:34 PM
Arawak420
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · 10 Days in Panama (24 pics)


nice. thanks for sharing.


Jun 30, 2009 at 03:49 PM
Edward Rotberg
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · 10 Days in Panama (24 pics)


Peyton,

This was an awesome post! Thanks so much for putting up this set of images. My favorite (though it is really, really hard to pick just one) would have to be #14. The best looking toad I've ever seen! I also love your Red-eyed Treefrog photo - it's so intimate. I've got a green-black frog shot that I'll put up once my DSL connection starts to behave a bit better. But these are really, really excellent.

= Ed =



Jun 30, 2009 at 03:50 PM
Lil Judd
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · 10 Days in Panama (24 pics)


Peyton,

I'm not all that much into snakes & other creepy crawly stuff - -but I do find them interesting & super important for the environment.

This is both an educational & photographically excellent post. I especially appreciate seeing the variety of species.

Lil



Jun 30, 2009 at 03:58 PM
Peyton
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · 10 Days in Panama (24 pics)


Edward Rotberg wrote:
Peyton,

This was an awesome post! Thanks so much for putting up this set of images. My favorite (though it is really, really hard to pick just one) would have to be #14. The best looking toad I've ever seen! I also love your Red-eyed Treefrog photo - it's so intimate. I've got a green-black frog shot that I'll put up once my DSL connection starts to behave a bit better. But these are really, really excellent.

= Ed =


Thanks Ed! The climbing toads are quite colorful when they are small, but tend to become a dull greenish color as they get larger. Much of the time I was rushed for photos...my friends were more about covering as much ground as possible every day...There were times during my trip I could have spent hours photographing just one of those poison frogs or trying to get a snake to cooperate...but typically I had minutes...



Jun 30, 2009 at 03:59 PM
Peyton
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · 10 Days in Panama (24 pics)


Lil Judd wrote:
Peyton,

I'm not all that much into snakes & other creepy crawly stuff - -but I do find them interesting & super important for the environment.

This is both an educational & photographically excellent post. I especially appreciate seeing the variety of species.

Lil



Thanks Lil! I didn't want to overload everyone with a bunch of rambling about species. I will say the neat thing about the pumilio is that they tend to their tadpoles even more intensely than other dart frogs - they actually tend to the tads and feed them unfertilized eggs - that is the only food source they will take! They can be quite territorial too, but when you find them in the wild, there tend to be quite a lot in an area. Unfortunately they are highly sought after for the pet trade across the globe and are often collected and smuggled out of the country.

Reptiles and amphibians play an important role in the ecosystem wherever they occur, but with the amazing diversity that is present in the tropics, it is hard to grasp how complex food webs and the ecosystems on the macro and micro scale really are.

Amphibians worldwide are currently facing a global extinction crisis due to a disease known as chytridiomycosis or 'chytrid', considered to be one of if not the worse global pandemic in the history of our planet...

I guess if I can help raise awareness of how amazing these creatures are they'll be more effort put into their conservation



Jun 30, 2009 at 04:07 PM
carl haslam
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · 10 Days in Panama (24 pics)


Peyton, what a beautiful set of photos you have here. Colours so vivid and diverse almost breath taking, thanks for posting.

Carl



Jun 30, 2009 at 04:09 PM
Peyton
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · 10 Days in Panama (24 pics)


carl haslam wrote:
Peyton, what a beautiful set of photos you have here. Colours so vivid and diverse almost breath taking, thanks for posting.

Carl



Thanks Carl. It's amazing what colors and patterns can be represented in these creatures.



Jun 30, 2009 at 04:12 PM
Thomas Sanders
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · 10 Days in Panama (24 pics)


Oustanding color and detail in this set Peyton, what a wonderful adventure it must have been Terrific images

Tom



Jun 30, 2009 at 04:20 PM
Peyton
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · 10 Days in Panama (24 pics)


Thomas Sanders wrote:
Oustanding color and detail in this set Peyton, what a wonderful adventure it must have been Terrific images

Tom


Thanks Tom. I can't wait to go back...I think Peru and Ecuador are on the radar for future trips as well



Jun 30, 2009 at 04:32 PM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · 10 Days in Panama (24 pics)


Fantastic post Peyton

What and amazing set of pictures, you have done yourself proud. You'll need another vacation to recover from setting up this post

Amazing.

Tim



Jun 30, 2009 at 04:32 PM
Peyton
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · 10 Days in Panama (24 pics)


Tim Kuhn wrote:
Fantastic post Peyton

What and amazing set of pictures, you have done yourself proud. You'll need another vacation to recover from setting up this post

Amazing.

Tim


Thanks Tim... yeah I lost track of time while doing this I was flipping through and realized I forgot to put in a photo! so here it is:

O. pumilio 'Cayo de Agua' - hard to keep any of these spastic frogs clean lol




**I'll go ahead and give everybody a heads up, I'll be doing a week long mountain salamander survey next week - I should have lots of photos to share then, although not quite as colorful I may just have to pick up a 50D before I go**



Jun 30, 2009 at 04:36 PM
Desert Drake
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · 10 Days in Panama (24 pics)


Great photos. It was good to view the snakes on my screen. That was close enough for me.
Al



Jun 30, 2009 at 05:14 PM
teked
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · 10 Days in Panama (24 pics)


Hey, Peyton. Thanks for letting me know about your post. These are absolutely awesome. What a terrific opportunity to see all this.

Please take me along with you next time you go.

Cheers,
Ed



Jun 30, 2009 at 05:26 PM
Herb Houghton
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · 10 Days in Panama (24 pics)


cool series, I like the various frogs.
Herb



Jun 30, 2009 at 05:33 PM
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