On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions.
From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
During our stay on Isla Bastimentos, we took a boat trip up a sluggish river/slough to visit a large cave, home to nectar bats. As our guide paddled up the brackish slough, he pointed out various animal life. The cave was about a mile hike up a muddy trail from where we beached the boat. Once in the cave, we ventured through branching tunnels with headlamps. Wading through cold, thigh-high water, trying not to worry about what might be lurking around our ankles.
[All the following photos were taken on 18 February 2013.]
Heading up the river through lush vegetation with our guide paddling from the bow.
Sloth sighting. I also have blurry photos of giant spiders and other scary insects.
This one’s for Albatrossity, exemplifyling why I shouldn’t try to photograph birds…
Slightly better shot of a different bird. Is this a raptor of some sort with its compact body & curved beak?
Took a blurred shot of this one flying in—fortunately s/he’s posing for me here.
Ants doing ant things using a downed log as an expressway.
Another tiny red frog along the trail.
Headed back out, between banks lined with gigantic ferns.
So green and lush, and thank you for the cute little frog and (leaf cutter?) ants and not the giant terrifying insects.
Thanks for the trip, and your self deprecating humor.
Please, please, please tell me this is part 1 of? I have got to see the giant bats or the cave! The description of the inside is stuff of nightmares for me but I don’t mind living vicariously through you. I love your writing, thank you for sharing.
Mike S (Now with a Democratic Congressperson!)
Very interesting. I like Panama and birding in the tropics, but I don’t think I would have agreed to do the wet cave thing. The bird in the 3rd pic appears to be a Montezima’s Oropendula. The raptor I can’t tell much about, The heron is an Immature little-blue heron.
Thanks for sharing and writing about this adventure!
@Mike S (Now with a Democratic Congressperson!): Yeah, the raptor is a tough call without the ability to embiggen the pictures here. Given the habitat I think Snail Kite would be a decent guess.
Interesting place and critters! The notion of walking through hip-deep water in a cave….better experience vicariously! This looks like the intro to a spooky movie… a.k.a. what @Laura Too said.
@Albatrossity: You can see the images bigger – or at least how they were uploaded: (right-click if you’re using a mouse and) open the image in a new window, then get rid of the dash and dimensions before the .jpg
@Laura Too: No. Alas. We weren’t set up to photograph inside the cave. Too focused on not stumbling over the rocky bottom. Sorry to tease… (We visited the cave with friends from New Mexico who have beautiful singing voices, and treated us to lovely harmonies on the way out.)
@Albatrossity: The ability to zoom is rather limited with my little field Lumix (waterproof with sluggish GPS). Alas. Birds need to be close by & posing…
Beautiful photos! So lush.
Walking along in 100 degree desert heat, we came upon an underground river inside an easy access cave opening. Young and sure, two of us got in.
It instantly felt like something was attacking me. Turns out the water was so cold it registered like an attack ahead of the realization I had to get out as fast as I could.
@BigJimSlade: Thanks! What a great tip!
Looking at the full-sized pic, you can see the white terminal band on the tail, which is consistent with an ID of Snail Kite. And the long hook on the bill is also consistent.
@Albatrossity: You can also open the photo in a new tab and then use the ctrl+ to make the page bigger.
@WaterGirl: Yeah, but the photo in that new tab is still the low-res downsized one. If you use the other method you get the image in the size it was uploaded (1920×1440 pixels, in this case). A larger image is always better for looking at details needed to ID a bird!
@Albatrossity: That makes sense.
@Albatrossity: Thanks for the Snail Kite ID! Although I’d be surprised if they find Apple Snails in this remote locations.
“The male and female Snail Kite are quite different in plumage coloration. The males are a beautiful slate gray color with a white rump patch, similar to the rump patch seen on Northern Harriers. Females are dark brown above and streaked brown below, and they also have a white rump patch as well as white beneath their throats. Both the male and female have red eyes.
In Panama, these birds even changed their behavior when a new food source was found. Historically, the Snail Kite didn’t nest in Panama, but rather migrated through the area at certain times of the year. Now kites are nesting and living year-round in Panama due to construction of the Panama Canal, creation of the associated Gatun Lake, and the introduction of Apple Snails, the Snail Kite’s main prey.”