Sunday, July 21, 2013

Lesson Learned - Always Bring a Camera!

I enjoy bird-watching, wildlife-watching and finding fascinating creatures and plants.  Furthermore, I enjoy documenting what I find through taking pictures.  I don't have a big, fancy, high-quality camera, but my compact Nikon Coolpix S9100 with 18x zoom does a pretty good job sometimes, and I try to have it with me at all times in case I come across something of interest, which often happens here.  

Two weeks ago, I went for a walk on a gloomy Sunday morning in Gamboa before heading to work.  It's the rainy season, and the sky was heavy with dark clouds and mist.  I didn't want to risk damaging my camera with imminent rain, so I left it at home this time - big mistake!  As I was walking behind the Gamboa Rainforest Resort, a large white bird flushed up out of the marsh into a Cecropia tree.  It was a beautiful adult Capped Heron, a rare species that occasionally presents itself in central Panama.  The clouds had started to lift, and this shy bird sat in good view, in good light, for approximately 5 minutes.  I considered running back home to grab my camera to grab some photos of this stunning heron, but I realized that even better, I could spend valuable time enjoying watching the bird.  Although I really enjoyed watching this bird, my favourite heron, of which I have not seen in years since volunteering in Amazonia Peru in 2007, I still wished I could have gotten some photos!

Yesterday, while out for another short walk on a gloomy rainy day, I decided to leave my camera at home, again.  The bird life was surprising quiet after the heavy rain, but I continued to enjoy the walk.  As I passed a streetlight along the road, I looked up on the lamp and a leaf-like shape caught my attention on the other side.  I took a second look, and it wasn't a leaf stuck there after the rain but a beautiful Rothschild's Moth (Rothschilidia sp.), one of the largest silk moths in the Americas, and resembles the Atlas Moth (Attacus atlas) of southeast Asia.  I was mad at myself for not having my camera, again!  Figuring it would be resting there for a while, I walked home, grabbed my camera and went back to grab some photos.  
Rothschild's Moth

Rothschild's Moth
Rothschild's Moth (Rothschilidia sp.)
Maybe I tend to find the coolest things when I do not have my camera with me; regardless, I do not want to miss future opportunities, as here, you never know what will show up!  I have learned my lesson, and even in the wet season, I will always try to have my camera with me (and some plastic bags to keep it dry if it rains!). 

More to come on my week of bird banding in Costa Rica!

~ Jenn

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