A PERIPATETIC JOURNEY
not all who wander are lost
The Shelter Bay Marina is surrounded by the ruins of the American occupation (ended in 2000) of the Panama Canal Zone. The Canal Zone was a 5-mile wide swath of land on either side of the canal from the Atlantic (Caribbean Sea) to the Pacific Ocean. Nature is taking over, and we often took walks through the abandoned buildings and bunkers that surrounded us. The boat kid gangs also loved to roam the area. As we walked along the overgrown paths and trails, we were amazed by the diverse bird species, including finches, parrots, toucans, and oropendulas. The oropendulas are large birds that build nests suspended from the tops of palm trees. We were very fortunate to be with our good friend and expert birder, Arliss Ryan, from the the boat Corroboree. She spotted and identified many of the birds we saw in the forest. Arliss, if you ever read this, please feel free to correct/add to our bird identifications!
We were hoping to see howler monkeys on our walk through the forest. We could often heard them from the marina and had heard them before when anchored in Puerto Lindo, but we had not seen any. Not long after setting off on one of our walks, we began to hear the howlers. Howler monkeys are the loudest of all land animals; their calls can be heard from up to three miles away. It is not just the loudest land animal, but the second laziest (second only to the sloth), spending up to 80% of the day resting in the treetops. Adults can be up to 3 feet long with prehensile tails of up to another 3 feet long. We walked in the direction of their calls and soon were rewarded with a sighting of a troop of howlers, including a female with a baby in a tree just above us.
On the way back to the marina, we saw a smaller (and quieter) capuchin monkey up in a palm tree. We were hoping to encounter a sloth, as they are regularly seen in this area. We spent about 10 minutes under their favorite tree, but did not see one this time or on any of our walks in the area.
McGlynn family 5 (Isla, Marin, Eoin, Kendall, and Brian) sailing Counting Stars