I spent five months living in Gamboa, Panama during the dry season from January to May, 1983. I was one of three field assistants hired by Dr. Jim Karr to help him with a study of lowland tropical birds along the Panama Canal. We mist-netted hundreds of birds that represented more than fifty different species. We collected data on humidity, insect and fruit abundance, and vegetation. Jim was interested in the local movements of resident birds in relation to microhabitat conditions.
A rosy thrush-tanager
I learned about the Kuna people, while living on one of their palm-covered islands and touring their islands in a dug-out canoe. I hiked in the highlands of Chirique, led by a young Panamanian, Jose Fernandez, eager to show us the quetzals and other birds living on his family land. I saw pastured cows on steep slopes, denuded of tropical forest. I watched ships travel through the Panama Canal and was involved inadvertently in a U.S. Army war game.
My sister, Amy, standing next to a tropical tree on Barro Colorado Island, 1983