Wednesday, September 24, 2014

16 August 2014

Prior to our bus taking us, and our know-it-all friend, back to Panama City at 10:00am, Simon, Howard and I had a few hours to spend birding around the lodge. We began shortly after 6:30am following breakfast, and with rain looming we weren’t sure what the morning would produce. As expected, the gardens around the lodge had House Wren, Gray-breasted Wood-Wren, Rufous-capped Warbler, and Bananaquit. Out on the road things were much slower-going, but we did locate Spot-crowned Barbet. I also picked up an Eye-ringed Flycatcher (lifer) that unfortunately was missed by both Simon and Howard (actually, that was a grip-back for the Barred Forest-Falcon). As the morning progressed the rain began to fall, and birding under an umbrella isn’t ideal. We did see Tawny-crested Tanager, Gray-headed Chachalaca, and Bay-headed Tanager, but generally it was unproductive. Before returning to the lodge to finish packing we added Black-chested Jay, Violet-bellied Hummingbird, Keel-billed Toucan, Collared Aracari, and a lone Black-faced Antthrush calling in the distance.

At 10:00am we departed the lodge. Not much to report for the nearly two-hour drive back, although the views of the crater were gorgeous and our guide was pulled over for speeding. As we neared closer to the Gamboa Resort, our American friend, who had been asleep for most of the return journey, suddenly work to exclaim that the driver had passed his hotel, the Canopy Tower. Now at first this might seem a bit odd, but here’s some perspective. The Canopy Lodge and the Canopy Tower are the same company. Therefore, our driver’s final destination would be Canopy Tower…it was only 10 minutes between Canopy Tower and the Gamboa Resort, and it made sense to both the driver and to us that we would get dropped off first, and the driver would end the trip at the Tower. Our friend was utterly put off my this notion and made it clear to everyone with a huff and a puff. Too bad.

Hills surrounding El Valle (photo courtesy Simon)

Back at the Gamboa Resort we were greeted by our families. After I cleaned up, and noted a few of the common birds from the balcony of our room, Joanna, Amelia and I headed to the Mira Flores Locks to tour the visitor centre. Amelia really enjoyed the interactive displays and watching the ships pass through…she also saw her first 3D movie on the expansion of the locks; she thought it was funny. At the locks were typical and common birds: Magnificent Frigatebird, Brown Pelican, Tropical Mockingbird, Tropical Kingbird, and Great-tailed Grackle. From the locks we went to Metropolitan National Park. Along the way we got stuck in a terrible traffic jam, and by the time we arrived we only had about 30 minutes to spare before having to head back to the resort for dinner. Of course, the birding was very slow as it was late in the day, very hot, and very humid. We did see Checker-throated Antwren, Rufous-breasted Wren, White-shouldered Tanager, and Palm Tanager, but that was it. Back at the hotel we tallied a few last species for the day, had a shower, and went for dinner. Tomorrow’s plan was going to be more relaxed, although just writing that seems ironic given that Simon, Howard and I planned to birding at 6:00am before “relaxing”.

2014 Panama Birding Summary
Total species today: 32
Total cumulative species for the trip:  263
Total lifers today:  1
Total cumulative lifers for the trip: 34

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