Wednesday, September 24, 2014

17 August 2014

Today’s birding was scaled back significantly from previous days. Simon, Howard and their families were going on a boat tour of the Panama Canal, and Joanna, Amelia and I were going for a tour of the new Museum of Biodiversity (Biomuseo) located on the Amador Causeway. Before doing any of this though, the guys squeezed in about two and a half hours of birding along the first section of Pipeline Road. We arrived at the entrance a little past 6:00am, and among the early birds we saw were Red-lored Amazon, Southern Bentbill, Fasciated Antshrike, Chestnut-backed Antbird, and Dusky Antbird. Further along we added two new trip-birds, Plain-browned Woodcreeper and Great Tinamou, as well other birds we had seen previously such as Dot-winged Antwren, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, and Western Slaty-Antshrike. As the time we had went relatively quickly, we soon found ourselves heading back to the vehicle. The only "good" bird we saw was Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift, which was a lifer for me.

We arrived back at the resort at about 10:00am and went our separate ways. Joanna, Amelia and I departed for the city at about 10:30am and arrived at the museum around 11:00am. Were it not for the ridiculous cost that the museum charged foreign visitors, or the fact that the museum wasn’t complete, the experience was quite good. There was a very good interpretative display that was both immersive and interactive. All visitors were given what essentially looked like the handset of a cordless phone; as you walk around the display, each had a unique number that you would enter into the handset, which then would play a recorded message talking about the theme of the display. This method of delivery was quite effective, as each individual could initiate or pause the presentation at their own pace, and you could move around the display without having to stay and listen to a fixed-location device. The museum also had an immersive movie where you stood on a glass floor inside a large cube and had projected movie footage on all surfaces. The film went through the seasons, cycles, and layers of life in the tropics, from rising through the forest understory to the forest canopy, to deep into the marine environment. It was as if you were in the forest, as the image below you was the forest floor, above was the canopy and sky, and the sides were a full 360 degree view of the forest. Hands on displays for kids were relatively limiting, but life-size sculptures of past and present animals in Panama were indeed captivating.
Inside the "sculptures" display
Following our visit to the museum we spent a bit of time birding along the Amador Causeway. There was nothing out of the normal here, although we did add a few birds for the trip, including Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Lesser Elaenia, Tricolored Heron, and Black-bellied Plover. Once back at the hotel, Simon, Howard and I reconvened for a short walk along Plantation Road. Now I have previously referred to some of our birding experiences as “slow”, but this walk won the Grand Prize. After about one and a half hours, we tallied just three species: White-flanked Antwren, Olivaceous Flatbill, and Western Slaty-Antshrike. Brutal! We returned to the resort, had dinner, and turned in relatively early.
2014 Panama Birding Summary
Total species today: 43
Total cumulative species for the trip:  270
Total lifers today:  1
Total cumulative lifers for the trip: 35

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