Simon, Howard and I once again went through the early morning ritual of meeting in the resort lobby at 6:00am…mmm, mini-pastries and bad coffee! Once again we headed to Pipeline Road…this time under the veil of light showers and thick cloud. We plodded along the muddy trail with umbrellas open, but the birding was tough. In just over three hours we only saw four species: White-shouldered Tanager, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, and Red-lored Amazon. We may have seen a few other species, but my soggy and lack-luster energy may have caused me to fail to write anything down. I’m sure we saw a trogon at some point.
By the time we got back to the hotel the rain gradually subsided, and following breakfast Joanna, Amelia and I headed decided to explore Cerro Azul. It took about an hour to get there, and our first stop was at a place called Tagua. Here we were able to go for a walk along some mid-elevation (about 800m) roads that led to a series of communication towers. With no sign of rain, birding was decidedly better than the morning. Our first addition was Black-throated Trogon, followed shortly by a large mixed-species flock that include Golden-hooded Tanager, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Bay-headed Tanager, Plain-colored Tanager, Green Honeycreeper, and Yellow-bellied Elaenia. From where we parked, we slowly walked one of the roads, gradually adding Western Slaty-Antshrike, Yellow-faced Grassquit, and Social Flycatcher. Once again we hit another large mixed-species flock, with highlights including White-lined Tanager, Gartered Trogon, Checker-throated Antwren, Tacarcuna Bush-Tanager, Masked Tityra, and Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet.
From the towers we returned to the main road and continued to Cerro Jeffe within Chagres National Park, albeit we never quite made it to the summit in our Toyota Yaris…some of the ruts were deeper than the wheels! Inside the park we added Lesser Goldfinch, Thick-billed Euphonia, Thick-billed Seed-Finch, Keel-billed Toucan, Collared Aracari, Black-cheeked Woodpecker, and Plain Wren among others. By now it was 4:00pm and we had planned to meet the group for dinner at 6:00pm. It took a full one hour and fifteen minutes to return to the resort…this was important, as it determined the departure time for when Simon, Howard, and I were to return in a couple of days. Today was the first day of the trip where I did not get any lifers, although I did add a couple species to the trip list.
2014 Panama Birding Summary
Total species today: 41
Total cumulative species for the trip: 273
Total lifers today: 0
Total cumulative lifers for the trip: 35