In the forest and forest edges here we will look for Antbirds that include Spotted, Bicolored and Ocellated, Olivaceous Flatbill, White-whiskered Puffbird, Slate-colored Grossbeak, Bay-headed Tanager, Great Jacamar, Great Tinamou, Marbled Wood Quail, raptors such as Tiny and Bicolored Hawks, and over 10 species of migratory warblers and other migrating songbirds. We also visit a nearby wetland to search for White-throated Crake and a host of waterbirds including chances for Snail Kite, Limpkin, Rufescent Tiger Heron and Least Bittern.
Along the famous Pipeline Road in Central Panama we look for a fantastic suite of birds that include eight species of wren, five trogons, four puffbirds, three motmots, many more antbirds, even more tyrant-flycatchers, day roosting Common Potoo, Greater Ani, Grey-necked Wood Rail, Grey-headed Chachalaca, Forest Elaenia, Blue Ground Dove, Little Tinamou, Streak-chested Antpitta, Black-faced Antthrush, manakins at their leks, including Red-capped and Blue-crowned, and perhaps even Harpy Eagle! Other possibilities are Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Black-crowned & Masked Tityras, Cinnamon & Crimson-crested Woodpeckers, Scarlet-rumped Cacique, Red-lored and Brown-hooded Parrots, Collard Aracari, Northern Barred and Plain Brown Woodcreepers, Black-tailed Trogon, Crane Hawk and Pheasant Cuckoo.
We then explore the more open habitat around San Lorenzo for White Hawk, Mealy Parrot, Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift, Black-breasted and Pied Puffbirds, Montezuma Oropendola, Fasciated Antshrike, Bare-crowned Antbird, White-headed Wren, Red-breasted Blackbird, Yellow-rumped Tanager and Black-headed Saltator. We also visit the old Spanish fortress of San Lorenzo, a World Heritage Site that was the last bastion of the Spanish Empire on the American Continent. In addition, to get there we cross the Panama Canal, and then return by train along the Panama Railroad, the first transcontinental railroad in the Western Hemisphere when it opened in 1855.
Thereafter we explore the drier forests of the Metropolitan Natural Park, where our targets include Rosy Thrush-Tanager, Lance-tailed Manakin, Sepia-capped Flycatcher, endemic Yellow-green Tyrannulet and many migratory birds, including waves of Turkey Vultures and Swainson's and Broad-winged Hawks.
Moving on to the foothills of Cerro Azul, we search for the beautiful Yellow-eared Toucanet, Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle, Spot-crowned Barbet, Black-eared Wood Quail, Black-striped and Spotted Woodcreepers, Russet Antshrike, spectacular hummingbirds that include Rufous-crested Coquette, Violet-capped and Violet-headed Hummingbirds, Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer, Snowy-bellied Hummingbird and Green Thorntail, as well as fantastic tanagers such as Emerald, Speckled, Bay-headed, Black-and-yellow and Rufous-winged.
In the Cerro Jefe area we look for Striped-cheeked Woodpecker (a Panama endemic), Lineated Woodpecker, White-vented and Tawny-capped Euphonias, White-ruffed Manakin and White-tipped Sicklebill, a local specialty.
Relocating to El Valle de Anton (Crater Valley), we then spend 4 nights at the Canopy Lodge, sister lodge of the Canopy Tower. The gardens here are excellent for Crimson-backed, Blue-grey, Dusky-faced, Red-crowned and Plain-colored Tanagers, Barred Antshrike, Rufous-tailed and Violet-capped Hummingbirds, Rufous Motmot and Clay-colored Robin, while in the surrounding foothills we explore for specialties that include Lesser Elaenia, Yellow-olive Flycatcher, Rufous-and-white Wren and our primary target here, the mega Rufous-vented Ground Cuckoo! Other possibilities include Blue-throated Toucanet, Spotted Barbtail, Black-faced Grosbeak, Grey-headed Kite, White-tailed Emerald, Violet-headed Hummingbird and perhaps Scaled Antpitta or Black-headed Antthrush.
We also visit a patch of threatened dry forest to search for Pale-eyed Pygmy Tyrant, Crested Bobwhite, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Brown-throated Parakeet, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Pearl Kite and, if we are lucky, the endemic Veraguan Mango.
Our final destination on this exciting avian adventure takes us to the spectacular Altos del Maria Mountains, where we will bird an area of cloud forest 1,100 meters above sea level. Some of the exciting highland forest species here are Spotted Woodcreeper, Red-faced Spinetail, Spotted Barbtail, Tufted Flycatcher, Rufous-browed Tyrannulet, Ochraceous Wren, Grey-breasted Wood Wren, Pale-vented Thrush, Slate-colored Grosbeak, Band-tailed Barbthroat, exquisite Snowcap, Purple-throated Mountain-gem and even chances for the bizarre Brown-billed Scythebill!
Those who decide to join us on our pre-tour Darien birding Extension will have the chance to explore one of Central America’s most remote wildernesses. The Province of Darien is located east of the Panama Canal on the border of neighbouring Colombia. Given the lack of roads, its most remote areas can only be reached by a short flight to the small airport at La Palma or a grass airstrip at Cana. The pristine Cana valley on the eastern slope of the Pirre mountain range is Darien National Park’s most productive birding destination. Nowhere else in Panama does Nature express itself so abundantly than in this region of isolated wilderness, and in fact very few birding destinations in the world can rival Cana for its unique bird diversity!
Specialties we will look for in the lower lying areas here include Blue-and-gold, Red-and-green, Great Green and Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Black-tipped Cotinga, Swallow Tanager, Red-throated Caracara, Black-crowned, Scaled and Fulvous-bellied Antpitta, Jet Antbird, Streaked Antwren, Dusky-backed Jacamar, Great Curassow, Crested Guan, Dusky-faced Tanager, the scarce Black-billed Flycatcher, Olivaceous Piculet, Crimson-bellied and Red-rumped Woodpecker, Red-billed Scythebill, Broad-billed Sapayoa, Brown Violetear, chances for the highly sought-after Rufous-vented Ground Cuckoo, White-fronted & Grey-cheeked Nunlet, Spotted Barbtail, Barred Puffbird, Yellow-green Tyrannulet and Cinereous Becard.
We will also take a slow hike up Pirre Mountain to Pirre Cloud Forest to search for several localized species, some of which are found nowhere else on earth. These include Beautiful Treerunner, Pirre Warbler, Pirre Hummingbird and Pirre Bush Tanager. Other good birds we will look for in this habitat include Tooth-billed Hummingbird, Slaty Antwren, the cute Tody Motmot, Yellow-eared Toucanet, Rufous-breasted Antthrush, Immaculate & Wing-barred Antbird, Greenish Puffleg, Orange-bellied Euphonia, Grey-and-gold and Green-naped Tanager, Golden-headed Quetzal and Sharpbill.
- Panama - Rainforest & Canopy Tower Birding: 25 Nov - 05 Dec 2012 (11 days):
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