599 species in 26 days, a report by Euclides Campos
During my last trip to Cana that started from December 28th to January 4th with Andrew Valleley and Dale Dyer, we had an excellent adventure where most of the Cana specialties were seen. Frank Rheind saw a Striped Woodhaunter on January 2th, and we saw it the next day at El Paletón trail. Next day we got an Orange-crowned Oriole close to the lodge. According to the book Where to Find Birds in Panama, both birds have not been recorded for Cana.
On January 4th we returned from Cana to do birding at the Metropolitan Nature Park to chase the Pheasant Cuckoo, Yellow-green Tyrannulet and Slate-colored Seedeater. All of them were seen. Next day we headed to the west doing some grassland birding around Herrera province where we found a Striped Owl at Las Macanas Marsh. The following day produced the Coiba Spinetail and Brown-backed Dove [at Coiba Island, of course].
On January 7th we had a White-throated shrike Tanager in a big mixed flock, and both wood wrens were seen foraging together at the Snowcap Trail at El Copé. We headed back to Panama City to drop Andrew off and continued our birding trip. The highlights seen on our trip of three days with Frank Rheind, Mikael Bauer in Tortí, Nusagandi and Cerro Azul were Speckled Mourner, Speckled Antshrike, Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo, Rufous-winged Tanager, Blue-fronted Parrotlet, Violet-capped Hummingbird, Tacarcuna Bush-Tanager and Blue-and-gold Tanager.
On January 11th we started heading to the west again but with the purpose to see some national endemics such as the Yellow-green Finch seen on 12th. We had horrible weather that day and the next following two days while we stayed at the Volcán and Cerro Punta area. Although we saw most of the common highland birds, the weather did not permit us to see our main targets. So we decided to go to Fortuna area on January 14th. On the way at Cuesta de Piedra we saw a Northern Parula. At Fortuna we had an incredible birding experience that included Ochre-breasted Antpitta, Black-breasted Woodquail, Rufous-rumped Antwren, Black-and-white Becard and Chiriqui Quail-Dove.
On January 16th, Willy Mazu Lodge yielded Purplish-backed Quail Dove, Crimson-collared Tanager, Lanceolated Monklet and Ashy-throated Bush-Tanager. The same day we headed to David to leave Michael there and head to the highlands again to chase the Ochraceous Pewee, Buff-fronted Quail-Dove and Silvery-throated Jay with success at Los Quetzales Trail the next day. The following day we did birding at PILA where I saw a group of 10 Barred Parakeets flying over.
On January 19th we were at Puerto Armuelles around the patches of forest along the Quebrada Mellicita where we found the Golden-naped Woodpecker, Baird's Trogon, Charming Hummingbird and a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird.
On January 20th we came back to Fortuna to look for Azure-hooded Jay and Lattice-tailed Trogon, the first one seen and the last one heard. We got a Bare-necked Umbrellabird at La Verrugosa Trail and four male Three-wattled Bellbirds close to the area. The same day we drove to Punta Peña-Almirante road and saw a male Snowy Cotinga at 41.7 km. Next day we sighted a Nicaraguan Seed-Finch and a Slate-colored Seedeater at Finca 51 in Changuinola.
On January 22th we headed to Chorcha Abajo to try for the last Carpodectes that we needed: the Yellow-billed Cotinga. We arrived there and waited around one hour, and finally we saw a male perched on the top of the mangrove. Next day we were at Cobachón seeing the Azuero Parrakeet and our last day of birding we went to El Valle to see the Snowcap above the Mataahogado area.
This successful trip yielded a total of 599 species.