Wednesday, April 28, 2010

18-day Panama tour, a report by Venicio Wilson


The first day included Cattle Tyrant seen after a thorough search of the Amador area. On our second day we birded Bayano Road and the trails described in the book “Where to find Birds in Panama”. We got a Pearl Kite to begin the morning and White-eared Conebill, Black Antshrike and Rufous-winged Antwren. During the afternoon we visited the trail across marker 7 km where we found the Golden-green Woodpecker reported previously. We later stoped at Río Mono bridge, where we got a odd looking bird that I called Cinerous Becard. Later during the trip we got better views and discovered the nest and reidentified the birds as One-colored Becards.

Next Day we visited Birders' View in Cerro Azul. Nando, who takes care of the place and is an outstanding guide for the area, took us around the new trails and showed us briefly a Tawny-faced Quail. After our picnic lunch we saw an Ornate Hawk-Eagle gliding fast in front of back terrace.

During our 5th day, from the veranda of our shelter at La Marea, we saw Blue-and-Yellow Macaws, Gray-checked Nunlet and Black Antshrike. Next day we walked to the Harpy Eagle nest. We made a stop at the first clearing near Clemente's home for Black Oropendola. After 6 hours of hiking we got to the nest and called in the Harpy eaglet. We heard Great Green Macaws but the forest is so tall and dense here that we never saw the birds.
On the walk back to town we had Golden-headed Manakins, Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Speckled Mourner, Pale-bellied Hermit, Yellow-breasted Flycatcher, Red-throated Caracara and Dull-mantled Antbird.
During our drive back Bayano we stopped for Spot-breasted Woodpecker near Filo Del Tallo.
Next Morning we stoped at Río Mono bridge and got a Black-collared Hawk, Streaked Xenops and Green-and-rufous Kingfisher.
We later visited Ipetí Emberá for Spectacled Parrotlet and Barred Puffbirds. The residents mentioned that the parrotlets are very rare now that everything around town is pastures.
Some days later, at Santa Fe, we visited the road from Alto de Piedra to Guabal. The road is in good conditions for a 4x4. We stopped at several spots looking for the specialties but the best spot was the brand new ranger station of ANAM bellow the Continental Divide. Sulphur-rumped, Flame-rumped, Dusky-faced and Tawny-crowned Tanagers, Rufous-winged Woodpecker, Tiny Hawk, Thicket Antpitta, Ornate Hawk-Eagle and Brown Violetear.
A day later we drove back to the Mulabá River were we saw a pair of Lanceolated Monklets. They fed freely at a little pasture surrounded by trees.
We drove then from Santa Fe to Palmilla, near Playa Malena, where we visited the mangroves stands of Morrillo or Mata Oscura, where we got great views of a Mangrove Cuckoo. Next morning we drove for 45 minutes to a farm contiguous to the buffer zone of Cerro Hoya National Park. The welcome was a great view of a Great Green Macaw nesting in a giant cuipo tree. We then walked to the spot where the Azuero Parakeets could be seen. After 1 hour a group of 4 came by fast and kept flying towards Rio Playita. We searched all the possible feeding sites with no luck. After reading about the horrible experiences other birdwatcher have gone trough to see this birds I could say that this spot could be the easiest since a high clearance car could drop you at only 300 meters from where we saw the parakeets. It seems that the best time is early in the morning.

On the final day we added 4 Grassland Yellow-Finches at El Chirú.

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