Friday, 6 May 2011

Panama – Canopy Tower and Canopy Lodge

We arrived at Canopy Tower on the 18th April and from the off were made to feel welcome, the staff are all friendly and cannot do enough for you. You are made to feel apart of the experience rather than just enjoy it. The birds came thick and fast and we spend our first 2 hours on the observation platform where White Hawk was one of the first birds seen. The hummingbird feeders were busy as well. Over the next week spent mostly with the guide Carlos we saw well over 250 species. With trips to Ammo Ponds, The Blue Mountains, Pipeline Road, Summit Ponds, Summit Gardens, Achoite Road, Metropolitan Park and the Chagres River. There are too many memorable moments but the bird craft of all of the guides is first class. Ask me about the White Whiskered Puffbird and the Little Tinamou when we meet.

The second week at the lodge was just as good an experience with the lodge at about 2,500 ft it was a little cooler at night and easier to sleep. The guide we had for most of the time was Tino and he worked hard to get us new birds. He is just as good as Carlos although it was hard to separate them, again some of the field craft he showed was humbling, I thought I was sharp but these boys were mustard I swear to god that some of the birds they found were invisible to the naked eye, they must have heard the birds hearts beating. Tino heard a Purplish-backed Quail Dove on a trail calling below us in thick jungle, anyone with experience of Quail Dove will know they are sneaky little devils renowned for not giving themselves up. We had a scan with our bins but there were no way. Only for Tino with a SCOPE to announce he had the bird – we all got scope views and it was fully 50 yards away in the fork of a tree surrounded by leaves – I couldn’t get on it with my bins – astonishing! 

I have birded across the globe and it was the first time that I had taken Joy (wife) and she loved it, she found some really good birds herself – she certainly impressed me finding Smoky-brown Woodpecker (a write in) Snowcap and a Tawny-throated Leaftosser. On the negative side she saw two species that I missed, I’m sure the guides avoided those species for the rest of the week as they thought it was really funny. Oh well, I will just have to go back. As I have said it has taken me 35 years to see 450 species in the UK in Panama I saw 360 in two weeks – just GO.

Green-and-rufous Kingfisher

Three-toed Sloth

Black-breasted Puffbird

2nd smallest passerine in the world – the Black-capped Pygmy-tyrant.

Black-headed Saltator

Joy and I with Carlos at Canopy Tower

Keel-billed Toucan

Blue-crowned Motmot

Long-tailed Tyrant

Roadside Hawk

Rufous Motmot

Rufous Nightjar

Semiplumbeous Hawk

Slaty-tailed Trogon

Stripe-cheeked Woodpecker (endemic)


Swallow-tailed Kite

Common Tufted Flycatcher

Violaceous Trogon

White-tipped Sicklebill


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