Generally speaking, Cynthia and I don't use bird guides when we travel abroad. That is because we watch our wallets as passionately as we watch birds. However having done some research prior to coming to Panama, we learned that having a guide would be a tremendous help especially if we intend to go to the Pipeline Road - one of the prime birding spots in this country. Cynthia contacted the WhiteHawk- a highly recommended Panamanian bird tour company - and made arrangements with them for a one day trip to the aforementioned Pipeline Road.
Angel and Jose were at our hotel at the appointed time of 7 am. Thus began one of the most thrilling and fruitful birding adventures we ever had.
We added our first lifer - Rufescent Tiger Heron - from our first stop by a roadside pond.
A few minutes later and we were gasping for breath as we climbed the tower next to the Rainforest Discovery Center. It was well worth the effort though. Raptors galore were dotting the clear blue skies above us. They were mostly Plumbeous Kites our guides told us.
Flying lower than these was another lifer for us - the Grey-headed Kite.
Although a bit far, a male and female Blue Dacnis showed off their beautiful colors.
A bonus bird, and totally unexpected, was a Yellow-headed Caracara walking on the road!
The star bird for today was another Motmot. We were all inside the car and going to our next destination when I spotted this bird by the road. "Motmot..out in the open!" I shouted. Angel stopped the car and we took photos of the Broad-billed Motmot without even having to get off.
By 3 in the afternoon, our tour was over. My wife and I were both excited and exhausted. And extremely happy.