Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Birding in Panama, Day 2 - More today than yesterday.

Yesterday we racked up 28 lifers. Today we added 46 more - thanks to the two best bird guides in Panama!

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.

Moving on and encountering lifer after lifer, this time we were rewarded by close looks at two kinds of Trogon at the Soberania Park.

Slaty-tailed Trogon
Black-throated Trogon
At the Rainforest Discovery Center, where we had our lunch break, they had some hummingbird feeders and we added three more species to our list.

Violet-bellied Hummingbird 
White-necked Jacobin
Long-billed Hermit
Our final stop was at a place they call "marina" perhaps because it has a huge pond connected to a river. We got three kinds of kingfisher here: The Ringed, Green, and Amazon - the last one being a lifer. Our prized catch here was the Limpkin, a bird that looks like a cross between a rail and a heron. We missed this when we visited Florida back in 2009.

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.

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