Sunday, 19 January 2014

Panama Trip report



On December 29th, Erica and I headed for Panama City – it was only our second trip to Central America, so the anticipation was very high, especially since we were going with friends who were naturalists like us!

This blog post is a day-by-day account of the trip (Warning: it is lengthy!).

Day 1 – December 29. Toronto to Panama City
We left Kitchener and picked up John (a friend from my Algonquin Park days and currently a zoologist with the Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre) before heading for Pearson International Airport in Toronto. Before getting off the 401, we scored our first bird of the trip – a Snowy Owl sitting on a sign above the highway. We managed to see 3 more Snowy Owls on the runways at Pearson (no other birds!). At the airport we met up with Alison (a friend from Algonquin and currently working at Pinery Provincial Park), Chris (friend from Algonquin and currently the head naturalist at Charleston Lake Provincial Park), and Sarah (friend of John's who works as an ecologist at the ACCDC) before takeoff.

We had a three hour lay-over in Houston where we added Rock Pigeon, Ring-billed Gull, Eastern Meadowlark, Turkey Vulture and Killdeer along with some gator nuggets and oysters.

We landed in Panama at Tocumen International Airport just after dark (about 7pm). From the air, we got a good look the Panama Canal and could see lots of container ships. We quickly met up with our final group member, Phil (works at Presqui’ile Provincial Park) who flew in from Nicaragua where he had been for the previous couple of weeks.  After a frustrating hour and a half at the car rental counter, we finally got cars (though not the SUVs we had reserved) and were on our way, but not before picking up our first Panamanian bird with flashlights – a Rock Pigeon roosting on the building (hey, they all count!).
One of our two matching Elantras
With the help of car GPS and the free maps we had uploaded to it, we got to our first hotel without making any wrong turns. Note about driving: The maps worked great, though I had to out-smart the routing later on in the trip. With the lack signage for roads and exits in Panama, something like this is practically essential if you plan on driving yourself.  Driving itself was no problem. Roads were fine, and Panamanian drivers were not much worse than Canadians, although we purposely avoided going into Panama City.
Checking it at the Radisson
At 10pm, about 40 minutes after leaving the airport and stopping for gas (gas was just under $1.00/litre) we arrived at Radisson Summit and Golf hotel.  This was a perfect place for our first night – very comfortable, not too far from the airport, but still outside of the city. It also had the benefit of being relatively inexpensive ($100 for a room with two beds and breakfast buffet) and turned out to be pretty good for birds. The location was just a few kilometres south of the Canopy Tower, a famous ecolodge for birders in Soberania National Park:
View from our hotel room - the little speck on the horizon is the Canopy Tower
Most of us went out for a quick night walk around what turned out to be the driving range. Several lines of hard-working Leafcutter Ants were out and about and we scored a bunch of Forest Rabbits and a small herd (?) of Lesser Capybara! There were also several Common Pauraques hunting here, and we even flushed up a couple of Southern Lapwings that we identified in our flashlight beams as they flew over!



By midnight we were more than ready for bed.

Day 2 - December 30 – Paraiso to El Cope
Most of us were up and at the front doors of the hotel at 6 am ready to go, only problem was that it was still dark! Birds had started singing though and we picked up our first few species by the light of the street lights on the edge of the parking lot – Blue-gray Tanagers, Tropical Kingbirds, Yellow Warblers, Baltimore Orioles, Rose-breasted Grosbeak. In about 2 hours, we racked up 58 species, of which 8 species we never saw again on the rest of the trip (Gray-headed Kite, Whimbrel, Wilson’s Snipe, Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet, Yellow-bellied Elaenia, Saffron Finch, Yellow-bellied Seedeater, and Thick-billed Seed-Finch. Here’s the full eBird checklist.
Saffron Finch - a South American species introduced in Panama in the Canal Zone
Crimson-backed Tanagers were common in disturbed areas

Southern Lapwing
Our only Gray-headed Kite of the trip
We enjoyed a great breakfast buffet and then headed for a detour to the town of Paraiso (just down the road) to a medical clinic. Alison was coming down with shingles and needed to visit a medico. The medical system in Panama was great, and Alison was able to get a prescription for the medication she needed (stopped at a Pharmacy later on and got it no problems).
Hiding in the shade at the medical clinic
While waiting in Paraiso, we had mostly common species (including our first Brown Pelicans and Magnificent Frigatebirds flying over the canal which we could see), but a definite highlight was watching a Squirrel Cuckoo snag a Katydid that was close to the size of my palm!

Centennial Bridge over Panama Canal
We crossed the canal on the Centennial Bridge just west of Paraiso and hit the Carretera Interamericana, heading for our next destination. A little west of Penonome, we got off the highway and headed north towards El Cope. We arrived about 3pm (later than we had planned) but quickly located our host, Julie Ray, the director of La Mica Biological Station. After introductions, her two students, Leslie and Valeria from Missouri State University, hopped in our cars and led us to the start of a 30 minute, narrow trail through the forest and along a stream to the La Mica cabin. We set up beds (had a troop of 5 Geoffroy's Tamarins interrupt us) and then came back out for dinner at Macedonio's house (local partner). After dinner, we walked further (30 min) up the road to assist with Leslie's salamander (Bolitoglossa schizodactyla) surveys. We didn't find any salamanders but had tons of frogs and insects, a Watson's Climbing Rat and best of all two Chestnut-collared Swifts roosting on a rock face beside a waterfall! Once the route was finished, we walked about 20 minutes further up the road to try a spot where Leslie had seen a Water Opossum the night before. No luck, but the walk back down produced a few Common Opossums, a Kinkajou (throwing figs at Phil) and a Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl beside the road. On the walk back in to the cabin, we had a burrowing snake and a Mottled Owl just about 20 feet off the trail. We got back to camp about 11 pm and all of us were very ready for bed.

The hike in along a small stream
La Mica cabin

Dinner at Macedonio's

Birding in front of Macedonio's house
Salamander surveys
A very confused Glass Frog
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl
Day 3 – December 31 – El Cope to Guadalupe
We were up bright and early again, hiked our gear out to the road and then had a delicious breakfast (my favourite meal of the trip) at Macedonio’s house. After breakfast, Macedonio took us further up the mountain to Omar Torrijos Herrera National Park for a short walk. The clouds were very thick, so the view wasn’t great, but the birds were. This middle elevation location was perfect for tanagers, and we cleaned up with Black-and-yellow, Speckled, Emerald, Bay-headed, Tawny-crested, Silver-throated, and Hepatic! We also nabbed our only Yellow-eared Toucanet and Tawny-faced Gnatwrens of the trip. Here’s the full list.
The whole team at the La Mica cabin
Best breakfast ever!
 
Entrance to the park

The fog outside of the gate house

A fallen branch reveals the orchids and other air plants that grow in the canopy
A huge leafcutter ant colony
 
Erica pulled this huge snake skin out of the Visitor Centre's eavestrough
An orchid growing from the trunik of a tree
Poisin Dart frog spp

We almost had this whole page in one flock!
Unfortunately, we couldn’t spend more time here as we had reservations about half the country away for that night, so we had to hit the road. Omar Torrijos National Park looked like it had a ton of potential though, and the amphibians alone would make coming back well worth it.

After stopping at a roadside fruit stand and a bakery and driving about 400 km, we arrived in the mountain town of Guadalupe, near the Costa Rican border. The cooler temperatures (about 18 C) were a welcome relief when we got out of the cars. We checked in at Los Quetzales and made arrangements to get driven in to our cabin. Before going up via 4x4, we made a quick run for groceries in town. The cabin was only about 2 km away but took a solid 30 minutes to drive to because the road was quite rough. After the drive, we had a short 5 minute walk to our little spot in paradise!

Our bakery break just west of David
Nine-banded Armadillo on roadside
Yellow-headed Caracara along roadside (most common raptor in Panama)
The spoils of our fruit-stand stop!
The cabin was absolutely amazing, with a kitchen, 3 beds and 2 futons, 3 washrooms, solar-powered lights and charging station, wifi (!), wood stove, radio to communicate with the lodge, fruit and hummingbird feeders and of course the fact that it was nestled in the middle of cloud forest of Volcan Baru National Park. Check out the 3D spins of the cabins (we stayed in cabin 8) on the Los Quetzales website.
John and Sarah in front of our cabin
Our cabin in the cloud forest
We got unpacked, set up fruit on the feeders (hence the roadside fruit stand stop earlier) and within a few minutes Phil was feeding a Cacomistle some banana by hand!!
Cacomistle on our deck

We celebrated New Years in style, with Cacomistles for company!

Day 4 – January 1 – Los Quetzales Cabanas
I got up shortly after six as I was antsy to see some cloud forest birds, so walked down the trail we had walked in on the night before seeing it for the first time in daylight. It was still too dark to make out details on birds, but I managed to see a Black-and-yellow Silky-Flycatcher: my first bird seen in 2014 (lifer to boot, don’t think I’ve done that before!). Back at the cabin, it was getting lighter, and the Magnificent Hummingbirds were now patronizing the hummingbird feeders. We soon discovered that the “deck” of our cabin was one of the best places nearby for viewing birds as it offered a clear view into the canopy of trees down the slope from us.
Had to rescue a Magnificent Hummingbird that got in the cabin
Blurry shot but shows the iridescent part of plumage on males
Magnificent Hummingbird
 
 
White-throated Mountain-Gem was the second most common hummingbird at our feeders
Yellow-thighed Finch at our feeders
We had a couple flocks of birds come through from here which included some nice mountain species like Buffy Tuftedcheeks, Smokey-brown Woodpecker, Spangle-cheeked Tanager, and crowd-favourite Golden-browed Chlorophonias. We took a guided walked up a short trail at about 9am and on the walk back down (we told the group to go ahead without us) we had one of our target species – a female Resplendant Quetzal (right near Tapir tracks)! While not as spectacular as the male, she’s still a good looking bird, and was very cooperative as she sat for long periods of time before plucking ripe Avocados from a fruiting tree. Here’s our full day list



female Resplendant Quetzal
Deck Watch!
That night, in addition to the Cacomistles we were briefly visited by a Kinkajou at the fruit feeder.

Day 5 – January 2 – Los Quetzales Cabanas and Guadalupe
A few of us were under the weather and everyone was tired from the day before, so it was a good thing we hadn’t planned on doing the all-day hike up to the top of Volcan Baru. We had a nice breakfast and lounged around the cabin for a few hours before visitors arrived. Alvaro Jaramillo arrived leading a group from the Sierra Club. They staked out on our balcony for an hour or so picking up some nice species we had seen earlier – Prong-billed Barbet, Barred Becard and the singing Silvery-fronted Tapaculos. It was nice to chat with the group and share the bird sightings with them. By late morning, our energy had returned so we decided to hike down to the main lodge in the town of Guadalupe.  Here’s our full list from the cabins.

Fresh-squeezed orange juice
Heading downhill was an easy walk and as we got towards town and out of the forest, we picked up several new species like Scintillant Hummingbird and Rufous-collared Sparrow and our only Red-tailed Hawk, Band-tailed Pigeon, Mountain Elaenia, Brown-capped Vireo, Slaty Flowerpiercer, Flame-colored Tanager, Bronzed Cowbird and best of all Long-tailed Silky-Flycatchers. That last species was one I had really wanted to see when we were in the cloud forest of Costa Rica a few years ago but had missed…so it was nice to see them (lots around the main lodge). We enjoyed lunch at the lodge then walked back up (some of us got a ride from the lodge). Here’s our full list.

Watching Long-tailed Silky-flycatchers at the main lodge
Day 6 – January 3 – Guadalupe to Gamboa
We were up and packing by 6:30 – we were scheduled to get picked up at 8:00 to head down the mountain.  John and Sarah made a quick detour to look for the quetzal from two days before (no luck) but they did have a dove, which was likely a quail-dove, but couldn’t nail it down for sure. We had an awesome breakfast (Banana Bread Pudding- yum) and were transported down to checkout. Before that a Montane Rice Rat was found in this plastic bag outside the cabin.

Surprise!
Montane Rice Rat
Montane Rice Rat
Phil and his crazy pants!
After checking out, we enjoyed some of the birds of the open country again (had a chance for some photos of some species). Here’s our full list.
Blue-gray Tanager
Rufous-collared Sparrow
Silver-throated Tanager
male Slaty Flowerpiercer
Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher
By 9:30 we were on the road, but had to make a quick pit stop before leaving Guadalupe:
Street meat!
We scored our only Mourning Dove just after Guadalupe and tried a couple spots where the road crossed rivers and streams, hoping for a Torrent Tyrannulet or an American Dipper, but no luck.

We had one last stop before getting back to the highway – Bajo Frio. We walked about 500m down this road with visions of White-crested Coquette in our head, but it wasn’t to be. We did get our only Pearl Kite and Long-billed Startthroats of the trip though – here’s our full list.

From there it was about 500km back to the canal and the small town of Gamboa north of Panama City that would be our home for the remainder of our trip.

We got in to Soberania Lodge about 7:30pm. While waiting for our room to be made up we had looks at our first Pacas and Phil expertly located an Opossum that obliged for some photos:
Soberania Lodge
Common Opossum
scorpion on a tree trunk
After settling in, we did a night drive looking for critters that was mostly unsuccessful, but Sarah somehow located a sitting Lesser Nighthawk in a tree from the car to go with a few Common Pauraques.

Day 7 – January 4 – Gamboa
Chris and I were up for first light and took a walk around the neighbourhood before joining the rest of the crew back at the lodge for breakfast and some time watching the very active feeders. Highlights of the walk were our only Blue Cotinga and Magnolia Warbler of the trip (plus lots of firsts!).  Here’s our full list from the morning.
The lounge area was great for watching the feeders
Feeder full of Blue-gray Tanagers
Female Green Honeycreeper
male Green Honeycreeper
Violet-bellied Hummingbird
Buff-throated Saltator
male Red-legged Honeycreeper
male Crimson-backed Tanager
Blue-chested Hummingbird
Blue-chested Hummingbird showing the blue
male Red-legged Honeycreepers
The lodge was great – we had a dorm room with 7 beds and A/C. The real bonus of the lodge is the location (walking distance to Pipeline Road, backs onto Gamboa Rainforest Resort). You can sit and watch the feeders all day and be more than satisfied with the great diversity.
Geoffroy's Tamarin behind lodge
Collared Geoffroy's Tamarin
Iguana in tree by our lodge
White-nosed Coati at lodge
Agoutis were abundant at the lodge
Gray-headed Chachalacas love bananas!
White-necked Jacobin was the most abundant feeder hummingbird

This Whiptail spp. lived under the steps
Fasciated Antshrike at lodge
We headed over to the Gamboa Rainforest Resort for lunch at their riverside restaurant and picked up a bunch of new species in the process including Pied-billed Grebe, both gallinules, Royal Tern, Flame-rumped Tanager, Buff-breasted Wren, and our only American Pygmy-Kingfisher of the trip. Here’s our full list.
lunch at Gamboa Rainforest Resort
This caiman enjoyed ground beef and guacamole!
Reminded me of a Rainbow Bluet
Basilisk lizard
Common Tody-Flycatcher
bloated croc?
Yellow-headed Caracara riding a Capybara
Before dusk, a few of us walked the first few hundred metres of the famous Pipeline Road. Birds were quiet but we heard Howler Monkeys and saw a pack of Collared Peccaries and a crazy small frog. We also had our first Great Tinamou and Collared Forest-Falcons (both heard only) and Black-breasted Puffbird and Crimson-crested Woodpecker.

A quick stop at Ammo Dump Ponds was underwhelming, but we had our first Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks there just before it got dark.
Our American friends at the Lodge
While we were there, Soberania Lodge was quite busy with University field courses from two American schools staying there as well (one from Virginia and one from New York state). It was nice to get to hear about their outings, and on this night we got to sit in on a talk by Ricardo Moreno, a Panamanian Jaguar researcher.

Day 8 – January 5 – Gamboa
We decided the night before we’d try to get to Pipeline Road for first light. We were successful in starting out the hike just before 6:30 from the fork to the Rainforest Discovery Centre (as far as you can drive without a key). We made it as far as the Rio Frijolito bridge (about 2 km) before turning around to be back to the lodge for lunch. We saw lots of new species with some of the memorable species being Black Hawk-Eagle overhead, a pair of Fasciated Antshrikes feeding nestlings, Streak-chested Antpitta (my first antpitta ever), Brownish Twistwings demonstrating their namesake behaviour, and a Kentucky Warbler skulking on the forest floor. Our full checklist from the morning is here.
Pipeline Road!
A Helicopter Damselfly (Pseudostigmatidae)
John baiting for insects
After lunch we lounged at the lodge for a bit before some of us tried going fishing and others went for a walk through the resort – picking up the only Striated Heron and Prothonotary Warblers of the trip. Here’s our checklist from the resort.
Panama Flycatcher
Keel-billed Toucans
At dusk, we all headed out to Ammo Dump ponds to try for rails. By the time we got the speaker out to try calling for White-throated Crake, we had already heard one calling closely (before playing the call).

Day 9 – January 6 – Gamboa
After the previous morning’s success on Pipeline Road we wanted to give it another run, so we got up early to hike out as far as we were permitted to travel. The walk was mostly quiet but we managed to spotlight a Common Pauraque sitting on the trail and catch it:
Me with a Common Pauraque!
We kept walking in the dark and John found a Bicolored Antbird sitting near the trail. We tried to catch it using a spotlight but just missed it, but it landed briefly on John’s shoulder!! 
The group on Pipeline Road
 After breakfast at the Rio Limbo bridge, we started heading back at a slow enough rate to see birds. We had lots of the same things from the previous day but still lots of new species – Black-throated Trogon, Broad-billed Motmot, Brown-hooded Parrot, White-flanked Antwren, Ocellated Antbird, Scaly-throated Leaftosser, Southern Bentbill, White-shouldered Tanager, and Slate-colored Grosbeak to name some.  I think everyone agreed on the two bird highlights. The first was just after we watched a troop of White-faced Capuchins cross the road, a Double-toothed Kite came flying through following them – just as we had read the night before (they are famous for following capuchins and picking off small birds and lizards that the monkeys flush). 
White-faced Capuchin in flight
The other highlight was a Royal Flycatcher that showed well for the whole group, unfortunately it didn’t erect its fabulous crest. We saw two other troops of capuchins (first of the trip) and had some good looks at a Coati as well.  Here’s our full list from the morning on Pipeline.

After lunch I took Alison in to the clinic in Paraiso, and while waiting I had the first male Lesser Goldfinch of the trip. On the way back, her and I stopped at Summit Ponds to scout it for the following day. Just after arriving, we ran into Alvaro Jaramillo again – he was there with a couple and two guides from the Canopy Tower. After a short chat with them, we walked down the road as far as the ponds – no herons or other water birds were visible but the road netted us several new species being a habitat we hadn’t really visited before (dry forest); included in these were our only Plain-brown Woodcreeper (a banded individual!) and Tropical Gnatcatchers. Here’s our list from Summit Ponds.

Back at the lodge Chris, John, Sarah and I decided to walk Sendero La Laguna in the Rainforest Resort. It was getting late in the day, but we had our only really good looks at Southern Bentbill of the trip and got our first Acadian Flycatcher. We also had a pair of colour-banded Buff-breasted Wrens. Here’s our list from that short walk.

Day 10 – January 7 – Gamboa
For our last full day in Panama, we made plans to travel a bit further afield than we had the last couple of days. Our first stop was back to Summit Ponds with the whole group. It was well worth it getting several new species including a Capped Heron flying by, a couple Boat-billed Herons at the ponds, and Ovenbird, Dusky Antbird, Black-tailed Flycatcher, Lance-tailed Manakin, and Rufous-and-white Wren in the woods. Here’s our checklist from the walk.
Looking for a Lance-tailed Manakin on Old Gamboa Rd
Gartered Trogon
White-necked Puffbird
Blue-headed Parrot
Boat-billed Heron
Perhaps most exciting for the group was finally getting a sloth – a pair of Brown-throated Three-toed Sloths displaying well for us!
Sloth!
Sloth "action" shot
After lunch we checked out Summit Nature Park. This is an outdoor zoo and botanical gardens just 10 minutes from Gamboa. Unfortunately, we were there at the heat of the day so didn’t see a lot of wild birds (besides a nice Zone-tailed Hawk). Apparently the area can be good for open-country species. The park had a nice Harpy Eagle interpretive centre.


From there, a few of us risked Panama City traffic to check out the Metropolitan Nature Park. This is a huge tropical forest reserve right in the city. I would have loved to have spent more time here but was satisfied with just over an hour on the trail behind the visitor centre. Even though our time was limited, we still managed a bunch of new species including Garden Emerald, White-bellied Antbird, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, Yellow-green Tyrannulet (our only Panamanian endemic of the trip), and Golden-winged Warbler. Here’s our full checklist. Again our highlight was sloths, but this time a mother and young Hoffman's Two-toed Sloth! We also were very entertained by scaring baby Basilisk lizards so they’d run across the surface of the small ponds!

That night we were joined for dinner by Jenn Sinasac from Ontario. She’s been in Panama for the last year or so and is working for the Canopy Family of ecolodges. After dinner, she took us out owling (no luck) and looking for other night birds. We lucked out at Summit Ponds where we could see eyeshine from two Common Potoos. The Boat-billed Herons were also visible with spotlights.

Day 11 – January 8 – Gamboa to Tocumen Airport
Final group shot at Soberania Lodge
We were up bright and early for a quick check of Ammo Dump Ponds at dawn. That netted us a young Snail Kite but unfortunately neither of the species we were still waiting for (Rufescent Tiger-heron and Greater Ani). We took our group photo outside of the lodge and then were on our way with plenty of time to get to the airport (or so we thought).  Shortly after getting on to the highway, traffic stopped and what was about a 5 minute drive to get to the toll highway previously turned into about 2 hours. We pulled into the airport, dropped off the rental cars and with 55 minutes before our flight,  the United Airlines staff would NOT let us check-in!…John and Sarah who were on a different United flight leaving ten minutes later were let on and Phil was able to make his flight to Nicaragua leaving 30 minutes before us. Needless to say, we were unimpressed with United. We picked up Bat Falcon at the airport while trying to figure out what to do next.

Anyways, long story short Erica and I spent two extra nights in Panama after paying for a new flight despite the horrible customer service with United and the flight being a United  partner airline. We stayed at the Riande Aeropeurto which was very convenient. I managed to pick up Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Peregrine Falcon, and Anhinga right from the hotel and a short walk down the road picked up a White-tailed Kite with a nest. I tried to go to Tocumen Marsh, but was told security wasn't permitting visitors. On the way to the airport, we picked up a couple more species (Neotropic Cormorant and Wood Stork) before finally leaving Panama.

Bird species list
The following lists the bird species found on the trip, along with the frequency of checklists (from eBird) that we reported them:
Taxonomic order, species name, frequency
1 Great Tinamou - Tinamus major 11.74%
2 Black-bellied Whistling-Duck - Dendrocygna autumnalis 5.22%
3 Gray-headed Chachalaca - Ortalis cinereiceps 16.20%
4 Pied-billed Grebe - Podilymbus podiceps 5.22%
5 Wood Stork - Mycteria americana 2.17%
6 Magnificent Frigatebird - Fregata magnificens 10.11%
7 Neotropic Cormorant - Phalacrocorax brasilianus 2.17%
8 Anhinga - Anhinga anhinga 2.17%
9 Brown Pelican - Pelecanus occidentalis 8.80%
10 Great Egret - Ardea alba 10.00%
11 Little Blue Heron - Egretta caerulea 2.17%
12 Cattle Egret - Bubulcus ibis 6.96%
13 Green Heron - Butorides virescens 9.57%
14 Striated Heron - Butorides striata 3.04%
15 Capped Heron - Pilherodius pileatus 2.17%
16 Boat-billed Heron - Cochlearius cochlearius 4.35%
17 Black Vulture - Coragyps atratus 64.89%
18 Turkey Vulture - Cathartes aura 45.76%
19 Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture - Cathartes burrovianus 2.17%
20 Osprey - Pandion haliaetus 4.35%
21 Pearl Kite - Gampsonyx swainsonii 2.61%
22 White-tailed Kite - Elanus leucurus 2.17%
23 Gray-headed Kite - Leptodon cayanensis 3.59%
24 Black Hawk-Eagle - Spizaetus tyrannus 3.04%
25 Snail Kite - Rostrhamus sociabilis 6.52%
26 Double-toothed Kite - Harpagus bidentatus 2.17%
27 Roadside Hawk - Rupornis magnirostris 2.61%
28 Gray-lined Hawk - Buteo nitidus 6.52%
29 Short-tailed Hawk - Buteo brachyurus 8.37%
30 Zone-tailed Hawk - Buteo albonotatus 4.78%
31 Red-tailed Hawk - Buteo jamaicensis 2.17%
32 White-throated Crake - Laterallus albigularis 3.04%
33 Purple Gallinule - Porphyrio martinicus 5.22%
34 Common Gallinule - Gallinula galeata 7.39%
35 Southern Lapwing - Vanellus chilensis 8.80%
36 Wattled Jacana - Jacana jacana 20.54%
37 Spotted Sandpiper - Actitis macularius 8.37%
38 Whimbrel - Numenius phaeopus 3.59%
39 Wilson's Snipe - Gallinago delicata 3.59%
40 Royal Tern - Thalasseus maximus 7.39%
41 Rock Pigeon - Columba livia 10.54%
42 Pale-vented Pigeon - Patagioenas cayennensis 10.98%
43 Band-tailed Pigeon - Patagioenas fasciata 2.17%
44 Mourning Dove - Zenaida macroura 2.61%
45 Ruddy Ground-Dove - Columbina talpacoti 18.59%
46 White-tipped Dove - Leptotila verreauxi 13.15%
47 Gray-chested Dove - Leptotila cassini 4.35%
48 Squirrel Cuckoo - Piaya cayana 12.50%
49 Smooth-billed Ani - Crotophaga ani 7.39%
50 Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl - Glaucidium brasilianum 3.59%
51 Mottled Owl - Ciccaba virgata 3.59%
52 Lesser Nighthawk - Chordeiles acutipennis 2.17%
53 Common Pauraque - Nyctidromus albicollis 8.70%
54 Common Potoo - Nyctibius griseus 2.17%
55 Chestnut-collared Swift - Streptoprocne rutila 3.59%
56 Vaux's Swift - Chaetura vauxi 2.61%
57 Short-tailed Swift - Chaetura brachyura 11.74%
58 Band-rumped Swift - Chaetura spinicaudus 14.78%
59 Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift - Panyptila cayennensis 2.17%
60 White-necked Jacobin - Florisuga mellivora 19.67%
61 Long-billed Hermit - Phaethornis longirostris 5.22%
62 Stripe-throated Hermit - Phaethornis striigularis 5.22%
63 Green Violetear - Colibri thalassinus 4.78%
64 Purple-crowned Fairy - Heliothryx barroti 2.61%
65 Black-throated Mango - Anthracothorax nigricollis 18.15%
66 Green-crowned Brilliant - Heliodoxa jacula 4.35%
67 Magnificent Hummingbird - Eugenes fulgens 9.57%
68 Long-billed Starthroat - Heliomaster longirostris 2.61%
69 White-throated Mountain-gem - Lampornis castaneoventris 4.35%
70 Scintillant Hummingbird - Selasphorus scintilla 4.78%
71 Garden Emerald - Chlorostilbon assimilis 2.17%
72 Violet-headed Hummingbird - Klais guimeti 3.59%
73 Scaly-breasted Hummingbird - Phaeochroa cuvierii 2.17%
74 Violet Sabrewing - Campylopterus hemileucurus 8.04%
75 Crowned Woodnymph - Thalurania colombica 10.65%
76 Stripe-tailed Hummingbird - Eupherusa eximia 4.35%
77 Black-bellied Hummingbird - Eupherusa nigriventris 2.17%
78 White-tailed Emerald - Elvira chionura 2.17%
79 Blue-chested Hummingbird - Amazilia amabilis 15.33%
80 Snowy-bellied Hummingbird - Amazilia edward 16.96%
81 Rufous-tailed Hummingbird - Amazilia tzacatl 31.63%
82 Violet-bellied Hummingbird - Damophila julie 11.74%
83 Resplendent Quetzal - Pharomachrus mocinno 2.17%
84 Slaty-tailed Trogon - Trogon massena 9.57%
85 Gartered Trogon - Trogon caligatus 7.39%
86 Black-throated Trogon - Trogon rufus 2.17%
87 Whooping Motmot - Momotus subrufescens 4.35%
88 Rufous Motmot - Baryphthengus martii 5.22%
89 Broad-billed Motmot - Electron platyrhynchum 2.17%
90 Ringed Kingfisher - Megaceryle torquata 8.70%
91 Amazon Kingfisher - Chloroceryle amazona 3.04%
92 Green Kingfisher - Chloroceryle americana 5.76%
93 American Pygmy Kingfisher - Chloroceryle aenea 2.17%
94 White-necked Puffbird - Notharchus hyperrhynchus 4.35%
95 Black-breasted Puffbird - Notharchus pectoralis 4.35%
96 Pied Puffbird - Notharchus tectus 2.17%
97 White-whiskered Puffbird - Malacoptila panamensis 6.30%
98 Prong-billed Barbet - Semnornis frantzii 2.17%
99 Collared Aracari - Pteroglossus torquatus 5.76%
100 Yellow-eared Toucanet - Selenidera spectabilis 3.26%
101 Black-mandibled Toucan - Ramphastos ambiguus 7.39%
102 Keel-billed Toucan - Ramphastos sulfuratus 27.07%
103 Red-crowned Woodpecker - Melanerpes rubricapillus 46.41%
104 Smoky-brown Woodpecker - Picoides fumigatus 2.17%
105 Hairy Woodpecker - Picoides villosus 6.96%
106 Cinnamon Woodpecker - Celeus loricatus 5.22%
107 Lineated Woodpecker - Dryocopus lineatus 7.39%
108 Crimson-crested Woodpecker - Campephilus melanoleucos 7.39%
109 Collared Forest-Falcon - Micrastur semitorquatus 7.39%
110 Crested Caracara - Caracara cheriway 4.78%
111 Yellow-headed Caracara - Milvago chimachima 18.80%
112 American Kestrel - Falco sparverius 3.59%
113 Bat Falcon - Falco rufigularis 2.17%
114 Peregrine Falcon - Falco peregrinus 2.17%
115 Orange-chinned Parakeet - Brotogeris jugularis 19.02%
116 Brown-hooded Parrot - Pyrilia haematotis 2.17%
117 Blue-headed Parrot - Pionus menstruus 3.26%
118 Red-lored Parrot - Amazona autumnalis 10.43%
119 Mealy Parrot - Amazona farinosa 4.35%
120 Fasciated Antshrike - Cymbilaimus lineatus 9.57%
121 Barred Antshrike - Thamnophilus doliatus 3.04%
122 Black-crowned Antshrike - Thamnophilus atrinucha 5.22%
123 Spot-crowned Antvireo - Dysithamnus puncticeps 5.22%
124 Checker-throated Antwren - Epinecrophylla fulviventris 3.04%
125 White-flanked Antwren - Myrmotherula axillaris 2.17%
126 Dot-winged Antwren - Microrhopias quixensis 7.39%
127 Dusky Antbird - Cercomacra tyrannina 2.17%
128 White-bellied Antbird - Myrmeciza longipes 2.17%
129 Chestnut-backed Antbird - Myrmeciza exsul 7.39%
130 Bicolored Antbird - Gymnopithys leucaspis 5.22%
131 Spotted Antbird - Hylophylax naevioides 3.04%
132 Ocellated Antbird - Phaenostictus mcleannani 2.17%
133 Streak-chested Antpitta - Hylopezus perspicillatus 5.22%
134 Silvery-fronted Tapaculo - Scytalopus argentifrons 6.96%
135 Black-faced Antthrush - Formicarius analis 5.22%
136 Scaly-throated Leaftosser - Sclerurus guatemalensis 2.17%
137 Plain-brown Woodcreeper - Dendrocincla fuliginosa 2.17%
138 Wedge-billed Woodcreeper - Glyphorynchus spirurus 2.17%
139 Cocoa Woodcreeper - Xiphorhynchus susurrans 4.35%
140 Black-striped Woodcreeper - Xiphorhynchus lachrymosus 3.04%
141 Spot-crowned Woodcreeper - Lepidocolaptes affinis 4.35%
142 Plain Xenops - Xenops minutus 10.65%
143 Buffy Tuftedcheek - Pseudocolaptes lawrencii 2.17%
144 Spotted Barbtail - Premnoplex brunnescens 2.17%
145 Ruddy Treerunner - Margarornis rubiginosus 6.96%
146 Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet - Tyrannulus elatus 3.59%
147 Yellow-bellied Elaenia - Elaenia flavogaster 3.59%
148 Mountain Elaenia - Elaenia frantzii 2.17%
149 Ochre-bellied Flycatcher - Mionectes oleagineus 2.17%
150 Yellow-green Tyrannulet - Phylloscartes flavovirens 2.17%
151 Southern Bentbill - Oncostoma olivaceum 4.35%
152 Common Tody-Flycatcher - Todirostrum cinereum 10.98%
153 Brownish Twistwing - Cnipodectes subbrunneus 3.04%
154 Olivaceous Flatbill - Rhynchocyclus olivaceus 3.04%
155 Yellow-olive Flycatcher - Tolmomyias sulphurescens 4.35%
156 Yellow-margined Flycatcher - Tolmomyias assimilis 2.17%
157 Royal Flycatcher - Onychorhynchus coronatus 2.17%
158 Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher - Terenotriccus erythrurus 5.22%
159 Black-tailed Flycatcher - Myiobius atricaudus 2.17%
160 Tufted Flycatcher - Mitrephanes phaeocercus 4.35%
161 Acadian Flycatcher - Empidonax virescens 6.52%
162 Yellowish Flycatcher - Empidonax flavescens 2.17%
163 Black Phoebe - Sayornis nigricans 7.39%
164 Bright-rumped Attila - Attila spadiceus 6.52%
165 Panama Flycatcher - Myiarchus panamensis 5.22%
166 Great Crested Flycatcher - Myiarchus crinitus 5.22%
167 Lesser Kiskadee - Pitangus lictor 14.46%
168 Great Kiskadee - Pitangus sulphuratus 29.24%
169 Rusty-margined Flycatcher - Myiozetetes cayanensis 2.17%
170 Social Flycatcher - Myiozetetes similis 15.33%
171 Streaked Flycatcher - Myiodynastes maculatus 5.76%
172 Tropical Kingbird - Tyrannus melancholicus 36.20%
173 Fork-tailed Flycatcher - Tyrannus savana 4.35%
174 Purple-throated Fruitcrow - Querula purpurata 5.22%
175 Blue Cotinga - Cotinga nattererii 2.17%
176 Lance-tailed Manakin - Chiroxiphia lanceolata 2.17%
177 Red-capped Manakin - Ceratopipra mentalis 3.04%
178 Golden-collared Manakin - Manacus vitellinus 3.04%
179 Blue-crowned Manakin - Lepidothrix coronata 7.39%
180 Masked Tityra - Tityra semifasciata 6.52%
181 Barred Becard - Pachyramphus versicolor 4.78%
182 Yellow-winged Vireo - Vireo carmioli 4.35%
183 Brown-capped Vireo - Vireo leucophrys 2.17%
184 Golden-fronted Greenlet - Hylophilus aurantiifrons 4.35%
185 Lesser Greenlet - Hylophilus decurtatus 3.26%
186 Green Shrike-Vireo - Vireolanius pulchellus 24.35%
187 Rufous-browed Peppershrike - Cyclarhis gujanensis 4.35%
188 Black-chested Jay - Cyanocorax affinis 9.02%
189 Blue-and-white Swallow - Pygochelidon cyanoleuca 5.22%
190 Southern Rough-winged Swallow - Stelgidopteryx ruficollis 18.37%
191 Gray-breasted Martin - Progne chalybea 21.63%
192 Mangrove Swallow - Tachycineta albilinea 9.57%
193 Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica 5.22%
194 House Wren - Troglodytes aedon 15.76%
195 Ochraceous Wren - Troglodytes ochraceus 2.17%
196 Rufous-breasted Wren - Pheugopedius rutilus 5.43%
197 Rufous-and-white Wren - Thryophilus rufalbus 2.17%
198 Bay Wren - Cantorchilus nigricapillus 5.22%
199 Buff-breasted Wren - Cantorchilus leucotis 6.52%
200 White-breasted Wood-Wren - Henicorhina leucosticta 3.04%
201 Gray-breasted Wood-Wren - Henicorhina leucophrys 6.96%
202 Song Wren - Cyphorhinus phaeocephalus 7.39%
203 Tawny-faced Gnatwren - Microbates cinereiventris 3.26%
204 Tropical Gnatcatcher - Polioptila plumbea 2.17%
205 Black-faced Solitaire - Myadestes melanops 6.96%
206 Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush - Catharus gracilirostris 2.17%
207 Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush - Catharus frantzii 4.35%
208 Mountain Thrush - Turdus plebejus 2.17%
209 Clay-colored Thrush - Turdus grayi 41.63%
210 Tropical Mockingbird - Mimus gilvus 15.76%
211 Black-and-yellow Silky-flycatcher - Phainoptila melanoxantha 4.35%
212 Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher - Ptilogonys caudatus 4.78%
213 Ovenbird - Seiurus aurocapilla 2.17%
214 Louisiana Waterthrush - Parkesia motacilla 2.17%
215 Northern Waterthrush - Parkesia noveboracensis 13.91%
216 Golden-winged Warbler - Vermivora chrysoptera 2.17%
217 Black-and-white Warbler - Mniotilta varia 7.61%
218 Prothonotary Warbler - Protonotaria citrea 3.04%
219 Flame-throated Warbler - Oreothlypis gutturalis 2.17%
220 Tennessee Warbler - Oreothlypis peregrina 17.07%
221 Kentucky Warbler - Geothlypis formosa 3.04%
222 American Redstart - Setophaga ruticilla 3.26%
223 Magnolia Warbler - Setophaga magnolia 2.17%
224 Bay-breasted Warbler - Setophaga castanea 12.28%
225 Yellow Warbler - Setophaga petechia 20.54%
226 Chestnut-sided Warbler - Setophaga pensylvanica 14.13%
227 Black-throated Green Warbler - Setophaga virens 9.13%
228 Rufous-capped Warbler - Basileuterus rufifrons 3.26%
229 Black-cheeked Warbler - Basileuterus melanogenys 6.96%
230 Three-striped Warbler - Basileuterus tristriatus 2.17%
231 Wilson's Warbler - Cardellina pusilla 9.13%
232 Collared Redstart - Myioborus torquatus 9.13%
233 Gray-headed Tanager - Eucometis penicillata 3.04%
234 White-shouldered Tanager - Tachyphonus luctuosus 4.35%
235 Tawny-crested Tanager - Tachyphonus delatrii 3.26%
236 Crimson-backed Tanager - Ramphocelus dimidiatus 24.89%
237 Flame-rumped Tanager - Ramphocelus flammigerus 5.22%
238 Blue-gray Tanager - Thraupis episcopus 44.02%
239 Palm Tanager - Thraupis palmarum 34.24%
240 Golden-hooded Tanager - Tangara larvata 14.67%
241 Speckled Tanager - Tangara guttata 3.26%
242 Spangle-cheeked Tanager - Tangara dowii 2.17%
243 Plain-colored Tanager - Tangara inornata 10.87%
244 Bay-headed Tanager - Tangara gyrola 3.26%
245 Emerald Tanager - Tangara florida 3.26%
246 Silver-throated Tanager - Tangara icterocephala 10.65%
247 Blue Dacnis - Dacnis cayana 13.04%
248 Red-legged Honeycreeper - Cyanerpes cyaneus 19.67%
249 Green Honeycreeper - Chlorophanes spiza 9.57%
250 Black-and-yellow Tanager - Chrysothlypis chrysomelas 3.26%
251 Slaty Flowerpiercer - Diglossa plumbea 2.17%
252 Saffron Finch - Sicalis flaveola 3.59%
253 Variable Seedeater - Sporophila corvina 10.54%
254 Yellow-bellied Seedeater - Sporophila nigricollis 3.59%
255 Thick-billed Seed-Finch - Oryzoborus funereus 3.59%
256 Bananaquit - Coereba flaveola 5.22%
257 Yellow-faced Grassquit - Tiaris olivaceus 13.91%
258 Streaked Saltator - Saltator striatipectus 5.76%
259 Buff-throated Saltator - Saltator maximus 13.15%
260 Slate-colored Grosbeak - Saltator grossus 2.17%
261 Yellow-thighed Finch - Pselliophorus tibialis 6.96%
262 Large-footed Finch - Pezopetes capitalis 2.17%
263 Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch - Arremon brunneinucha 6.96%
264 Rufous-collared Sparrow - Zonotrichia capensis 7.39%
265 Sooty-capped Chlorospingus - Chlorospingus pileatus 4.35%
266 Hepatic Tanager - Piranga flava 5.43%
267 Summer Tanager - Piranga rubra 10.87%
268 Flame-colored Tanager - Piranga bidentata 4.78%
269 Red-throated Ant-Tanager - Habia fuscicauda 7.39%
270 Rose-breasted Grosbeak - Pheucticus ludovicianus 7.93%
271 Great-tailed Grackle - Quiscalus mexicanus 36.41%
272 Bronzed Cowbird - Molothrus aeneus 2.17%
273 Giant Cowbird - Molothrus oryzivorus 5.76%
274 Orchard Oriole - Icterus spurius 10.11%
275 Yellow-backed Oriole - Icterus chrysater 5.43%
276 Baltimore Oriole - Icterus galbula 14.46%
277 Scarlet-rumped Cacique - Cacicus uropygialis 7.39%
278 Yellow-rumped Cacique - Cacicus cela 10.98%
279 Crested Oropendola - Psarocolius decumanus 3.26%
280 Chestnut-headed Oropendola - Psarocolius wagleri 2.17%
281 Yellow-crowned Euphonia - Euphonia luteicapilla 5.76%
282 Thick-billed Euphonia - Euphonia laniirostris 16.41%
283 Fulvous-vented Euphonia - Euphonia fulvicrissa 5.22%
284 Tawny-capped Euphonia - Euphonia anneae 3.26%
285 Golden-browed Chlorophonia - Chlorophonia callophrys 4.35%
286 Lesser Goldfinch - Spinus psaltria 5.22%

Mammal species list
1 Virginia Oppossum Roadkill only between Cerro Punta and Volcan
2 Common Oppossum Common in most places at night
3 Tamandua Roadkill only near eastern Chiriqui province
4 Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth Pair on Old Gamboa Road
5 Hoffmann's Two-toed Sloth Mother and young at Metropolitan Nature Park
6 Nine-banded Armadillo Seen on highway in Cocle province and in Gamboa
7 Geoffroy's Tamarin La Mica and Gamboa
8 White-faced Capuchin Three troops seen on Pipeline Road
9 Mantled Howler Common around Gamboa
10 Variegated Squirrel Common around Gamboa
11 Red-tailed Squirrel at feeder at Los Quetzales
12 Chiriqui Harvest Mouse caught at Los Quetzales
13 Montane Rice Rat caught at Los Quetzales
14 Watson's Climbing Rat seen in trees at La Mica
15 Lesser Capybara packs at Radisson and Rainforest Resort
16 Central American Agouit abundant at Gamboa and Pipeline Road
17 Paca Fairly common (at night) at Gamboa
18 Forest Rabbit Radisson and Pipeline Road
19 White-nosed Coati Fairly common at Gamboa and Pipeline Road
20 Cacomistle pair at feeders at Los Quetzales cabin
21 Kinkajou Seen at night at all three areas
22 Tayra Erica saw one run across Pipeline Rd
23 Collared Peccary Small pack on Pipeline Road

Resources:
There are a ton of resources for naturalising in Panama, which is a big part of why we chose that as our destination. Here are a few helpful resources if you choose to do your own.
Web resources:
Trip map - a map I made of places of interest, yellow markers are places we stayed or visited
Jan Axel's Blog
Herps of Panama
Experience Nature
eBird barchart for Panama
Xeno-Canto
Avibase
Neotropical Birds
Xenornis
OS Maps
Guide to Anoles of El Cope

Books:
A field Guide to the Mammals of Central American and Southeast Mexico (second edition)
A Bird-Finding Guide to Panama
The Birds of Panama: A Field Guide
A Neotropical Companion: An Introduction to the Animals, Plants, and Ecosystems of the New World Tropics (Second edition, revised and expanded)
A Field Guide to the Families and Genera of Woody Plants of Northwest South America: With Supplementary Notes on Herbaceous Taxa
Dragonflies and Damselflies of Middle America and the Caribbean
Ecology and Conservation of Neotropical Montane Oak Forests
Mammals of Cost Rica: A Natural History
Tropical Plants of Costa Rica: A Guide to Native and Exotic Flora
Neotropical Saturniidae and Sphingidae
The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica: A Herpetofauna between Two Continents, between Two Seas
Costa Rican Natural History
Birds of Mexico and Central America
Trees of Panama and Costa Rica
A Natural History of Belize: Inside the Maya Forest
The Venomous Snakes and their Mimics of Panama and Costa Rica
Systematics of New World Curtonotum Macquart (Diptera: Curtonotidae)

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for the awesome report man! Sounds like it was a great time. By the time I was finished reading I had about 60 tabs of google image searches open in my browser.
    -Tony

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  2. Phenomenal pictures sounds like it was an awesome trip, glad you shared it with us!

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  3. Hi, This is Sarah (who was on the trip with you)'s Mom!! Thank you so much for sharing with us! It was a great account of your trip! I would travel with you guys any day, more hands on vacationing than sitting in some resort. Keep it up!! I will save all your fantastic pictures. Thanks again, Norma Robinson

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  4. Ooooooh, ALL the Algonquinites and a Phil on the same expedition! What a fabulous looking trip guys!!! Making my snowy day in Newfoundland feel a little more tropical!!! Next time can I stow away in your luggage? ;) Margie

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  5. You crazy Hippies! Sounds like an awesome trip!

    Matt Ireland

    ReplyDelete