PANAMA - Wrap Up Nov 3-7, 2009

On our final full day at Canopy Tower, we spent an afternoon birding in Gamboa. Our guide Carlos Bethancourt had permission from a homeowner to stock their feeders with fruit and nectar. As soon as he put out this bounty, swarms of birds arrived. One of the stunning birds present in good numbers was Red-legged Honeycreeper. This male was in particularly good fresh plumage.

The diversity of birds at the feeders was impressive. At least five species of tanagers were present including this Palm Tanager - not the most colorful but still this individual posed beautifully for a pic.

While we were at their, the house owner Carmen, came out to say hello. She was annoyed with the many Orange-chinned Parakeets, which she referred to as the 'mafia' because of their aggressive and noisy habits! Still for us, it was great to see them up close.

Our final morning at Canopy Tower was relaxed and we enjoyed some great views of the regulars including this Keel-billed Toucan, which had been enjoying the cecropia fruits.

From Canopy Tower, we moved next to Canopy Lodge in El Valle for three nights. This beautiful facility has excellent rooms, food and great birding right on the grounds. The feeders were always busy, and there we were surprised to find that a pair of Rufous Motmots were regulars here.

Our guide Tino Sanchez proved his worth on the first day when he took us right to a pair of Mottled Owls on a day roost - a real coup! Tino had two remarkable abilities. First, he could get birds in the scope faster than any of us had ever seen. Second, he could whistle almost any bird that chimed off from the forest. As someone who loves to mimic bird sounds, even I was impressed with his abilities.

Our best bird at Canopy Lodge was probably Tody Motmot (great scope views), but we had lots of other good finds. We ended our trip here with an impressive group total of 320 species!

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