PANAMA - CANOPY LODGE
After five days at Canopy Tower, we made the two hour drive over to the equally delightful Canopy Lodge. This beautiful facility is at higher altitude and has a different mix of birds than the tower. It is situated in the town of EL VALLE DE ANTON (known as EL VALLE) about an hour and a half west of Panama City. The town is well known weekend getaway spot for wealthy Panamanians, and even has its own "Millionaires Row" of outrageous weekend homes.
The lodge is away from the main town site and is beautifully designed. You cross a small stone bridge over a creek which almost always has COMMON BASILISK lizards (also known as the Jesus Christ Lizard because it runs over water) in view on the rocks and stream edges below.
Another great feature of the lodge are the fruit and nectar feeders around the grounds. A great diversity of birds attend the feeders throughout the day, and one of the most common is this THICK-BILLED EUPHONIA (this is a male).
The feeders are not to be ignored at night too, as LEAF-NOSED BATS (unknown species) come in to sip nectar at the hummingbird feeders right by the rooms! They only stay for a split second but if you take enough pictures and have a patient companion with a flashlight (thanks Kathi!) then you have a shot an image like this.
The shot I really wanted was the 'business' end of things though, and this took at least thirty shots before the odds were on my side. Here you can see that long nectar lapping tongue!
Again, as with the tower, we basically birded in the mornings and took the afternoons to relax and read and nap (and in my case, to process photos). We spent one particularly productive morning with our guide Moyo (my apologies for the spelling!). One of the birds I was really hoping to photograph on this visit was TODY MOTMOT, and Moyo made a real effort to get us great views of this bird. It was elusive at first but he knew the territories cold and we eventually got fantastic views of this difficult species. El Valle certainly has to be one of the best places to see this species.
And so ended our delightful ten day trip to Panama!