29 August -- 6 September 2002
by Barry Cooper and Gail Mackiernan
What with the ongoing drought in Maryland, unremitting heat and very slow early migration, we decided to try and go to a place where we could see a lot of birds! The “place” was the relatively new Canopy Tower Lodge, in Panama near Panama City in the former Canal Zone. The Lodge was offering an extremely attractive “Green Season” (read, “wet season”) package, and it was too good to pass up. We took the week package (all-inclusive from transport to food to expert bird-guiding) and added two extra days. A friend from Maryland, Joseph Halpin, joined us. We visited a number of sites near the Lodge, but did not go to any more distant birding areas (such as Achiote Road) that would have involved a special arrangement with the Lodge. We did have the office manager arrange a taxi one morning to visit Metropolitan Park, on the outskirts of Panama City, for some special birds. Although we have visited Costa Rica twice, there were a number of new birds possible for us in Panama, including several hard-to-find species.
Canopy Tower Lodge:
Situated in Parque Nacional Soberania and perched on top of the 900 foot Semaphore Hill, the lodge is a unique converted U.S. radar tower. The ground floor contains the reception area as well as a poster exhibit describing native birds and animals. The first floor contains the so-called “guide rooms” which are less posh and sharing bathrooms. The second floor consists of the main guest bedrooms, which have en suite bathrooms. There are also two suites with more space and amenities. The third floor is a general community area with comfortable couches, etc. Also on this floor is the dining area and a reference library very well stocked with bird and natural history books. Above this is the very impressive observation deck. This provides excellent views of good forest at canopy level, the Panama Canal and in the far distance, Panama City. The observation deck is great for watching parrots, toucans and other canopy species including the Blue Cotinga. It is also good for viewing both local and migrant raptors. The Lodge grounds have a limited number of hummingbird feeders, and plans are in place to increase the number and also, to add a fruit feeder for tanagers and other birds.
We had nothing but praise for all the staff who were very friendly and went out of their way to be helpful. The rooms were clean and comfortable and the food excellent. We were very impressed with Carlos Bethancourt and Jose Soto, the two resident birding guides. Their birding knowledge and skills were absolutely excellent. They had good Leica scopes and Sony mini-disk players for bird calls, and knew how to use them! It was very impressive to see how quickly they got difficult species such as antpittas “in the scope.” We birded a couple of days with Carlos, then with Jose and found both of them top-quality, patient and personable guides.
conditions, insects and related items:
Since it was the wet season, we expected rain every day and generally got it! In fact, on our first couple of days, a storm system was sitting out in the Caribbean and causing rainy conditions throughout the region. After it passed through, the usual tropical pattern reasserted itself: dry mornings with gradual build-up of cloud, and rain in mid-to late afternoon. The birding time lost was minimal although we didn’t have many good owling nights. We never used raincoats, finding an umbrella to be better for birding in rain in warm, humid regions. Sometimes foggy conditions in the morning hampered viewing from the tower but this was rare.
Temperatures at the elevation of the Tower were pleasant and sleeping (with the overhead fan) was no problem. In fact, it sometimes was too cold! However, as the week passed, temperatures at the lower elevations increased and on our last day along the Pipeline Road, it was quite still, hot and humid. (and pretty birdless compared to the start of the week).
The trails we walked were generally quite well-maintained although the Pipeline Road had muddy areas where trucks had scoured the road. Certainly four-wheel-drive is necessary in the wet season to access this area. We wore Wellingtons on this trail and also on Old Gamboa Road (which has a lot of grassy, chiggery-looking areas) and were happy we had them, but a lot of folks just wore regular hiking boots or even sneakers. The main trails at Metro Park are wonderful, but if you want to bird the nursery area for the Yellow-GreenTyrannulet, be warned that it has chiggers!
Before we left for Panama, we sprayed all our socks, our pants and shoes, with Permethrin to discourage chiggers and insects. While birding, we applied DEET cream to our feet and ankles, and to any areas (such as underpants’ waistbands) which had tight elastic against the skin. (30% DEET cream is enough). As a result we never had a chigger. Mosquitoes were an annoyance in some areas, especially at Ammo Dump Ponds and some parts of the Pipeline Road – we used 30% DEET cream or spray and this seemed to work. I would recommend taking Sting-eeze or similar product to apply to insect bites as soon as they happen. No malaria prophylaxis is needed in this part of Panama. We always bring A&D ointment and a prescription hydrocortisone cream to the tropics – the former is best to prevent chafing (which can be a problem when you walk a lot while sweaty, and once severely chafed, you don’t want to walk anywhere!). The cortisone cream is good if you run into an irritating plant or get an insect bite. There were some very annoying wasps at the top of the Tower trying to share our morning coffee and Joe and Barry both got stung once – we were glad for the cortisone cream!
As soon as you leave the Lodge compound you are in the Soberania National Park on a one-mile narrow windy road [Semaphore Hill Road] that leads down to the new road to Gamboa. The Semaphore Hill Road passes through quite good forest and can be very birdy. And because the road dead-ends at the Lodge, it is also very quiet.Our best birds on this road were Ocellated Antbird, Collared Forest Falcon and Great Jacamar.
This trail starts from the Semaphore Hill Road between the bridge and intersection with the Gamboa Road. The trail is narrow, about 4 km long, passes through good forest and parallels a stream. We birded this trail once in the early morning and it was very active particularly with antbirds. Our best birds here were Black-chested Jay, Green Shrike Vireo and a number of antbirds including Spotted and Bicolored.
We spent only a limited time at this site as our one trip to this area was interrupted by rain. It is essentially a wide, slow river inlet (to the Canal) with a lot of floating vegetation, good for waterfowl and species such as Purple Gallinule.
Ammo Dump Ponds
Despite its name the ponds are quite attractive and birdy with Rufescent Tiger Heron, Grey-breasted Wood Rail and White-throated Crake being seen. The ponds are adjacent to the Canal and close to Gamboa with the surrounding areas being mainly scrubby open country. We had Fork-tailed Flycatcher along the railroad lines.
Not suprisingly this was the birdiest area and contained many of the best birds seen. Unfortunately a bridge was down at about 5 km along the Pipeline Road making it impassable beyond this point for vehicles. We could cross the bridge and bird for about another 3 km on foot. Therefore, our birding was concentrated between the entrance gate and 8 km. This was disappointing as much of the better forest and all of the forest trails are beyond 8 km (and where one might have a chance of goodies such as Rufous-breasted Woodpecker or Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo). Just beyond the entrance gate (key needed) the habitat is scrubby growth but this steadily improves to mature second-growth and patches of old growth forest. The best forest and most productive birding was around 5 – 8 km. While we were disappointed about not getting access to all of the Pipeline Road, the birding was still very good. We visited this area on three occasions with the birding being good to excellent on two of these visits. Amongst the many good birds seen here were Slaty-backed Forest Falcon, Great Jacamar, Black-breasted Puffbird and Spectacled Antpitta. We also hit a couple of small ant-swarms with attendant antbirds and woodcreepers.
Old Gamboa Road and Summit Ponds:
The Old Gamboa Road passes through scrubby and poor secondary growth habitat as well as pastures and other open country areas. The road can be accessed either from the golf course side or from the police training academy side, and can be walked both north and south. The Summit Ponds are two medium size, well-vegetated ponds surrounding by a thin strip of woodland (adjacent to the police academy). Both the Jet and White-bellied Antbirds occur in the brushy thickets and both were seen very well. Other interesting birds in this area included Scrub Greenlet, Golden-collared Manakin and many flycatcher species. We heard, but did not see, Rosy Thrush-tanager here as well. The ponds hold a variety of herons including roosting Boat-billed and Capped.
Metropolitan Natural Park.
About a thirty minute drive from the Canopy Lodge and located on the outskirts of Panama City, the park is 650 acres of largely Pacific dry forest. We only had about three hours’ birding here and concentrated on the Mono Tito Trail and a semi-open area behind the bonsai garden used by the park service for growing trees and shrubs for re-planting elsewhere. After paying our $2. entrance fee at the park headquarters building we had the taxi drop us off at the guard station near the “canopy crane” – a research set-up for studying rainforest canopy ecology – which marks the start of the Mono Titi trail. Afterwards we walked back along the Sendero El Robie Trail past the bonsai garden and nursery to the park headquarters where the taxi picked us up. The Mono Tito Trail is reportedly the birdest trail in the park and a good spot for the Rosy Thrush Tanager and Lance-tailed Manakin. In fact, we heard the tanager singing just at the left turn onto the trail from the crane. The Mono Tito Trail leads up a hill through nice forest habitat and was extremely active during our entire time there, with a number of bird flocks; probably the highest concentration of forest birds of our trip was on this trail. The nursery area, with its small trees and open areas, is the location for Yellow-green Tyrannulet, a Panama endemic. We scored nicely with a superb singing male Rosy Thrush-Tanager and the Y-G Tyrannulet and heard but had untickable views of the Manakin. Other species of intereste included Rufous-breasted Wren and Slaty Ant-wren. The area was more birdy than we had expected and definitely warrented a longer visit.
8/28/02 Departed Baltimore-Washington International Airport at about 10.30 a.m. with connection in Houston, Texas and arrived Panama Int. Airport at about 6.45 p.m About 45 minutes car ride to the Canopy Tower Lodge arriving after dark at about 8.00 p.m.
8/29/02 6.00 – 7.30 a.m. Birded from the Canopy Tower observation deck, 8.30 – 11.30 a.m. Summit Ponds and Old Gamboa Road, 3.30 p.m. Chagres River and Gamboa Resort [we were rained out at this site].
8/30/02 Early a.m. raining then 8.30 – 12.00 Semaphore Hill, 1.00 – 2.00 p.m. observation deck, 3.00 – 5.00 Plantation Trail [rain after 5.00 p.m.]
8/31/02 7.00 - 11.30 a.m. Pipeline Road [between 4.9 km & 7.9 km from entrance gate]. 1.30 – 2..00 p.m. observation deck. 3.30 – 6.00 p.m. Pipeline Road [2.5 km to 4.5 km from entrance gate].
9/1/02 6.15 . – 7.30 a.m. Observation deck, 8..00 – 12.00 Plantation Trail, 1.00 – 1.30 observation deck, 3.30 – 6.00 p.m. Gail – Semaphore Hill, Barry and Joe – Plantation Trail.
9/2/02 6.15 – 7.30 a.m. Observation deck, 8.30 – 11.30 a.m. Old Gamboa Road, 1.00 – 1.30 p.m. observation deck, [heavy rain after lunch] 4.00 – 5.00 p.m. Semaphore Hill, 5.00 – 5.30 p.m. observation deck.
9/3/02 7.00 - 12.00 Pipeline Road [between 4.9 km & 7.9 km from entrance gate.]. 2.00 – 2.30 p.m. observation deck, 3.00 – 5.00 Ammo Dump Ponds.
9/4/02 6.30 - 7.00 a.m. Observation deck, 8.45 – 11.30 a.m. Metropolitan Park, 2.00 – 2.45 p.m. observation deck, 3.15 – 5.30 Old Gamboa Road.
9/5/02 6.30 – 11.30 a.m. Pipeline Road [between 2.5 km & 5.00 km from entrance gate] 1.30 – 2.00 p.m. observation deck, 3.30 – 5.45 p.m. Pipeline Road [ from entrance gate to 3. km].
9/6/02 6.15 – 7.15 a.m. Observation deck & immediate vicinity of Lodge. 7.15 – 8.15 drive to Panama International AP. Departed AP 10.30 a.m. arrived Baltimore/ Washington International AP 7.15 p.m.
“Guide to the Birds of Panama” (1989) by Robert Ridgely and John Gwynne Jr., Princeton University Press, was our only field guide. Some of the illustrations could be improved but it was a perfectly acceptable field guide.
We also brought tapes of selected central Panama birds copied from our Costa Rican tape collection. However, since the guides at Canopy Tower had excellent minidisk capabilities, we ended up not using these tapes much. We did use tape-playback on a few occasions.
A number of trip reports on Panama are available from the Canopy Tower web site (www.canopytower.com) and from Blake Maybank’s web site http://www3.ns.sympatico.ca/maybank/main.htm. We also accessed the “Where do You Want to Go Birding In…Today?“ website for Panama at http://www.camacdonald.com/ birding/birding.htm
We recorded 211 species of birds during our stay, of which five were heard only (as noted below). Of the seen birds, about 35-40 of them were new for us.
Great Tinamou Tinamus major
Heard calling regularly at dawn and dusk around the Canopy Lodge and also heard along the Pipeline Road. The only bird seen was roosting about 10 feet up a small tree along (and almost over) the road up to Semaphore Hill at about 9.30 p.m [while we were out owling].
Little Tinamou Crypturellus soui
Only heard calling along the Pipeline Road. Two birds were taped in close but remained out of sight. Based on vocalization, less numerous than the previous species.
Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis
Flocks of up to 100 birds were recorded quite often flying high over the forest & canal.
Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus
Two single birds recorded in the vicinity of the Chagres River.
Anhinga Anhinga anhinga
Single bird seen along the Chagres River.
Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens
Up to four birds recorded virtually daily.
Rufescent Tiger Heron Tigrisoma lineatum
A handsome immature bird seen well at the Ammo Dump Ponds.
Great Egret Ardea alba
Fairly common in suitable habitat with about fifteen birds seen on the drive to the Metropolitan Park.
Snowy Egret Egretta thula
Just one bird recorded [on the drive to Metropolitan Park].
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea
Up to five birds seen on both visits to the Summit Ponds.
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Up to five birds recorded on three dates.
Green Heron Butorides virescens
Up to four birds recorded from both the Summit Road and Chagris River.
Striated Heron Butorides striatus
Interestingly recorded in similar numbers and from the same locations as the prior species. Either this represents an overlap zone or early winter migrants of the prior species. “A Guide to the Birds of Panama” treat the Green and Striated Herons as forms of a single species whereas other authorities consider these as two distinct species.
Capped Heron Pilherodius pileatus
Single individuals of this attractive heron were seen at both the Summit and Ammo Dump Ponds and one seen from the drive to the airport on our last morning.
Boat-billed Heron Cochlearius cochlearius
Small numbers roosting at the Summit Ponds with up to three seen on both visits. Also, one seen at the Ammo Dump Ponds.
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
This species was extremely common and vastly outnumbered all other raptors put together.
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Far less numerous than the preceding species although still quite common and recorded daily.
King Vulture Sarcoramphus papa
A superb adult was viewed briefly soaring above the tree canopy about 8 km along the Pipeline Road.
Osprey Pandion haliaetus
Single birds recorded on two dates over the Canal.
Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus
Small migrant parties of this very attractive raptor were observed from the observation deck at the Canopy Lodge on two dates. The total number of birds was estimated at thirty-five. It was quite enjoyable to actually look down upon some of the kites.
Double-toothed Kite Harpagus bidentatus
A total of three birds recorded along the Pipeline Road, two (an adult and an immature) perched for scope views and one soaring above with prominent white under-tail coverts.
Plumbeous Kite Ictinia plumbea
Only a single bird identified migrating over the observation deck, although several other Ictinia kites seen soaring were probably of this species.
Mississippi Kite Ictinia mississippiensis
An impressive flock of about 100 birds seen migrating over the Old Gamboa Road and smaller numbers seen migrating from the observation deck.
Great Black-Hawk Buteogallus urubitinga
An fine adult and an immature were watched soaring over the forest from the observation deck, and a sub-adult seen overhead along the Pipeline Road.
Short-tailed Hawk Buteo brachyurus
A pair made up of a pale phase male and dark phase female were seen on several occasions from the observation deck. It appeared that they had a nest in the forest quite close to the Lodge as the male performed a number of steep descents into the same location and on one occasion apparently carrying food.
Yellow-headed Caracara Milvago chimachima
Single bird seen briefly along the Old Gamboa Road.
Slaty-backed Forest-Falcon Micrastur mirandollei
Superb scope views of a single perched immature about 6 km along the Pipeline Road. The bird was calling constantly with a repeated, rather nasal ANNH call, quite different from the call of the following species. The immature displayed a pale buff breast with well-marked dark scallop marks. It was somewhat smaller with a shorter tail than the following species but noticeably larger and more powerful than the Barred Forest Falcon we saw in Costa Rica. It was perched only about 10 feet off the ground, and about 20 yards in from the road. Also a second bird heard calling along the Pipeline Road. Brilliant.
Collared Forest-Falcon Micrastur semitorquatus
Suprisingly seen or heard on five of our nine days. Our first sighting was of an immature along the Semaphore Hill Road with scope-filling views. Up to two birds were heard on three different dates – twice from the Pipeline Road and once from the observation deck. The call was single loud, hollow WHAAA note constantly repeated. In fact, on our final day at the Tower it was the first bird heard in the morning [while still in bed!!]. Upon following up on the calls we found two immatures perched and in flight actually in the grounds of the Lodge! With its long slim body, long graduated tail and long legs, it reminded us of a huge Cooper’s Hawk. We were probably fortunate with our timing for forest falcons as, most likely, all the birds represented recently fledged young still under the care of their parents and were calling constantly for food.
Both forest falcons were high up on our hit list and to have such great connections with both species was definitely one of the very high points of the trip.
Bat Falcon Falco rufigularis
A pair were watched from the observation deck flying briefly up from the forest to mob a Short-tailed Hawk. After a couple of minutes of spirited aerial attack, accompanied by a constant KEK-KEK-KEK call, they dropped back out of sight into the forest. In flight they appear very dark overall, save for the obvious white throat and narrow collar.
Gray-headed Chachalaca Ortalis cinereiceps
A party of five birds seen briefly along the Old Gamboa Road.
White-throated Crake Laterallus albigularis
This attractive small crake was quite common at the Ammo Dump Ponds with three birds seen and about six others heard calling.
Gray-necked Wood-Rail Aramides cajanea
About four noisy birds seen at the Ammo Dump Ponds.
Purple Gallinule Porphyrula martinica
A single bird seen at the Chagres River.
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Common at the Chagres River with an estimated twenty birds.
Wattled Jacana Jacana jacana
This attractive jacana was common both at the Chagres River and Ammo Dump Ponds. In all recorded on three dates with a daily maximum of thirty birds.
Black Tern Chlidonias niger
Two birds watched feeding and moving up the Panama Canal [which was otherwise pretty birdless].
Rock Dove Columba livia
A couple of birds seen on two dates in urban areas.
Pale-vented Pigeon Columba cayennensis
Fairly common around the Ammo Dump and to a lesser extent the Old Gamboa Road. Daily maximum was six birds.
Scaled Pigeon Columba speciosa
Suprisingly scarce with just single birds recorded on two dates, both seen from the Tower itself.
Ruddy Ground-Dove Columbina talpacoti
Common around Gamboa with up to twenty seen regularly just driving through the village.
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi
Rather uncommon and usually flushed from forest trails [most often Pipeline Road] with daily maximum was six birds. Also heard regularly, but only seen a few times, along Semaphore Hill Road.
Single birds seen along Pipeline Road and at Metropolitan Park. In both cases the birds were observed actually within the forest (from overlook spots) as they furtively moved out of sight. Much shyer than the preceding.
Violaceous Quail-Dove Geotrygon violacea
Two birds calling along Plantation Trail and several along Pipeline Rd.
Ruddy Quail-Dove Geotrygon montana
Single birds flushed from the Pipeline and Radar Hill Roads and heard calling on several other dates.
Orange-chinned Parakeet Brotogeris jugularis
By far the most numerous Psittacidae although seen in flight & heard calling much more often than seen perched. More numerous in partially disturbed areas than the rainforest. For example common with several roosts around the village of Gamboa. Seen daily with maximum daily estimate of 40 birds. Doubtless with a little effort many more could have been seen.
Brown-hooded Parrot Pionopsitta haematotis
Very small numbers recorded on three dates with good views of four perched birds seen from the observation deck our first morning.
Red-lored Amazon Amazona autumnalis
The most numerous Amozonia parrot and recorded daily. The observation deck was a good spot to observe this and the following species. Maximum daily count was thirty birds.
Mealy Amazon Amazona farinosa
Recorded daily with maximum daily count of fifteen birds.
Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana
Suprisingly scarce being recorded on three dates with a low daily maximum of two birds.
Greater Ani Crotophaga major
Recorded on two dates with two birds seen around the Summit Ponds and six seen on the drive to the airport.
Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani
Four birds seen around the Ammo Dump Ponds were our only record.
Vermiculated Screech-Owl Otus guatemalae
Two birds heard calling in the vicinity of the Lodge.
Crested Owl Lophostrix cristata
Excellent views of a single bird perched at about 9.00 p.m.over the man road to Gamboa close to the junction with the Semaphore Hill Rd. A truly superb bird.
Mottled Owl Ciccaba virgata
Two birds responded to the tape but did not allow views at the bottom of the Semaphore Hill Road.
Common Nighthawk Chordeiles minor
Six birds recorded on two dates migrating over the observation deck.
Pauraque Nyctidromus albicollis
A total of four birds recorded from the Pipeline & Old Gamboa Roads.
Common Potoo Nyctibius griseus
Single bird taped into view at 8.30 p.m. along the Old Gamboa Road.
We were unable to identify many of the high flying Chaetura swifts seen, therefore, the numbers reflected below are substantially low estimates.
Band-rumped Swift Chaetura spinicauda
Common and widespread being seen daily.
Vaux's Swift Chaetura vauxi
Recorded on two dates with a maximum of five birds. The rump of this species shows a almost tawny contrast with the back and wings (rather than gray as in preceding and following species).
Short-tailed Swift Chaetura brachyura
Recorded on two dates totaling three birds
Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift Panyptila cayennensis
Thee birds recorded on two dates with all sightings from the observation deck.
Long-tailed Hermit Phaethornis superciliosus
Single bird well seen along the Pipeline Road and a single bird seen on two occasions at the Lodge feeders.
Little Hermit Phaethornis longuemareus
Single birds recorded on two dates along the Semaphore Hill Road and once along the Pipeline Road, in all cases feeding at “Hot Lips” flowers..
White-necked Jacobin Florisuga mellivora
Up to six birds recorded daily. Easiest to see at the feeders at the Lodge but occasionally also seen in the forest.
Blue-crowned Woodnymph Thalurania colombica
One seen along Semaphore Hill Rd. at flowers; this species was never seen at the feeders at the lodge.
Violet-bellied Hummingbird Damophila julie
Up to two birds regularly seen at the feeders. A very attractive hummingbird.
Blue-chested Hummingbird Amazilia amabilis
Up to four birds seen regularly at the feeders.
Snowy-bellied Hummingbird Amazilia edward
Yet another regular hummer at the Lodge feeders with up to six birds daily.
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia tzacatl
Recorded most often along the Old Gamboa Road. In all seen on three days totaling six birds.
White-vented Plumeleteer Chalybura buffoni
Up to four birds recorded regularly a the Lodge feeders.
Trogons were common forest birds and it was not unusual to see ten or more individuals on a three hour walk.
Violaceous Trogon Trogon violaceus
Recorded on four dates with a daily maximum of four birds. Most sightings from the PipelineRoad and to a lesser extent Semaphore Hill Road.
Black-throated Trogon Trogon rufus
Recorded on three dates with daily maximum of seven birds. The best locations for this species were Plantation Trail and Semaphore Hill Road.
Black-tailed Trogon Trogon melanurus
The least common trogon being recorded just once with two males and a female along the first 2km of the Pipeline Road.
Slaty-tailed Trogon Trogon massena
This large impressive bird was the most common trogon and was particularly common along the Pipeline Road and Plantation Trail. Recorded almost daily with a daily maximum of ten birds.
Blue-crowned Motmot Momotus momota
Single birds seen on four dates mainly on Semaphore Hill and Old Gamboa Roads.
Rufous Motmot Baryphthengus martii
Up to two birds seen &/or heard on five dates with the Pipeline Road and Plantation Trail being the favored locations.
Broad-billed Motmot Electron platyrhynchum
Recorded on five dates with a daily maximum of five birds and being seen most frequently along the Pipeline Road.
Ringed Kingfisher Ceryle torquata
Single birds recorded from the Summit Ponds, Chagres River and Pipeline Rd..
Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana
Up to two birds seen on both our visits to the Summit Ponds.
Black-breasted Puffbird Notharchus pectoralis
This was one of our most sought-after species and proved quite elusive. After hearing but not seeing the birds on two different days we finally scored with nice views of a party of 3 birds about 7 km along the Pipeline Road. Very satisfying.
White-whiskered Puffbird Malacoptila panamensis
Recorded on four dates with daily maximum of four birds. The most productive areas were the Pipeline Road and Plantation Trail. These engaging birds would sit very quietly quite low down in a tree, either singularly or in small parties..
Great Jacamar Jacamerops aurea
Yet another top target species which gave itself up quite quickly with a single bird on our second day on the Semaphore Hill Road. Two additional birds seen along the Pipeline Road at about 6 and 8 km. An extremely handsome, rather motmot-like Jacamar. Much more attractive than depicted in “A Guide to Birds of Panama”.
Collared Aracari Pteroglossus torquatus
Recorded almost daily in small numbers from most of the forested areas visited. The daily maximum was four birds and one of the best places to observe this species [and all the toucans] was in the early morning from the observation deck.
Keel-billed Toucan Ramphastos sulfuratus
Probably the more regularly seen of the two toucans being recorded virtually daily from most of the forested areas visited with a daily maximum of twelve birds.
Chestnut-mandibled Toucan Ramphastos swainsonii
Seen and or heard almost daily with the maximum daily count of ten birds recorded along the Pipeline Road.
Black-cheeked Woodpecker Melanerpes pucherani
Probably the most numerous woodpecker being seen on six dates in a wide variety of habitats and a daily maximum of six birds.
Red-crowned Woodpecker Melanerpes rubricapillus
Very like a pale version of the Red-bellied Woodpecker we see daily in our yard in Maryland. Another common and widespread species being seen almost daily with a maximum daily count of five birds.
Cinnamon Woodpecker Celeus loricatus
Thee birds of this attractive woodpecker were well seen along the Pipeline Road.
Lineated Woodpecker Dryocopus lineatus
Single birds seen along the Old Gamboa Road and perched in a dead tree from the observation deck.
Crimson-crested Woodpecker Campephilus melanoleucos
Recorded on four dates including a party of four birds seen along the Plantation Trail.
Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner Automolus ochrolaemus
We were amazed how few Furnarids we saw. This bird was recorded at about 7 km along the Pipeline Road.
Plain Xenops Xenops minutus
Recorded in small numbers in most forested areas we visited with a daily maximum of four birds.
Plain-brown Woodcreeper Dendrocincla fuliginosa
Three birds each seen along the Plantation Trail and Pipeline Road.
Olivaceous Woodcreeper Sittasomus griseicapillus
Our sole record was a single bird seen at Metropolitan Park.
Northern Barred-Woodcreeper Dendrocolaptes sanctithomae
Again just one sighting, that of a bird at an ant-swarm along the Pipeline Road.
Cocoa [Buff-throated] Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus susurrans
The most widespread woodcreeper being recorded in small numbers in most forested areas including the Metropolitan Park. Daily maximum was three birds.
Black-striped Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus lachrymosus
A handsome bird with its distinctive black and white head & body markings and whinnying call. Recorded on two dates from the Pipeline Road with three birds seen and three other heard.
Antbirds [along with the forest falcons] were the most memorable groups of birds seen. Collectively, they were quite common and diverse [altogether we had sixteen species] including some quite beautiful birds. For us seeing so many species so well in such a short trip was, together with the mind-blowing views of the forest falcons, the trip’s high point..
Fasciated Antshrike Cymbilaimus lineatus
Up to three birds of this very attractive antshrike were recorded almost daily. The Old Gamboa and PipelineRoads and Plantation Trail were all good sites as was the Metropolitan Park.
Barred Antshrike Thamnophilus doliatus
Surprisingly the least numerous antshrike with three birds recorded on two dates. All sightings were in scrubby areas along the Old Gamboa Road.
Western Slaty-Antshrike Thamnophilus atrinucha
The most common and widespread of all the antbirds. This species was recorded daily being seen and heard in virtually all forest and scrubby areas visted. Our daily maximum estimate was twelve birds.
Checker-throated Antwren Myrmotherula fulviventris
Recorded on three dates with a maximum of five birds seen along the Plantation Trail on 9/1.
White-flanked Antwren Myrmotherula axillaris
Recorded on three dates with a maximum of six birds seen along the Plantation Trail on 9/1.
Slaty Antwren Myrmotherula schisticolor
Four birds seen on the Mono Titi Trail in Metropolitan Park. One was seen carrying food to a deep tangle along an embankment.
Dot-winged Antwren Microrhopias quixensis
The most attractive of the antwrens [particularly the rusty breasted female] was recorded on four dates with maximum daily counts of six birds along the Pipeline Road and eight birds along the Plantation Trail.
Dusky Antbird Cercomacra tyrannina
This drab uninspiring antbird was fairly common and widespread [in both forest and scrubby areas] and recorded virtually daily with the maximum daily count of six birds.
Jet Antbird Cercomacra nigricans
After trying unsuccessfully we managed to obtain good views of two birds in a thicket along the Old Gamboa Road. Quite an attractive bird with a most un-antbird like harsh barking call. Also unlike other antbirds, this species kept fairly high [up to eight feet] in the trees.
White-bellied Antbird Myrmeciza longipes
Like the prior species, this very attractive antbird preferred scrubby thickets rather than forested areas. Recorded n four dates with daily maximum of two seen and four heard along the Old Gamboa Road, and another two seen along the first part of the Pipeline Road..
Chestnut-backed Antbird Myrmeciza exsul
rather handsome antbird
was quite common along the Pipeline Road although heard much more often
seen. Its typical two-note call is very similar in tone and quality to
three-note call of the Black-faced Anthrush. In all recorded on four
the daily maximum of two seen and four heard along the Pipeline Road.
recorded on the Plantation Trail.
Spotted Antbird Hylophylax naevioides
A stunning charismatic species which was recorded both along the Pipeline Road and the Plantation Trail. We averaged about three birds seen on most visits to these two sites. – Superb
Bicolored Antbird Gymnopithys leucaspis
Recorded on three dates with daily maximum of eight birds. The most productive sites were the Pipeline Road and at the bottom of the Semaphore Hill Road between the bridge and the start of the Plantation Trail. This species is a flock leader associated with ant swarm bird flocks. It certainly was in evidence on the ant swarms we found along the Pipeline Road.
Ocellated Antbird Phaenostictus mcleannani
This brilliant antbird was recorded on two dates with four birds seen along the Semaphore Hill Road and at least two birds associating with a Pipeline Road ant swarm. We had previously seen this species very well in Costa Rica, and, in fact, it was our top bird of that trip. It therefore ceded the number one antbird slot on this trip to the Spotted Antbird which was a new species for us. Still a truly superb bird.
Black-faced Antthrush Formicarius analis
Suprisingly common and widespread in good forest habitat such as the Piepline Road, Semaphore Hill and Plantation Trail. Invariably heard much more frequently than seen. In fact, we even heard birds calling from our bedroom! Daily maximum was ten birds heard and two seen.
Spectacled Antpitta Hylopezus perspicillatus
One of the trip’s top two birds with scope-filling views of a single calling bird taped into view along the Pipeline Road. Initially, it superficially reminded us of a ovenbird with its heavily streaked underparts and conspicuous eye-ring. This impression was immediately dashed by its extremely long legs, completely tailless look and plump body. Superb
Paltry Tyrannulet Zimmerius vilissimus
Most easily seen from the observation deck where 1-2 birds could be watched feeding in the canopy of the neighboring trees. Recorded on four dates with a daily maximum of four birds.
Brown-capped Tyrannulet Ornithion brunneicapillum
A small short-tailed flycatcher seen mainly along the Pipeline Road. Recorded on three dates with daily maximum of three birds.
Southern Beardless Tyrannulet Camptostoma obsoletum
We were fortunate that our first trip along the Old Gamboa Road was very birdy, particularly for flycatchers. This tyrannulet was seen on this date and proved to be the only one of our trip.
Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet Tyrannulus elatus
Three birds seen over two dates with one along the Old Gamboa Rd. and two at Chagres River/Ammo Dump Ponds.
Forest Elaenia Myiopagis gaimardii
Just a single bird seen on our first visit to the Old Gamboa Rd.
Greenish Elaenia Myiopagis viridicata
Again just one bird seen along the Old Gamboa Rd.
Yellow-bellied Elaenia Elaenia flavogaster
Yet again our sole sighting of this large Elaenia was a single bird seen on our first visit to the Old Gamboa Rd.
Lesser Elaenia Elaenia chiriquensis
A single bird seen along Pipeline Road in a bird flock was our only record.
Yellow-green Tyrannulet Phylloscates flavovirens
This small, active, bright yellowish flycatcher was our only Panamanian endemic .We recorded two birds at Metropolitan Park. They were feeding in a semi-open area used by the park service for growing trees and shrubs for re-planting elsewhere. The species characteristic habit of drooping its wings and flicking its rather long tail was well seen.
Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant Myiornis atricapillus
This minute flycatcher was heard but not too surprisingly not seen [despite diligent taping] along the Pipeline Road.
Southern Bentbill Oncostoma olivaceum
A fairly common forest flycatcher although its drawn-out rasping call was heard more often than the bird was seen. Good views were eventually obtained, and, in all, it was recorded on five dates including Metropolitan Park, Semaphore Hill and Pipeline Road.
Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum nigriceps
A total of four birds recorded on three dates. Most easily seen from the observation deck where birds fed in the canopy of nearby trees.
Brownish Twistwing Cnipodectes subbrunneus
This large, warm-brown flycatcher was seen twice along the Pipeline Road. On both occasions it was low down in secondary grown close to stream crossings.
Olivaceous Flatbill Rhynchocyclus olivaceus
Two birds seen in a small bird flock at the entrance to the Plantation Trail and two more seen along the Pipeline Road.
Yellow-margined Flycatcher Tolmomyias assimilis
Single birds seen along the Pipeline Road and Semaphore Hill.
Golden-crowned Spadebill Platyrinchus coronatus
This strange-looking, charismatic small flycatcher was much anticipated and did not disappoint us. We had excellent views of two birds on the Plantation Trail and another seen on Semaphore Hill. Very entertaining birds.
Royal Flycatcher Onychorhynchus coronatus
Sadly heard but not seen along the Pipeline Road.
Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher Terenotriccus erythrurus
This attractive small flycatcher was a fairly common forest bird recorded from both the Pipeline Road and Plantation Trail. Seen on four dates with daily maximum of four birds. This bird is usually encountered in pairs.
Black-tailed Flycatcher Myiobius atricaudus
Single birds seen briefly along the Old Gamboa and Pipeline Roads.
Eastern Wood-Pewee Contopus virens
Pewees were recorded on six dates. However, as no vocalization was heard our identification is somewhat speculative. Based on plumage most birds [about five in all] were believed to be of this species.
Tropical Pewee Contopus cinereus
At least two birds, noticeably paler than the previous species and with whitish throats, and judged to be Tropical Pewees, were seen at Metropolitan Park. Behavior was also different (foraging lower in small trees, consistent with species’ description in “Birds of Panama.”)
Bright-rumped Attila Attila spadiceus
Recorded briefly twice along the Pipeline Road.
Rufous Mourner Rhytipterna holerythra
Four birds seen over two days along the PipelineRoad.
Dusky-capped Flycatcher Myiarchus tuberculifer
Heard only on the Semaphore Hill Road.
We did not spend a lot of time sorting through all the “Kiskadee” type flycatchers. Therefore, the following accounts are only rough indicators and many birds were left unidentified.
Lesser Kiskadee Philohydor lictor
Three birds seen in the vicinity of the Ammo Dump Ponds, and also heard at Summit Ponds.
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus
Small numbers identified on four dates.
Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarynchus pitangua
Only identified for certain on one date with four birds seen along the Old Gamboa Rd. Almost certainly this greatly underestimated this species’ actual abundance.
Rusty-margined Flycatcher Myiozetetes cayanensis
Recorded on two dates with at least five birds seen along the Old Gamboa Road.
Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis
Apparently the most numerous of this flycatcher group with at last ten birds recorded on most dates.
White-ringed Flycatcher Conopias albovittata
Just a single bird identified in the vicinity of the Ammo Dump Ponds.
Streaked Flycatcher Myiodynastes maculatus
A total of four birds recorded on three dates with sightings from Metropolitan Park, Old Gamboa & Pipeline Roads.
Piratic Flycatcher Legatus leucophaius
Our sole record was a single bird seen along Old Gamboa Road on our first day..
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus
Common and widespread in disturbed and open country areas.
Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus
Two early fall migrants seen from the observation deck.
Fork-tailed Flycatcher Tyrannus savana
A single bird seen in the vicinity of the Ammo Dump Ponds and two birds seen while driving to Metropolitan Park.
Masked Tityra Tityra semifasciata
Recorded on five dates in small numbers of not more than two per day.
Blue Cotinga Cotinga nattererii
This stunning bird is the marquee species of the Canopy Tower Lodge . We observed two-three males quite regularly from the observation deck as they perched in full view in the canopy of the neighboring trees. The best time to see this species was between 6.15 - 7.00 a.m. although birds could be seen at other times from the observation deck. As a canopy-loving species, the cotinga is not all easy to see when birding in the forest. In fact, we saw none at all! This absolutely beautiful bird was the top bird of the trip for Barry.
Purple-throated Fruitcrow Querula purpurata
This large attractive cotinga was most easily seen along the Pipeline Road. In all recorded on five dates with daily maximum of five birds.
Thrush-like Schiffornis Schiffornis turdinus
Regrettably [for Gail] only a single bird heard singing along the Pipeline Road and none seen. Still a blocker!
Golden-collared Manakin Manacus vitellinus
A stunning male was watched displaying along the Old Gamboa Rd. on our first day and couple of drab females seen in the same general area.
Lance-tailed Manakin Chiroxiphia lanceolata
Sadly we dipped on this bird at Metropolitan Park although we heard it calling and Gail had frustratingly untickable flight views.
Blue-crowned Manakin Pipra coronata
This small attractive manakin was a fairly common forest bird which we saw on almost every visit to the forest. including Pipeline Rd., Plantation Trail and Semaphore Hill. Usually perched low down in the dark undergrowth and could be quite difficult to see. The daily maximum was six birds.
Red-capped Manakin Pipra mentalis
Another attractive fairly common forest manakin which we saw in most forest areas. Perhaps not quite as numerous as the previous species with a daily maximum of four birds.
Purple Martin Progne subis
A single male picked out amongst the Grey-breasted Martins from the observation deck was no doubt a fairly early migrant.
Gray-breasted Martin Progne chalybea
A common and widespread species seen daily. Quite large numbers could be observed hawing for insects above the observation deck.
Mangrove Swallow Tachycineta albilinea
The most numerous swallow being common and widespread in lowland areas particularly around the Canal.
Southern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx ruficollis
Not nearly as numerous as the previous species but small numbers recorded daily.
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Recorded virtually daily mainly in lowland non-forest ed areas.
Cliff Swallow Pterochelidon pyrrhonota
Two individuals were noted hawking around the observation deck on one day, in company with other swallows and martins. “Birds of Panama” note this as an “uncommon to fairly common” transient throughout in proper season.
Black-chested Jay Cyanocorax affinis
We were delighted to obtain excellent but brief views of at least two birds along the Plantation Trail. They were even more attractive then the illustration in “A Guide to the Birds of Panama” with a brilliant piercing yellow eye, blue “eyebrows” and brighter yellower underparts than illustrated. We later had more distant but longer views of two adults and an immature along the Pipeline Road. – One of the best birds of the trip.
Black-bellied Wren Thryothorus fasciatoventris
This large impressive forest wren was quite common in most forested areas, although its loud dueting song was heard far more than this skulking species was seen. In all recorded almost daily with a daily maximum of ten birds [eight heard and two seen].
Rufous-breasted Wren Thryothorus rutilus
This attractive wren was only seen at Metropolitan Park with three birds well seen along the Mono Titi Trail.
Rufous-and-white Wren Thryothorus rufalbus
Just a single bird seen along the Old Gamboa Road plus two singing individuals along this road.
Buff-breasted Wren Thryothorus leucotis
A total of six birds seen in shrubby areas along Chagras River and in the vicinity of the Ammo Dump Ponds.
House Wren Troglodytes aedon
Recorded on at least three dates totaling 6-7 birds.
White-breasted Wood-Wren Henicorhina leucosticta
Two-three birds seen or heard almost daily in forested and secondary growth habitats.
Song Wren Cyphorhinus phaeocephalus
This attractive and endearing species with its bare blue facial skin rather resembled a cross between a wren and a small antbird. Its attractiveness was further enhanced by a rather beautiful whistled song. Recorded only from the Pipeline Road and Plantation Trail with about 2-3 birds seen and or heard per visit.
Long-billed Gnatwren Ramphocaenus melanurus
Recorded on two dates with up to two birds seen on both Semaphore Hill and Pipeline Road
Tropical Gnatcatcher Polioptila plumbea
Recorded in small numbers in forested areas with the daily maximum of only two birds seen along the Pipeline Road.
Clay-colored Thrush Turdus grayi
Fairly common both in forested and more disturbed areas. The daily maximum count was twelve birds.
Tropical Mockingbird Mimus gilvus
Seen in small numbers on most of our drives through the village of Gamboa [up to four birds a day].
Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus
The most numerous North American migrant with up to six birds being seen daily.
Scrub Greenlet Verdillo flavipes
An adult bird was watched feeding a recently fledged juvenile along the Old Gamboa Road on our first day.
Lesser Greenlet Hylophilus decurtatus
Single birds recorded on four dates. Birds were seen most frequently from the observation deck feeding in the canopy of the nearby trees. The song was quite similar to that of a Red-eyed Vireo.
Green Shrike-Vireo Vireolanius pulchellus
Another one of our top target birds. We had heard this species repeatedly at La Selva in Costa Rica but had been unable to connect with any. The species proved quite elusive also in Panama but eventually we managed to obtain a number of excellent views. It turned out to be a common forest species with its monotonous three noted call [Suprisingly quite similar to a Greater Yellowlegs call!] heard repeatedly throughout the day. Recorded daily with daily maximum of at least ten birds.
Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia
Three birds recorded on two dates.
Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia
Three birds recorded on two dates.
Prothonotary Warbler Protonotaria citrea
We were surprised to see a single bird in the forest high up on the Mono Titi Trail in Metropolitan Park. This is a quite different habitat from the lowland wooded swamps we see them in back home in Maryland.
Rufous-capped Warbler Basileuterus rufifrons
Fairly common on our first day’s birding with at least six birds (both confusing immatures and bright adults) seen along the Old Gamboa Road. Suprisingly no others recorded.
We were surprised and disappointed at the lack of tanager species, particularly in comparison with Costa Rica, probably in part due to the lower altitude of most sites visited..
Plain-colored Tanager Tangara inornata
A common species seen daily with a daily maximum of eight birds. The observation deck was a good spot to observe this species with birds frequenting the nearby trees.
Golden-hooded Tanager Tangara larvata
Seen on just two days with a total of four birds. Seen from both the observation deck and Semaphore Hill.
Blue Dacnis Dacnis cayana
Seen fairly regularly in forested areas with a daily maximum of eight birds. This and the following species were seen regularly from the observation deck.
Green Honeycreeper Chlorophanes spiza
Seen virtually daily with maximum daily total of eight birds.
Yellow-crowned Euphonia Euphonia luteicapilla
Recorded on three dates with a daily maximum of six birds seen in secondary growth in the vicinity of the Ammo Dump Ponds and Old Gamboa Road. All three Euphonia species could be seen from the observation deck.
Thick-billed Euphonia Euphonia laniirostris
Probably the most numerous Euphonia species being seen almost daily with daily maximum of eight birds.
Fulvous-vented Euphonia Euphonia fulvicrissa
Not as common as the two prior species with 1-2 birds seen on four dates.
Blue-gray Tanager Thraupis episcopus
Suprisingly not that common although small numbers were seen on most days.
Palm Tanager Thraupis palmarum
Common and widespread. Normally this would be the first bird seen on entering the observation deck as a couple of tame birds would immediately arrive looking for handouts.
Gray-headed Tanager Eucometis penicillata
Fairly common forest species with the Pipeline Road and Plantation Trail being two reliable sites. In all recorded on seven dates with daily maximum of six birds.
White-shouldered Tanager Tachyphonus luctuosus
Common and widespread in both forested and scrubby habitats, and a common member of bird flocks. Recorded daily with an average of eight birds per day.
White-lined Tanager Tachyphonus rufus
Two birds seen along the Old Gamboa Road.
Red-throated Ant-Tanager Habia fuscicauda
Suprisingly common along the Mono Titi Trail in Metropolitan Park with an estimated twenty birds including quite a few juveniles. Otherwise recorded on three dates with a maximum of six birds along the Plantation Trail.
Crimson-backed Tanager Ramphocelus dimidiatus
Very common on our first visit along the Old Gamboa Road with an estimated twenty birds seen. Suprisingly only seen on three other dates with five more along the Old Gamboa Rd.
Rosy Thrush-Tanager Rhodinocichla rosea
We had frustratingly heard but not seen this shy and skulking species twice along the Old Gamboa Rd. It resolutely ignored tape-playback. As this was another “most wanted” bird it was the main reason for our excursion to the Metropolitan Park. We eventually scored with nice views of a singing male about 6 feet up a tree along the Mono Titi Trail. Very good value.
Streaked Saltator Saltator striatipectus
Recorded on two dates with maximum of five birds along the Old Gamboa Road.
Buff-throated Saltator Saltator maximus
Common along the Old Gamboa Road with an estimated ten birds seen on one visit. In all recorded on four dates.
Blue-black Grosbeak Cyanocompsa cyanoides
Single birds recorded on two dates along the Pipeline Road and three birds seen at Metropolitan Park.
Orange-billed Sparrow Arremon aurantiirostris
Just one sighting of this attractive sparrow with a single bird seen along Semaphore Hill Road between the bridge and the start of the Plantation Trail.
Black-striped Sparrow Arremonops conirostris
Three birds recorded on the road-side edge at Chagres River and three more along the Old Gamboa Road. Quite similar looking to the Olive Sparrow of Texas.
Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina
Fairly common in disturbed and open country areas such as around the Ammo Dump Ponds.
Variable Seedeater Sporophila americanatorqueola
Another common open country species such as the around the Ammo Dump Ponds where we recorded about twelve birds with very little effort.
Yellow-bellied Seedeater Sporophila nigricollis
Just a single bird seen with other seedeaters around the Ammo Dump Ponds.
Lesser Seed-Finch Oryzoborus angolensis
The sole record was a single bird seen along the Old Gamboa Rd.
Great-tailed Grackle Cassidix mexicanus
Large numbers seen from the car on the drive from the Lodge to Metropolitan Park. Also fairly common around the Ammo Dump Ponds and Old Gamboa Rd.
Orchard Oriole Icterus spurius
Two early migrants (both male) were seen around the Ammo Dump Ponds.
Yellow-backed Oriole Icterus chrysater
This rather large attractive oriole was recorded on three dates with a maximum of five birds seen in Metropolitan Park.
Yellow-billed Cacique Amblycercus holosericeus
Our sole record was a party of four birds seen along the Old Gamboa Road.
Scarlet-rumped Cacique Cacicus uropygialis
A common and widespread forest species recorded daily with maximum daily count of twenty birds.
We saw a number of mammals during our stay:
Mantled Howler Monkey Alouetta palliata -- common at Canopy Tower area and also, along the Pipeline Road.
White-faced Capuchin Cebus capucinus -- this species was only seen along the Pipeline Road, where it was common. These are rather aggressive little beasts – one male broke off a branch and advanced at us while waving it while the rest of his troupe departed. An example of tool use?
Geoffroy’s Tamarin Leontocebus goeffroyi-- A real cutey, the little “monkey with a mohawk” was seen primarily along Semaphore Hill Road and Plantation Trail.
Hoffman’s Two-toed Sloth Choloepus hoffmani – Not as common as the following, a few individuals only seen along Pipeline Road and one right over the Semaphore Hill road at night while owling. It was so close that the tiny “sloth moths” which live in its fur were clearly visible flying around it.
Three-toed Sloth Bradypus varigatus – The most common species, seen every day in most locations, including in trees right next to the lodge.
Tamandua Tamandua tetradacyla– One individual of this large anteater was seen along Pipeline Road, as it rapidly disappeared into a burrow at the base of a tree. As we discovered in Costa Rica, these creatures can move quickly when they want to!
Coatimundi Nasua nasua – Common in forested habitat.
Tayra Eira barbara -- One of this weasel-like predator was seen along the Pipeline Road.
Red Brocket Deer Mazama americana – One crossed the Pipeline Road just in front of us. We heard what we assumed to be other snorting and crashing off on occasion.
Varigated Squirrel Sciurus varigatoides– A very handsome squirrel, only seen a couple of times near Gamboa village.
Red-tailed Squirrel S. granatensis – Too common – a lot of “birds” in the trees turned out to be this species.
Capybara Hydrochoerus hydochaeris – One individual seen grazing behind the southernmost pond at the Ammo Dump. It was being harrassed by Jacanas which seemed to be trying to pick insects off its fur.
Central American Agouti Dasyprocta punctata – Very common every where, despite their being hunted by locals.
Brazilian Rabbit Sylvilagus brasiliensis – A forest-dwelling rabbit believed to be of this species was seen a couple of times near the lodge.
White-lined Sac-winged Bat Saccopteryx bilineata – A very small bat which was seen quite often at dusk flitting up and down the trails – about the size (in flight) of a large silk moth.
(A number of other bats were seen but not identified.)
Spectacled Caiman Caiman crocodilus – Seen at Summit Ponds and also, a rather large specimen in a tiny stream along the Pipeline Road.
Basilisk or Jesus Christ Lizard Basiliscus basiliscus--This is the olive-brown species on the Pacific slope; another (green) species is found on the Caribbean slope. Named for its habit of running on surface of the water to escape.
(A number of skinks and anole-types were also seen.)
Two snakes were seen – a dead juvenile Fer-de-Lance (Bothrops asper) crushed to death on the Old Gamboa Road and a large (almost 2 meter), unidentified very glossy “racer”-type snake resembling an Indigo Snake, with a strong iridescent sheen to its grayish-brown skin, which crossed the Pipeline Road in front of our truck.
Insects of interest included Leaf-Cutter Ants (Atta species) and Army Ants (Eciton species) which were encountered primarily along the Pipeline Road.
number of handsome butterflies were seen, at least three species of
the genus Morpho, as well as the Owl
Butterfly, Caligo, and a number of Heliconia
species (and their mimics).
Barry Cooper and Gail Mackiernan
216 Mowbray Road, Silver Spring, MD 20904