12 - 19 December 2009
trip reports on the web are from birders based in one of the
birder specific lodges, especially the
We chanced upon an offer from Sell Off Vacations http://www.selloffvacations.com and got eight days at $1500CAN each, all inclusive, so for $3000CAN we had access to the World famous Pipeline Road and adjacent sites and the potential of the Gamboa Resort site’s grounds, all within either walking distance or a cheap taxi ride and all food and drink pre paid, an opportunity not easy to refuse, read on..
flew with Sunwing, the holiday company which actually provided the
vacation and services. The flight out was altered from direct to via
Mexico, a 45 minute lay up and not an issue, in fact it got us to the
16.00 instead of the early hours of Sunday which allowed a little
birding time and a restful night before plunging once more into the
world of birding in the tropics. The return flight was delayed for an
got us back to
didn’t drive this trip, we normally do though and
We only used Canadian strength bug spray and only got mosquito bites when it had worn off. Chiggers are a different matter. We had planned to spray clothes and boots with a permethrin (?) based spray, then it got cold and snowed at home and we had no real opportunity to do it. This proved to be a bad idea and, despite caution as to where we went, we both got chiggered. What are Chiggers? well Google it for the gory details!!!!! Next time we will take pre-sprayed leech socks which should stop the little devils.
health problems related to food, you can drink the water (which can
be an issue even in
Hot, 31 degrees average. Rain was non-existent until the last day when we woke to a couple of hours worth, birded from the balcony and were out by 09.00 after breakfast.
costs $20.00US per person to get out of the country, you pay the
nice person that checks you in for your flight, cash only (I
think). We used US dollars throughout, nothing else was required. We
through customs both ways quickly, although going in the airline gave
wrong form and the customs people had to supply the right one. We were
stopped by the Police anywhere but did have to check in at Cerro Azul.
sites have a fee for entry, on the
the Gamboa offers trips out birding to the
The Gamboa also does a free night drive, albeit in a noisy truck with a reverse beeper! We did two, the first one produced a surprise in the shape of a Black & White Owl, the second one only a White-lipped Peccary which was nice. As it is free it is worth doing a couple of times, just in case, Common Pauraque is almost guaranteed, even of the guide might not be so good at their ID and the guides say they see other owl species too but nothing is really staked out.
little professional help, and to expand our horizons, we
pre-arranged guiding with Birding Panama http://www.birdingpanama.com/
and enjoyed two trips out with them. They collected us at 06.00 at the
and we had full days out as detailed in the sites visited section.
Flew out from
13-Dec: Birded the grounds of the Gamboa. Night drive around Gamboa site. 99 species.
14-Dec: Birded the first 2km of the
16-Dec: Birded the Gamboa site. 114 species.
17-Dec: Visited Cerro Azul, several sites, lots of new birds, full day. 108 species.
19-Dec: All day on the Gamboa site. 127 species.
are several trip reports that we used but by far the best
resource for the Gamboa area is ‘Bird Species of the Gamboa Area’ by
and also visit http://www.canopyreport.com/index.html
for up to date info on recent sightings and more. Ken does not seem to
much time for the Gamboa as birder accommodation and I can understand
cash spent there would be better in the pockets of smaller, birder
outfits. While I agree with this, you take what you can although, ‘next
we’d like to try perhaps Canopy Lodge and or Ivan’s B & B. Other
field guides were the standard ‘Birds of Panama with
The animal guide used was ‘A Field Guide to the Mammals of Central American and
We downloaded a checklist from the web but it was missing birds such as Black Skimmer and Blackpoll Warbler so you might want to double check them, we made our own day by day checklist and did a log each evening after giving the Pauraques a chance to appear as a heard day tick at least.
from the obvious two pairs of bins (plus 1 pair back-ups) we took
a spotting scope (I hate the word spotting) and a lightweight carbon
Digiscoping equipment, a Canon D50 with IS 100x400mm lens, Panasonic
(Sandra’s), umbrellas, wet bags for downpours, sun block, bug spray, a
towel, water bottles, hats. All this stuff
with us most days although we did leave the scope ‘home’ a few times. I
carrying backpacks and have struggled for years to find a side bag that
best serve. I find the Eagle Creek range of bags available (in Quebec)
Sail http://sailbaron.com/ just
can carry the big camera and lens, batteries and cards, water, digikit,
notebook, ipod & speakers and wet bag all in one compact unit. Sail
sell those excellent shirts from the makers
One useful tool we use which is relatively new on the market is the Remembird http://www.remembird.com/ We also had the obligatory ipod with speakers loaded with our entire North and South American birding sounds and extras from Xeno Canto. I don’t know whether its me but when I get sounds from Xeno Canto I just listen to everything I want then go through Internet Explorer properties, view files, sort as MP3, edit then add to the ipod, there might be an easier for the more computer savvy but my way works ok.
the Remembird it is possible to dictate notes with one speaker or
record singers with the other. The quality is pretty fair and, with the
bit of wire, you can replay the sound back to the mystery singer in the
Although we carry the ipod kit on all trips, we have rarely have used
it in the
field before. In
forest inside the boundary of a major city is rare,
just off the road to Gamboa, the ponds were visited on the way
back from the
most people go to the tropics to see the forest species, we also
wanted to do a bit of birding along the sea front. After the morning at
Rising to around 900m the birdlife around Cerro Azul is
different from the
low lying rainforest of the
This fairly new ‘park’ (for want of a better word) lies .5km on a track to the left of the first barrier on the
the trails are well maintained although, if you are watching a
Tawny-throated Leaftosser and step back to change the angle, try not to
arghh loudly as you fall like I did, the leg recovered after a few
big benefit of visiting the
has been written elsewhere about this place. We only birded 2 km
which means that next time we need to go deeper. As previously mentioned, we did a Gamboa trip and were birding
2km from 07.00 onwards. We also did a trip ourselves, taking a taxi
Gamboa to the
The resort itself is a former golf course with add ons. They have several places to eat, a bar, Internet access, a library, spa, pool and ping pong. The rooms vary, birders will want a balcony so should choose the deluxe riverview rooms, the renovated blocks which housed canal workers in years past are said to be nice inside but not so good for hot afternoon balcony birding because you don’t get one.
staff are friendly and, for the most part, efficient. The check in
was quick, box breakfast and lunches supplied on demand and any
answered satisfactorily. They organised our taxi to the
grounds are excellent, I may have said
that before. They comprise of lakes and river (
1, The resort entrance gate to the
3, The Exhibits Road: There are small exhibits which can only be visited as part of a tour from the Gamboa. A Orchid house, Reptile house, some fish tanks etc, the road culminating at the Canopy Aerial Tram base. You pass through kept areas of grass and some good flowering trees, also by two man made swamps (Chunga Marsh) which I’ll cover later, the road is around 1km long.
4, The Hill. Next to the Orchid house is a paved road which climbs steeply. At the top there is a track to the top station where the Aerial Tram stops, then a trail through the woods to a canopy tower, the views are great- its about .75k from bottom to top. Early morning when the tram is not running are the best times to bird here.
5, Sendero (= trail) La Chunga: As you pass a car park for the exhibits you come to a trail with small bridges and a causeway between two square marshy areas (Chunga Marsh), then some forest and trails which loop back to the road about 350m away. The trails we did are not very long but others seems to disappear into the darker areas of forest, we never really got past the Golden-collared Manakin lek, there were always lots of birds to look at. The Chunga Marsh has White-throated Crakes, they show at dusk from the causeway.
6, The road from the exhibits back to the hotel reception area. This section follows the road for about 1km, the hill and its forest edge rises to your right, the kept grounds are to your left. Part way along there is a trail into the forest, we did not get the chance to explore this one but our dawn visits to the area produced plenty of calling birds so they are in there.
7, Sendero La Laguna. This trail is a must, it follows a small stream through good forest to a set of pools. We only did it once and it was very birdy. It starts at the bend in the road down the hill from the hotel car park and emerges just past the complex road entrance checkpoint, it took us two hours to bird even though it is probably only just over 1km long. It would be a good trail to do at first light.
Birding from the balcony: Our room was 246. I would think that any rooms numbered 240, 340 or 440 onwards would suit birders best. The views are great and the balcony birding, for when you just need an hour with a cold drink, is pretty good. We saw or heard 88 species from our balcony and probably missed many more through our habit of going out birding all day. Just a note on the rooms, nice bathroom, sofa, desk, comfy bed, locked minibar, safe big enough for bins and scope etc which you put your own code into, coffee maker, TV (never used), closets etc, very comfortable. On the balcony you have a table, two chairs, a hammock and a sturdy rail so you don’t plunge to your death.
We saw or heard 256 species of birds which was a few more than anticipated but then the Gamboa resort was not that well represented anywhere so we had no idea how good or bad it would be. The final bird count for the Gamboa site only was over 170 species with a good few more surely possible at different times of year, we were told the site list is just over 200 species which seems low.
and dragonflies abound in
Some photos from this trip will be here.
list of birds seen
Species marked * were recorded from the Gamboa Rainforest Lodge.
The systematic list follows the most recent AOU list for convenience. Apologies if English spellings crept in.
Great Tinamou Tinamus major*
Heard daily around the Gamboa. We hiked the Hill one morning, taking the trail up to the base of the tower. Sandra went up, I sat at the base listening to the ipod, trying to sort out some of the songs and calls heard on the way up. I played both Little and Great Tinamou through the speakers a few times while I waited. We headed back along the trail to the Aerial Tram stop and a Great Tinamou started calling a few meters in from the track. We stood patiently and the bird just appeared about 5m away. We watched it for perhaps five minutes as it fed unconcerned by our presence before drifting away.
Little Tinamou Crypturellus soui*
Following shortly after the experience with the Great Tinamou we were birding the Sendero La Laguna at the Gamboa when a Little Tinamou called not far away, we whistled it in and it cautiously came very close before crossing the path and skittering away into the undergrowth. On our last day we were on the Sendero La Chunga trail with a slow moving flock. The arboreal birds had passed through when ant birds arrived. As we were watching a couple of White-bellied Antbirds a Little Tinamou popped up and fed around the same area, eventually settling down for a good preen. While trying to get into position for a picture a second bird came trotting along the path and then saw us, ducking quickly into the undergrowth and away. Although we have heard tinamous on most trips to the tropics, to actually see two species of tinamou very well was very rewarding.
Black-bellied Whistling Duck Dendrocygne autumnalis*
were around the
Gray-headed Chachalaca Ortalis cinereiceps*
Common around the grounds of the Gamboa. There appeared to be a regular roost along the Sendero la Chunga trail.
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus Podiceps*
Two on the
Blue-footed Booby Sula nebouxii
first trip out with Birding Birding (15-Dec) we were taken to a
river outflow in downtown
Brown Booby Sula leucogaster
Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis
Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus*
Common on the coast, a couple seen at the Gamboa.
Anhinga Anhinga anhinga*
Seen daily at the Gamboa, also seen at the
Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens*
Rufescent Tiger-heron Tigrisoma lineatum*
One seen twice was right out in the open. The first time it flew in by the Helipad and just crouched for a couple of minutes before nipping off into the marsh. The second time what was presumably the same immature fed in a small stream by the Orchid House at dusk. As we approached closer it sensed us and adopted the upright defensive posture, effective in reeds, rubbish for hiding when the vegetation is only two inches high.
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias*
One or two around the Gamboa on several dates. One dirty
looking bird at high tide on
Cocoi Heron Ardea cocoi*
was around the Gamboa on three dates, feeding out on low vegetated
islands in the
Great Egret Ardea alba*
Snowy Egret Egretta thula*
A few around the Gamboa.
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerula*
Common around the Gamboa with blue adults and white immatures about equal in number. A few were also at Summit Ponds.
Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor*
One adult around the Gamboa, seen several times.
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis*
Seen on the trip from the airport, at Summit Ponds and occasionally in a small roost at the Gamboa.
Green Heron Butoroides virescens*
Common around the grounds of the Gamboa and at Summit Ponds.
Striated Heron Butoroides striata*
couple were seen at the Gamboa. Interestingly they were always out on
the vegetation islands which drift around the
Boat-billed Heron Cochlearius cochlearius
Four at Summit Ponds roosting.
Wood Stork Mycteria Americana
Two in the Tocumen area on the way back from Cerro Azul 17-Dec.
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus*
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura*
King Vulture Sarcoramphus papa*
couple on one date from the balcony, soaring with the other vultures
around the hills above the
Osprey Pandion haliaetus*
Hook-billed Kite Chondrohierax unicatus*
While watching a small group of agitated birds in the marsh behind the helipad Sandra found a Hook-billed Kite watching the action from a low perch and presumably the cause of it. We had a good look at it before it slipped off. A couple of days later what was presumably the same bird drifted past the balcony.
Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus*
One over the Gamboa during the late afternoon balcony watch, 13-Dec.
Snail Kite Rostrhamus sociabilis*
Seen daily around the Gamboa.
Double-toothed Kite Harpagus bidentatus*
Plumbeous Kite Ictinia plumbea
One seen between the airport and the Gamboa on 12-Dec.
White Hawk Leucopternis albicollis
One from the birder’s house at Cerro Azul 17-Dec, 40 feet overhead.
Gray Hawk Buteo nitidus*
The first bird we saw looked entirely white in the bright morning light and may have been leucistic but the tail pattern was normal. A second was seen upsetting things on the Chunga Marsh, 18-Dec.
Short-tailed Hawk Buteo brachyurus
Black Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus tyrannus*
One from the balcony, 13-Dec.
Ornate Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus ornatus
One from the Birder’s House, Cerro Azul, 17-Dec.
Yellow-headed Caracara Milvago chimachima*
Bat Falcon Falco rufigularis
One from the Birder’s House, Cerro Azul, 17-Dec. We later found out that there is a pair at the Gamboa but we never saw them.
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus*
One from the balcony, 16-Dec.
White-throated Crake Laterallus albigularis*
Common and frequently heard calling from all the wet areas of the Gamboa. We tried tape luring but it did not persuade them to show so we just waited on the causeway of Chunga Marsh in the evening and they eventually showed well.
Gray-necked Wood-Rail Aramides cajanea*
twice but never heard! The first two birds were around the Sendero
La Chunga on 14-Dec. Another was around an inlet near the
Purple Gallinule Porphyrio martinica*
Common at Gamboa, almost domesticated around the lakeside restaurant.
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus*
Very common on the
American Coot Fulica Americana*
A couple seen on the
Sungrebe Heliornis fulica
is a species we have looked for in many places without success. I
asked Jose where we might try and he recommended the
Southern Lapwing Vanellus chilensis*
Common at the Gamboa.
Black-bellied Plover Pluvialis squatarola
Wattled Jacana Jacana jacana*
Common in wetlands, very common at the Gamboa.
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius*
Common. Lots off
Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitaria
A few off the
Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca
Willet Tringa semipalmata
Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
Marbled Godwit Limosa fedoa
Sanderling Calidris alba
Western Sandpiper Calidris mauri
large flock of calidrids were moving around
Laughing Gull Leucophaeus atricilla
Franklin’s Gull Lecopheaus pipixcan
one seen on
(Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus)
During the Panama City sea front visit on 15-Dec I (MD) was scanning through the masses when a gull in first-winter plumage flew through the view and out towards a floating group of Laughing Gulls. I followed it and watched it land at the front of the group giving a good size comparison. It was clearly larger and bulkier than the Laughing Gulls and I could see no reason why, besides the obvious geography, it was not a first-winter Lesser Black-backed Gull. I managed to get Jose and Mia onto it and they saw it on the water. Sandra also got a good look before the constant motion of the gulls and other birds lost it from view.
During the flight view the most obvious feature was the solid dark tail band white base to the tail feathers but not clean white. The overall body color was dark with darker primaries, slightly paler head and paler under parts, the bill appeared all dark. The obvious species to expect would have been American Herring Gull but the tail pattern alone ruled out that species. Having seen many thousands of LBBG and hundreds of AMHG I stick by the ID.
As no detailed description can be supplied nor supporting photos the bird is placed in brackets here. I’d be interested in any comments on the ID or alternatives or to hear of any subsequent sightings of the gull.
Royal Tern Thalasseus Maxima*
Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sanvicensis*
couple were off
Rock Pigeon Columba livia
Pale-vented Pigeon Patagioenas cayennensis*
Common, seen daily.
Ruddy Ground-Dove Columbina talpacoti*
Common at the Gamboa.
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi*
Orange-chinned Parakeet Brotogeris jugularis*
Blue-headed Parrot Pionus menstruus*
Not uncommon, usually seen as pairs going to roost in the evenings when upwards of 100+ parrots would fly through the Gamboa.
Red-lored Parrot Amazona autumnalis*
Common. As above
Mealy Parrot Amazona farinose*
Common. As above.
Squirrel Cuckoo Playa cayana*
Four seen, two very well along the
Greater Ani Crotophaga major*
Small groups seen around the Gamboa on a couple of dates.
Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani*
Common in the open fields between the Airport and Gamboa. A few at Gamboa but not seen daily.
Black & White Owl Ciccaba nifrolineata*
We did a night drive (free) at the Gamboa on 13-Dec and were delighted to see a Black & White Owl for prolonged views in a tree by the slipway next to the Reptile House. The same bird was seen three more times by others on the night drives in the same week, in the trees between the initial sighting location and the Aerial Tram dock.
According to some of the Gamboa guides they also see Tropical Screech, Spectacled, Mottled and Crested Owl on the night drives occasionally.
Common Pauraque Nyctidromus albicollis*
Heard most evenings at the Gamboa, seen on each of the two night drives around the Aerial Tram dock, they just sit there while the guides point at them. On the first drive the guide called it a Common Nighthawk which is possible along with a couple of other species so take a good look at them.
Common Potoo Nyctibius griseus
roosting bird was seen at the entrance to the Mono Titi trail at
White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris
A couple were seen from the Birder’s House at Cerro Azul on 17-Dec.
Vaux’s Swift Chaetura vauxi*
Short-tailed Swift Chaetura brachyura*
Common, views from the Gamboa bar (top floor) allow comparison with Band-rumped when the regular swift flock drops below roof height. Structurally they look quite different too.
Band-rumped Swift Chaetura spinicaudus*
The commonest swift, seen well on many occasions.
Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift Panyptila cayennensis
Seen only at
Green Hermit Phaethornis guy
Seen only at the Birder’s House at Cerro Azul.
Long-billed Hermit Phaethornis longirostris*
Seen at the Gamboa on one date, Cerro Azul and the
Stripe-throated Hermit Phaethornis strigularis
White-tipped Sicklebill Eutoxeres aquila
During the trip to Cerro Azul, Nando, who acts as a sort of caretaker at the Birder’s House, mentioned that the Heliconias had started to flower and that White-tipped Sicklebill was now visiting. Following a short trek through the forest we arrived at the flowering area and got onto a sicklebill immediately. The bird fed steadily around the scattered plants before moving on. It seems that the Heliconia flowering season of roughly January to June is the reliable time to see sicklebills.
White-necked Jacobin Florisuga mellivora*
Common and seen regularly.
Violet-headed Hummingbird Klais guimeti
Seen on the Cerro Azul trip on 17-Dec.
Rufous-crested Coquette Lophornis delattrel
A female was regularly bullied by a Rufous-tailed Hummingbird at Cerro Azul, 17-Dec.
Garden Emerald Chlorostilbon assimilis*
A couple of sightings were noted around the ornamental flower beds of the Gamboa.
Violet-bellied Hummingbird Damophila Julie*
Common around the Canal area. Seen daily at the Gamboa.
Sapphire-throated Hummingbird Lepidopyga coeruleogularis*
around Gamboa on
14-Dec and at the
Violet-capped Hummingbird Goldmania voliceps
Seen on the Cerro Azul trip on 1-Dec.
Blue-chested Hummingbird Amazilia amabilis*
Common around the Canal area. Seen daily at the Gamboa.
Snowy-bellied Hummingbird Amazilia Edward*
Fairly common throughout.
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia tzacatl*
White-vented Plumeleteer Chalybura buffoni*
Seen fairly regularly around the canal are
Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer Chalybura uronchrysia
A couple were seen on the Cerro Azul trip.
Slaty-tailed Trogon Trogon massena*
Violaceous Trogon Trogon violaceous*
Blue-crowned Motmot Momotus momota*
Broad-billed Motmot Electron platyrhychum
were seen along the
Ringed Kingfisher Megarceryle torquata*
Seen daily around the Gamboa.
Amazon Kingfisher Chloroceryle amazona*
Seen at the Gamboa & Summit Ponds.
Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle Americana
Seen only at
American Pygmy Kingfisher Chloroceryle aenea*
One seen at the Gamboa on 19-Dec.
Collared Aracari Pteroglossus torquartus*
Yellow-eared Toucanet Selenidera spectabilis
Heard only at Cerro Azul
Keel-billed Toucan Ramphastos sulfuratus*
Chestnut-mandibled Toucan Ramphastos swainsonii*
Red-crowned Woodpecker Melanerpes rubricapillus*
Cinnamon Woodpecker Celeus loricatus*
One with a good mixed flock along the Sendero La Chunga at Gamboa, 19-Dec.
Woodpecker Campephilus melanoleucos
One by the entrance to the
Tawny-throated Leaftosser Scierurus mexicanus
One closely scrutinized along
one of the
Plain Xenops Xenops minutus*
Seen at several locations, fairly common.
Plain-brown Woodcreeper Dendrocincla fuliginosa*
One seen well on the Sendero la Laguna trail at Gamboa, 16-Dec.
Cocoa Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus susurrans*
Common around Gamboa.
Black-striped Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus lachrymosus
Streak-headed Woodcreeper Lepidocalptes souleyeti*
Seen on four dates around Gamboa, all in the same area so perhaps the same one or two birds.
Fasciated Antshrike Cymbilaimus lineatus*
Common around Gamboa.
Great Antshrike Taraba major*
Oh the frustration! One vocalized constantly along the Sendero La Chunga on 19-Dec. We played the tape, it never moved, we tried to work every angle under the tree, still couldn’t see it so heard only!
Barred Antshrike Thamnophilus doliatus*
Fairly common around the open areas of the Gamboa.
Western Slaty-Antshrike Thamnophilus atrinucha*
Once we’d learnt the sounds we found them everywhere.
White-flanked Antwren Myrmotherula axillaries
A few seen along the
Checker-throated Antwren Epinecrophylla fulviventris*
Present on the Hill at Gamboa, common in the forests.
Dot-winged Antwren Microrhopias quixensis*
A common forest edge bird.
Dusky Antbird Cercomacra tyrannina*
Seen along the Pipeline road and on the Hill at Gamboa.
Jet Antbird Cercomacra nigricans*
at Gamboa where the small creek runs behind Chunga Marsh, very
responsive to tapes. Also found at the
White-bellied Antbird Myrmeciza longipes*
Common and easy to see at Gamboa. Heard elsewhere.
Chestnut-backed Antbird Myrmeciza exsul*
Common at Gamboa and along the
Spotted Antbird Hylophylax naeviodes
only saw this at the
Ocellated Antbird Phaenostictus mcleannani*
Heard only at Gamboa.
Black-faced Antthrush Formicarius analis*
Heard at Gamboa and along the
Brown-capped Tyrannulet Ornithion brunneicapillus
Heard only at
Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet Camptostoma obsoletum*
and heard at
Yellow Tyrannulet Capsiempis flaveola*
Common around the Gamboa.
Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet Tyrannulus elatus*
and heard at
Greenish Elaenia Myiopagis viridicata
One at Cerro Azul.
Paltry Tyrannulet Zimmerius vilissimus*
Fairly common and seen at most forest sites.
Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant Lophotriccus pileatus
One seen well at Cerro Azul
Pale-eyed Pygmy-Tyrant Lophotriccus pilarus
One seen well along the
Southern Bentbill Oncostoma olivaceum
Common Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum cinerum
Black-capped Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum nigriceps*
One at Gamboa on 14-Dec only, perhaps overlooked.
Olivaceous Flatbill Rhyncocyclos Olivaceous
Yellow-olive Flycatcher Tolmomylias sulphurescens*
One along the Sendero la Chunga trail, 19-Dec.
Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher Terenotriccus erythurus*
Common, seen at most sites.
Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher Myiobius sulphurescens*
One along the Sendero la Laguna trail at Gamboa.
Eastern Wood-Pewee Contopus virens*
Calling birds at a couple of sites including Gamboa.
Tropical Pewee Contopus cinereus
One at Cerro Azul, 17-Dec.
Acadian Flycatcher Empidonax virescens
empids were seen but only one called sufficiently to identifiy
it, one was heard, seen and recorded at the entrance to
Bright-rumped Attila Attila spadiceus*
Noisy and vocal in the
Dusky-capped Flycatcher Myiarchus tuberculifer*
Panama Flycatcher Myiarchus panamensis*
couple were present around the Gamboa and we saw one at
Lesser Kiskadee Pitangus lictor*
Common at the Gamboa, also at Summit Ponds.
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus*
Boat-billed Flycatcher Megaryhnchus pitangua*
only saw singles along the
Rusty-margined Flycatcher Myiozetetes cayensis*
Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similes*
Streaked Flycatcher Myiodynastes maculatus*
Singles at the Gamboa on three dates.
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus*
Fork-tailed Flycatcher Tyrannus savana*
Always a few at the Gamboa, also seen on the trip from the airport to Gamboa.
Rufous Piha Lipaugus unirufus
One along the
Cinnamon Becard Pachyramphus cinnamomeus*
Fairly common in forest habitats.
White-winged Becard Pachyramphus polychopterus*
One, Gamboa, 19-Dec.
Masked Tityra Tityra semifasciata
One by the barrier through to Summit Ponds.
Blue Cotinga Cotinga natterii*
distant male was seen from the
Purple-throated Fruitcrow Querula purpurata
Four were seen at the
Golden-collared Manakin Manacus vitellinus*
What great birds. A very active lek was located along the Sendero La Chunga and was busy whenever we visited.
White-ruffed Manakin Corapipo altera
One at Cerro Azul, 17-Dec.
Lance-tailed Manakin Chiroxiphia lanceolata
great views of a male and female near the top of the Mono Titi
Blue-crowned Manakin Pipra coronata*
Seen on a couple of dates at Gamboa along the Sendero La Chunga.
Red-capped Manakin Pipra mentalis*
Seen at Cerro Azul on 17-Dec and the Sendero La Chunga at Gamboa, 19-Dec
Scrub Greenlet Hylophilus flavipes*
Tawny-crowned Greenlet Hylophilus ochraceiceps*
Golden-fronted Greenlet Hylophilus aurantiifrons
Lesser Greenlet Hylophilus decurtatus*
at the Gamboa on a couple of dates, also at
Green Shrike-Vireo Vireolanius pulchellus*
A constant caller from all forests. Actually
seen along the
Black-chested Jay Cyanocorax affinis*
One at the Gamboa, 16-Dec.
Gray-breasted Martin Progne chalybea*
Tons were around the Gamboa, we didn’t look at this group otherwise but saw martins daily.
Mangrove Swallow Tachycineta albilinea*
Common at the Gamboa and where ever there was water.
Northern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis*
Common at the Gamboa, this and the next species day roosted en-masse in riverside trees allowing close approach.
Southern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx ruficollis*
Small numbers of this species joined their northern cousins at their day roost at the Gamboa, allowing a nice and instructive comparison.
Cliff Swallow Petrochelidon pyrrhonota*
Two were present in the aforementioned swallow roost on 13-Dec but none after although we did not pay close attention to roosting swallows after the first few days.
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica*
Black-bellied Wren Thyrothorus fasciatoventris*
We were fortunate with this hard to see wren in that they were usually along the Sendero Ka Chunga and were tempted to show by the livelier species in the mixed flocks. We only saw them at the Gamboa.
Rufous-breasted Wren Thyrothorus rutilus*
Seen frequently around the Gamboa trails.
Rufous & White Wren Thryrothorus rufalbus*
Seen and heard frequently around the Gamboa trails.
Buff-breasted Wren Thryothorus leucotis*
Present at a couple of spots around the Gamboa grounds, easy to see at Chunga Marsh in the roadside corner.
Plain Wren Thyrothorus modestus*
House Wren Thyrothorus aedon*
White-breasted Wood-Wren Henichorina leucosticta*
Heard more than seen but we did see them a couple of times at the Gamboa.
Song Wren Cyphorhinus phaeocephalusThis characterful wren was seen well from the trails of the
Clay-colored Thrush Turdus Grayi*
Tropical Mockingbird Mimus gilvus*
Golden-winged Warbler Vermivora chrysoptera*
Not uncommon, seen regularly around the Gamboa. A couple were at Metropolitan Park, 15-Dec, one was at Cerro Azul, 17-Dec.
Tennessee Warbler Vermivora peregrina*
Several seen, commonest at Cerro Azul.
Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia*
Chestnut-sided Warbler Dendroica pensylvanica*
Common. One bird at the Gamboa retained full but bleached summer plumage.
Magnolia Warbler Dendroica magnolia*
One, Gamboa, 16-Dec.
Yellow-rumped Warbler Dendroica coronata
One, Cerro Azul, 17-Dec.
Black-throated Green Warbler Dendroica virens*
Three seen, one each at the Gamboa and
Blackburnian Warbler Dendroica castanea
One at Cerro Azul.
Blackpoll Warbler Dendroica striata*
was at Gamboa on 14-Dec, watched for several minutes as it foraged
alone in streamside vegetation. As we neared the end of the tour of
Black & White Warbler Mniotilta varia*
Common, seen most places.
American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla
One, Cerro Azul.
Prothonotary Warbler Prothonotaria citrea*
Common where the woods meet the wet. We had not seen this beautiful warbler since 1997 and so it was a pleasure to re-aquaint ourselves, they glow.
Worm-eating Warbler Helmitheros vermivorum
a period of flock action part way up the Mono Titi trail at
Northern Waterthrush Seiurus Noveboracensis*
Common and seen daily around the Gamboa.
was seen at
Bananaquit Coereba flaveola*
Not very common or perhaps not very visible. We saw them around the Gamboa and at Cerro Azul.
Rosy Thrush-Tanager Rhodinocichla rosea
excellent views of a singing male at the start of the Mono Titi
Grey-headed Tanager Eucometis penicillata*
common, we saw them along the
White-lined Tanager Tachyphonus rufus
Seen on the
Crimson-backed Tanager Ramphocelus dimidiatus*
Common, we saw them everywhere. We also saw birds at the Gamboa that looked like Passerini’s Tanager, all black with a scarlet rump but you don’t get them there so I’m not sure what they were, I should have photographed one!
Flame-rumped Tanager Ramphocelus flammigerus*
These have yellow rumps and are common at the Gamboa. Note to file, if the species describer is color blind let someone else fill in the details!
Blue-gray Tanager Thraupis episcopus*
Palm Tanager Thraupis palmarum*
Golden-hooded Tanager Tangara larvata*
Speckled Tanager Tangara guttata
Seen at Cerro Azul on 17-Dec, a spectacular tanager.
Plain-colored Tanager Tangara inornata*
Common and not as dull as the name suggests.
Bay-headed Tanager Tangara gyrola
Seen at Cerro Azul, 17-Dec.
Seen at Cerro Azul, 17-Dec, very smart.
Scarlet-thighed Dacnis Dacnis venusta
Seen at Cerro Azul, 17-Dec.
Blue Dacnis Dacnis cayana*
Green Honeycreeper Chlorophanes spiza*
Present at the Gamboa and seen at a couple of other sites.
Shining Honeycreeper Cyanerpes lucidus
Red-legged Honeycreeper Cyanerpes cyaneus*
Streaked Saltator Saltator striatipectus*
Seen at the Gamboa only, always around the Reptile House.
Buff-throated Saltator Saltator maximus*
Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina
Seen at Cerro Azul, 17-Dec.
Slate-colored Seedeater Sporophila schistacea
Variable Seedeater Sporophila Americana*
Common in open country, very variable.
Thick-billed Seed-Finch Oryzoborus funereus
One near Summit Ponds, 15-Dec.
Yellow-faced Grassquit Tiaris Olivaceous
Seen only at Cerro Azul, 17-Dec.
Orange-billed Sparrow Arremon aurantiirostris
Heard a few times around
Black-striped Sparrow Arremonops conirostris*
Seen Cerro Azul, 17-Dec and around Gamboa behind the reptile house.
Hepatic Tanager Piranga flava*
Several at Cerro Azul, 17-Dec, one, a male, at Gamboa, 19-Dec.
Summer Tanager Piranga rubra*
Red-throated Ant-Tanager Habia fuscicauda*
Common at forest sites including Gamboa.
Blue-black Grossbeak Cyanocompsa cyanoides
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus*
Common in open areas.
Yellow-backed Oriole Icterus chrysater
Yellow-tailed Oriole Icterus mesomelas*
Common at the Gamboa, a smart oriole.
Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula*
Three, Gamboa 13-Dec.
Yellow-billed Cacique Amblycerus hoiosericeus
Seen along the
Scarlet-rumped Cacique Cacicus uropygialis*
Yellow-rumped Cacique Cacicus cela*
Chestnut-headed Oropendola Psarocolius wagleri*
Not rare but not as easy to see as some oropendolas.
Yellow-crowned Euphonia Euphonia luteicapilla
Seen only at
Thick-billed Euphonia Euphonia lanirostris*
Fulvous-vented Euphonia Euphonia fulvicrissa
Tawny-capped Euphonia Euphonia anneae
Seen at Cerro Azul only on 17-Dec.
Birds missed: Lots. Several other trip reports have species seen at the Gamboa that we could not find and, obviously, there are many more species in the canal area and other local sites that we never came across. Some species had obviously not yet arrived from their northern breeding grounds, for example we saw no northern vireos.
The systematic list of mammals follows Fiona A Reid’s ‘A Field Guide to the Mammals of Central American and Southeast Mexico’ We saw many Green Iguanas, little lizards, house geckos, tons of butterflies and dragonflies. We saw one Tarantula sp crossing the road near Cerro Azul, it was about the size of a sheep.
Common Opossum Didelphis marsupialis
One was seen on each night drive at the Gamboa.
Central American Woolly Opossum Caluromys derbianus
One seen on the first night drive at Gamboa.
Northern Tamandua Tamandua mexicana
One high in the crown of a tree in
Hoffmann’s Two-toed Sloth Choloepus hofmanni
One along the
Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth Bradypus variegates
lumps were seen at the Gamboa, Cerro Azul and the
Geoffroy’s Tamarin Saguinus geoffroyi
we missed these in
White-faced Capuchin Cebus capucinus
Seen briefly from the trails at the
Mantled Howler Alouatta palliata
Heard daily, a few were seen from the van on the way back from Cerro Azul.
Variegated Squirrel Sciurus variegatoides
Red-tailed Squirrel Sciurus granatensis
Alfaro’s Pygmy Squirrel Microsciurus alfari
On the White-tipped Sicklebill hike at Cerro Azul we saw a tiny squirrel, took its photo and identified it later.
Capybara Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris
Common at the Gamboa. Seen most days and on each night drive.
Central American Agouti Dasyprocta punctata
Common, seen daily in numbers.
White-nosed Coati Nasua narica
Common, seen most days.
Jaguarundi Herpailurus yaguarondi
While birding the Sendero La Chunga we had a ground bird scrabbling away in the vegetation and were focussed on it. I happened to look along the track and saw a low crouching, long thin dark cat with a distinctive small head and long tail. It crossed the track quickly allowing a full view but too quick for Sandra to get onto. It moved on the horizontal plane and did not bound like a domesticated cat. I’m 100% sure it was a Jaguarundi.
Collared Peccary Tayassu sajacu
We disturbed a foraging group
of the trails at the
White-lipped Peccary Discotyles pecari
One was seen at the Gamboa on a night drive.