Friday, April 3, 2009

Panama - Part 1

No, I wasn’t captured by a rebel group or got lost in the Panamanian jungle – I’ve been so busy catching up with stuff, I haven’t had time to update my blog.

I left for Panama on March 16th and didn’t arrive at the Tocumen International Airport until the following evening due to delays and misfortune. This is where I met up with Ian Davies and Andrew Spencer who I was going to be birding with the rest of the trip. We left the airport around 8pm and drove east a couple hours to San Blas province. Since there weren’t any accommodations around, we pulled off the side of the road and slept in the car.

Day 1 – We birded Nusagandi, a 60,000 Ha reserve managed by the Kuna Indians. After getting permission from the locals, we headed down a few of the well-maintained trails. Some of the highlights include: Sapayoa, Black-and-yellow Tanager and an awesome ant swarm that attracted approximately 15 Chestnut-backed, 3 Dull-mantled, 20 Bicolored, 1 Spotted and 8 Ocellated Antbirds among others. After a great day, we headed back to Panama City and stayed at the Hostel Amador.

Near Nusagandi Reserve

Southern Lapwing

Day 2 – Unfortunately Ian got sick (which stayed with him for most of the trip) so he stayed in bed today while Andrew and I birded Pipeline Road. This 17km long road is one of the most famous birding localities in Central America. Located within the Soberania National Park, Pipeline Road is only 40 minutes from Panama City. You can only drive in so far so we parked the car and hiked 5 miles roundtrip finding a lot of great birds such as Yellow-green Tyrannulet (endemic), Spectacled Antpitta, Golden-winged Warbler, Cocoa Woodcreeper, Black-bellied Wren along with plentiful toucans, motmots, trogons etc. When birding hit the mid-day low, we headed back to Panama City. After dinner along the canal we stayed another night at the Hostel Amador.

Pipeline Road

White-whiskered Puffbird

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