Panama's Canopy Tower & El Valle's Canopy Lodge Jan 04—16, 2018

Posted by Jeri Langham


Jeri Langham

Jeri M. Langham has a Ph.D. in plant ecology from Washington State University, and after 38 years as a professor of biological sciences at California State University ...

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My fabulous co-leader, Carlos Bethancourt, and everyone made it to the Canopy Tower’s Observation Deck for a pre-breakfast morning of birding while sipping coffee or tea. Several Howler Monkey troops had already begun letting the other troops know they survived the night and were still defending their territories.

As dawn approached we began to hear Barred, Slaty-backed, and Collared forest- falcons, plus both Rufous and Broad-billed motmots. As it got lighter, we started seeing birds on all sides of the tower. Highlights at the tower were Keel-billed Toucans, Blue Dacnis, Red-lored and Blue-headed parrots, Bay-headed Tanager, Brown-capped Tyrannulet, and White-necked Jacobin, but the best of all was everyone getting stellar views of Green Shrike-Vireo.

In Cerro Azul, we drove to the home of Jerry and Linda Harrison. This wonderful home and its setting are fantastic, especially the nectar, rice, and banana feeders by the back porch where the hummingbird show defies description. Diversity was excellent as we saw 11 hummingbird species. Among them were Green and Long-billed hermits, Crowned Woodnymph, Bronze-tailed and White-vented plumeleteers, White-necked Jacobin, and Rufous-tailed, Blue-chested, and Snowy-bellied hummingbirds. The rare Violet-capped Hummingbird was one I had not expected, since I have never seen it nor the Violet-headed here. At the end of the new gravel path we could see two Collared Araçaris feeding on bananas. The dazzling colors of one Red-legged, about 35–40 Shining, and a dozen Green honeycreepers were stunning. Thick-billed Euphonias, Bananaquits, and both Hepatic and Summer tanagers added to the spectacle. A splendid Rufous Motmot even came in for the bananas, along with two Black-cheeked Woodpeckers, several Yellow-faced Grassquits, as well as Blue-gray, Palm, and two superb pairs of Crimson-backed tanagers. It was tough to leave this little paradise.

At 3:00 p.m. we met and rode down Semaphore Hill on our way to Gamboa and the Ammo Dump Ponds site where we would hear and see over 50 species from this 100- yard stretch in two hours. Among those seen were Black-throated Mango, Rusty- margined and Social flycatchers, Variable and Yellow-bellied seedeaters, Clay-colored Thrush, Barred Antshrike, Crimson-backed Tanagers, a Rufescent Tiger-Heron eating a large fish, Yellow-tailed Orioles, White-necked Puffbird, Wattled Jaçanas, Greater and Lesser kiskadees, and Pale-vented Pigeon. I never fail to be amazed at how many species we find here.

Read Jeri’s full report in his Field Report.