Saturday, March 3, 2018

2018 Panama Journal - Day 2 - Part 1


Our day started off with breakfast at 5:45 in the hotel.  All our bags were packed and ready for our 6:30 departure. 

We still had not met any of the other people we will be with this week but as they started gathering in the hotel lobby we got the impression that they all knew each other. 

Our guides arrived and imagine our surprise when we recognized Carlos Bethancourt.  Carlos was our guide 12 years ago when we were at Canopy Tower.  He is, by far, the best guide we have ever had and was recently voted Best Nature Tour Guide 2018 on EcoTripMatch.

Jorge was the other guide and has been with the Canopy Family for 5 years.  He is being mentored by Carlos to become a guide.

Altogether there are 2 guides and 14 guests.  We all piled into 2 vans for our first day of birding. 

Our ride.

Mark and I thought it might be a little awkward being the “odd man out” in a group but we soon discovered that, although the group of 12 all knew one person (the leader of the bunch) they did not know each other.  They turned out to be a great group of folks and everyone was very nice.

The plan for today was to bird our way down the Pan-American Highway to Canopy Camp Darien.

Our drive takes us past mostly teak tree plantations. Teak is a fast-growing and desirable wood for boat building, furniture, carving and floorings, is grown for exportation and economic growth.  The lumber is durable and has good water resistance. 

While driving to our first stop we were able to see a few birds flying such as: Black Vulture, Red-lored Parrot, Great-tailed Grackle, Great Egret, Turkey Vulture, Rock Pigeon and Yellow-headed Caracara.

Time for a break and some quick birding.

After about 2 hours of driving we had our first pit stop.  While everyone was waiting for the bathroom there were plenty of birds to see too.  We saw: Gray-breasted Martin, House Sparrow, Ruddy Ground-Dove, Red-legged Honeycreeper, Tropical Kingbird, American Kestrel, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Blue-gray Tanager, Neotropic Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Anhinga, House Wren (H), Red-crowned Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Elaenia, Scrub Greenlet (H), Little Blue Heron, Variable Seedeater (H), Buff-breasted Wren (H), Cocoi Heron, Streaked Saltator (H), Short-tailed Hawk and Fork-tailed Flycatcher.

Red-crowned Woodpecker male

Short-tailed Hawk

Ruddy Ground-Dove

Next time: Bayano Lake, Bayano Bridge, and Bayano Road.


  1. What a coincidence to know your guide - and such a good guide at that. Very impressive. Wondering if all your mornings are going to be such early ones....

  2. Glad the group turned out to be fine. I was concerned being the odd man out might have made the trip less enjoyable for you.