Tuesday, April 3, 2018

2018 Panama Journal - Day 7 - Part 1

Friday 2/16/18

We had an early morning (5:15) breakfast planned with departure for Nuevo Vigia at 5:45.

Nuevo Vigia, is an Embera indigenous community surrounded by secondary growth dry forest and two small lakes.  The community is accessible by locally made dugout canoes (called piragua). 

We were looking forward to another canoe trip and were a little disappointed to discover that the seasonal bridge had been finished and we would be able to drive over the Tuquesa River. 

This was another bridge that is built after the wet season rains have stopped and will be washed away when the next wet season begins.  The steel and some of the larger logs would be pulled out before the next wet season starts.

There was one tiny problem when we reached the brand new bridge.  There was a backhoe sitting on the bridge.  Carlos joked that we would have to wait for someone with the keys to the backhoe to get here then wait for someone with gasoline then someone who knew how to drive it before the backhoe would be moved. 
Bridge over Tuquesa River.

It was decided that we would go ahead and walk across the bridge and have Oscar wait back with the 2 vehicles and drive them over one at a time once the backhoe was moved.  Oscar is a local guy who is hired by the Camp when an extra driver is needed.  He is super nice, speaks very little English and is amazing at finding very hidden birds.  He wasn’t a guide, he was used as a driver but he had caught the eye of Carlos as someone who would become a great guide in the future.


As soon as we crossed the bridge we noticed Southern Lapwings in the grass. This bird is in the Plover family and is related to familiar birds like our Killdeer.

Southern Lapwing

We birded the road for quite a while seeing lots of great birds. A Greater Ani was perched alongside the road, and displayed its peculiar "broken-nose" look. 

Greater Ani

A new bird for this trip was the Golden-green Woodpecker. This is yet another bird that is found only in this remote corner of Central America, but extends down into South America. 

Golden-green Woodpecker male

A Magnificent Frigatebird soared overhead. 

Magnificent Frigatebird

This Red-crowned Woodpecker could have been called Red-bellied!

Red-crowned Woodpecker 

In addition to birds we saw plenty of Geoffroy's Tamarin. These long tailed monkeys seemed to be everywhere. Some were high in trees while others were in the roadside brush. 

We saw an interesting vine, called the Monkey Ladder Vine. 

Carlos taking a picture of the Monkey Ladder Vine

Close-up of the Monkey Ladder

Next time:  Oscar catches up with us and we make it to the lagoon.


  1. Hmm. Why park the backhoe blocking the bridge? Unless it wasn't ready to be used?

    Great pictures!

  2. Maybe that's where they were when the 3 o'clock siesta whistle blew? I don't know. Things are different in the tropics.