Monday, April 9, 2018

2018 Panama Journal - Day 7 - Part 5

Friday 2/16/18 continued.

We piled into the vehicles.  Remember the 2 that Oscar had to drive across the bridge once it was clear of the backhoe?

So, altogether we had 3 vehicles.  One van that was not 4-wheel drive and was left at the Pan-American highway on the other side of the bridge, one truck that Mark and I were always in, and one open air truck that held everyone else.

We did see a few birds on the way back. Winner of the "best camouflaged" award goes to this Great Potoo. These unusual nocturnal birds perch on broken off branches, stumps, and even fence posts and manage to look exactly like the object they are on. We've never found one on our own. They are generally pointed out by guides or local who know where they roost.

Great Potoo

Here is a close-up of the Potoo's head. Can you see the beak and the eye? Click on the picture for a better look.

Carlos wanted some plantains for the camp so we stopped while one of the locals took a machete into the jungle and chopped a couple of bunches to take back with us.

We got to the bridge and the backhoe had been replaced by a very large truck that stalled on the bridge.  The owner was nowhere to be found. 

It was well after the lunch hour and getting quite warm.  There was a barge down the river that could be used to take the vehicles across but Carlos didn’t know if there was anyone there.  In keeping the customers (us) as comfortable as possible, it was decided that Oscar would run down to the highway and drive the van back.  We would all get into the van and Oscar and Jorge (the other guide) would drive the remaining two vehicles to the barge in the hopes that someone would be there to get them across.

I don’t know how far Oscar had to run.  When he returned we walked across the bridge and crammed everyone into the van. 

Maybe the bridge wasn't quite ready for traffic.

When we got to the area where the barge was docked we could see Oscar and Jorge on the other side.  As the “joke” goes, the barge was there but they were waiting for someone to bring fuel for the two dugout canoes that moved the barge.

We made it back to Camp and had a very late lunch about 3:30.  Since this was our last night here at the Camp they had a special lunch for us of grilled steak, brown lentils, rice,  salad and warm bread.

We all met up again about 5:00 p.m. to bird around the Camp.  We were tired and Mark and I thought about skipping this outing but decided to go ahead.  We were glad we did as we saw a Double-banded Gray-tail.

The Double-banded Graytail is not a colorful or fancy looking bird, but it is a target species with a tiny range similar to that of the Dusky-backed Jacamar. This was our last chance to see it and once again our guides came through.

Double-banded Graytail

We saw a few other birds as well. We saw a Blue Dacnis pair. The male is bright blue and black, while the female is green with a blue head.

Blue Dacnis male

Blue Dacnis female

This is a Summer Tanager male molting from his yellow first-year plumage to his adult red plumage. He is probably back in the US by now!

Our last time birding the Camp.

We birded for a while then all met back at the common area to go over the bird list.

Oscar had really endeared himself to the group with his hard work driving and spotting birds, and we took up a special collection to thank him. We weren't scheduled to see him again, but Carlos asked him to return before dinner so that the group could say goodbye and give him his tip. What a surprise to see Oscar come back all dressed up, with his wife and two daughters along.

He introduced his family, thanked us and we said our goodbyes. It looks like Oscar is on his way to becoming a guide for Canopy Adventures. They have quite an apprenticeship program that includes learning English, learning all of the bird names and calls, and eventually a trip to the states to participate in guide training and English language immersion. Is was great so see Oscar at the very beginning of this life-changing process.

Dinner was served late (seemed like we had just eaten lunch!) and we went to bed for our last night here at Canopy Camp Darien.

Next time:  Birding our way back to Panama City.

Birds seen this day:

Little Tinamou (H), Pale-vented Pigeon, Ruddy Ground-Dove, Blue Ground-Dove (H), White-tipped Dove, Striped Cuckoo (H), Greater Ani, Smooth-billed Ani, Great Potoo, White-necked Jacobin, Rufous-breasted Hermit, Pale-bellied Hermit, Purple-crowned Fairy, Black-throated Mango, White-vented Plumeleteer, Blue-chested Hummingbird, Sapphire-throated Hummingbird, Violet-bellied Hummingbird, Blue-throated Goldentail, Southern Lapwing, Wood Stork, Magnificent Frigatebird, Neotropic Cormorant, Rufescent Tiger-Heron, Great Egret, Little Blue Heron, Cattle Egret, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, King Vulture, Gray-headed Kite, Crane Hawk, Roadside Hawk, Black-and-White Owl, Black-tailed Trogon, Ringed Kingfisher, Amazon Kingfisher, Green-and-rufous Kingfisher, American Pygmy Kingfisher, Pied Puffbird (H), Gray-cheeked Nunlet, Dusky-backed Jacamar, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Collared Aracari, Keel-billed Toucan, Olivaceous Piculet (H), Red-crowned Woodpecker, Red-rumped Woodpecker, Golden-green Woodpecker, Spot-breasted Woodpecker (H), Cinnamon Woodpecker (H), Lineated Woodpecker, Laughing Falcon (H), Red-throated Caracara (H), Yellow-headed Caracara (H), Blue-headed Parrot, Red-lored Parrot, Black Antshrike, Black-crowned Antshirke (H), White-flanked Antwren, Jet Antbird, Bare-crowned Antbird, White-bellied Antbird (H), Chestnut-backed Antbird (H), Cocoa Woodcreeper, Red-billed Scythebill, Steaked-headed Woodcreeper, Double-banded Graytail, Brown-capped Tyrannulet (H), Forest Elaenia, Southern Bentbill, Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher (H), Royal Flycatcher, Black-tailed Flycatcher, Long-tailed Tyrant, Great-crested Flycatcher, Lesser Kiskadee, Great Kiskadee, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Rusty-margined Flycatcher, Streaked Flycatcher, Piratic Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Masked Tityra, Black-crowned Tityra, Cinnamon Becard, One-colored Becard, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Golden-collared Manakin, Southern Rough-winged Swallow, House Wren, White-headed Wren, Black-bellied Wren (H), Buff-breasted Wren (H), Long-billed Gnatwren (H), Tropical Gnatcatcher, Clay-colored thrush (H), Yellow-crowned Euphonia, Thick-billed Euphonia, Northern Waterthrush, Golden-winged Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Blue-gray Tanager, Palm Tanager, Golden-hooded Tanager, Plain-colored Tanager, White-shouldered Tanager, Flame-rumped Tanager, Crimson-backed Tanager, Red-legged Honeycreeper, Blue Dacnis, Bananaquit, Summer Tanager, Baltimore Oriole, Yellow-rumped Cacique, Crested Oropendola, Chestnut-headed Oropendola.

Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth, Geoffroy’s Tamarin, Howler Monkey (H), Red-tailed Squirrel, House Gecko, Scorpion.


  1. Nice story about Oscar.
    Great pictures again.
    Is the Great Potoo an owl?
    What does the "(H)" mean in your lists? I am guessing it means you heard it but didn't see it?

  2. Potoos are in their own family of only seven species. They aren't birds of prey like owls, but are insectivorous. They actually catch flying insects in the air!

    "H" does mean "heard only". We are pretty good at birding by ear in the US, but in Panama we were often relying on the guides to identify birds by call. We know a few, but not many!

  3. Summer tanager was beautiful!