Our last morning at Canopy Camp we awoke to two groups of Howler Monkeys letting everyone know they were in the area.
Breakfast was at 5:00 a.m. this morning. We would be birding our way back to Panama City. Then, after dropping everyone off at the Riande Aeropuerto Hotel, Mark and I will be continuing on to Canopy Lodge. We had a day full of birding to do before we arrived at the hotel.
While we had breakfast our luggage was brought from our room and loaded in the van.
Our first stop was Celsa’s house on the Pan American Highway. Turns out Celsa is the grandmother of the security guard here at Canopy Camp. She has had chickens for years and feeds them every morning. Not long ago a very large, strange looking bird started showing up and eating the chicken food. She mentioned this to her grandson who mentioned it to one of the guides. They came to check it out and a new birding spot was born!
What is the bird eating with her chickens? A Great Curassow! These are very large birds. 35” for the male and 32” for the female. This morning we only saw the female.
Great Curassow female
Celia had built a small blind for the birdwatchers to use. The Curassow got very close a few times.
Celsa was a delightful woman. She didn’t speak any English but was very welcoming. We stayed at her place for over an hour - it took a while for the Curassow to show up. One of the first things we saw was this amazing Leaf-footed Bug.
There were plenty of other birds to see while we were there.
Black-tailed Trogan male
We saw several Red-breasted Blackbirds across the road, but they were pretty far away.
Also perched in the distance was a Gray-lined Hawk. It seemed curious about us, but not curious enough to come any closer!
We noticed that Celsa had a cute little house with beautiful brand new windows and doors. We didn’t go inside but heard that the inside was also beautiful with a brand new up-dated kitchen with marble countertops. Carlos told us that the Canopy Family gives Celsa $5 for every person they bring to her house to see the Curassow and that she has been using the money to remodel her house. We have come to find that the Canopy Family is very generous towards the local people and hire them as often as possible.
Our next stop was the San Francisco Nature Reserve. A private forest reserve owned and managed by the St. Francis Foundation, covering 1,300 acres in eastern Panama Province. The San Francisco Reserve was established in 2001 by Father Pablo Kasuboski, an American priest from Wisconsin who came to Panama in 1988. The reserve serves as a wildlife refuge and protects the headwaters of the main rivers of the area. The foundation, created by Padre Pablo, as Father Kasuboski is called, also works on infrastructure development in the area by building and maintaining aqueducts, roads, schools and churches. The St. Francis Foundation built and maintains the largest private rural aqueduct in all of Panama and Central America.
We didn't see Padre Pablo when we first arrived so we drove on up to the birding areas.
One of the first birds we saw was this Bright-rumped Attila. Yet another of the wide variety of flycatchers in Central America. It barely shows in this picture, but the bird is named for its bright yellow rump.
One of the last birds we saw before we left the Preserve was the iconic Keel-billed Toucan. If you see a Toucan you know that you're in the tropics!
A little jungle humor.
On our way out of the nature reserve we met Padre Pablo.
Father Pablo Kasuboski
We then headed back to Avicar Restaurant. This is the same place we had lunch a week ago on our way to Camp Darien. We watched the bird feeders while having our lunch. We didn't see anything new, but still enjoyed the close-up views of the hummingbirds.
Black-throated Mango male
We filled up with gasoline and made our way to Panama City.
During our six days at Camp Darien we saw 261 different species of birds, 2 different types of Sloths, 4 different species of monkeys, and many other mammals, squirrels, Caiman, Gecko’s, Iguanas, etc.
Birds seen during our last day in the Darien:
Little Tinamou (H), Great Curassow, Rock Pigeon, Pale-vented Pigeon, Plain-breasted Ground-Dove, Ruddy Ground-Dove, Blue Ground-Dove, White-tipped Dove, Squirrel Cuckoo, Striped Cuckoo (H), Smooth-billed Ani, Purple-crowned Fairy, Black-throated Mango, Scaly-breasted Hummingbird, Snowy-bellied Hummingbird, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Magnificent Frigatebird, Great Egret, Cattle Egret, Green Heron, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Plumbeous Kite, Gray-lined Hawk, Mottled Owl (H), Slaty-tailed Trogon (H), Black-tailed Trogon, Whooping Motmot (H), Broad-billed Motmot (H), Barred Puffbird, Pied Puffbird (H), White-whiskered Puffbird, Collared Aracari, Keel-billed Toucan, Olivaceous Piculet (H), Black-cheeked Woodpecker, Red-crowned Woodpecker, Laughing Falcom, Red-throated Caracara, Crested Caracara, Yellow-headed Caracara, American Kestrel), Merlin, Brown-hooded Parrot, Red-lored Parrot, Mealy Parrot, Barred Antshrike, Dusky Antbird (H), White-bellied Antbird (H), Plain-brown Woodcreeper, Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Yellow Tyrannulet, Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet, Yellow-bellied Elaenia, Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher (H), Tropical Pewee, Long-tailed Tyrant, Bright-rumped Attila, Great Kiskadee, Rusty-margined Flycatcher, Streaked Flycatcher, Piratic Flycatcher (H), Tropical Kingbird, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Purple-throated Fruitcrow (H), Golden-collared Manakin, Lesser Greenlet (H), Gray-breasted Martin, Black-bellied Wren (H), Bay Wren, Buff-breasted Wren, tropical Gnatcatcher, Clay-colored Thrush, House Sparrow, Yellow-crowned Euphonia, Thick-billed Euphonia, Lesser Goldfinch, Yellow Warbler, Blue-gray Tanager, Golden-hooded Tanager, Plain-colored Tanager, Blue-black Grassquit, Crimson-backed Tanager, Bananaquit, Variable Seedeater, Streaked Saltator, Dusky-faced Tanager, Black-striped Sparrow (H), Summer Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Red-breasted Blackbird, Great-tailed Grackle, Shiny Cowbird, Baltimore Oriole, Scarlet-rumped Cacique, Crested Oropendola.
Geoffroy’s Tamarin, Howler Monkey, Jaguarundi (Mark only).
Next time: Part 2 - We (eventually) get to our second lodge.