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Panama - any updates?

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Old Friday 30th May 2014, 15:01   #1
lewis20126
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Panama - any updates?

Hi all

I'm doing a 3 week trip with friends over this period and am keen on hearing any updates that anyone may have on any of the main sites. Half of our time is on a trek into Darien but we also hope to visit the following locations:
San Fransisco reserve (Yellow-green Tyrannulet), Cerro Azul, Nusagandi (Sapayoa, Speckled Antshrike), Pipeline Road (Rufous-vented Ground-cuckoo), Cerro Santiago (Yellow-green Finch), David area (V Mango) etc.

Any updates on accomodation, sites, birds welcome.

[BTW There is need to mention how good Cana is / was! )

Thanks,
alan
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Old Friday 30th May 2014, 17:09   #2
Andrew Whitehouse
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I'd recommend having a look on Ebird, if you've not done so already. The popular sites in Panama are fairly well served by it. That's likely to be most up to date info.

I was there for two weeks in early April but only visited Pipeline Road and Cerro Azul of the sites you mention. RVGC was seen while I was there but not by me, which was annoying. I know it was seen between the first and second bridges, which seems to be a good area generally. I guess finding ant swarms is going to be the most important thing. Let me know if there's anything else you're looking for in that area, and I'll try and remember if and where I saw it! I stayed at Ivan's in Gamboa, which was fine.

Cerro Azul was a bit quiet and I was only there for a couple of nights. The Hummingbird House is worth visiting. Brown Violetear was coming in and you should be able to get Violet-capped Hummer too. The folks who live there know the area well and you should be a good source of gen. I had Tacarcuna Bush Tanager on the upper part of the Vistamares Trail, in the elfin forest. I stayed at this place:
http://gingerhouse-panama.com/
It was good but not too cheap (full board and you get well fed though!). I don't think there are that many other places to stay within the gated community and it may not be easy to visit if you don't have permission to enter.
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Old Friday 30th May 2014, 18:13   #3
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No information for you unfortunately, but I'm really keen to hear about your Darien trek. It has been on my radar for a few years now, so would love to read a trip report from you upon your return. Thanks!

Last edited by ptickner : Friday 30th May 2014 at 18:14. Reason: typo
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Old Friday 30th May 2014, 18:21   #4
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Thanks Andrew,

I think staying a night at the place you suggest may be the best plan for Cerro Azul (ref access etc). Our main target there will be Violet-capped Hummer and I'm hoping we can see that fairly easily (!) with a little time at the feeders.

Do you think there is a good chance of the bush-tanager? We thought it was becoming very difficult on Cerro Azul / Jeffre and had planned to visit another site (which will be a mini-expedition in its own right!)

cheers, alan

BTW, I'm not very good at getting around to doing trip reports - I never seem to find the time!
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Old Friday 30th May 2014, 19:04   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewis20126 View Post
Thanks Andrew,

I think staying a night at the place you suggest may be the best plan for Cerro Azul (ref access etc). Our main target there will be Violet-capped Hummer and I'm hoping we can see that fairly easily (!) with a little time at the feeders.

Do you think there is a good chance of the bush-tanager? We thought it was becoming very difficult on Cerro Azul / Jeffre and had planned to visit another site (which will be a mini-expedition in its own right!)

cheers, alan

BTW, I'm not very good at getting around to doing trip reports - I never seem to find the time!
You should get the VC Hummer at the feeders, although they weren't coming in that much when I was there. I guess if you spend an hour or two looking then you should get them pretty easily.

The folks at the Hummingbird House said I'd be doing well if I got the bush tanager, so I guess it's quite hard. I think they're mainly in the elfin forest, which can be pretty birdless so you could spend hours wandering about not seeing much and still missing it. Those areas are also quite likely to be in cloud too. I think I just got lucky with me view.
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Old Friday 30th May 2014, 22:16   #6
ptickner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewis20126 View Post
BTW, I'm not very good at getting around to doing trip reports - I never seem to find the time!
I understand fully. Maybe you could just post or pm me a bit of the logistics (wheres, whens, with whom, etc.). Thanks.

Paul
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Old Saturday 31st May 2014, 04:27   #7
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Hola Lewis:
The best way to find the updates about where to go birding in Panama is by visiting XENORNIS.
The latest news are 2 new species to Panama: Maguari Stork and Spot-fronted Swift! 990 species is our new total.
Azuero Parakeets and Azuero Doves are visiting regularly the Velasquez Farm in Mariato. Check with Tanager Tourism for more info.
"The Hummingbird House" or the Ahrens home in Cerro Azul is getting the Violet-capped Humminbird and Brown Violetear too.
In San Francisco Forest Reserve there is a group of White-fronted Nunbirds hanging around and Central American Pygmy Owl.

Great birding
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Old Wednesday 19th November 2014, 20:25   #8
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Beny

many thanks for the update, we'll keep an ear out for that Pygmy-owl - a much wanted bird after missing it in Mexico.

Plans for the trip are full stream ahead but we're still struggling for a nailed on Veruagan Mango site and our Chiriqui Yellowthroat gen is not too hot. Any ideas?

We've decided against staying up at Cerro Azul - we will just do a morning from Panama City, solely for the hummer. The only problem seems to be in contacting the people to arrange access at this site.

Any more info always welcome

cheers, alan
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Old Thursday 20th November 2014, 00:24   #9
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Alan, look at this thread: http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=289786

When I met him, the person mentioned in posts 11-12 had the possibility of arranging access. Remind him of the story of the Dane who ruined two tires on the same pothole to make him smile

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Old Thursday 11th December 2014, 11:07   #10
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last chance - any recent updates?

I've had a look at Ebird - quite good for some stuff but very poor for recent Darien info.

thanks, in advance

cheers, alan
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Old Friday 12th December 2014, 04:20   #11
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Thumbs up More updates!

Lewis20126 here are some tips:
Chiriqui Yellowthroat: go to Finca Ceriana in Volcan (www.fincaceriana.com)
Veraguan Mango: go to David, Chiriqui, the school in front of the airport has some African Tulipan trees. Easiest and must reliable spot in Panama to see the Mango!
For Cerro Azul contact birders view. I can organize a tour if you need!
The new total for Panama is 996! 4 more to the thousand birds!
Cheers
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Old Friday 12th December 2014, 07:59   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frogdoondey View Post
Lewis20126 here are some tips:
Chiriqui Yellowthroat: go to Finca Ceriana in Volcan (www.fincaceriana.com)
Veraguan Mango: go to David, Chiriqui, the school in front of the airport has some African Tulipan trees. Easiest and must reliable spot in Panama to see the Mango!
For Cerro Azul contact birders view. I can organize a tour if you need!
The new total for Panama is 996! 4 more to the thousand birds!
Cheers
Check out birdsofpassage.wordpress.com for some great recent and good info for Panama including the Darian.
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Old Friday 12th December 2014, 08:14   #13
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Beny & dcw

thanks both - I'd picked up the words of passage stuff which is useful. The tips on the Mango and Yellowthroat are very useful.

cheers alan
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Old Saturday 13th December 2014, 02:37   #14
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Has some good information on the Darian as well
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Old Monday 15th December 2014, 12:56   #15
lewis20126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frogdoondey View Post
For Cerro Azul contact birders view. I can organize a tour if you need!
The new total for Panama is 996! 4 more to the thousand birds!
Cheers
Beny

PM sent about Cerro Azul trip

Thank, Alan
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Old Tuesday 13th January 2015, 11:26   #16
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Now returned from this trip;

Fairly successful with trips to Darien with local guide Isaac Pizarro (totals of 1 night El Real, 2 nights Rancho Frio, 3 nights Rancho plastico, 2 nights Cerro Pirre, 1 night Yaviza), also on return by taxi did San Fransisco reserve near Torti (one morning), then self drive covering Nusandi (3 full days but no Xenornis even heard), Pipeline Road (two mornings), Cerro Azul / Jeffe (one full day), Cerro Santiago (one day), Volcan area (2 full days), plus travel days.

I'll not be doing a full trip report but happy to answer any questions on the trips or provide updates on sites. I'll try and post a few more birding highlights and perhaps pictures if I get time

cheers, alan
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Old Tuesday 13th January 2015, 11:29   #17
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Chiriqui Yellowthroat

A female came into tape of male song at the roadside marsh a few km west of Volcan (see site guide)but no male. Perhaps nearly extinct here? The other highlight here was a calling White-throated Flycatcher - a difficult bird outside Mexico.

cheers, alan
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Old Monday 19th January 2015, 13:27   #18
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Cerro Pirre Trek

We had arranged by email fro Isaac Pizarro to act as our guide and he met us on the evening of 20th December at our hotewl in Panama City. Permits were secured by Isaac well in advance. Below is a brief itinerary of the trip to Pirre:

22nd December: 4WD from Panama City to Yaviza then charter boat to El Real. Bought all food for the trip in a Rey supermarket prior to leaving PC. A short stop for nesting Black Oropendola en route. Night in El Real in a "homestay" type arrangement. Short evening walk to local airfield area.

23rd December: 4WD to trail head into Rancho Frio. Birding into Rancho Frio seeing Grey-cheeked Nunlet and Harpy Eagle at nest en route. Night RF - very rundown, hot and humid at night.

24th December - all day in the RF area with early walk to Crested Eagle then up to Black-tipped Cotinga stakeout (2 males) with Plumbeous Hawk en route.

25th December - birding to Rancho Plastico (camping). Highlights of RP area birding were Wing-banded Antbird (2 pairs), Tody Motmot (2 seen), Speckled Mourner (silent trail side bird) also Barred Puffbird, White Hawk, Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Black-crowned Antpitta. No sign of Choco Tinamou despite much trawling.

26th December - birded RP ridge all day (camping)

27th December - hard walk up to Pirre Camp at 1200m, camping. Saw Pirre Warbler very quickly (camping)

28th December - Pirre ridge all day, failing to see Treerunner and Tanager (camping); great views of Great Green Macaw, Choco Tapaculo on ridge. A caling Russet-crowned Quail-dove was tracked down for good views and many others were heard (unresponsive to tape when we were there).

29th December - Pirre ridge until 10am then walk down to Rancho Plastico (camping)

30th December - Rancho Plastico area (pair of Splendid Woodpeckers the highlight), then walk back to Rancho Frio, night here. A nesting pair of Black-breasted Puffbird en route

31st December - early am walk out to road (Northern Royal Flycatcher the highlight) then pick-up back to El Real, boat at 1pm to Yaviza, night in hotel here.

1st January - 4WD with stops in roadside forest north of Yaviza in failed search for Dusky-backed Jacamar (but taped in Rufous-tailed!). Night at Torti with excellent hummingbird feeders.

2nd January - morning visit to San Fransisco reserve for Yellow-green Tyrannulet which showed well, responded to tape and allowed a few photographs. Picked up late am and then driven back to our hotel in PC.

General comments:
Isaac did an excellent job of arrangements. He is by no means a "bird guide" but was perfect for our purposes and knew locations for many of the important birds. had sharp eyes and spotted a number of key species. Camping was in our own 1 man lightweight tents but our rucksacks were carried by porters - we had a team of 5 porters with us most of the time, plus Isaac. One of the porters doubled as the cook but had to be instructed as he is certainly not a cook in the traditional sense!

Given that we had porters, the trek wasn't as tough as we thought it might be. The slog up from RP to Pirre Camp is steep and involves muddy wet rocks and could be difficult for people less fit than our overweight middle aged crew. The most difficult hardship is the lack of water for washing making for a pretty grim week. We were lucky with rain, having almost none on the trip - the trek could have been very unpleasant with a lot of rain!

cheers, a

Last edited by lewis20126 : Monday 19th January 2015 at 13:50.
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Old Monday 19th January 2015, 18:07   #19
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Hey, Alan -
First it sounds like a tough go - lots of traveling, mud, rocks, lack of water, etc. Then you mention porters and cooks and I think pretty cushy trip! It's likely that the trip was both. Your final destination sounds very remote. I'll bet it was great fun birding up there.
Any pictures forthcoming?

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Old Monday 19th January 2015, 19:34   #20
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Hey, Alan -
First it sounds like a tough go - lots of traveling, mud, rocks, lack of water, etc. Then you mention porters and cooks and I think pretty cushy trip! It's likely that the trip was both. Your final destination sounds very remote. I'll bet it was great fun birding up there.
Any pictures forthcoming?

Steve
Steve

Not cushy!

I've uploaded some pictures to Surfbirds world rarities - a few pages back now but search alan lewis on the left side and they will come up. More to come when I have time hopefully.

cheers, alan
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Old Monday 19th January 2015, 23:44   #21
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Found them, Alan, thanks. Good pics!

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