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Panama in November

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Old Tuesday 7th July 2015, 09:45   #1
Jeanie
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Panama in November

Thinking of going to Panama in November. Have seen an itinerary based around Soberania NP for 2 weeks. Know nothing about this country and would value some advice. Have done a lot of travelling re birdwatching but are now in our late 60's/70's and can not do strenuous treks etc.
Would much prefer to use a local guide if possible.
Realise I have left it rather late to book.
Also it it worth booking some free time in the area? Beach/city etc?
Many thanks in advance.
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Old Tuesday 7th July 2015, 10:18   #2
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Have come across this itinerary which seems to give a bit more. Any thoughts?
4 nights in Central Pacific lowland rainforest
3 nights in Caribbean lowland rainforest
2 nights in Central mountains
1 night near Pacific wetlands
3 nights in Western highlands
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Old Tuesday 7th July 2015, 14:17   #3
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Jeanie,
It has been some time since I visited: http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=106934

I seem to remember that November is a quite wet month. If that is of concern to you, that is your decision. At the time we visited, the reputation of Panama City and Colon were not exactly stellar, we much preferred to base ourselves in Gamboa for that reason. I do not know how things have changed since.

I am sure others will chime in.

If you are expecting to have full time guiding, take a look at the canopy tower offers: http://www.canopytower.com/ (disclaimer: I have not stayed at their places, but their newsletter does sound interesting)

Niels
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Old Tuesday 7th July 2015, 14:57   #4
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November should be an excellent month for diversity, with some migrants still heading south, and other NA birds settled into their wintering quarters as well as the resident species. I recommend Boquete, though there are quite a few trails you can do some good birding from a car, birding from the roadside at different altitudes. John Thornblum is an excellent guide and has his own transport. Unsure about the weather but I'd imagine the worst of the hurricane season to be over. Enjoy your trip!
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Old Wednesday 8th July 2015, 09:17   #5
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Many thanks to both of you. I have sent 3 e-mails to different companies and are waiting to hear back. Will look at your recommendations.
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Old Tuesday 14th July 2015, 14:21   #6
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Decided to delay Panama till a drier season so have booked a 5 week cruise starting in Nova Scotia and working it's way down to Canaveral and Bahamas, Bermuda and the Azores and back to the UK. This was cheaper than the quotes we we getting for 2 weeks in Panama!! Now trying to arrange some bird trips from the stops.
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Old Tuesday 14th July 2015, 14:36   #7
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At Cape Canaveral, the must stop is Merritt Island wildlife refuge: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Merritt_Island/

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Old Tuesday 14th July 2015, 15:29   #8
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Typically, the one trip the ship offers with anything to do with birds is at Canaveral. It's a 3 hour trip on a lagoon. Do you know if Merritt island is near the port and if can you hire a guide?
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Old Tuesday 14th July 2015, 15:33   #9
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Have sent them an e-mail. Many thanks for the suggestion.
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Old Tuesday 14th July 2015, 17:48   #10
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E-mail has bounced back.
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Old Tuesday 14th July 2015, 18:48   #11
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Take a look at this BF member. I have not used him as guide but he has been helpful here at BF. He is based in Miami I think, so may also be helpful there - and he may have some knowledge of the situation at Merritt. I have in the past done that area on my own in a rented car with good results (including Florida Scrub Jay). If you decide on that, then the ABA guide to Florida locations is a must.

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Old Tuesday 14th July 2015, 19:03   #12
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Many thanks Niels. I have never been to the USA and googled 'which state is Charleston in.' It said Illinois so I posted on there!!
Have spent this evening trying to work out which states these ports are in.
Is there a way of deleting posts?
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Old Tuesday 14th July 2015, 19:12   #13
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For deleting a post, you need to contact a moderator.

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Old Tuesday 14th July 2015, 20:59   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeanie View Post
Many thanks Niels. I have never been to the USA and googled 'which state is Charleston in.' It said Illinois so I posted on there!!
Have spent this evening trying to work out which states these ports are in.
Is there a way of deleting posts?
If the ship is stopping in Charleston, Jeanie, that is likely South Carolina. There is an active birding community there. You may try Birding Pals (Birdingpal.org); there are several listed in Charleston.
Or try Cathy Miller, and her husband Carl, through her blog - http://pluffmudperspectives.blogspot.com/
Also, you could subscribe to and post for help on the Carolina Birds listserv -
http://www.carolinanature.com/birds/cbirds.html

Merritt Island NWR is a fine place to bird with a large list of birds (158 species for the month of November according to eBird) but the easiest way is driving the 5 mile Black Point Drive. You can use Birding pal once again, (Titusville is the adjacent town), and maybe find someone with a vehicle. It is about 25-30 miles from where I believe the cruise ships dock. Of course, time permitting, you could arrange to rent a car.
Much closer to Canaveral is Ulumay Wildlife sanctuary. Check eBird for the list of what you might see. It lists 43 species for the month of November. Ulumay is only about 4 miles from the port.

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Old Tuesday 14th July 2015, 21:31   #15
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Many thanks Steve. Will look at your links.
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Old Wednesday 15th July 2015, 01:03   #16
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Sounds like a fun cruise, Jeanie; keep a look out for those pelagic species!

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Old Wednesday 15th July 2015, 17:52   #17
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Many thanks for all advice. Have made contact with Carlos so it looks as if Miami is sorted. Also had some more advice on Charleston. Looking good. My only worry is getting off the ship. On previous cruises if the ship was there the day before you could just leave with your cabin card. This being the USA I wonder if they will have set times for getting off. Have asked the cruise company but am not sure they really knew the answer.

Hi Steve, will have to gen up on them. Have done a few cruises and spend the first few days trying to recognise the most common seabirds!! Fingers crossed for some other, friendly, bird watchers on board.
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Old Thursday 16th July 2015, 08:57   #18
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Our trip.

These are the ports we are stopping at.
If anyone knows of bird watching companies in the north that would be great.
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Old Sunday 19th July 2015, 21:05   #19
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Bahamas sorted.
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