Was out walking along the pipeline road last weekend. Not sure it happens just to me or to everybody but there seam to be days when those birds just don’t want to be seen or my eyes cant find em (even do I hear many quite well) then there are other days when they just seam to sit in front of you and ask please take my picture. Well question: are bird count numbers generally down and might it be to changes in the environment or because of road works going on along the pipeline road? (Also guess it does not help to have so many cars driving along there) A couple weeks ago I did see the Harpy Eagle spotting some howler monkeys (see attached photo), some Trogons and many other birds, this time almost nada. So I exchange the long lens for the macro and look around for strange alien insects and butterflies when suddenly this Blue Chested Hummingbird makes a short appearance (see attached images) nice only wished he would have stayed a bit longer, well anyway for me the hike along the pipeline road is always a refreshing adventure even without seeing to many birds, the fresh air, the many sounds from zirpping to howling filling the rain forest’s air and all the diversity of life forms around, there is never a dull moment. Just standing there experiencing it all is a great and satisfiing feeling, just wish I could be there more often! For more information about the Pipeline Road including a little map from the SSI see this page here and for other great places to hike in Panama see the index here.
Here is another great spot for birdwatching close to Panama City. Located in the Province of Panama about 50 kilometers (one hour drive) west from Panama City. Just a few kilometers after passing Capira a side road takes up up to the park. Campana is Panama’s oldest National Park, being legally established in 1966 in part to protect the Panama Canal watershed. The Park protects 4,925 hectares of great biological diversity. At the parks administratives office at the entrance you need to pay a small fee, they have a little brochure that shows the trails of the area. Some of the bird species reported in the area are for example the are Orange-bellied Trogon, the White tailed Hawk, some rare hummingbirds and many others you can discover as well. Also make sure to wear good hiking shoes as some of the trails are very slippery in the rainy season, and dont try to hold on to the trees that are full of sharp thorns like I did!
The Harpy Eagle catching a Sloth video from Youtube. The Harpy Eagle’s main prey items are tree-dwelling mammals such as monkeys, coatis, and the sloth. You can find this and many more great nature videos here at my other website YourNaturePhotos.com where you also can upload your own nature photos.
The Collared Aracari, Pteroglossus torquatus, is a medium-sized toucan, a near-passerine bird which breeds from southern Mexico to Panama; also Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela. Here in Panama I have seen them around the Pipeline Road in the Soberania National Park, they are mentioned to live also in most of the Darien area, all along the Atlantic Coast and in the Altos De Campana National Park area. The Collared Aracari is primarily an arboreal fruit-eater, but will also take insects, lizards, bird eggs, and other small prey. The sexes are alike in appearance, with a black head and chest and dark olive green upper parts, apart from a red rump and upper tail. For more photos of toucans please see this page here at YourNaturePhotos.com.
Here is an easy short trail not to far from the city that gives you or your visitors a great view of the Soberania National Parks rain forest. Its easy to find along the Road to Gamboa after passing the Summit Gardens. The Charco Nature Trail follows a little creek – the Rio Sardinillia – and features a little waterfall and a pond with pick nick facilities. Be sure to wear good shoes because they might get wet when you cross the creek at some points. You never know what you see along this trail, I have seen many birds as well as mammals like the coatis, howler monkeys and some squirrels. But most impressive are the huge trees along that trail! So enjoy a good days out and you might combine this little hike with a visit to the Summit Garden thats close by.
Lake Gatun – La Arenosa. – Here is another great place to watch Panamas Birds, in this case from a boat on Lake Gatun. La Arenosa, about a one houre drive from Panama City, heading over the Bridge of Las Americas, passing the Arraijan – La Correra Highway and shortly after that at El Espino turn right of the Panamerican Highway towards Cerro Cama and La Arenosa. The road is in good shape and paved all the way. In La Arenosa there are a few spots directly on the lake where you find locals that will rent you one of the small boats for the day including a guide who handles the boat. Most folks go fishing from here on the lake, thats another good way to know the area or just do as we did ask for a tour around the lake to watch the birds and scenery. You will probably see some Snail Kites, Great Black Hawk’s, Great-White-Egret’s and many other Waterfowl birds along the way. Make sure to go early in the morning as in the afternoons in rains often and you don’t want be on the boat when lightning strikes all around. For more pictures from Panama (and where you also can upload your own photos) please see picsfrom.com here.
The Masked Tityra (Tityra semifasciata) is a medium-sized passerine bird. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical or tropical moist mountain forests, and heavily degraded former forest. This one was seen at the entrance of the the Summit Nature Park in Panama where it he also has his nest.
From their website summitpanama.org: “…..The Summit Nature Park-Panama is a center for recreation, education, conservation, and investigation dedicated to reflect and enhance Panama’s tropical and cultural diversity. Inspiring respect and awe, one visitor at a time, one generation at a time.
The first botanical gardens were planted at Summit in 1923 by the United States, part of a program to reproduce and distribute tropical plants from around the world. In 1929 the name “Canal Zone Experimental Gardens” was bestowed upon the site and in 1962 a small collection of native animals was added. In 1979, under the terms of the Torrĳos-Carter Treaties, ownership of Summit reverted to the national government and then to the City of Panama in 1985, when it became known as the Summit Municipal Park and Botanical Garden…..”
The park is easy accessible by a short drive from Panama City on the road to Gamboa, see the Panama Map here for location. This park is a must for any visitor or resident to Panama. First you get to see two of the most impressive birds around: the National bird of Panama: The Harpy Eagle and you can also see the colorful King Vulture besides many others like Macaws, Parrots, Toucans etc plus a wide variety of native animals like the Jaguar some monkeys and much more. It is also a great place for some easy nature walks and a good spot for birdwatching as the place is surrounded by the Soberania National Park, see free flying Toucans, Motmots, Flycatchers, Tanagers, the Masked Tityra (see attached image), Woodpeckers, noisy Parrots and many more. And best of all the admission fee is just one dollar so get out there and enjoy nature!
Please when driving in and around the wildlife parks keep your speed at reasonable levels and not over 80 km/h! Was just yesterday shown by a ANAM park official a dead wild cat, looked like it was either an Ocelot or a Margay, in any case was a sad sight, such a beautiful creature becoming a victim of a speeding car. On roads like for example the on leading to Gamboa that cuts trough the Parque National Soberania its often that we can see wild mammals crossing the road like coatis and others, sadly this time it was a beautiful cat so please next time slow down and watch out! Thanks!