• 2019 Panamá - Western Highlands

    On this leg of the journey we stayed at Los Quetzales, a quaint lodge in Cerro Punta in the town of Guadalupe near the 11,398 ft mountain Volcán Barú. This smallish town is REALLY cute, the weather is nice and cool (elevation 6,500 ft) , the traffic is not bad, and there are amazingly healthy flowers everywhere. Fruits, vegetables, chocolate, coffee and wine grow there; in other words, it's heavenly.

    But before arriving, we did some birding along the way. 

    Blue-headed Parrots

    Note the pink chest

    Pale-billed Woodpeckers, male and female

    Here's the hole they were working on...

    and a visiting Black-cheeked Woodpecker.

    Yeah, that hole might be a bit big for you.

    Great views of a three-toed sloth


    Lattice-tailed Trogon, more commonly seen in the
    Costa Rican portion of the Talamanca Range

    Habitat was changing fast as we moved inland and higher in elevation

    This Cinnamon Becard was curious about us.


    Wedge-billed Woodcreeper

    Great-crested Flycatcher

    Wedge-billed Woodcreeper

    If this is a moth, it is a beautiful one

    I love it when sloths are common sightings

    Blackburnian Warbler

    And we are here at Los Quetzales Lodge in Guadalupe

    The garden

    The first morning after arrival we took off to find a Quetzal

    But first we found other birds in the garden of the ranger's house...and finally when the light came up, this female Scintillant Hummingbird

    And then, voilá, he came....the male Resplendent Quetzal

    Ooh, the color on that tail

    How can he move around in trees with that tail?

    Because bird photographers dream of photographing this unique bird, it is hard to fail to get great shots of this amazing bird, but sometimes conditions just don't allow and that's okay. I'm glad we did not disturb this guy. He was a beauty.

    Close by there was another bird I had been longing to see...the Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher.

    Although he was very cooperative, his delicately-colored light head was hard to bring into contrast with his surroundings, partly because he was mostly in the shade. But in this picture, we can see his yellow eye-ring.

    After a bumpy, rocky ride up the mountain we came to the Volcán Barú Reserve. 

    Which offered this lovely view...I think the volcano is the highest peak in the picture.

    We went on a walk, ate sack lunches

    And had wonderful leisurely views of a proud male Volcano Hummingbird. He was super cooperative.

    Love the lavender gorget.

    Finally near departure time I was able to get a shot of him against a green background.

    And Sue C with her little camera got this beautiful shot.

    Later on the same day we visited a tomato tree farm (and tasted the tomatoes) and had some seated time in front of hummingbird feeders while we waited for our targeted dove to arrive.

    We had this Malachite Lizard

    Sue C. caught this Violetear

    and I got this male Volcano briefly at a flower.

    We had lots of views of the Talamanca Hummingbird (split from the Magnificent),

    sightings of  a female Scintillant Hummingbird female

    and I am excited to report I got a good picture of a Stripe-tailed Hummingbird with a lot of tail showing. You can see the rufous on the top of the wing as it shines through the wing in the good light.

    Sue C. got this great shot of a Talamanca in the fading light at the end of a rainbow.

    The next morning we went on a hike in Las Lagunas Reserve.

    I didn't take my camera up, so I have no pictures.

    A small crossing 

    Later we had good, sunny free hours to explore Los Quetzales grounds and find and photograph birds to our hearts' content. I love that.

    I had to work to get a shot of the beautiful Silver-throated Tanager.

    The Talamanca Hummingbird was always hiding in the sticks.

    along with the Blue-gray Tanager

    and the Clay-colored Thrush

    Here's the Blue-gray Tanager again.

    Surprisingly, this was the first Rufous-collared Sparrow I had seen on the trip, and I think, maybe the last. In other Central and South American countries I've visited they've been very common, but usually in towns, even cities.

    Red-crowned Woodpecker

    Talamanca Hummingbird

    Clay-colored Thrush

    I was excited to snap this shot of a Stripe-tailed Flycatcher, not knowing, of course, what I was snapping.

    and there were flowerpiercers

    and Baltimore Orioles. This one had found a feast of eggs or larvae.

    Chasing the Talamanca around finally yielded an acceptable angle for his gorget.

     Then we packed up and were away, headed toward David which would be the last stop of the trip.

    But along the way there would be more stops. At Paráiso we spent several hours at the Birding Paradise Bed and Breakfast grounds.

    Blue-gray Tanager

    Female Scarlet-rumped Tanager

    We photographers grappled with the difficulty of photographing the Scarlet-rumped Tanager. Something about the red. The camera kept capturing orange where we were seeing red. I shoot in RAW, but I still experienced this. Also the red was so bright and the black was so dark that the bird presented lighting challenges. 

    Here we see the male and female Scarlet Tanager together.

    Buff-throated Saltator

    There were plenty of feeders so we had excellent chances to photograph beautiful neotropical birds that otherwise like to hang around high in the trees. Red-legged Honeycreeper.

    Blue-gray Tanager

    Heliconia. The grounds were planted and cared for specifically to appeal to birds.

    The male Lesson's Motmot provided plenty of opportunity to fiddle around with exposures and backgrounds.



    Blue-gray Tanager

    Female Scarlet-rumped Tanager

    Scarlet-rumped Tanager

    Scaly-breasted Hummingbirds abounded and were quite chatty.

    Palm Tanager

    Sue C enjoyed the Motmots


    The crew at the feeders.

    On the road again we saw a Fork-tailed Flycatcher

    and some Ruddy Ground-doves.

    We had the obligatory birding bus break-down at Macho de Monte. Note the "nature cone" placed by our driver to signal our stoppage to other vehicles.

    We all poked around and saw a number of good birds during our wait for the replacement bus.

    Flying out of David back toward Panamá City. 

    There's always a bit of sadness when we have to say good-bye to fellow birders after a fun time together. I am grateful to be able to stay in touch this way.








  • Comments on this post (8 comments)

    • Karen Palmunen says...

      Absolutely magnificent!

      June 03, 2021

    • Michael Bowen says...

      Great photos, as always, Carol. Difficult to choose a favorite, but that male Red-legged Honeycreeper is special.
      Compliments of the season to you both.
      Let’s hope we can all get out and about again some time in 20121.

      December 19, 2020

    • Carol Blackard says...

      Thank you everyone for your comments. It makes the effort to recover from my computer failure worthwhile if it brings some joy!

      December 15, 2020

    • Leslee and Viola says...

      Absolutely gorgeous photos! What a trip Carol! Thank you for sharing and, teaching me more about birding!

      December 14, 2020

    • Mary Lou Metzger says...

      Thank you! What gorgeous birds! And what a lovely treat this time of year when we’re all seeking some joy!

      December 14, 2020

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