• Panamá - Darién - Part II

     After the Harpy Eagle hike, we boated to a different location along the river in hopes of finding a Crested Eagle. 

    Oops. It appears to have been raining and yet the river was running low and kept the boat far from the "stairs."

    No worries. Our local guides hopped out into the muck and got right to work arranging things for us.

    Oscar poses for me.

    Must have a handrail.

    Sadly, we were unsuccessful finding the eagles which had been nesting here. Meanwhile it rained hard on us and the mud was legendary. Getting back into the boat was 1) easier because the river water had risen bringing the boat closer to shore and 2) harder because the slipperiness of the mud was indescribable.

    Chestnut-headed Oropendolas

    Nice tights 

    Rufous-breasted Hermit

    This is the second species of hermit nest that I have seen. They were both rather airy, completely unlike the tightly-crafted nests of Rocky Mountain hummingbirds.

    Holographic Morph

    Gorgeous sloth hurrying off the road

    I love sloth sightings so much I always jump up off my bus seat and rush out to see it, like it might fly away or something. They never do.


    Rainbow Whiptail Lizard

    Our guides allowed us to find this bird on our own...well, after they pointed out the tree. It's not as easy as you might think. Great Potoo.

    John's picture gives a good demonstration of the camouflage.

    When it's raining, we don't stop birding. 

    Here's the refugee camp on the river where we were to catch our boat that would take us to visit an indigenous Emberá village.

    I found this interesting. Most of these refugees came from Africa by way of Brazil where they land-trekked to Colombia "before buying passage on small boats to Panama's north Darien coast. They then have to cross the Tarcarcuna mountains and buy passage on small boats to ports with road access to the Pan American highway like this location." ... Gavin Bieber, our US tour guide. Apparently they are hoping to travel further to Costa Rica and then possibly beyond, but for that they would need money and many of them don't have money. The Panamanian police were there. Many refugees are sent back home.

    Some are hoping to get the money for a bus ride north and one of our birders was approached for money. The whole human dilemma is a difficult thing to see.

    Fresh water is provided for them.

    Bathing in the Chucanaque River.

    One of our two dugout canoes arrives.

    I had been looking forward to experiencing these canoes.

    Birding by dugout

    This gentleman poles along the river bank. No motor for him. I'm not sure what he's putting in his basket.

    Riverside living

    These Emberá lovelies greeted us upon our arrival at our village.

    Houses in the Emberá village

    Before lunch we took a short forest hike behind the village.

    Caiman in the water

    John got this great photo of the Purple-throated Fruitcrow

    Upon returning to the village, these girls entertained us with

    three wonderful dances and songs.

    What a great picture Linda got.

    This was the sweet face of the little girl that took me by the hand to lead me up the steps into the village. Deference to the eldest, I assume. Unforgettably sweet.

    And this is the beauty from whom I bought my necklace. These people  reminded me a great deal of the Marshallese people on Ujelang where we lived in the Peace Corps.

    After lunch we went to find a Dusky-backed Jacamar, known to be in the vicinity  up the river.

    We did find a pair, but photography was very challenging as they were so badly backlit they were hard to see, never mind get in focus.

    On the dugout ride back to our bus, we passed by these sights.

    I'm not sure when John got these pictures, but they are stunners. The first is of Greater Ani. Note their light eyes.

    A pair of Gray-cheeked Nunlets with an unfortunate caterpillar.

    I had this Laughing Falcon on the river bank.

    and this White-necked Puffbird.

    Then we went back to Canopy Camp by bus.

    where Geoffroy's Tamarins were waiting.

    and Chestnut-headed Oropendolas.

    On this day I spent some time trying to get the perfect shot of pretty birds on the property. 
    Blue-gray Tanager

    Chestnut-headed Oropendola


    That evening we had drama. Gavin went out with a couple of birders and returned at dusk with a beetle in his ear. On the left is Linda, the lighting engineer, and kneeling next to her is Suann, our veterinarian, trying to extract the barbed beast from out trusting guide. I was of no use, since I could see nothing but blood in the ear canal. Suann said not to worry, she was used to working on dogs. Her diligent efforts were in vain, and  It was near the end of the trip, so Gavin toughed it out until he could see his ENT who was able to extract the barbed bugger which now lives in a jar of preservative in his house. Thankfully Gavin's ear was no worse for its trauma.

    The next day we again encountered mud, this time on a steep hill, so Scott and I elected to spend some time looking for more ordinary fare down below. 

    Ringed Kingfisher

    Gartered Trogon

    Grey-lined Hawk

    Rusty-margined Flycatcher

    On down the road, we had this Southern Lapwing

    and this immature Wattled Jacana.

    Here is a nice shot of the ever-present black Mango female.


    and the male Black-throated Mango

    Scaly-throated Hummingbird

    Rufous-tailed Hummingbird



    This is a Cracker Butterfly

    Here's a great shot John got of a White-necked Puffbird with a dragonfly.

    And John's shot of a Barred Shrike is outstanding!

    Linda sent in this great shot of a Blue Dacnis male and a White-bellied Hummingbird.

    Well, my friends, I hope you have enjoyed the virtual birding of this Panamá trip. It was one of our favorites. You should go if you have a chance. If you do go, don't forget to visit the Panamá Canal. I wonder if we'll be able to go out again....ever.


  • Comments on this post (1 comment)

    • Peter Newmark says...

      Thanks, Carol, for your great trip account and photos. A pity I missed out on the Darien extension but nice to be reminded of the preceding adventures. In lieu of any further trips, I occasionally link up to the Panama Fruit Feeder Cam at Canopy Lodge. But oh for the real thing! Happy New Year, let’s hope. Peter

      January 02, 2021

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