Wednesday, 23 July 2014

A winter trip to the wilds of Panama (intro)


Last summer I began my first full-time consulting job, and during the busy spring season I was lucky to bank a number of weeks of overtime. I took some time for trips to Nova Scotia, Scotland, Portugal, and James Bay, but I still had two weeks left over which I wanted to devote to a trip somewhere warm. I can't take these Ontario winters like I used to....

As the fall approached I began to formulate plans with several others, and when it was all said and done, I had a rough itinerary to Panama with David Bell and Steve Pike. David I had known since second year at the University of Guelph, and in the years since we had birded a lot together, with a highlight being finding a Barn Owl in Stoney Creek. In February 2011 I accompanied him and two others to a Reading Week trip to the southwestern US, which you can read about here. Steve is a birder/naturalist in Windsor who I have birded with quite a bit in the last four years. He usually does at least one big trip a year.

David was taking two months in the winter to do some solo travel to Central America, starting in Mexico and birding his way south. Steve, who had been to Costa Rica earlier in the winter, was planning on flying down about 5 days before me, to bird the Western Highlands in Panama with Dave. I flew in on a Thursday evening, and the plan was to bird the Canal Zone and work our way east, culminating in a few days hiking and camping in the mountains of the Darien Province.

Here is a Google Map showing some of the locations we visited, with the lighter colored baloons representing locations further west and the darker baloons representing location in the Darien. While I was limited mostly to the central and eastern parts of the country, I did get one day in at El Cope, in the western foothills (White Baloon) which is being hidden in the legend.

The next posts will be daily recaps of our time traveling, birding, herping, insecting, and mammaling in sunny Panama. Here is a sneak peak...

Crane Hawk - Old Gamboa Road, Panama

Golden-collared Manakin - Pipeline Road, Panama

Anolis sp. (frenatus?) - Pipeline Road, Panama

Yellow-tailed Oriole - Ammo Ponds, Gamboa, Panama

Harpy Eagle - near Rancho Frio, Darién, Panama

Hyalinobatrachium aureoguttatum (Atrato Glass Frog) - Racho Frio, Parque Nacional Darién, Panama


  1. You forgot Cerro Azul and Nusagandi on the map! Looking forward to more pics - all I can say right now is damn I need a fixed lens...

    1. Good call! I kinda made the map in a rush as it was taking longer than I had thought...

      Yeah the fixed focal lenses sure make a difference - definitely worth the extra $!