Black-capped Donacobious, Golden-collared Manakin, Spectacle Owl, Capped Heron

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12 days Fix Dates birding itinerary

 

 to:

  • Central Panama, Canal (Pacific and

 Caribbean)

  • Chiriqui highlands (west to Panama)

 

  • Darien lowlands (east to Panama).

 

 


 

 

- 12 day tour -

 

 

 

 

 

December   Check availability

 

January   Check availability

 

February   Check availability  

 

March   Check availability

 

March   Check availability


 

ITINERARY

ARRIVAL DAY – December 

Arrival at Tocumen International Airport. We will meet you and drive you to Albrook Inn Hotel (included in the tour cost).

Central Panama (Canal + Atlantic and Pacific side)
                                                                          Go Back

DAY 1 – December  :  Metropolitan Nature Park.
You will be picked up at the Albrook Inn Hotel early, so that we can start early birding at the Metropolitan Nature Park in Panama City (470 acres of dry second and young growth forest with patches of grassy areas), giving us the opportunity to search for Lance-tailed Manakin, the endemic Yellow-green Tyrannulet, Rosy Thrush-Tanager (uncommon), Orange-chinned Parakeets, Pheasant Cuckoo (rare) and more. After lunch, depending on the tide you'll be visiting the area of Panama Bay and coastal mudflats searching for Brown Pelican, Magnificent Frigatbird, Great Blue Heron, Cocoi Heron, White Ibis, Mangrove Black-Hawk, Southern Lapwing, Killdeer, Plovers Yellowlegs, Sandpipers and more.  Overnight in Panama City.

DAY 2 – December  :  Pipeline Road.
After an early breakfast, we will drive to Pipeline Road (a secondary forest with some scrubby areas and many streams crossing). We will hear and look for Southern Bentbill, Green Shrike-Vireo, Gray Elaenia, Streak-chested Antpitta, Spotted Antbird, Long-billed Gnatwren, Great Jacamar, Rufous Mourner, Purple-throated Fruitcrow and more. Before lunch, we will visit Ammunition Ponds marshy area, which is very productive any hour of the day, searching for Snail Kite, White-throated Crakes, Ruddy-breasted Seedeaters, Rufescent Tiger-Heron, Variable Seedeater, Smooth-billed Ani and more. After lunch birding will continue until around 3:00pm, when we will drive to Achiote Town. We’ll stop to bird along the road at well known spots like Gatun Lock and Chagres River (Gatun Dam spillway) looking for Road-side Hawk, American Kestrel, Cocoi Heron, Tri-colored Heron, Keel-billed and Chestnut-mandible Toucan, Yellow-headed Caracara. After dinner we will go for a short walk searching for owls, nightjars, nighthawks and pauraques.
 Overnight in Panama City.

 

 Potto by Gonzalo Horna

                                    Potto © Gonzalo Horna

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DAY 3 – December  :  Achiote Road.
Starting early drive and after crossing the Gatun Locks in the Caribbean site of Panama we will walk along parts of Achiote Road, searching for Spot-crowned Barbet, White-headed Wren, Long-tailed Tyrant, Blue Cotinga, White Hawk, Flame-rumped Tanager, Montezuma Oropendola (uncommon) and many other species that can be found here.
At mid morning we will have breakfast with binoculars handy to see the Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Barred and Fasciated Antshrike, Tropical and Common-toddy Flycatcher and others. Later, we will continue walking trails in and to coffee plantation.
Lunch and time permitting we’ll drive and bird on route to a Spanier fort on the north side of San Lorenzo National Park entering a wet lowland tropical forest with areas of mangroves, grass, scrubs, marshes and coastline looking for Straight-billed Wood creeper, White and Black-tailed Trogon, Golden-collared Manakin, Rufous Motmot, Checker-throated Antwren, Piratic Flycatcher, Common Black-Hawk and more on the way to Panama.
 Overnight in Panama City.

                                  
DAY 4 – :  The Rain Forest Observation Tower in Pipeline Rd and flight to David.
Today you are back to Pipeline visiting The Rainforest Observation Tower looking for canopy birds Green-shrike Vireo, Gray Elaenia, Keel-billed Tucan, Black-mandible Tucan, Blue Cotinga later during the morning we’ll go to Old Gamboa Rd for Oropendolas, Caciques and Hummingbirds, Black-breasted Jay, Collared Aracari, White-whiskered Puffbird, Lance-tailed Manakin, Boat-billed Heron, Green Heron, Ringed Green and Amazon Kingfishers, Rusty-margined, Boat-billed, Social Flycatchers and more. Another spot to cover is Summit Gardens and/or Plantation Road (time permitting) to search for the Mask Tityra, Golden-collared Manakin and with the possibilities to find army ant-swarms and many of the birds that follow these ants such as Spotted Antbird, and Ocellated Antbird, Gray-headed Tanager, Plain-brown Woodcreepper. Later in the afternoon you'll flight to David.
Overnight next to La Amistad International Park.

Western Panama - Chiriquí Highlands and Foothills

DAY 5 – :  Los Quetzales Trails
We will go birding early to Los Quetzales Trail in the Parque Internacional La Amistad - part of the Talamanca Mountain Range - an important bird area shared with Costa Rica that protects the largest mountain forest extension in Central America and with a high concentration of endemic species.  We will look for mountain forests species, such as Buffy Tuftedcheek, Ruddy Treerunner, Spotted Barbtail and Scaly-throated Foliage-Gleaner. Heliconias and flowers attract a variety of gorgeous hummingbirds like White-throated Mountain-Gem, Fiery-throated Hummingbird, Volcano-Hummingbird, Magnificent Hummingbird and Violet-Sabrewing. Some other species typical of the area are Yellow-thighed Finch, Large-footed Finch, Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush, and the globally endangered Black Guan (uncommon). Of course, we'll dedicate some time to find the Resplendent Quetzal on the wild avocado trees. In the afternoon we'll try La Amistad (Friendship) International Park. We'll walk part of El Retoño trail looking for Silvery-fronted Tapaculo, Prong-billed Barbet and Wrenthrush (Zeledonia).
Overnight next to La Amistad International Park.

Fasciated Antshrike

                     Fasciated Antshrike  © WillGil

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DAY 6 – :  Volcan Lakes and Macho de Monte
After breakfast you’ll visit the Volcan Lakes a good place to get foothills species not found on the higher slopes of Cerro Punta. Some of the possibilities are the Northern Jacana, Olivaceous Piculet, Pale-breasted Spinetail, Stripe-throated Hermit, Collared Trogon and Golden-winged warbler could be found. After lunch you’ll visit Rio Macho de Monte, a canyon lined wit remnant forest at about 2,500 ft.  A prime bird-watching area where a number of endemic species of the western Pacific lowlands can be found, including the Riverside Wren and with a decent chance of spotting Orange-collared Manakin, Fiery-billed Aracari, Red-headed Barbet, Cherries Tanager and Orange-bellied Trogons. 
 Overnight next to La Amistad International Park.

DAY 7 – :  Santa Clara
On an early start drive toward Santa Clara, birding all the way. Some of the birds to look for are Roadside Hawks, Cattle Egret, Bat Falcons, Yellow-headed Caracaras and Double-toothed Kites. The road is good for foothills species not found around Volcan. We'll visit Finca Hartman near the small town of Santa Clara. This is a bird friendly shade-grown coffee farm with remnant of rainforest trees, pre-mountain and highland forest that serve as a buffer zone to Parque Internacional La Amistad. At elevations of  between 4000-6000 ft there are a number of accessible dirt roads that pass through many habitats excellent for birding.
This is a good place in Panama to find the Turquoise Cotinga, White-crested Coquette, Fiery-billed Aracari, White-tailed Emerald, Spot-crowned Euphonia, Smoky-brown Woodpecker and many others. We'll have lunch at the Farm. In the afternoon, on our way back to Cerro Punta, if time permits, we will stop and visit an area called New Switzerland, looking for Flame-coloured Tanager, Yellow-winged Vireo and many Warblers. We will try our luck for the Red-headed Barbet. Afternoon: return flight to Panama City.  Overnight in Panama City.

 

 

                      Cocoi Heron © GonzaloHorna                                   Go Back




 
Eastern Panama – Darien Lowlands
N.B.: Visiting the Darien can be a bit tricky, as the presence in the extreme eastern and coastal portion of Colombian narco-tra
ficantes makes the Panamanian border police very nervous about the safety of tourists.  We will be visiting areas well-away from any danger, but even so may find ourselves turned away as we go farther east, so we’ll always have a “Plan B”-- there are many good sites to bird.  A lot of the remaining forest in the region belong the indigenous Kuna and Embera peoples, so in case we have to make use of this contingency plan, we will hire a local fellow to help us navigate the protocols to gain access to the best areas.  The birding will be excellent no matter where we go, and any additional time west might actually earn us some species that can be missed in the east, so this is a win-win situation! Note: Don’t expect luxury. The Darien lowland lodging will be rustic, but clean and safe. No hot water but air condition in rooms available.  Traditional meals of rice, fruits, plantains, chicken or fish, will be at the only restaurant-fonda in town.


DAY 8 - :  Bayano
Early morning long drive to Darien.  We’ll stop en route to take breakfast, birding at roadside areas along Lago Bayano birding along the  Inter-American highway stopping at Bayano Bridge and various trails. Expect see the Red-throated Caracara, Barred Puffbird, Plain-brown Woodcreeper, Jet Antbird, Black-striped Woodcreeper, Band-rumped Swift, Pied Water-Tyrant, Jet Antbird, Striated Heron, Black-collared Hawk, American Kestrel, Giant Cowbird, White-flanked Antwren, Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet, Olive Flycatcher, Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Long-billed Gnatwren, White-eared Conebill, Black-billed Flycatcher and One-colored Becard are possible. During the afternoon after the checking  in Hotel Torti we’ll continue birding at   Torti Arriba, very close to the hotel, where we might find Black Antshrike, Scaly-breasted Hummingbird  and the Bare-throated Tiger-Heron (uncommon), Orange-crowned Oriole and  birds we have missed early during the day. Overnight in Torti.

DAY 9 – :  San Francisco Reserve and Peñas Blancas
After breakfast a short drive we’ll be birding the San Francisco Private Reserve close to Torti.  Passing through pastures, younger second growth with scrubs, creeks and taller secondary forest look for the King Volture, Gray-cheek Nunlet, Collared Forest-Falcon, Golden-collared Manakin, White-headed and Stripe-throated Wren, Rufous-winged Antwren, Yellow-backed Tanager, White-fronted Nunbird, Rufous and Broad-billed Motmot.  In the afternoon a visit to the Peñas Blancas road can yield us Mealy Amazon Parrot,  Piratic Flycatcher,  Pied Puffbird, Common Black Hawk, Smooth and Greater-billed Ani, Turkey Vulture,  Semiplumbeus Hawk, Plumbeus Kite and Laughing Falcon.  Afternoon ride to Meteti east on the Inter-American highway and cross into the Darien frontier.  We will have breakfast, lunch, dinner and lodging in Meteti. Overnight in Torti.

Plumbeous Kite          

                  Plumbeous Kite © unknown  Go Back


DAY 10 –  Inland Darien and  Filo de Tallo Reserve
We’ll set off very early heading east on the Inter-American highway and cross into the Darien frontier.  Our first stop is a nice patch of lowland forest that is home to Double-banded Graytail, Golden-headed Manakin,  Bare-crowned Antbird, and Orange-crowned Oriole, among others.  Even farther east, we’ll drive a farm road that has a resident population of the intriguing Black-capped Donacobius, plus such gems as Gray-breasted Crake and Large-billed Seed-Finch.  And a roadside stop even farther into the frontier has yielded Rufous-tailed Jacamar, White-fronted Nunbird, Golden-green Woodpecker and Spot-crowned Barbet.  This will be a long day, but well worth the effort. After lunch visit the Reserva Filo de Tallo good place to get foothills species not found on the lowland.  On the way we may see the Lesser yellow-headed vulture.  The  Forest Elaenia, Mangrove Cuckoo, Cinnamon Woodpecker, Stripe-cheeked Woodpecker**, Golden-crowned Spadebill, Olivaceous Woodcreeper.  The first part of the trail, until the first creek, is full of Heliconias patches producing the Long-billed, Stripe-throated, Pale-bellied, Rufous-breasted Hermit and the Band-tailed Barbthroat.   In the afternoon we’ll head back west birding along the way until Torti.  Overnight in Torti.

DAY 11 –  Lago Bayano Trails and Cerro Azul
We'll go back to Panama city looking for birds that eluded us the days before along the Inter-Americana  highway stopping at Lago Bayano trails and Bayano Bridge looking for Puffbirds, Caracaras, Antbirds, Tanagers, Hawks and more to add to the list. Around mid day we should be heading to our next destination in the private housing development at Cerro Azul.   The high elevation guarantees cool weather, so a mid-day arrival won’t adversely affect our chances of seeing the key birds.  A stop at a private home with excellent feeders should yield us the region-specific Violet-capped Hummingbird, as well as the endemic Stripe-cheeked Woodpecker.  A bit of hiking in areas of cloud forest might yield us mixed flocks that include Speckled and Rufous-winged Tanagers, and we might encounter Black-eared Wood-Quail or Yellow-eared Toucanet, Bay-headed, Rufous-winged, Siler Throated Tanagers anywhere.  In the late afternoon we’ll skirt around Panama City to reach our hotel .  Overnight in Panama City.

In Darien birding sites are spread out a bit, and some extensive drive time is unavoidable, but you will get a great  taste of South American species. 

DAY 12 - :  Departure day -
You will be assisted throughout the final procedure for departure to your next destination.  

Group of 6 persons Price per person is US$ Qoute  in double occupancy
Group of 4 persons Price per person is US$ Qoute  in double occupancy 
Group of 2 persons Price per person is US$ Qoute in double occupancy

Single accommodations is available for an extra charge of US$360.00

Included in price: transportation (including arrival and departure), tolls, bottled water, bilingual bird-guide (with scope), checklist booklet of the Birds of Panama, park fees, lodging (arrival day and from DAY 1 to DAY 11) .

Not Included:  meals, 7% tax, personal services, laundry, telephone, alcoholic drinks, gratuities etc.

 -  Areas to visit during the tour:  We will visit the most and the least frequented birding hotspots in Central Panama, including the world-renowned Pipeline Road, Achiote Road, Old Gamboa Road (Summit Ponds), Plantation Trail, Fort Sherman and San Lorenzo Road, The Rainforest Observation Tower, Los Quetzales Trails, Volcan Lakes and Macho de Monte, Santa Clara (Finca Hartman), Reserva Filo de Tallo, San Francisco Private Reserve, Peñas Blancas Lago Bayano Trails, Cerro Azul and more.

-  Birds:  Please note that the species mentioned are merely representative of the birds that might reasonably be expected in the areas involved.

- Group Size:  We keep our group size “petite”: 1 – 6 persons maximum.  This way everyone gets a personalized attention especially when seen a bird at its maximum detail.

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Extention to Altos del Maria, El Valle de Anton and El Cope (west of Panama city).  

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