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A Report from

Panama July 2003,

Jim Holmes

Cindy and I spent 10 days in Panama in July 2003.  It was a combined birding/relaxation trip.  We scheduled three full days of birding in the canal area and then two half days in the foothills (El Valle, El Cope) west of Panama City.  The rest of our time was spent lounging at a resort on the Pacific Coast.  We used information from two books (listed below) as well as information from trip reports from the internet.  We were unable to find much information on El Valle or El Cope (on the internet) and hope the information we provide here is useful for these sites.  There is significant information on birding the canal area available on the internet.  We have tried to provide additional information for those planning trips on their own (i.e. a non bird tour company trip).

We saw 178 species on our trip.  This is despite losing most of our first day to rain due to remnants of a tropical storm (we only had five species on the first day that we did not have on a later date) and also lost time at El Valle because of rain. Our trip highlights were probably Snowcap, Green Thorntail, Emerald Tanager, and Rufous-winged Tanager (El Cope), Tiny Hawk (parking lot at Plantation Trail), Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant (well seen along Pipeline Road), Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch (El Valle) and the numerous antbirds along Plantation trail.


July 12: Pipeline Road, Ammo Ponds, Gamboa, Summit Ponds: rain
July 13: Canopy Tower, Semaphore Hill, Plantation Trail, Summit Ponds
July 15: El Valle: rain
July 17: El Cope: morning
July 20: Pipeline Road, Metropolitan Park

General Comments:

Although traveling to Central/South America can be quite challenging, Panama is relatively easy.  They use American dollars so there is no worry about changing money and calculating prices.  The water is safe to drink in most places (we drank it everywhere without any problems).  Although Spanish is the official language, we found many spoke English in the major areas.  However, minimal knowledge of Spanish (ie ability to ask and understand directions) is certainly beneficial when you get "off the beaten path".  


1)      A Guide to the Birds of Panama by Robert S. Ridgely & John A. Gwynne, Jr.; 2nd edition:  This book provides plates of most species as well as descriptions/habits of the species and their status and distribution in Panama.  In the back section of the book are directions to various sites. This book is indispensable.

2)      Where to Watch Birds in Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean by Nigel Wheatley & David Brewer.  This book provides directions for several of the sites that we visited while in Panama.  We would caution that the directions to El Cope in this book are confusing/incorrect.  We have provided directions to El Cope in our report.  Also, the directions for Summit Ponds in this book are confusing.


We rented a car for the entire time.  We made the reservations with a large US company prior to our arrival in Panama.  I would highly recommend making the reservations prior to your arrival and bringing the confirmation of the price and type of car with you.  We spent 1 hour and 10 minutes at the rental car counter.  A large percentage of our time was lost because the one group ahead of us had lots of trouble with their reservation.  By the time it was my turn, I had hopes that things would go smoother, but I was wrong.  First, they did not want to give me the rate that was listed on my confirmation.  Second, they did not want to give me the size of car (also listed on my confirmation) that I had reserved.  Finally, they gave in to both, and we were off.  My understanding is that car insurance through the company is mandatory.  I do not know if this is true, but it quickly came in handy for us.  When you get your car, make sure that you check it closely for dents, dings, chips, etc as well as functioning of all lights and the spare tire and make sure that all damage is documented prior to your departure.  Although we were not charged extra, the company appears to be sticklers for these dents, dings, etc. when you return your car.  Four-wheel drive is not necessary for most of the places that you would want to bird.  However, in the rainy season there are some sites that are best/only accessed with four-wheel drive. 


July 11: Gamboa Rainforest Resort:

July 12: Canopy Tower:

July 13-20: Decameron Hotel in the Farallones:

July 21: Hotel Riande Aeropuerto (507-290-3333) email:  This hotel is located next to the airport and the hotel provides free shuttle service to and from the airport.  It is convenient if your arrival flight is very late or if your departure flight is very early.  It is also close to the Tocumen Marsh which has been a good place for birds although recently it is reported to be not as good because of habitat destruction (we did not stop at this site on our trip).

Directions & Maps: We had a map of Panama City from Hertz (although we did not rent our car from Hertz).  The map is available on the internet, although you can also pick one up at the airport.  Panama City lacks good road signs so it is easy to get lost and/or miss your turn.  We have tried to provide directions that will get you to your desired sites.  Realize that signs that were present when we were there may be absent in the future or new signs may be present.  Also road conditions may change for worse or even better (portions of the road from El Valle to Cerro Gital were being paved during our visit).


1)      Airport to Panama City:  You have several road choices to get from the Tocumen International Airport to Panama City and beyond.  We would recommend taking "Corredor Sur".  It is a toll road that takes you directly into Panama City with a speed limit of 100km/hr.  This allows you to avoid the stop and go traffic on "Ave Domingo Diaz" or "Via Espara".  From "Corredor Sur" you will run into "Ave Balboa", take "Ave Balboa" west along the waterfront.  From the map, "Ave Balboa" should become/run into "Ave Gaillard" which will take you directly to Gamboa.  This is where we got lost, so be prepared.

2)      Panama City to Summit Ponds/Canopy Tower/Ammo Ponds/Pipeline Road: To get to the Gamboa/Summit area from Panama City, you need to go north on Ave Gaillard.  We never saw a road sign for Ave Gaillard so be prepared for difficulty in getting from Panama City to Gamboa.  We ultimately got directions at 1:30 am from a car stopped at a stoplight.  We basically headed as far west as we could without going over the Panama Canal bridge and then headed north (paralleling the canal).  Once you are heading north on Ave Gaillard, you will eventually come to the town of Paraiso (signs for Paraiso are present). Shortly after Paraiso, will be a golf course on the right side of the road.  After passing the golf course, you will go under a railway bridge.  Immediately after the railway bridge there is a left turn that heads to Gamboa.  (signs for Gamboa are at this intersection).  Take this left turn (you will now be driving north) and continue on this road towards Gamboa.  The birding areas of interest are all accessible from this road as follows:

A)              Summit Gardens: After making the left turn off Ave Gaillard (as described above), Summit Gardens will appear in just over 1km on the right.  There is a large sign for Summit Gardens and the gardens are visible from the road.  Parking for Summit Gardens is on the left side of the road (across the road from the entrance to the Gardens). 

B)               Summit Ponds/Old Gamboa Road): Across from the Summit gardens is a road that leads to the Police Academy. This paved road is connected to the Summit Gardens parking lot.  There is a sign for the police academy on this road.  Take this road (across from the Summit Gardens entrance) and it will quickly cross railroad tracks and then come to a T intersection.  There is a large leafless tree at this T intersection that appeared to contain a Masked Tityra nest (a female was in a cavity in the tree while the male appeared to watch guard).  Take a left at this T intersection (a right at this intersection quickly took us to a locked gate, although this gate may not be locked at all times.  You can walk past the gate which goes through good habitat.  This is a portion of Old Gamboa Road North). However, instead of going right at the T intersection with the large leafless tree, you should go left at the T intersection. The road will very shortly come up to the Summit Ponds.  Although the road continues straight ahead and past the ponds, the road quickly becomes a foot trail so it is not passable for cars (there were road blocks present at the ponds which also prevent car travel).  You can continue on foot along this road which goes through secondary forest.  This road/trail is also referred to as Old Gamboa Road South and if you follow it to its end, it will take you to the main highway where you will see the golf course at Paraiso.  Back at the Summit Ponds the paved road will turn right into the police academy.   No reason to go to the police academy.

C)              Canopy Tower/Plantation Road: Continue on the road to Gamboa and go past the Summit Gardens.  The second right after Summit Gardens will be the road to Canopy Tower.  There is a small sign for Canopy Tower.  Take this right turn and there will immediately be a gate with a guard (the guard is present during daylight only).  To the left of the gate is a gravel parking lot.  The Plantation (Road) trail starts at this parking lot (there are signs in Spanish).  If you want to go to Canopy Tower, go through the gate on the paved road and you will eventually arrive at Canopy Tower (as it is located at the end of this road).

D)              Pipeline Road/Ammo Ponds: The directions to Pipeline Road in the two books we used were somewhat confusing for us.  The following directions should help: Continue north on the road to Gamboa (past the exit to Canopy Tower). You will eventually come to a bridge over the Chagres River.  This bridge is only one lane, so you will have to wait (up to four minutes) at the stoplight before crossing.  Immediately after crossing the bridge the road forks.  The right fork takes you to the Gamboa Rainforest Resort (there is a big sign at the road fork for the resort).  The left fork takes you to Gamboa and towards Pipeline Road.  Take the left fork and travel through Gamboa (there will be buildings on both sides of the road including a police station).  After passing through Gamboa, the paved road turns to the right and a gravel road heads straight (paralleling the canal).  The paved road quickly comes to a high chain link fence. I am not sure where this paved road leads, but you cannot get through the fence as there is a guard and the fence is high.  If you are facing the fence, the Ammo Pond is on the left and you can see a good portion of the pond from this vantage point.  However, most people will want to get to Pipeline road so you will need to retrace your last few steps.  Just prior to the paved road bearing to the right, you should take the gravel road that heads north and parallels the canal.  As you head north on this gravel road, Ammo Pond is on the right, and there are vantage spots for this pond from the road.  This gravel road then curves right on the far end of the Ammo Pond and heads gently up a hill.  After heading up the hill, the road bends to the left.  Immediately, you will see a dirt road that turns right (this is the access point for Pipeline road).  There is a sign stating, "Parque Nacional Soberania, Camino del Oleoducto, Area de oso Cientifico".  This dirt road passes over a creek and comes to the entrance station (small shack).  There is a locked gate over Pipeline Road.  You must park you car here.  Walk past the gate and you are on the Pipeline.

3)      El Valle (Cerro Gital): This area is about 95km west of Panama City.  Follow the Pan-American Highway west from Panama City and the exit for El Valle is on the north side of the Pan-American Highway.  There is a road sign for El Valle here. You continue north on the paved road for 28km to El Valle.  There are several spots for birding in El Valle.  The Ridgely book provides directions for the best area which is Cerro Gital.  To get to Cerro Gital continue north on the main road through El Valle (go past the market and church.  The church is on the left side of the road).  Just past the church you come to an intersection in the road where you should turn right onto Calle de Macho and head over a bridge.  Calle de Macho then forks and you should take the right fork.  This road is of variable quality; intermittently paved & then dirt.  We made it without difficulty in our two wheel drive during rainy season.  Follow this road for about 6km.  There is a stream on the left side of the road with some patches of forest that contained some interesting birds.  This road will also go past the Canopy Adventure which offers guided nature tours for a fee. After you have traveled 6km on this road, the road forks again and you will take the right fork.  Continue on this road and in 1km it will fork again (there should be a large white building with a fence at this fork).  Take the right fork and head a short distance until you see two signs that represent Cerre Gital.  We parked in front of these signs.  An old road (now a foot trail) heads to the right from these signs.  You must pass through a small gated fence (the fence is able to be seen from where you parked).  If you follow this old road/foot trail, it will eventually head up through the jungle and up to the top of the mountain.  From where you parked the car, the road, itself will fork and staying to the right fork travels along good forest.  I would recommend walking this gravel road and birding the forest.  El Valle has places to stay (Hotel Campestre seems to be the nicest and is the access point for the square trees trail., 507-983-6146)

4)      El Cope: We would recommend following the directions in Ridgely as the directions from the Wheatley/Brewer book were confusing and appeared to be wrong.  El Cope is northwest of Penonome.  Penonome is 144km west of Panama City on the Pan-American Highway. There is a nice appearing hotel in Penonome, Hotel dos Continentes, phone: 507-997-9325 or 507-997-9326, fax: 507-997-9390.  Go west from Penonome on the Pan-American Highway for just over 18km and the exit for El Cope will be on the right (north side of the road).  There is a sign for El Cope on the Pan-American Highway.  (If you cross the bridge over the Rio Grande you have gone to far.) El Cope is 27km from the Pan-American Highway on a paved road.  Once you get to El Cope, travel along the main road through El Cope and at the far end of El Cope the paved road will go straight into a gravel road.  It could be difficult in El Cope to find this dirt road because there is a confusing intersection in El Cope where the main road appears to turn to the left.  You must stay straight and do not turn.  The main paved road will eventually arrive at this gravel road.   Follow this gravel road for about 4km (beyond the pavement) to a school, Escuela Barrigon. The road does continue past this school but the road quality past Escuela Barrigon deteriorates and you may need a high clearance vehicle/four wheel drive.  We parked at the school and walked up the road to the Omar Torrijos National Park.  It is about 4.5 km to the National Park from the school and the road is steep.  You probably could make it up to the National Park in a two wheel vehicle but there are some areas where it can get scary.   

Weather & Clothing:

We went during the rainy season and lost most of July 12 due to heavy rain (there was a tropical storm that had gone into Mexico just prior to our arrival that had left some remnants in the area).  We also got morning rain on July 15 at El Valle and thus could not spend the morning at the highest elevations.  We wore ponchos in the rain.  They were not breathable but we liked them better than umbrellas (which we also carried).  We also wore Wellington type boots.  These were indispensable on the heavy rain days as the rain on July 12 turned Pipeline Road into a small stream.  On days that it did not rain, the boots were not necessary unless you wanted to walk along streams (which we did on one occasion at Pipeline Rd).  The usual weather pattern for July existed for most of the other days (morning clear with 1-2 hours of rain in the afternoon).

Biting animals:

On our initial day, we were lulled into a sense of security that there were NO mosquitoes in Panama.  The rain was so hard that it kept the mosquitoes down and we did not need repellant.  At 3:30pm the rain stopped, and the mosquitoes were out in force.  Cindy was bit ~10 times before we could get her covered in repellant.  After that we covered up with DEET (21.85%) which was sufficient.  In case you get bit, I would recommend bringing a biting insect cream (Hydrocortisone cream).  We never had problems with chiggers.  We never saw a poisonous snake. 

July 11: We arrived 45 minutes late on our flight, got through customs easily, but then spent 1 hour 10 minutes at the rental car counter.  Once we got the car, we drove 20km into Panama City and hit a pothole covered with water.  This resulted in a flat tire & a bent wheel rim.  As it turns out, it was a BIG hole.  We changed the flat tire and drove back to the airport where we got a new car.  Unfortunately, our "new" car was a lot smaller (lower clearance) than the original.  We ended up with the compact car that they originally tried to give us.  Now we drove back to Panama City where we got lost for 10 minutes before getting directions to Gamboa.  We arrived at Gamboa Rainforest Resort at 0210 am.  Gamboa Rainforest Resort is a very nice resort located less than 5 minutes from Pipeline Road/Ammo Ponds.  It is fairly expensive.  The hotel offers a breakfast buffet included in the price.  Unfortunately, the buffet does not open until 0630 am.  Therefore, you either miss the first bit of daylight (which was around 0600) or you miss breakfast at the hotel.  One could also stay in Panama City at a cheaper hotel as the drive to Pipeline from Panama City is about 40 minutes.

July 12: After the minor disasters from the night before, we figured we were due some good luck.  However, it was not to be as we overslept our 0530 alarm and awoke at 0645 to pouring down rain, so we ate the breakfast buffet at the resort.  After eating breakfast, we drove to Ammo Ponds and briefly birded, picking up White-throated Crake (difficult to see) and Wattled Jacana (abundant).  However, our goal was to get to Pipeline Road so we headed off.  When we arrived at Pipeline Road, the rain had slowed and we started walking down the road, but the rain quickly increased until it was completely useless to be birding.  No birds calling or moving.  We spent 30 minutes on Pipeline Road and saw three birds (Gray-necked Wood Rail, Black-tailed Flycatcher, and Gray-headed Tanager).  We were now drenched (despite the panchos) so we headed back to the Resort, dried up, took a nap, played ping-pong, and ate lunch.  The benefit of staying at the Gamboa resort is that you are always close to your room (in case of any problems like rain).  Finally, the rain slowed enough to start birding at 3pm.  We headed initially to Ammo Ponds (Gray-headed Chachalaca, Lesser Elaenia, Great Kiskadee, Social Flycatcher, Black-striped Sparrow, small flocks of Blue-gray and Crimson backed Tanagers).  Driving through Gamboa we had the usual birds in this habitat (Ringed Kingfisher, Tropical Mockingbird, Orange-chinned Parakeet, Red-crowned Woodpecker, Tropical Kingbird, Clay-colored Robin) as well as two Common Tody-Flycatchers building a nest.  We also spent some time at Summit Ponds (Boat-billed Heron, Striated Heron, Greater Ani, Mangrove Swallows, Lesser Kiskadee).  Finally, we went to Canopy Tower where we were spending the night.  We arrived around 530pm and birded from the top for the remaining of the day.  Here we saw Keel-billed and Chestnut Mandible Toucans, Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Plain-colored, Palm, and White-shouldered Tanager, Green Honeycreeper and Blue Dacnis.  Several Blue-chest Hummingbirds and White-vented Plumeleteers were coming to the hummingbird feeders.  The next day a Long-tailed Hermit was also coming regularly to these feeders.  We also saw a Purple-crowned Fairy although it never came to the feeders.

We brought a 1.5million candlelight flashlight so we went out that night for some night birding. I discovered that my tapeplayer was broken the week prior to our departure so we did not have that available.  However, I brought my owl tapes with the intention to play it from the car stereo.  Our first car had a tape player, however after we had to return it because of the flat tire, they gave us a car with a CD player but no cassette player.  So owling would only involve spotlighting.  We heard Mottled Owl and Black-and-white Owl but could not see either.  We did spotlight three Paraques on the Summit Ponds/Old Gamboa Road.  We also spotlighted a family of gray necked owl monkeys (Aotus sp.) which are apparently unusual in the area.

July 13: We were the first up on the top at Canopy Tower (0600) as the sun was coming up.  Cindy got some very nice pictures.  Most people that stay at the Canopy Tower bird from around 0600 to 0730 on top of the tower.  Breakfast is then served at 0730.  After breakfast you go for a walk down Semaphore Hill and are then picked up at the bottom (where the road joins the main Gamboa Road) and brought back to the Tower for lunch.  The Canopy Tower provides a guided tour for the morning.  Our guide was Jacobo Ortega (email: or cell 507-688-5018).  He had very good ears and pointed out numerous birds. At the top of the Canopy Tower from 0600 to 0730, we were quickly rewarded with White Hawk, several Scaled Pigeons, perched Mealy Amazons and Red-lored Parrots, Squirrel Cuckoo, Violaceous Trogon, Collared Aracari(5), Black-cheecked Woodpeckers(2),  Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet, Blue Continga(4-5), a Fulvous-vented Euphonia, a roosting Great Potoo, Blue Dacnis(2-3), Green Honeycreeper(2-3) and the same assortment of Tanagers as the previous day.  A   Slate-colored Grosbeak was calling in the distance but never came in to view.  On our walk down Semaphore Hill to the Gamboa Road, we saw Black Hawk-Eagle (perched in tree), Rufous(3) and Broad-billed Motmot, White-whiskered Puffbird, Cinnamon Woodpecker, Slaty-tailed Trogon(2), Fasciated Antshrike(2), Western-Slaty Antshrike(2), White-flanked(3) and Checkered-throated Antwrens(2), Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher, Long-billed Gnatwren, and Red-capped Manakin(3).  At the end of the road, we saw several good birds at the Plantation trail parking lot including Violaceous Trogon(2), Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Black-chested Jays(3), and Yellow-tailed Oriole(2).

After lunch, we packed up our bags and spent some time on top of the tower.  We saw much of the same adding only a Plumbeous Kite, soaring well overhead.  We then headed to Plantation Trail.  We walked a very short way down Plantation Trail and were lucky to find an ant swarm that had Ocellated Antbird, two Spotted Antbirds, a Bicolored Antbird, and a Royal Flycatcher.  Additionally on the trail, we had Blue-crowned Manakin, Cinnamon Woodpecker, and Cocoa Woodcreeper.  We did not spend a lot of time at Plantation trail as we had a 115 km drive ahead of us and we wanted to stop at Summit Ponds before leaving.  However, we were quite fortunate as we got very lucky at the Plantation trail parking lot.  As we were getting in the car, I looked up in a leafless tree to see a moderate sized bird sitting upright.  I told Cindy to quickly look at it (thinking that it was going to be a Tityra) only to hear Cindy say that it was a Hawk.  It was a very small hawk and I quickly realized that it was a Tiny Hawk perched out in the open of this leafless tree.  We walked back up the trail to get a better look and could see the blackish crown, grayish face, fine barring on the breast and the gray and black banded tail.  My understanding is that this species is occasionally seen in the area but is quite rare.  To top it off, there was a Chestnut headed Oropendola in the parking lot trees as we finally tore ourselves away from the hawk and got into the car. 

We then drove to Summit Ponds.  A group from the Canopy Tower was already on the Summit Ponds/Old Gamboa road.  We parked at the ponds itself and saw Capped Heron and Green Kingfisher as well as the previous day's Boat-billed and Little Blue Herons.  We walked along the paved road and were rewarded with Cocoa Woodcreeper, Social Flycatcher(5), Streaked Flycatcher, Yellow-green Vireo, a Squirrel Cuckoo, and a flock of Golden-hooded Tanagers.  We then walked the trail past the Summit Ponds (towards the Paraiso golf course) as there had been a family of Spectacled Owls seen several days prior.  We struck out on the Owls but did see Gray Hawk, Dusky Antbird(2), Blue-crowned Motmot, Long-billed Gnatwren, Red-throated Ant-Tanger(2), Bay Wren(2) and a group of Variable Seedeaters.  Back at the Summit ponds, we were extremely fortunate to see a Collared-Forest Falcon perched right over the trail.  We watched this bird as it was hunting (walking up and down large tree limbs) for several minutes at very close range.

July 15 We headed to El Valle.  We ate an early breakfast at the resort and then drove off, arriving at El Valle at 0800.  We drove to the Cerro Gital site but arrived to rain.  As we put on our ponchos, it began to rain very hard.  Hoping to avoid the drenching we received on our first day at the Pipeline Road, we gave up after less than 100 yards on the trail.  We headed back to El Valle.  In El Valle, we went to the market and the rain slowed.  We birded in intermittent rain around the El Valle area (Zoo, Square Trees trail, thermal springs and Canopy Adventure).  Parking at the Canopy Adventure and walking along the road was rewarding as we saw Keel-billed Toucans(4), Rufous-tailed Hummingbird(2), Piratic Flycatcher, Rufous-breasted Wren(2), Green Honeycreeper(2), Banaquit, Flame-rumped Tanager(male and female), Bay headed Tanager, and Tawny-crested Tanagers(4).  We found a small flock at the zoo containing Barred Antshrike, Linneated Woodpecker, a singing Yellow-bellied Elania, Buff-throated Saltators, several Yellow-bellied Seedeaters and Yellow-faced Grassquits.  We also walked the trail to the Square Trees and found a Gray Hawk, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird(4), Panama Flycatcher(2), Green Kingfisher, Rufous-breasted Wren(2), Rufous-capped Warbler(6), and Streaked Saltators(3).  Finally after we were confident that the rain had stopped, we went back to Cerro Gital and walked the trail towards the top (although we did not make it to the top).  Here we had Little Hermit, Rufous and Broad-billed Motmot, Bay-headed Tanager(2), Black-faced Grosbeak(2), Common Bush Tanager(2), Chestnut capped Brush Finch(2), Wedge-billed Woodcreeper and Orange-bellied Trogon.  We also had a hummingbird get away from us that was likely White-tipped Sicklebill.  We saw the bird feeding on heliconia but before we could get the binoculars on it, it took off. We waited in the area but it never came back.  There was a moderate amount of heliconia in the area.  As dark approached there were numerous Common Nighthawks flying over El Valle.

July 17 We headed to El Cope.  The walk from Escuela Barrigon (where we parked the car) to Omar Torrijos National Park is 4.5 km and steep.  This walk took us 2 hours as we stopped for birds along the way (Groove-billed Ani, Red-crowned Woodpecker, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Lesser Greenlet, Yellow-green Vireo, Bay Wren, Rufous-capped Warbler, Red-legged Honeycreeper).  It would be advisable to drive up the road to the national park if possible. There is a $3 fee/person at the national park.  Upon entering the National Park (there is a big sign over the road), there is a station on the left side of the road where you can pay your fee and apparently stay overnight for $5/night.  Follow the road past the entrance station and you will come to the abandoned sawmill (mentioned in the Ridgeley book) and a newly built research station.  At the abandoned sawmill/research station site, you can view the Caribbean Sea.  At the research station, three amphibian researchers were present and one provided us with some good bird information.  There is a trail on the right side of this research station that leads to a visitor center for the national park.  At this visitor center, there are two additional trails.  One trail leads from the right side of the visitor center and descends down the Caribbean slope.  The other trail leads from the back (or left side) of the visitor center.  This trail loops around the back side of visitor center and joins the other trail.  I believe this loop trail is approximately 800meters. It was 1pm by the time we walked the loop trail so there was limited bird activity but we saw Green Hermit(2), Hepatic Tanager(2), Gray-belllied Wren, and White-ruffed Manakin.  We initially went down the trail on the right side of the visitor center.  This trail descends along the Caribbean slope for an unknown distance.  We traveled down it nearly 1km and then turned around and came back.  It crosses several streams in its descent.  This trail contained the best birds.  We saw Snowcap(2), Green Thorntail(2), Purple-crowed Woodnymph(numerous), Song Wren, White-ruffed Manakin(3), Emerald Tanager, Speckled Tanager(2), Bay-headed Tanager(2), Rufous-winged Tanager(5), Silvery-throated Tanager(2), and Tawny-crowned Euphonia(4).  Both the Snowcaps were males.  The birds were about 400meters past the beginning of the trail.  The area with the Snowcaps was just past the 2nd stream crossing.  After the 2nd stream crossing, we climbed up out of the streambed, continued along the trail, and the trail flattened out before descending again.  On the left side of this trail, just before the trail descended again, was a flowering tree where numerous hummingbirds were feeding including our two Snowcaps.  We informed the researchers at the station about the Snowcaps and they stated that Snowcaps were regularly seen along this trail and that they had seen as many as four at these flowering trees (there were several along the trail).

July 20 We awoke early and headed from the Hotel Decameron to Pipeline Road which was almost a 2 hour drive.  We started down Pipeline Road and were fortunate to get a lift on a truck to the 4km marker. We walked slowly back to the beginning of the road.  If you are forced to walk the Pipeline (from the very beginning because of the locked gate), I would try and start on Pipeline before daylight (0530) and get as far up the road as possible before seriously birding.  You would definitely need a flashlight if you plan to start in the dark.  Supposedly, the best forest/birds are farther up the road.  We saw several flocks of birds including several calling Great Tinamous (one tantalizingly close to the road that we never could see), Gray-headed Chachalaca(3), Squirrel Cuckoo, Long-tailed Hermit, Purple-crowned Fairy, White-necked Jacobin(2) Violaceous Trogon(2), Slaty-tailed Trogon(5), all three Toucans, Black-chested Jay(4), Black-cheeked Woodpecker, Black-faced Antthrush (heard several more), Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant(perched out in the open while calling), Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher, Black-tailed Flycatcher(3), Plain Xenops, Cocoa Woodcreepr, Plain-brown Woodcreeper, Western-Slaty Antshrike(4), Checker-throated Antwren(4), Dot-winged Antwren(10),  Fasciated Antshrike(3), Dusky Antbird(4), Jet Antbird(1), Tropical Gnatcatcher, Long-billed Gnatwren, Blue-crowned Manakin(male), Golden-collared Manakin, Blue Dacnis, Scarlet-rumped Cacique(2).  The group from Canopy Tower drove farther up the road than us and apparently got very good looks at a Great Jacamar.

We then headed back to Summit Ponds only to again get rained out. Masked Tityra, Blue-black Grosbeak, and Blue-back Grassquit were along the Old Gamboa Road. From the car (in the rain) we could see Capped, Boat-billed, and Little Blue Herons as well as Green and Ringed Kingfisher at the ponds.  Finally, we made a late afternoon stop at Metropolitan Park.  The park is supposedly drier than the Gamboa area spots.  It is a good place for Rosy Thrush-Tanager, Lance-tailed Manakin, and Yellow-green Tyrannulet.  We walked the "Mono Titi" & "La Cienaguita" trails which make a loop.  It was very quiet while we were there. Our only new birds for the trip were several White-bellied Antbirds, a Bright-rumped Atilla, and Ruddy-breasted Seedeater.  Finally as we were leaving the park we saw our final new bird for the trip, a White-tailed Kite.

Trip List

Brown Booby Piquero Pardo Sula leucogaster

Brown Pelican Pelícano Pardo Pelecanus occidentalis

Neotropic Cormorant Cormorán Neotropical Phalacrocorax brasilianus

Anhinga Anhinga Anhinga anhinga

Magnificent Frigatebird Fragata Magnífica Fregata magnificens

Great Egret Garceta Grande Ardea alba

Snowy Egret Garceta Nívea Egretta thula

Little Blue Heron Garza Azul Chica Egretta caerulea

Cattle Egret Garceta Bueyera Bubulcus ibis

Striated Heron Garza Listada Butorides striatus

Capped Heron Garza Real Pilherodius pileatus

Black-crowned Night-Heron Garza-Nocturna Coroninegra Nycticorax nycticorax

Boat-billed Heron Garza Cucharón Cochlearius cochlearius

Black Vulture Gallinazo Negro Coragyps atratus

Turkey Vulture Gallinazo Cabecirrojo Cathartes aura

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck Pato-Silbador Aliblanco Dendrocygna autumnalis

Swallow-tailed Kite Elanio Tijereta Elanoides forficatus

White-tailed Kite Elanio Coliblanco Elanus leucurus

Plumbeous Kite Elanio Plomizo Ictinia plumbea

Tiny Hawk Gavilán Enano Accipiter superciliosus

White Hawk Gavilán Blanco Leucopternis albicollis

Gray Hawk Gavilán Gris Asturina nitida

Black Hawk-Eagle Aguilillo Negro Spizaetus tyrannus

Yellow-headed Caracara Caracara Cabeciamarilla Milvago chimachima

Collared Forest-Falcon Halcón-Montés Collarejo Micrastur semitorquatus

Aplomado Falcon Halcón Aplomado Falco femoralis

Bat Falcon Halcón Cazamurciélagos Falco rufigularis

Gray-headed Chachalaca Chachalaca Cabecigris Ortalis cinereiceps

Gray-necked Wood-Rail Rascón-Montés Cuelligris Aramides cajanea

Purple Gallinule Gallareta Morada Porphyrula martinica

Common Moorhen Gallareta Frentirroja Gallinula chloropus

Wattled Jacana Jacana Carunculada Jacana jacana

Laughing Gull Gaviota Reidora Larus atricilla

Royal Tern Gaviotín Real Sterna maxima

Sandwich Tern Gaviotín Puntiamarillo Sterna sandvicensis

Rock Dove Paloma Doméstica Columba livia

Pale-vented Pigeon Paloma Colorada Columba cayennensis

Scaled Pigeon Paloma Escamosa Columba speciosa

Ruddy Ground-Dove Tortolita Rojiza Columbina talpacoti

White-tipped Dove Paloma Rabiblanca Leptotila verreauxi

Gray-chested Dove Paloma Pechigris Leptotila cassinii

Orange-chinned Parakeet Perico Barbinaranja Brotogeris jugularis

Red-lored Amazon Amazona Frentirrojo Amazona autumnalis

Mealy Amazon Amazona Harinoso Amazona farinosa

Squirrel Cuckoo Cuco Ardilla Piaya cayana

Greater Ani Garrapatero Mayor Crotophaga major

Smooth-billed Ani Garrapatero Piquiliso Crotophaga ani

Groove-billed Ani Garrapatero Piquiestriado Crotophaga sulcirostris

Common Nighthawk Añapero Común Chordeiles minor

Pauraque Tapacamino Común Nyctidromus albicollis

Great Potoo Nictibio Grande Nyctibius grandis

Short-tailed Swift Vencejo Colicorto Chaetura brachyura

Band-rumped Swift Vencejo Lomifajeado Chaetura spinicauda

Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift Vencejo-Tijereta Menor Panyptila cayennensis

Green Hermit Ermitaño Verde Phaethornis guy

Long-tailed Hermit Ermitaño Colilargo Phaethornis superciliosus

Little Hermit Ermitaño Chico Phaethornis longuemareus

White-necked Jacobin Jacobino Nuquiblanco Florisuga mellivora

Green Thorntail Colicerda Verde Discosura conversii

Violet-crowned Woodnymph Ninfa Coroniazul Thalurania colombica

Blue-chested Hummingbird Amazilia Pechiazul Amazilia amabilis

Snowy-bellied Hummingbird Amazilia Ventrinivosa Amazilia edward

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia Colirrufa Amazilia tzacatl

Snowcap Gorra Nivosa Microchera albocoronata

White-vented Plumeleteer Calzonario de Buffón Chalybura buffoni

Purple-crowned Fairy Hada Coronipúrpura Heliothryx barroti

Violaceous Trogon Trogón Violáceo Trogon violaceus

Slaty-tailed Trogon Trogón Colipizarra Trogon massena

Blue-crowned Motmot Momoto Coroniazulado Momotus momota

Rufous Motmot Momoto Rufo Baryphthengus martii

Broad-billed Motmot Momoto Piquiancho Electron platyrhynchum

Ringed Kingfisher Martín Pescador Grande Ceryle torquata

Green Kingfisher Martín Pescador Verde Chloroceryle americana

Amazon Kingfisher Martín Pescador Amazónico Chloroceryle amazona

White-whiskered Puffbird Buco Bigotiblanco Malacoptila panamensis

Collared Aracari Tucancillo Collarejo Pteroglossus torquatus

Keel-billed Toucan Tucán Pico Iris Ramphastos sulfuratus

Chestnut-mandibled Toucan Tucán de Swainson Ramphastos swainsonii

Black-cheeked Woodpecker Carpintero Carinegro Melanerpes pucherani

Red-crowned Woodpecker Carpintero Coronirrojo Melanerpes rubricapillus

Cinnamon Woodpecker Carpintero Canelo Celeus loricatus

Lineated Woodpecker Carpintero Lineado Dryocopus lineatus

Plain Xenops Xenops Bayo Xenops minutus

Plain-brown Woodcreeper Trepatroncos Pardo Dendrocincla fuliginosa

Wedge-billed Woodcreeper Trepatroncos Pico de Cuña Glyphorynchus spirurus

Cocoa (Buff-throated) Woodcreeper Trepatroncos Cacao (Gorguianteado) Xiphorhynchus susurrans

Fasciated Antshrike Batará Lineado Cymbilaimus lineatus

Barred Antshrike Batará Barreteado Thamnophilus doliatus

Western Slaty-Antshrike Batará Pizarroso Occidental Thamnophilus atrinucha

Checker-throated Antwren Hormiguerito Leonado Myrmotherula fulviventris

White-flanked Antwren Hormiguerito Flanquiblanco Myrmotherula axillaris

Dot-winged Antwren Hormiguerito Alipunteado Microrhopias quixensis

Dusky Antbird Hormiguero Negruzco Cercomacra tyrannina

Jet Antbird Hormiguero Azabache Cercomacra nigricans

White-bellied Antbird Hormiguero Ventriblanco Myrmeciza longipes

Spotted Antbird Hormiguero Collarejo Hylophylax naevioides

Black-faced Antthrush Formicario Carinegro Formicarius analis

Paltry Tyrannulet Tiranolete Cejigris Zimmerius vilissimus

Southern Beardless Tyrannulet Tiranolete Silbador Sureño Camptostoma obsoletum

Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet Tiranolete Coroniamarillo Tyrannulus elatus

Yellow-bellied Elaenia Elenia Penachuda Elaenia flavogaster

Lesser Elaenia Elenia Menor Elaenia chiriquensis

Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant Tirano-Enano Gorrinegro Myiornis atricapillus

Common Tody-Flycatcher Espatulilla Común Todirostrum cinereum

Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher Espatulilla Cabecinegra Todirostrum nigriceps

Royal Flycatcher Mosquero Real Onychorhynchus coronatus

Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher Mosquerito Colirrufo Terenotriccus erythrurus

Black-tailed Flycatcher Mosquerito Colinegro Myiobius atricaudus

Bright-rumped Attila Atila Lomiamarilla Attila spadiceus

Panama Flycatcher Copetón Panameño Myiarchus panamensis

Lesser Kiskadee Bienteveo Menor Philohydor lictor

Great Kiskadee Bienteveo Grande Pitangus sulphuratus

Social Flycatcher Mosquero Social Myiozetetes similis

Streaked Flycatcher Mosquero Rayado Myiodynastes maculatus

Piratic Flycatcher Mosquero Pirata Legatus leucophaius

Tropical Kingbird Tirano Tropical Tyrannus melancholicus

Masked Tityra Titira Enmascarada Tityra semifasciata

Blue Cotinga Cotinga Azul Cotinga nattererii

Purple-throated Fruitcrow Quérula Gorguimorada Querula purpurata

White-ruffed Manakin Saltarín Gorguiblanco Corapipo altera

Blue-crowned Manakin Saltarín Coroniceleste Pipra coronata

Red-capped Manakin Saltarín Cabecirrojo Pipra mentalis

Gray-breasted Martin Martín Pechigris Progne chalybea

Mangrove Swallow Golondrina Manglera Tachycineta albilinea

Southern Rough-winged Swallow Golondrina Alirrasposa Sureña Stelgidopteryx ruficollis

Black-chested Jay Urraca Pechinegra Cyanocorax affinis

Rufous-breasted Wren Soterrey Pechirrufo Thryothorus rutilus

House Wren Soterrey Común Troglodytes aedon

Gray-breasted Wood-Wren Soterrey-Selvático Pechigris Henicorhina leucophrys

Song Wren Soterrey Canoro Cyphorhinus phaeocephalus

Long-billed Gnatwren Soterillo Piquilargo Ramphocaenus melanurus

Tropical Gnatcatcher Perlita Tropical Polioptila plumbea

Clay-colored Thrush Mirlo Pardo Turdus grayi

Tropical Mockingbird Sinsonte Tropical Mimus gilvus

Yellow-green Vireo Vireo Verdiamarillo Vireo flavoviridis

Lesser Greenlet Verdillo Menor Hylophilus decurtatus

Rufous-capped Warbler Reinita Gorricastaña Basileuterus rufifrons

Bananaquit Reinita-Mielera Coereba flaveola

Plain-colored Tanager Tangara Cenicienta Tangara inornata

Emerald Tanager Tangara Esmeralda Tangara florida

Silver-throated Tanager Tangara Goliplata Tangara icterocephala

Speckled Tanager Tangara Moteada Tangara guttata

Bay-headed Tanager Tangara Cabecibaya Tangara gyrola

Rufous-winged Tanager Tangara Alirrufa Tangara lavinia

Golden-hooded Tanager Tangara Capuchidorada Tangara larvata

Blue Dacnis Dacnis Azul Dacnis cayana

Green Honeycreeper Mielero Verde Chlorophanes spiza

Red-legged Honeycreeper Mielero Patirrojo Cyanerpes cyaneus

Thick-billed Euphonia Eufonia Piquigruesa Euphonia laniirostris

Fulvous-vented Euphonia Eufonia Ventricanela Euphonia fulvicrissa

Tawny-capped Euphonia Eufonia Gorricanela Euphonia anneae

Blue-gray Tanager Tangara Azuleja Thraupis episcopus

Palm Tanager Tangara Palmera Thraupis palmarum

Gray-headed Tanager Tangara Cabecigris Eucometis penicillata

White-shouldered Tanager Tangara Hombriblanca Tachyphonus luctuosus

Tawny-crested Tanager Tangara Crestinaranja Tachyphonus delatrii

Red-crowned Ant-Tanager Tangara-Hormiguera Coronirroja Habia rubica

Red-throated Ant-Tanager Tangara-Hormiguera Gorguirroja Habia fuscicauda

Hepatic Tanager Tangara Bermeja Piranga flava

Crimson-backed Tanager Tangara Dorsirroja Ramphocelus dimidiatus

Flame-rumped Tanager Tangara Lomiflama Ramphocelus flammigerus

Common Bush-Tanager Tangara-de-Monte Común Chlorospingus ophthalmicus

Streaked Saltator Saltador Listado Saltator striatipectus

Buff-throated Saltator Saltador Gorguianteado Saltator maximus

Black-faced Grosbeak Picogrueso Carinegro Caryothraustes poliogaster

Blue-black Grosbeak Picogrueso Negriazulado Cyanocompsa cyanoides

Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch Matorralero Gorricastaño Buarremon brunneinucha

Black-striped Sparrow Gorrión Negrilistado Arremonops conirostris

Blue-black Grassquit Semillerito Negriazulado Volatinia jacarina

Variable Seedeater Espiguero Variable Sporophila americana

Yellow-bellied Seedeater Espiguero Ventriamarillo Sporophila nigricollis

Ruddy-breasted Seedeater Espiguero Pechirrojizo Sporophila minuta

Lesser Seed-Finch Semillero Menor Oryzoborus angolensis

Yellow-faced Grassquit Semillerito Cariamarillo Tiaris olivacea

Great-tailed Grackle Negro Coligrande Cassidix mexicanus

Yellow-backed Oriole Bolsero Dorsiamarillo Icterus chrysater

Scarlet-rumped Cacique Cacique Lomiescarlata Cacicus uropygialis

Chestnut-headed Oropendola Oropéndola Cabecicastaña Psarocolius wagleri

Jim Holmes

Sacramento, CA


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