Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Panama Birding Day 1

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My most recent trip was to the isthmus of land that connects Central and South America: the country of Panama. I was the guest, along with seven other birders, of an organization called Panama La Verde Birding Circuits. The Panama La Verde group is trying to develop ecotourism (especially birding) routes connecting (mostly) rural hotels and lodges in places that have not been traditional stops for most tourists visiting Panama. Our familiarization trip was aimed at helping to spread the word about Panama. I plan to write a feature article in Bird Watcher's Digest in the future, so I shouldn't share everything here at Bill of the Birds.

But I do want to give you a flavor of birding in Panama, so we'll be visiting that fine tropical land over the next several days.

I arrived in Panama City late last Monday night on a Delta flight from Atlanta with Jeffrey A. Gordon (BWD field editor, regular tour leader and Leica birding rep) and Mike Freiberg (Nikon's full-time Pro Birder dude) also on board. All we had time to do was schlep from the Panama City airport to our hotel, The Albrook Inn.

Before we went to our rooms for the night, Jeff heard and then squeaked up a tropical screech-owl in the garden of the Albrook Inn. The trip's first good bird (nocturnal great-tailed grackles don't really count)!

The next morning we'd get up at 5 am to go BACK to the airport for a commuter flight to the western highlands of Panama, a region known as Chiriqui. Within 36 hours, I'd go from doing The Big Sit in my birding tower on my southeast Ohio farm to standing in the cloud forest of remote western Panama.

I. Could. Not. Wait.

From left: Cristina Cervantes, Yenia Mendoza of Panama La Verde (obscured), Lisa White, Jeffrey A. Gordon, Kees van Berkel, and Liz Payne.

My fellow travelers on the Panama La Verde trip were: the aforementioned Jeff Gordon and Mike Freiberg, plus Lisa A. White of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Arizona birder and travel facilitator Liz Payne, birder/blogger/businessman John Ruitta, Cristina Cervantes general manager of birding tour company Tropical Birding, and Dutch birding tour leader Kees van Berkel.

¡Algo mas maƱana mis amigos!


On October 23, 2008 at 10:10 AM Rondeau Ric said...

Nice bird to start with. Were you exhasusted by te time you got back?

On October 24, 2008 at 3:10 PM Bill of the Birds said...

Yes, Ric. ¡Estoy muy cansado!

The flight down was so packed that sleep was impossible. then it was late nights and early mornings for the week in Panama.

But who's complaining?