Trip Report: Eastern Panama custom tour (Jul-Aug 2021) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Andres Vasquez. This was a custom tour that also included some sites in the Darien not visited on the set-departure tour.

During the past 14 years I have had the luck of touring around the Americas with Richard Goldfarb on over 14 custom tours he has taken with TB. Birding has brought us to amazing sites, spending nights in some basic lodges and some great hotels, eating from frog legs in southern Ecuador to various Bifes al punto in Argentina and even some of the best cuisine in one of the top five (at the time) restaurants of Latin America in Peru. This time, the targets he wanted took us to some of the most remote places in Panama and had us even using a facility that we had never before used on any TB tours (which we will never use again) in order to reach the base of the Cerro Pirre in Darien where local rumors promised me easy access to a CRESTED EAGLE staked out, the rare and local Dusky-backed Jacamar and the unmatchable Black-crowned Antpitta, among other specialties. Had not been for all the years touring together we probably would have not been prepared for this one. We decided to take the adventure and accept the fact that we would have had to rough it for a couple nights, and went for it. I was not convinced completely, since the descriptions of the area and facility were not very clear after talking to the local guide, but the possibilities of finding Saffron-headed Parrot and Yellow-browed Shrike-Vireo there pushed us to do it. At the end we got all of these, except for the latter which was too much for us after a couple days of hard walks and even some horseback riding. Apart from this adventure in the deep Darien, we also visited some other less remote areas in the province where we found things like Double-banded Graytail, White-headed Wren, Choco Sirystes, Gray-cheeked Nunlet, Black Antshrike, Bare-crowned Antbird, Carib Grackle, Black Oropendola, Spectacled Parrotlet, Yellow-hooded Blackbird, Orange-crowned Oriole, Pale-bellied Hermit, Rufous Piha, Scarlet-browed Tanager, the beautiful White-eared Conebill, and the very local (in Panama) Bicolored Wren. Other areas that we birded, in a more relaxed pace were Cerro Azul, the Metropolitan Park in Panama City and the famous and always rewarding Pipeline Road. In these areas we got as highlights the local Stripe-cheeked Woodpecker, Russet-winged Schiffornis, the unique Rosy Thrush-Tanager, the difficult Yellow-green Tyrannulet, an array of antbirds and plenty more. We did not look for many common birds since this was a clean-up tour, quite focused on targets and not on numbers. The final tally was excellent and the number of the targets gotten was very satisfactory after this great adventure. Click the link below to read the full report.

Full TROPICAL BIRDING Eastern Panama custom tour trip report (11 MB PDF)