Don’t hate me, but I got 61 more “Lifers” while birding Panama

I’ve lost track of the days while here in Panama. Is it Wednesday? Thursday? Or is it a Tuesday? I honestly don’t know. When we picked up the car in Gamboa yesterday the man who speaks “un poquito Ingles” asked me what day we were to return the car. At least I think thats what he was asking. I speak “un poquito Espanol,” myself. I honestly stood there and blankly looked at him and then turned to my husband with the same blank stare, looking for the answer. Turns out the answer I was looking for was “Domingo.” Sunday. The day before this adventure comes to an end.

But to end the suspense for you, today, it turns out, is Thursday. And boy was it ever a great Thursday! we broke our record and today saw 111 species and gained 61 new lifers to add to our list. (I also predict that I lost about 10 liters of water, as it was around 95 degrees Fahrenheit today with 90%+ humidity. While I appreciate the wonders it’s doing for my skin, this desert girl just can’t drink enough water.)

Gamboa is very different from the cloud forest of Cerro Punta where we’d been the past five days. It’s right next to the Panama Canal locks and the area is in the Canal Zone where many people from the US lived while the US had its presence here. In fact the B&B where we’re staying–part of the Canopy Tower family of properties–is a renovated home typical of that era. It’s not as mountainous or even hilly here like Cerro Punta. And it’s so hot and humid it just slows me down. It’s a completely different climate.

Venicio or “Beny” as he’s called is our guide for the next three days. I adore him. He keeps my husband and I in stitches as we search for birds. As a Panamanian local he also gives us quite a bit of detail on the area, which I always love. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again here: Steve and I prefer the local guides rather than tours offered by outsiders. As a guest in their country I’d rather support those who live here and who really know the locations of the birds and they have more respect for the area. It’s not to say that all outsiders are disrespectful, but there’s a certain passion local bird guides have and that passion extends beyond just birding. They are passionate about their country and also add a certain flavor an outsider just can’t bring, like where all the great places are to eat.

Okay, here’s our list. Buckle your seat belts and be prepared for today’s awesome report. We birded the well-known Pipeline Road, the Ammo Ponds and spent some time at the observatory Tower at Pipeline Road in the late afternoon when it was cooler. (Mid day called for a mandatory siesta since it was so stinking hot.)

Drumroll please: 111 total species today. 61 lifers for Steve and I. Lifers are in bold. A few select photos at bottom, just to rub it all in some more.

(Apologies in advance for any misspellings or other name errors. I’m trying to read Steve’s handwriting and he’s gone to bed with the book, so I can’t double check and don’t want to walk upstairs to our room. Call me lazy. I’m pooped too.)

Little Tinamou
Gray head Chacalaca
Least Grebe
Pied billed Grebe
Rufescent Tiger Heron
Great Egret
Striated Heron
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Broad winged Hawk
Yellow headed Caracara
White throated Crake
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Wattled Jacana
Rock Dove
Pale vented Pigeon
Scaled Pigeon
Ruddy Ground Dove
White tipped Dove
Blue headed Parrot
Red Lored Parrot
Yellow crowned Parrot
Mealy Parrot
Squirrel Cookoo
Pheasant Cookoo
Spectacled Owl
Common Pauraque
Short tailed Swift
Green Hermit (hummingbird)
Long billed Hermit (hummingbird)
Rufous breasted Hermit (hummingbird)
Stripe throated Hermit (hummingbird)
White necked Jacobin (hummingbird)
Black throated Mango (hummingbird)
Violet bellied Hummingbird
Rufous tailed Hummingbird
Blue chested Hummingbird
White tailed Trogon
Violaceous Trogon
Black Tailed Trogon
Broad Billed Motmot
Ringed Kingfisher
White necked Puffbird
Pied Puffbird
Keel billed Toucan
Chestnut Mandibled Toucan
Cinnamon Woodpecker
Lineated Woodpecker
Buff throated Foilage Gleaner
Scaly throated Leaftosser
Ruddy Woodcreeper
Cocoa Woodcreeper
Fasciated Antshrike
Barred Antshrike
Plain Antvireo
Checker throated Antwren
Dot winged Antwren
Black faced Ant thrush
Brown capped Tyrannulet
Ochre bellied Fly catcher
Common Tody Flycatcher
Olivaceous Flatbill
Royal Flycatcher
Yellow margined Flycatcher
Black tailed Flycatcher
tropical Peewee
Bright rumped Attila
Panama Flycatcher
Lesser Kiskadee
Great Kiskadee
Rusty margined Flycatcher
Social Flycatcher
Gray capped Flycatcher
Boat billed Flycatcher
Streaked Flycatcher
Piratic Flycatcher
Tropical Kingbird
Eastern Kingbird
Southern Bentbill
Cinnamon Becard
Masked Tityra
Golden collard Manakin
Yellow green Vireo
Brown capped Vireo
Golden fronted Greenlet
Green shrike Vireo (Not a rare bird but a RARE FIND as it is very difficult to see and not a lot of people get to see this fella. We got an excellent look at him since he came out in the open and I got a great photo.)
Mangrove Swallow
Bank Swallow
Northern rough winged Swallow
Barn swallow
Rufous breasted Wren
White breasted Wood Wren
Black bellied Wren
Long billed Gnatwren
Tropical Gnatcatcher
Tropical Mockingbird
Magnolia Warbler
Bay breasted Warbler
Northern Waterthrush
White shouldered Tanager
Crimson backed Tanager
Blue Gray Tanager
Plain colored Tanager
Golden hooded Tanager
Scarlet thighed Dacnis
Blue Dacnis
Red legged Honeycreeper
Buff throated Saltator
Red crowned Ant Tanager
Great Tailed Grackle
Yellow backed Oriole
Yellow Tailed Oriole
Scarlet rumped Cacique
Yellow rumped Cacique