Adios, Panama

I hate goodbyes.

We said “goodbye” to Ito in Cerro Punta, said “goodbye” to Beny yesterday after our last birding day with him and tomorrow we’ll be leaving Panama early and saying “goodbye” to a country that has been beautiful, diverse, friendly, adventurous, and all those other words that are easy to grasp.
But most of all, I’ve found Panama to be more like home. I mean that it feels like home. Maybe it’s because they use the U.S. Dollar here, or maybe because the U.S. was present here for so long.

It’s pretty easy to find the little necessities we’ve grown fond of while traveling: Coca Cola (Lite for me), Oreos (why, all of a sudden am I into Oreos?), Red Bull, and Nature Valley granola bars. But we’ve also discovered some new things we love: these little cookies/crackers we found in Cerro Punto that are nothing more than sugar, flour and butter and packages in a little cellophane bag, tied at the top. I could easily eat a whole bag (and almost did). And these great apples that are called Water Apples, which once you’ve taken your first bite, drip with wateriness and is a welcome relief in the humid and hot temps of Panama while birding:



But it’s not all just about the food. I’ve found the people to all be warm and friendly and try to be as helpful as they can. Panamanians are proud of their birds. People in the regions we visited would point out a unique bird–they know that birds are special in their country and know that people from around the world come to Panama to see their birds.

Steve thinks I’m going to change my mind about moving here once we visit the next country, since he says I want to move to every place where we vacation. But I can totally see us retiring here–what a fantastic jumping off point to see other parts of the world, especially South America, which we have ventured to yet.

With all that said, let me give yesterday’s report. I believe all our diving and birding and bus rides and taxi adventures has taken a toll on us. Well, that and the very hot and humid temperatures. It was a very hot day and Steve and I were moving slowly. Poor Benny. I think he was a little saddened by the fact that he got us at the end of our journey and we were dragging as we’re just not used to this heat.

It was a slow day. We were hot and the birds were hot. We birded around the Gamboa Resort, the Pipeline Road again, but a different trail (further down than three days ago) and then around the Radisson Hotel in Gamboa in the late afternoon where we saw tons of hawks overhead, which decided to rest for the night in the forest right behind the Radisson.

Once I saw the Radisson’s two pools I counseled with Steve and we decided to forego our last night at the Canopy B&B and stayed last night at the Radisson instead. So glad we did. And I recommend to all birders out there who are planning a trip to Panama and the Gamboa region that if you find the Canopy Tower too pricey (it is) then your next bet should be the Radisson. Ask for the 4th, 5th or 6th floor with a forest view. This morning we awoke to  hawks rising from the forest behind us in the thousands and it was a site to behold. Plus, you can cool off in the pools. Food is pretty good, especially the breakfast buffet, which should sustain you. There is also an ATM in the lobby, which is very convenient since there are no services around for miles and miles away.

Yesterday I asked Beny why people don’t say “adios” to each other. When I took Spanish in high school one of the first lessons we had was that “adios” meant “goodbye.”

“Adios is when you’re not going to see each other for a long, long time,” Benny taught me.

Hopefully it won’t be long before we say, “Hola!” to Panama again.


Here’s our list from yesterday. 87 species and only 7 lifers. The lifers are in bold. More photos at the end.

Magnificent Frigate Bird
Rufescent Tiger Heron (immature)
Turkey Vulture
Black Vulture
Mississippi Kite (new for me; Steve’s already seen it)
Broad winged Hawk
Swainson’s Hawk
White throated Crake
Common Moorhen
Southern Lapwing
Wattled Jacana
Royal Tern
Rock Dove
Pale vented Pigeon
Scaled Pigeon
White tipped Dove
Ruddy Quail Dove
Orange chinned Parakeet
Blue headed Parrot
Red lored Parrot
Mealy Parrot
Squirrel Cuckoo
Spectacled Owl
Chimney Swift
Short tailed Swift
Garden Emerald (hummingbird)
Sapphire throated Hummingbird
Rufous tailed Hummingbird
Blue Chested Hummingbird
White throated Plumelteer
Black tailed Trogon
Blue crowned Motmot
Ringed Kingfisher
Amazon Kingfisher
Chestnut Mandibled Toucan
Keel billed Toucan
Red crowned Woodpecker
Black cheeked Woodpecker
Crimson crested Woodpecker
Barred Antshrike
White Bellied Antbird
Yellow bellied Tyrannulet
Yellow Tyrannulet
Common Tody Flycatcher
Panama Flycatcher
Dusky capped Flycatcher
Lesser Flycatcher
Great Kiskadee
Social Flycatcher
Gray capped Flycatcher
Streaked Flycatcher
Tropical Kingbird
Eastern Kingbird
Cinnamon Becard
Purple fruit crow
Yellow green Vireo
Mangrove swallow
Southern rough winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Gray breasted Martin
Black bellied wren
Bay Wren
Rufous breasted Wren
Buff breasted Wren
House Wren
Clay colored Thrush
Chestnut sided Warbler
Northern Water Thrush
Rosy Thrush Tanager
White shouldered Tanager
Crimson backed Tanager
Palm Tanager
Golden hooded Tanager
Red legged Honey Creeper
Streaked Saltator
Blue black Grassquit
Variable Seedeater
Thick billed Seed finch
Blue Black Grosbeak
Giant Cowbird
Great tailed Grackle
Baltimore Oriole
Scarlet rumped Cacique
Yellow rumped Cacique
Thick billed Euphonia

And a big ass locust


Blue Black Grosbeak