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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

Panama’s Canopy Lodge: Bird Life

March 24th, 2011 · 1 Comment

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We were lucky to find a Pearl Kite as we drove from Panama City to Canopy Lodge along the Pan-American Highway. This is, by the way, the world’s longest motorable road, according to Guinness World Records. The Pearl Kite, a raptor that is even smaller than the American Kestrel that I have often photographed at home, breeds in Panama but isn’t common anywhere in the country. It is the smallest raptor in the Americas.

A Pearl Kite

A Pearl Kite

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Early on our first morning at Canopy Lodge I was walking from my room to the lodge’s main building when I encountered Eric. He led me up to the top of the three-story observation tower at almost eye level so I could get a nearly eye-level shot of the first big bird we saw there. The sound of this bird’s name added to my enthusiasm for it.

A Gray-Headed Chachalaka

A Gray-Headed Chachalaka

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One afternoon at Canopy Lodge we found a Sunbittern across a pond from us. That evening we mentioned it to lodge owner Raúl Arias de Para. He told us that he had never seen a Sunbittern at the lodge before, and I was happy to provide him with this photo.

A Sunbittern

A Sunbittern

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We saw a wide variety of birds near the lodge.

An Orange-billed Sparrow

An Orange-billed Sparrow

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The blue plumage of this Tanager makes a brilliant contrast with his red legs.

A Male Red-legged Honeycreeper in Breeding Plumage

A Male Red-legged Honeycreeper in Breeding Plumage

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The meanest-looking bird that I encountered was the Chestnut-headed Oropendola. But looks can be deceptive, and this bird probably isn’t as mean as I am.

A Chestnut-headed Oropendola

A Chestnut-headed Oropendola

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When we left the lodge to explore the nearby trails, we stopped at the little clearings in the rainforest. Unlike at home, many birds live in Panama’s forest. But they gravitate to the margins.

A Green Kingfisher

A Green Kingfisher

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The woodpecker that I appreciated the most was this very large one with a crest of red, my favorite color.

Looking Scared, a Lineated Woodpecker Peaks out of its Hole

Looking Scared, a Lineated Woodpecker Peaks out of its Hole

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A Different Lineated Woodpecker on a Different Day

A Different Lineated Woodpecker on a Different Day

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In the lowlands the bird I tried hardest to photograph was a Squirrel Cuckoo. It earned its name from its habit of running along branches and leaping from branch to branch like a squirrel. Leaping from branch to branch, this one led me down a row of trees before I got this image.

A Squirrel Cuckoo

A Squirrel Cuckoo

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Going from Canopy Lodge to Canopy Tower on March 10 was a 2 1/2 hour drive in a lodge van that took us down to the Pan-American Highway. We stopped when we saw a Yellow-headed Caracara as it sat right by the road on a pole. I took lots of shots of this large raptor sitting there, but the best one came as it left:

A Yellow-headed Caracara Takes Off

A Yellow-headed Caracara Takes Off

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Experiencing Canopy Lodge was wonderful, and I could have spent weeks there. But I was also enthusiastic to visit the even more famous Canopy Tower.

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Posted in: Panama

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 SAMUEL HAMILTON // Apr 1, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Very nice photos!

    Thanks for your efforts on educating others on diabetes. I’ve found your info both timely and interesting.

    I’m working hard to keep my disease under control, and your articles are excellent.

    Thanks!

    SRH

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