Our Budget Panama birding tour is a joy, as long travel days and arduous hikes are not necessary. We spend several days at Canopy Tower in the Canal Zone, allowing us an unrivalled opportunity to explore the rainforests of Soberanía National Park. These exquisite forest and wetland sites provide diverse birding, while mammal opportunities are excellent. Pipeline Road, Ammo Dump Ponds and the tower itself are among the most famous birding sites in Panama. The diversity and quality of birds and birding in the area very near to the Panamanian Capital makes this area perhaps the most convenient and fruitful birding anywhere in Latin America. Some 350 species can be found within a 30-mile radius of the city! We then head to the delightful hill country of El Valle de Antón where we explore cloudforest and the Caribbean slope and a new range of mouth-watering Panama birding species!
Panamanian Tyrannulet, Veraguan Mango, Stripe-cheeked Woodpecker, Rufous-vented Ground Cuckoo, Blue Cotinga, Rosy Thrush-Tanager, Great & Little Tinamous, Keel-billed and Chestnut-mandibled Toucans, Collared Aracari, Yellow-eared Toucanet, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Spot-crowned Barbet, Black-eared Wood Quail, Fasciated, Russet & Black-crowned Antshrikes, Red-capped, White-ruffed, Lance-tailed, Blue-crowned & Golden-collared Manakins, Broad-billed and Rufous Motmots, White-whiskered & White-necked Puffbird, Spotted, Dusky, Bicolored, Ocellated & White-bellied Antbird, Black-faced Antthrush, Dot-winged, White-flanked, Slaty, Moustached & Checker-throated Antwrens, Red-lored & Northern Mealy Amazons, Blue-headed & Brown-hooded Parrots, Slaty-tailed, White-tailed Trogon, Black-bellied Wren, White-breasted Wood Wren, Crimson-crested and Lineated Woodpeckers, Scaled, Black-crowned and Streak-chested Antpittas, Bay-headed, Speckled and Black-and-yellow Tanagers, Green Shrike-Vireo, Black-chested Jay, Yellow-rumped Cacique, Southern Bentbill, White-winged Becard, Northern & Russet-winged Schiffornis, Northern Barred Woodcreeper, Speckled Mourner, Spot-crowned Antvireo, Black-and-white & Ornate Hawk-Eagles, Crested Owl, Barred Forest Falcon, Scarlet-thighed Dacnis, Spotted Barbtail, Black Guan, White Hawk, Red-faced Spinetail, Ochraceous Wren, White-vented Euphonia. Hummingbird fans: Rufous-crested Coquette, White-tipped Sicklebill, Band-tailed Barbthroat, Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer, Green Thorntail, Violet-capped, Violet-headed & Snowy-bellied Hummingbirds, Green Hermit, White-tailed Emerald, Green-crowned Brilliant, Purple-throated Mountaingem, Snowcap.
Mantled Howler Monkey, White-faced Capuchin, Ocelot, sloths
rainforest, cloudforest, marshes, rivers
mostly tropical conditions; warm and humid
8 with 1 local birding leader
mostly relaxed pace with some longer hikes
moderate with some tricky species
Panama Canal, pristine rainforest
Both guides and trip were great. Especially glad that Adam Walleyn offered to stay at the Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo location and skip lunch if any others wanted to also skip lunch to try to view the bird. Only two of us skipped lunch to stay with Adam and all three of us got to see the bird.
I really enjoyed the tour. Guides were knowledgeable and helpful, the group dynamics were good and - most importantly, we saw loads of exciting birds. I would undoubtedly have missed many species without the expert guidance and knowledge of Tuomas Seimola and the team.
As is the tradition with all of the Rockjumper guides that we've had the pleasure of being in the boonies with, Tuomas Seimola was outstanding. We enjoyed the trip a lot.
Kudos to the entire Rockjumper team for making this tour on the cusp of a global pandemic a complete success: Rob for remaining in the present during our week in the highlands, always congenial, informative and entertaining despite facing complete uncertainty about being able to return to the UK; our superb local guide, who immediately found sites outside the closed national parks for our target birds. For five magical days we had good birds, good coffee, and good vibes all around.
Forrest is truly a pleasure. His bird-finding skills, both by sight and ear, are phenomenal, but even more striking is his singular personality and people skills. Always enthusiastic. Not only would I travel with Forrest again, I preferentially would select a tour if he was guiding.
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