Panama with Joppa Flats

July 14 - 21, 2012

Toucan in Panama © David Larson, Mass Audubon
© David Larson, Mass Audubon
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Mass Audubon staff naturalists Bill Gette, David Larson, and Melissa Vokey were joined by twelve Joppa Flats’ volunteers and supporters on an eight-day adventure to Panama to explore some of the most beautiful natural areas with incredible wildlife viewing opportunities.

They visited two of Central America’s finest natural history destinations:

  • Canopy Tower, located in the tropical lowland rainforests near the Panama Canal
  • Canopy Lodge, situated at mid-elevations in the quaint village of El Valle.

They also enjoyed a tour of historic Panama City and had the chance to visit to local market.

Some of their favorite memories include:

  • A trip to the rice fields to witness a Great Egret trying to subdue a snake in the rice fields, as well as at least four Crested Caracas, Savanna Hawks, Common Black-Hawk, Great Egrets, and swarms of cattle egrets
  • Early morning birding from the roof of Canopy Tower, as well as escaping to the roof after dinner to see the stars overhead and the lights of Panama City in the distance, feeling the cool breeze
  • Having great views of many raptors: Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Black Hawk-Eagle, Crane Hawk, Savanna Hawk, Bat Falcon, Plumbeous Kite, White Hawk
  • Exploring the Caribbean slope in four-wheel drive vehicles
  • Walking through the small pasture along Rio Indio Road – seeing so many wonderful birds, including Emerald Tanager and Bay-headed Tanager
  • Watching the Blue Morpho butterflies flashing as they flew past us on the trails; Swimming at Santa Clara beach, watching the Magnificent Frigatebirds flying over the fishing boats
  • Watching the leafcutting ants carrying leaf fragments to their colonies
  • And for one happy traveler, seeing four life birds in five minutes at Canopy Tower.

The group saw and heard a total of 218 species of birds and 6 species of mammals. They selected the following ten species of birds as the

Top Ten Birds for the trip:

  1. Emerald Tanager
  2. Barred Puffbird
  3. Ornate Hawk-Eagle
  4. Aplomado Falcon
  5. Southern Lapwing
  6. Savannah Hawk
  7. Paltry Tyrannulet
  8. White Hawk
  9. Bay-headed Tanager
  10. Barred Antshrike