Friday, April 1, 2016

Panama Boquete Birds Mar 27 2016- Oropendola, Keel-billed Toucans, Jason Lara, Purple Gallinule, Motmot, Euphonia, Sloth, Monkey, Cacique, Parakeet, Manakin.

This is the second to last blog on the Boquete, Panama series.  The final blog will consist of pictures that are not birds but general scenes that will remind us of our month in the high country of Chiriqui. Mar. 27, 2016 we hired Jason Lara ( to guide us to a place called Willy Mazu.  It is on the Caribbean side of the Continental Divide.  Willy Mazu was a man with some property and he wanted to turn the land into Panama's first sanctuary for birds.  I am not sure if he was successful in this venture but the area allowed Jason to get us over 80 birds there.  Jason is a great guy with perfect language skills in both Spanish and English and he really knows his birds.  While we were getting tired at the end of the day Jason didn't want to quit.  In 2015 Global Big Day Jason and a group of friends got 218 birds in 18 hours.  Here is some of what we saw.
Jason Lara and Dian
The pin on the map just below Chiriqui Grande is the approximate location of Willy Mazu.
Black-chested Jay 
Blue-headed Parrots (Pionus menstruus-their undertail coverts determined their Latin name) on the way to Willy Mazu.
A type of Glass-winged Butterfly.  Their wings are transparent. 
Golden-hooded Tanager 
Keel-billed Toucans

Keel-billed Toucan.  We also saw 2 Chestnut-mandibled Toucans but too far away for a decent shot.
Montezuma Oropendola.  
While looking for birds around what we thought was Willy Mazu's rundown, abandoned sanctuary headquarters in the middle of nowhere, this gentleman took us by surprise. He has apparently commandeered it for his home. Jason said a few words in Spanish and we left him in peace.  
Fork-tailed Flycatcher was on the way home.
Tawny-capped Euphonia.  I was taking a picture of this bird when the old man appeared.
Tawny-crested Tanager.  Sometimes you gotta get a picture any way you can.
Three-toed Sloth with three toed child (I presume). 
White-faced Capuchin Monkey.  The only ones we saw on the trip.
Jason was quite excited to find this Yellow-billed Cacique.  He had not seen very many before.
After the gruelling Willy Mazu trip we decided to do the less strenuous Pipeline Trail again on the 27th.  Here is the Black-thighed Grosbeak.
This Green Hermit Hummingbird has been in the same spot for the month we have been in Boquete.  Pipeline.
Lesser Goldfinch Pipeline.

The following pictures were mostly taken while driving to Cangilones from Boquete.
Scaled Pigeon Cangilones.
Rufous-capped Warbler, Cangilones.  Quite common here and reminds us of our many trips up Florida Canyon in Arizona (where they are rare) to find one. 
Orange-throated Parakeet.  Cangilones.
Lance-Tailed Manakin at Bill Fox's place
Gary-Lined Hawk. I thought it was a Gray Hawk but ebird editor corrected me.  They were split in 2011.   Cangilones.
Bill Fox knew we were having a hard time finding the Blue-crowned Motmot so he invited us over.  Nice to have them right on your own back yard.  Thanks Bill and Lynne
Blue-crowned Motmot dorsal view.  These birds nest in holes in dirt banks.  It looks like this one has dirt on its back.
Crimson-backed Tanager Cangilones
Purple Gallinule Cangilones
Roadside Hawk Cangilones
Black-faced Warbler Pipeline

Broad-winged Hawk Pipeline

Hairy Woodpecker Pipeline

Silver-throated Tanager Pipeline

Spotted Woodcreeper Pipeline

Yellowish Flycatcher Pipeline

We found 188 species of birds in the Boquete area and photographed about 125 of them.  We were lucky to meet up with Bill and Lynne Fox who showed us the back trails and found us some nice birds.  Guide Jason Lara took us out of town for one day to find birds not common in the Boquete area.  He charged us $120 for a full day.  We rented a car from Cowboy Car Rentals for $750.  They are junkers but get the job done.  Car rentals from known car companies seem cheaper but they charge enormous insurance rates.  Our accommodation was through Airbnb.  It is a cottage about 5 miles out of town that served us well.  Boquete itself is a quite noisy so we welcomed the rural ambiance although one can't escape the barking dogs and crowing roosters.  (They have cock fights here).  Dian, thinking ahead, brought ear plugs with us. The sun shone every day in March and we had no rain the entire time.  It would get warm in the afternoon for a few hours but the breezes would start around 3PM and cool things down.  Bill told us Mar. 28 was warmest day they had witnessed in their 10 years here and that day the temperature hit 93F degrees.  The temperature gets to the mid 60's during the night and we never missed air conditioning. We enjoyed our stay here and we were glad we decided not to tour the country because we got to know the locals and how they carried on their daily lives.  There were certainly enough birds and hiking trails to keep us busy.

End of this blog.  Scroll down to "Older Posts" to see previous blog.


  1. Truly a trip of a lifetime thanks for sharing it with us you guys!

    Safe travels home!

  2. Congratulations on a successful trip and thanks for posting all the lovely photos. We're finally having sunshine in Vancouver so safe to come home!

  3. The flycatcher looks more Fork-tailed than a Scissor-tailed. :)

    Quite the adventure! You saw so many species. From the whole trip, what was your favourite?

    1. Hi Bridget-thanks for the correction. Our favourite birds were the Toucans. But some of the Tanagers were spectacular.