Panama's Canal Zone: A Relaxed & Easy Tour Nov 12—18, 2017

Posted by David Ascanio


David Ascanio

David Ascanio, a Venezuelan birder and naturalist, has spent 30+ years guiding birding tours throughout his native country, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, the Amazon River, ...

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A silent night in the peaceful town of Gamboa was followed by a wild blast of birds at dawn near the lodge. What a way to start our Panama Canal tour! The bird feeder was our first step to identify some of the common and colorful species that included Plain-colored, Blue-gray, Palm, Crimson-backed, and Golden-hooded tanagers. In addition to this kaleidoscope of colors, we also saw Red-legged and Shining honeycreepers, Orange-chinned Parakeet, and Buff-throated Saltator. As the morning warmed up, we walked in the streets of Gamboa and added Common Tody-Flycatcher, Baltimore Oriole, Gray-headed Chachalacas, Gray-lined Hawk, and three Short-tailed Hawks in flight. A slow afternoon (due to the rain) gave us the chance to obtain close views of Gartered Trogon and a female Blue Cotinga.

White-necked Jacobin

White-necked Jacobin— Photo: David Ascanio


On our second day we explored the riverine forest of the Chagres River and also Lake Gatún, along the Panama Canal. These locations gave us the opportunity to add Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Greater Ani, Common Black Hawk, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Snail Kite, Rufous Motmot, Keel-billed Toucan, Purple Gallinule, Mangrove Swallow, Fasciated Antshrike, Green Kingfisher, and Limpkin to our list. We also saw several waterbirds and three species of terns. The surprise of the morning was a flash view of what seemed like a Black Tern, in the mouth of the Chagres River. There have been very few previous records of this tern in the Panama Canal. On the other side, on another rainy afternoon, we added a pair of the secretive Isthmian Wren, and given the overcast evening, they sat in the open, allowing us great views.

Read David’s full report in his Field List.