Panama: Bocas del Toro Archipelago Mar 23—Apr 01, 2018

Posted by Jeri Langham


Jeri Langham

Jeri M. Langham has a Ph.D. in plant ecology from Washington State University, and after 38 years as a professor of biological sciences at California State University ...

Related Trips

Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge was built on Bastimentos Island adjacent to the large Parque Nacional Isla Bastimentos in Panama’s Bocas del Toro Archipelago. I scouted this location in January 2011 and immediately knew it was a fantastic location for VENT tours. Participants also have opportunities to snorkel, kayak, visit the bat cave, paddleboard, and fish or swim in the warm Caribbean waters.

An enticing example of what awaits visitors to this marvelous birding paradise can be found in excerpts taken from the journal I write during every tour and later email to all participants. These are from my 11-page journal for the March 2018 tour.

Crimson-collared Tanager

Crimson-collared Tanager— Photo: Bill Fraser


After a 45-minute flight from Panama City to Bocas del Toro, we were met by Jay Viola, one of the three owners of Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, and soon were loaded on the boat and headed toward Bastimentos Island, home of Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge. On the way we picked up Magnificent Frigatebird and Pomarine Jaeger.

We settled into our cabanas and then met on the lodge porch and birded from here, the porch of one of the cabanas on top of the hill, and also along a winding rainforest trail. Top of the list was my first White-tailed Kite for the property. Rufous-tailed Hummingbird was the most common, but we also added Bananaquit, Blue-black Grosbeak, Black-cheeked Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Elaenia, Red-lored Parrot, White-crowned and Pale-vented pigeons, and male and female Masked and Black-headed tityras.

As we worked our way up to “pineapple hill” and the bird-bathing pools, we picked up Dot-winged Antwren and Chestnut-sided Warbler. We got brief looks at Golden-collared Manakins and great looks at Shining Honeycreeper and a perched, distant Mississippi Kite, a first in my ten visits. Natalia spotted a close Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth.

Before leaving the dock this morning, we saw a Spotted Eagle Ray. On arrival at the mainland, we saw Royal Terns and a Mangrove Swallow before boarding our van. We picked up Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Northern Jaçana, Green Ibis and more as we drove. Behind the gas station where we stopped to purchase snacks and use the restrooms, we saw our first Boat-billed Herons, and a Cattle Egret stood up in its nest exposing three bright white eggs.

Read Jeri’s full report in his Field Report.