We’re introducing our newest fox mascot who travelled with us to Panama, allowing us to stay true to our blog title: Travels with a Fox. “Felty Fox” is only 6cm (2.5 inches) high, so he will likely be harder to see when he is included in future photos. This view is from the lounge at YVR. We left Vancouver in early January.
We had one night in Panama City before going to our birding lodge. We chose to stay in a boutique hotel in Casco Viejo (the old quarter). Villa Palma was decorated in a unique style.
Each of the six rooms was decorated differently. Our room was on the third floor, reached by a spiral staircase. The elevator only went to the second floor.
We explored the narrow streets. Most of the cars stayed on a one-way circuit that looped around the peninsula that makes up the old town. The area has recently been revitalized and made safe for tourists.
Here’s a view from our hotel’s rooftop lounge area, looking towards the skyscrapers of modern Panama City.
And a view westward towards the Pacific.
The next day a “Canopy Family” driver picked us up and drove us to Canopy Tower, our home and birding base for the next week. Canopy Tower was constructed in 1965 as a radar station by the US military. In the mid-1990s is was retrofitted to become a birding lodge. It’s situated on the top of a hill surrounded by the lowland rainforest of Soberania National Park.
Even before we found our room, we were mesmerized by the hummingbirds visiting the feeders just outside the door. This White-vented plumeleteer posed on the nearby fence. We saw over twenty species of hummingbirds in our two week stay.
Since we booked so early (July 2018 for our January 2020 stay), we were able to stay in the Harpy Eagle suite. There was no air-conditioning, but the fan and the evening breezes allowed us to sleep relatively comfortably.
The lounge and the dining area were on the third level, surrounded on all sides by windows and views of the rainforest.
Here’s a view of us and others having a late breakfast on our last day at the tower. Usually we were leaving the tower earlier so we could be looking for birds in the early light.
The food was delicious. Some days we would come back to the tower for lunch after our morning of birding. Those days we would have a break in the middle of the day and set out again at 3:00. Even birds seem to need siestas!
The view from the lounge windows was amazing. Sometimes you could see monkeys clambering through the branches.
The top observation deck allowed views all around, both distant and close views.
Doug captured this Golden-hooded tanager with his 600 mm lens from the observation deck.
We saw many Broad-billed motmots throughout the week, but the first one was special.
Often we only heard and caught glimpses of the Red-lored parrot, but this one came close to the tower one morning.
Here’s a view of sunrise from the tower. If you look closely you can make out the skyscrapers of Panama City on the horizon.
This is the first of a number of posts about our two week trip to Panama. We have many more birds to show you!