On Sunday, we had a leisurely start at Canopy Tower. After our final look at birds from the observation deck and a delicious breakfast, we packed our bags to be ready to leave for Canopy Lodge, in El Valle.
It took us a couple of hours to reach the valley. Our van drove us west along a divided highway. We turned north at the town of Anton and continued up narrow, steep, winding roads to the rim of an ancient volcano, then down equally steep grades to the valley floor and the town of El Valle. Canopy Lodge is up a hill just outside of town.
The lodge is on the other side of a footbridge over a small stream, which adds to the natural feel of the place. It means that all supplies are brought over either in baskets or on a hand-cart.
The main parts of the lodge are all covered outdoor areas. Here is a view of one of the lounge areas. This is where we usually sat in the evening when we went over our sightings for the day.
Along the wall is a bookcase of nature reference books and variety of others books. There is also a section devoted to some local folk art.
This is the dining area, with the second lounge area behind. It cooled off in the evening, but most nights were about 20 degrees C. Doug recalls wearing a jacket once when it was breezy. The kitchen is behind the rock wall.
Wendy is looking at the bird feeding station. We watched the live cam before we visited. You can too. Search: Panama Fruit Feeder Cam at the Canopy Lodge.
It was a popular spot with lodge guests before heading out for their afternoon birding session.
The Gray-headed chachalacas were fun to watch, and they could clear the tray full of fruit in minutes.
The rooms were bigger than at the tower. The windows were only screen, so if it was breezy, the curtains provided some protection. There was a huge duvet which we found we didn’t need.
Our room was at ground level, but some were up a story so could be considered at the canopy level. This is a view of our balcony, which we enjoyed many evenings, and sometimes used for an afternoon outdoor siesta.
The stream at the lodge brought all sorts of creatures including birds. This Water Anole lizard was sunning himself one afternoon.
The first afternoon birding tour was on a road full of fancy homes within view of Cerro Cara Iguana. The mountain got that name because it looks a bit like a sleeping iguana.
While we were walking along the toad, Wendy heard the call of a bird she was familiar with, which didn’t happen very often in Panama. Sure enough, a Summer tanager appeared and we all had a good look.
Next morning, we loaded into the van and headed up the hill beyond the lodge. We parked beside a pond where we had a good view of a Green kingfisher. We saw her a number of times throughout the week.
We walked up the road and it started to sprinkle. Soon it was raining hard so we took shelter in the overhang of the local store. Our guide today was Danilo.
Across the road from the store, there was a remnant of a banana. We watched while different birds came to clean it up. These are Spot-crowned barbets.
The Blue-grey tanagers were waiting nearby.
And a Flame-rumped tanager came by to check it out. The local guides call them Lemon-rumped, which is a better name for them.
We continued up to the “cloud-forest” and walked along a road known as Las Minas Trail.
When we got to an overlook there was some clearing out towards the Pacific.
We saw a few birds, but the fog made it hard to see long distances. This butterfly or maybe moth, caught our attention. We saw many butterflies and moths and can understand those who become butterfly watchers, but know that it would be a complex endeavour and not for us right now. So this photo is just of “a nice rufous and green one.”
We did however, see a nice rufous and yellow bird, known as a Rufous-capped warbler.
That afternoon, we walked up the road from the lodge towards property that is part of the Canopy Family, called “Canopy Adventure.” They offer zip-line tours that criss-cross the stream and waterfall. Gretchen was the only one of our group that went later in the week.
Here’s a view of one of the suspension bridges.
The waterfall was a good backdrop for a photo. Here’s a good one of Gretchen and Bob.
And one of Doug in almost the same place.
We managed to see a pair of Mottled owls that were roosting behind a curtain of branches, but the most exciting find was this Violet-headed hummingbird on her nest.
When we were walking back to the lodge we spotted this Broad-winged hawk perched in a tree. Perhaps he was taking a rest, because he didn’t move much, which allowed us to find a better vantage point and have a good look at him.
So that’s enough for one post. There’s five more days of birding tell you about, and many more birds to show you!