Panama Day Two. My First Morning At Canopy Tower. As Advertised, It Is A Nature And Birding Paradise
It was only about a month ago when I first learned of Canopy Tower. Canopy Tower is one of a family of ecolodges located in the biodiverse tropical rain forests of Panama and operated by the Canopy Family. There is more on how I discovered this remarkable place in my previous blog. The Tower is located in an abandoned U.S. Military radar installation overlooking a tropical rain forest not far from modern Panama City.
I arrived late Monday evening and had a wonderful night sleeping and listening to the sounds of the insects in the rain forest in my comfortable room. I awoke early, just before the 6 a.m. sunrise, and walked the stairs to to the lounge, library and dining area in the morning twilight.
Mist covered the valleys below the mountains in the distance. The view was even more wonderful then described on the Canopy Tower’s website and the many positive reviews I read, It was a magical scene.
I wasn’t the first one on the rooftop for the sunrise. One fellow guest was already listening and looking for birds and soon the other three guests joined us. We introduced ourselves and soon one of our excellent guides, Jorge was introducing us to the birds and other animals life of the Panamanian rain forest,. Jorge and our other guide Igua would share their extensive knowledge of the flora and fauna of the rain forest with us. And, since I signed up for a five day birding excursion they soon were showing us the birds that live in and migrate through vast Panamanian rain forest.
And it didn’t take long. The first bird I saw in Panama was a red-lored parrot. I would see many of these loud birds on my stay both perched in the trees near the lodge and on our hikes and flying overhead. When I was growing up in the Green Ridge section of Hazle Township in Luzerne County in Northeastern Pennsylvania a neighbor had a parrot named Chico. I loved that noisy and cantankerous parrot. This parrot may have been one of Chico’s distant relatives.
I also saw a palm tanager, one of many I would see over the next five days. I was able to find both of these birds on my own.
However, most of the birds I would see that first morning and for the rest of the trip were first spotted by Jorge and Igua. Jorge soon pointed out this beautiful black-cheeked woodpecker. I am not an official “birder” so I hope I made the right identifications of the bird photos I will share on my blog posts. If I get one wrong please send me an e-mail and correct me and I will correct the identification.
I will share all of the birds I was able to photograph on my trip so this blog may be long and boring to some folks, but the birds were too beautiful not to share. I’ll try and include some of the other critters and fauna I saw on my adventures while at the Canopy Tower. It was a wonderful stay. So back to my first morning, Jorge soon pointed out a number of birds from the roof of the Canopy Tower including a masked tityra,
a beautiful blue dacnis,
a white-necked Jacobin hummingbird. These were are birds native to the rain forests or Central and South America and were all first time or “lifer” sightings for me.
I also saw some birds I was very familiar with. It is one of the reasons I was in Panama. I have become fascinated with the migratory birds that visit the woodlands in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I failed to notice them for most of my life. However, in the past few years I have enjoyed seeing, hearing, identifying, learning about, photographing and sharing my photos of this beautiful, often unnoticed and amazing Spring and Summer residents. I am amazed the distances they travel and I was hoping to see some of them here in Panama. And I did. The first being this tiny eastern wood pee wee. I often here there calls and songs in the deep forest near my home. The breed in North America and travel to South America, thousands of miles away in the Winter. I would see and hear dozens of these familiar birds in Panama as they continued their migration to South America.
As I searched for the many birds singing and fluttering in the treetops I saw a large ship in the distance and realized how close I was to the famous Panama Canal. As I noted in my prior blog, this was a sight I wanted to see since I was a child. Another item crossed off my “bucket” list.
I also saw this great crested flycatcher also familiar Summer residents near my home. Some may be migrating further south while other will spend the Winter in Panama. It was a wonderful time on the roof.
We saw so much and it wasn’t even breakfast. We took a break for a hearty and filling breakfast and were soon learning and seeing more of the beauty provided by the remote location of the Canopy Tower surrounded by the lowland rainforest of Soberania National Park. We were introduced to remarkable display of humming birds at feeders near the Tower. We saw dozens of this delicate and beautiful birds including violet bellied hummingbirds,
snowy bellied humming birds and many humming birds other I didn’t photograph.
After watching the humming birds we left the Canopy Tower and walked down the steep winding access road to the Canopy Tower. It was mostly sunny, hot and very humid as we walked under the shade of the tall trees in the tropical rain forest.
Our guide was very helpful in informing us on the many exotic trees, plants and flowers in the forests as we searched for birds. We learned these pretty and interesting flowers very common along the trail were know as hot lips.
And we also saw more tropical birds including this pretty broad-billed motmot,
a white tailed trogon and
a spectacular cinnamon woodpecker. I love woodpeckers and love to see the seven species that live in Pennsylvania. I enjoyed seeing this and the black-cheeked woodpecker.
We continued along the winding road and I soon saw my first Panamanian mammal. I was delighted to see this Central American agouti but would see many more during my stay. They are very common in Panama and many are seen in the early morning and evening.
and were excited to hear, then see, howler monkeys in the trees tops. I wanted to see these monkeys on this trip and we enjoyed our brief encounter, We would see more on our adventures the nest few days.
We saw a few more birds as we walked on the trail in the increasing warmer tropical air. This is a male white flanked ant wren putting on a show for a nearby female,
this a white whiskered puff bird, and.
this a fasciated antshrike. It was remarkable how many birds we saw on this short hike and on the roof top of the Canopy Towers. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog webpage with more photos of the birds I saw on my hike. Panama Day 2 Canopy Tower Morning hike birds. October 17 2023.
It was only a mile hike but I was amazed with the many species of plants, birds and insects we saw. It was near noon and we were driven back up the steep road for our lunch. It was a wonderful first morning at the Canopy Tower and I was already satisfied with my last minute decision to take this trip. It would only get better over the next five days. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my hike. Panama Day 2 Canopy Tower hike October 17 2023.
“Every bird, every tree, every flower reminds me what a blessing and privilege it is just to be alive.” — Marty Rubi