Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Panama 2012. Arrivals and Departures

Tuesday July 24
This could be a shortened account... I'd virtually finished the two day write-up when it all disappeared - and it wasn't in drafts. We have a 6 a.m start in the morning too.

Rai dropped us off in plenty of time at Norwich airport. Just as well, KLM have changed their baggage policy so that it's the number of pieces you have rather than the combined weight which counts. We had four between us, counting the slim tripod bag and the equally small one for the two stools. The staff were bemused by it all so it took ages to sort - and Pam got stroppy. 

After a long walk at Schipol, Amsterdam, we were straight onto the plane for Panama. Only to sit sweltering on the tarmac for nearly one and a half hours for various technical reasons e.g a blocked loo. Our first all body scan was an experience, I could see my knees shining silver bright.
Long flights are to be endured for what lies at the end, at least the meals were good.
Panama airport is weird. No signs for baggage reclaim when we got off the plane and all our luggage had to go through the xray machine again. At least it was fast and the Hotel Ruande Aeropuerto minibus was waiting for us outside. Most impressive, we were handed a bottle of ice cold water as soon as we sat and the hotel was only a three minute ride away. Efficient reception and luggage quickly whisked away to our very nice room.
We walked to the bar to exchange our complementary drinks tokens for a beer (Pam) and a soda, before retiring to our room to share one room service toasted cheese sandwich, which came with chips and salad.

Wednesday July 25

Up soon after dawn to explore the grounds. The hotel rooms are around a giant square gardens with pool, trees, bushes and flowers. 

We saw Clay-coloured Thrush ( we twitched one in Texas),  a Variable Seedeater and a Squirrel from our room. 

After an early breakfast of omelette, fruit, yoghurt and coffee, we sat in the gardens. A White-whiskered Puffbird was a tick, the Tropical Kingbirds, Tropical Mockingbirds common, the butterflies beautiful but resisting photography.
Canopy Tower minibus turned up promptly at 10 to drive us from north of the city, through Panama City itself to the south and the Tower.  The city has towering skyscrapers, right up to the seafront. 

Pam's photo
We saw Magnificent Frigatebirds, Great-tailed Grackles, Brown Pelicans, Great Blue Heron, Neotropical Cormorants and many egrets, herons and gulls too distant  to ID. 
Canopy Tower is at the top of a steep hill and a private road climbing through rainforest. It was an American radar station, ideally placed to look over the treetops towards the Panama Canal - another historic tick. It looks like a radar station, a 4 floor metal tower , bare metal interior and steeply climbing flights of stairs linking the floors.

Our room is on the second floor, the one above us is the comfortable Lounge/dining area/library and ........internet access.
Our room is basic but lovely, the en suite is great. We spent the rest of the day birding from the lounge, climbing to the open top floor with its magnificent views and down to the car park to watch the hummingbird feeders. 
Blue-chested Hummingbird

White-vented Plumeleteer

Really exciting was a Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth in a nearby Cecropia tree, gradually - over two hours - making its way down with frequent rests for naps. 

Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth

We identified, Golden-hooded Tanager, Green Honeycreeper, White-vented Plumeleteer (Hummers have great names) Blue-chested Hummingbird and a swift sp.
Two Red-lored Parrots flew by, squawking loudly, as we went for supper.
A shower, before supper with a very pleasant group of two American couples and David from Yorkshire, exchanging stories. They'd spent all day walking the Pipeline Road.
Tired now, I'll add the photos another time, when I do not know.

No comments:

Post a Comment