Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Last Day in Panama

Tuesday August 7
Late breakfast to-day, 6.45. The staff now deliver our food already plated as there's just the two of us. Not ideal, I prefer to choose what I have so that none is wasted.To-day's in particular. I have become accustomed to scrambled eggs on two small slices of toast, fruit and a yoghurt. This morning I had a plate containing a halved hard-boiled egg, a cornichon of smoked ham, and a thick slice of soft white cheese placed in front of me. I ate the egg, shall be clucking soon.
Elicier took us to another part of La Mesa to-day, an area dominated by huge chicken farms belonging to Toledano. Forest all around, the area is divided into 'Fincas', all Toledano, a big local employer. The farms are strangely unobtrusive though.
We went to a protected, primary  rainforest part called Cerro Gaital, the steep, slippery and stony  track uphill edged by secondary forest. 

Before we started the climb, Pam spotted a snake being watched by several small birds. No-one else saw it, but her description was pronounced that of a Bird-eating Snake by Eliecer. That's the local name anyway. The Oregon couple, Ron and Kate, had a close encounter with a Fer de Lance. I wouldn't want a close view but would love to have seen one.
At the top of the walk uphill, what looked like a flight of lethally slippery stone steps climbed upward in deep gloom. We turned this down.
Pam and Eliecer at the top of the track.
As always, Eliecer worked very hard for us, long and patient whistling brought the shy, secretive and really rather drab, rainforest bird, Thrush-like Schiffornis, into perched view. Excellent, I really wanted to see one. We had great views of Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer, Bright-rumped Attila, several Ant-wrens and Blue-black Grosbeak. The latter only decided to give us a good view - Pam especially - this morning, it's been flying views and glimpses previously. 

Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer - digiscoped as all these pics are. Not much use when the tail is missing- not in scope view either so no chance !
A perched Roadside Hawk enlivened the way back to the Lodge for lunch.
As we finished our meal, Raoul, the owner of the Canopy Family, joined us. He chatted for about a quarter of an hour before going on with his weekly inspection. He knows Moss Taylor and Duncan and Peter of Wildsounds. Moss showed him round Norfolk birding spots for 3 days after the Bird Fair one year.


Alto del Maria, watercress growing area. An incredible switchback of a road only opened two years ago. How are we managing the walking? So steeply uphill or down
It’s almost unbelievable, especially as I have an upper respiratory infection and a cough. Amazing what birds will make one achieve.Blasted aeroplane germs and all those snotty kids around us. I haven't had a cold for at least four years - after flying to Aus.
As always, when birds are slow, butterflies and insects are fascinating.

Chiapas Hairstreak

Colourful Grasshopper

Black-edged Sombre-mark

As soon as we got out of the van and, whilst Eliecer parked it, I saw a hawk high above the mountain. He got there in time to pronounce it a Zone-tailed Hawk, new for the trip. Could be a migrant but a few are resident. An hour and a half later, after several 1:3 ascents and descents, the target bird appeared. Eliecer had asked to look at my check list and had taken us to an area where there was a good chance of Barred Hawk. The view was not lengthy but very tickable. Plain Xenops, Orange-chinned Parrots, Pale-eyed Pygmy-Tyrant and the usual Wrens and Tanagers were also seen. Dusky Tanager appeared at what looked like dusk as a thunder storm rumbled around and rain started.
‘Home’ in time for both of us to shower before dinner and plans made for a last walk in the morning. 6.30 breakfast……Don’t know when we’ll pack, the car will take us to the airport at 2 p.m. after lunch. I registered online and printed off boarding passes to-night, using their Apple computer.
No ant swarms to-night. Apparently it IS very unusual. How lucky are we?

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