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Gavin Bieber on his recently concluded tour, Panama: Darién Lowlands

December 19: Gavin Bieber on his recently concluded tour, Panama: Darién Lowlands

The vast and sparsely populated Darien Province in the far east of the country contains some of the most remote and wild lowland and montane wilderness remaining in Central America.  Our base for the week was the newly constructed and very comfortable Canopy Camp

The Canopy Camp commons area

We spent several days exploring the camp trails and various spots along the end of the Pan-American highway, where patches of forest and more open fields revealed widespread birds such as King Vulture, and more localized ones such as the impressive Barred Puffbird, the attractive Spot-breasted Woodpecker and the globally scarce Black Oropendola. 

A splendid King Vulture

Barred Puffbird

Spot-breasted Woodpecker

A range-restricted Black Oropendola

A few stray non-birds crossed our path too, such as this placid Craugastor sp. Frog and an impressively large tarantula. 

An imperturbable frog>

A glossily handsome and large tarantula

Taking dugout canoes out into Embera territory past the end of the road allowed us to visit a known nest site of the incomparable Harpy Eagle, surely the highlight species of the trip for most. 

A magnificent Harpy

Over the course of the week we encountered 262 species of birds including 16 species of antbirds, an impressive 14 species of herons and 34 species of everyone’s favorite bird family; the new world flycatchers!  These areas in the Darien are little explored and I am sure that the creation of a comfortable lodge here will produce a lot of new discoveries.  I very much look forward to returning next fall!


Posted: December 19, 2018