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Gavin Bieber completed his 3-tour traverse of Panama with a stay in the Darien region

December 16: Gavin Bieber completed his 3-tour traverse of Panama with a stay in the Darien region

Our 2021 Panama Darien tour immediately followed the western trip through the Chiriqui Highlands and Bocas del Toro.  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 very comfortable Canopy Camp.  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 Chestnut-headed Oropendola and the hard-to-actually-see Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant as well as more localized ones such as the impressive Barred Puffbird, Greater Ani, and the globally scarce Dusky-backed Jacamar.  Near the town of Yaviza which sits at the terminus of the Pan-American Highway we tracked down the only known pair of Bicolored Wrens on the continent and enjoyed a vocal and visual show from the always charismatic Donacobius.  The grounds around the camp were excellent for hummingbirds, and we enjoyed multiple views of species such as Long-billed Starthroat, Violet-bellied Hummingbird and the incredibly cute Rufous-crested Coquette.  A few stray non-birds crossed our path too, such as this incredibly attractive pair of Rainbow Ameivas, and a host of interesting insects like this pair of Carmine Skimmers.

On one day we took boats out into Embera territory past the end of the road which gained us access to a recently discovered Harpy Eagle nest, surely the highlight species of the trip for most.  Over the course of the week we encountered 263 species of birds including 15 species of antbirds, an impressive 13 species of herons and 35 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!

Canopy Camp Common Area

Chestnut-headed Oropendola

Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant

Barred Puffbird

Greater Ani

Dusky-backed Jacamar

Bicolored Wren


Long-billed Starthroat

Violet-bellied Hummingbird

Rufous-crested Coquette

Rainbow Ameivas

Carmine Skimmers

Harpy Eagle

Posted: December 16, 2021