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Birdwatching at Summit Hotel

Some time ago our photographer Miguel “Siu” spent a weekend at Summit Hotel & Club Golf (, and of course, instead of spending time with clubs and balls, he took his tripod and camera and went searching birds on the trails and forested areas surrounding the facilities.
Suddenly, Siu heard a raptor whistle call that he immediately recognized as a Black Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus tyrannus). He had heard it so many times while watching this bird soaring high, but to his surprise this time it was perched on a cecropia dead branch, just looking to the golf course. It only took seconds to draw this large bird’s attention and get a decent shot before it decided to soar to a farthest perch.

The Black Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus tyrannus) is a large, black raptor of Neotropical forests. It has a prominent crest, is blackish with narrow white barring below, and broad gray bars on the tail. This hawk-eagle occurs in both open and dense forests. Individuals often soa…

Eastern Panamá with Advantage Tours (Day 2)

I continued the tour with Advantage Tours Panama ( for the second day. Ovidio and I headed to private natural reserve, and after a quick look at the forest edge we entered the gallery forest and then a trail that goes into the forest itself.

One of our first sights in the edge of the forest was a Yellow-green Tyrannulet, a species endemic to Panama. It  occurs uncommonly in forest canopy in eastern lowlands, on the Pacific from Canal Area to Darién. Given his habits it's very difficult to photograph, he reached very close on a not so tall Cecropia tree giving me an awesome opportunity to capture him, but guess what... it was so fast that while I found him on the frame, focus and hit the shutter button, I missed the shots even with the 10 frames per second of my camera, all I got in the first frame was a tail... and in the following frames: no bird at all. It moved to a far Cecropia, and into a shade with a branch almost blocking him, and as it continued perched for some seconds I was able to make some really bad shots, I preferred that instead of repositioning myself (considering I use tripod and about 20 lbs of equipment is not easy to move fast), maybe if I moved  I would have lost all the shots. All I knew it was a tyrannulet but Ovidio was able to recognize it by the eye ring and droped wings while perching horizontally. At least, I have a record picture for my first national endemic ever, a Google image search confirmed me how difficult this species is to photograph (only two results).

Yellow-green Tyrannulet (Phylloscartes flavovirens)

We continued into the forest where we saw again the Spotted Antbirds of previous day, also an adult Broad-winged Hawk, and later a White Hawk having breakfast, both raptors were really unfriendly, and as soon as they saw us flushed away.

 Plain Brown Woodcreeper (Dendrocincla fuliginosa)

 Female Black-throated Trogon (Trogon rufus)

Male Black-throated Trogon (Trogon rufus)

We heard more birds in the forest including the desirable Red-billed Scythebill and the Slate-colored Grosbeak, Ovidio tried to attract them and other birds with playback but we had no possitive response. We stayed there for a while and after only getting pictures of a couple of trogons we decided to get out the forest and join the group of  Advantage Tours that were birdwatching outside.

 A wild female Sapphire-throated Hummingbird (Lepidopyga coeruleogularis)
wild as in it was not found in a feeder.

The Northern Tamandua (Tamandua mexicana) is a small anteater in the family Myrmecophagidae. They live in tropical and subtropical forests from southern Mexico, through Central America, and to the edge of the northern Andes. It has a prehensile tail, small eyes and ears, and a long snout. The fur is pale yellow over most of the body, with a distinctive patch of black fur over the flanks, back, and shoulders, that somewhat resembles a vest in shape. the northern tamandua is also adapted to an arboreal lifestyle. The muscles of the toes and the presence of a tough pad on the palms makes the forefeet prehensile, enabling them to grip onto projections as it climbs. The middle toe of the forefeet also bears an unusually large claw, and the toe has enough muscle and leverage to allow it to rip open wood to get at the ants within.

Broad-billed Motmot (Electron platyrhynchum)


The Pied puffbird (Notharchus tectus) is the smallest black and white puffbird in the Bucconidae family in Panama. It's uncommon in lowlands, found in Bocas del Toroand from Canal Area eastward. Occurs in canopy of forest and in adjacent clearings with trees. It is also found in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela.

Once out the forest we saw a King Vulture and a Black-and-White Hawk Eagle soaring above. Both very high and therefore difficult to capture.

King Vulture (Sarcoramphus papa) as seen from Panama Rainforest Discovery Center's tower

We went to Torti town for lunch, this time  no toying with the hummingbirds, and after lunch headed back to Panama city stopping at a small marsh close to Chepo, where we saw a lot more of birds, mainly raptors, wading birds, and ducks. Among these we also saw lots of herons including Capped Herons, White-tailed Kites, Blue-winged Teals.

 Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca), we also saw Lesser Yellowlegs but I didn't took pictures.

 Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus)

Solitary Sandpiper (Tringa solitaria)

Great Black-Hawk (Buteogallus urubitinga)