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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…

Featured species: Black-speckled Palm Pit-Viper (Bothriechis nigroviridis), a report from our Chiriquí's correspondent

We have received our first report from our new correspondent from Chiriquí, Rafael Gutierrez, who has been mentioned previously on this blog. He is a long time collaborator, being with us in several of our excursions in Chiriquí, and has joined our organisation to provide timely pictures directly from the source.

Rafael found a Bothriechis nigroviridis and made a series photos for our site. Bothriechis nigroviridis is a venomous pit viper (snake) found in the mountains of Costa Rica and Panama. The specific name is derived from the Latin nigro (black) and viridis (green) in reference to its distinctive color pattern. It is locally known as "Toboba de Árbol" and other common names include black-speckled palm-pit-viper, speckled palm viper, black-spotted palm viper, and yellow-spotted palm viper.
It is found in the mountains in high montane forest, lower montane wet forest and cloud forest on both the Atlantic and Pacific slopes. It has a limited range and is generally considered relatively rare. It is arboreal, although it can be seen in the floor or the base of trees and shrubs; their activity is mainly nocturnal but also mobilises during the day.

Disregarding it is a venomous species, Rafael informs that this viper is not aggressive and can be handled with caution (please don't try it if you don't know what you are doing). Fatal bites have been reported, and the usual bite symptoms include intense pain, nausea and asphyxia.

The color pattern usually consists of an emerald green (rarely yellowish green) color with strong black mottling. The belly is yellowish green and lightly mottled with black. The head is heavily mottled with black on top, often with black parietal stripes. There is also a clearly defined post-ocular black stripe running back towards the angle of the jaw.