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Birdwatching at Summit Hotel

Some time ago our photographer Miguel “Siu” spent a weekend at Summit Hotel & Club Golf (http://www.summithotelgolfpanama.com), 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: Rufous Soft-furred Spiny-rat (Diplomys labilis)

Pipeline Road is a magical place, and not just for birds as this post shows. In January we went there with just one target on mind, a Pheasant Cuckoo that was reported for several days. Unfortunately the cuckoo moved and was not any close. Then, we walked on the trails and visited the look-out at the lake. During the short visit we observed and photographed some inhabitants of the area but the jackpot at the end of the round was a spiny rat, a species which population status is largely unknown, but it is probably not uncommon in it's range or even locally common in Panama's protected areas and on Barro Colorado Island. 

The Rufous Soft-furred Spiny-rat or Rufous Tree Rat (Diplomys labilis) is a species of rodent in the family Echimyidae. It's found in evergreen and deciduous forest, mangroves, plantations, and second growth in Panama, Colombia, and Ecuador, but in November 2015, it was spotted for the first time in Osa, Costa Rica. Rats of this family have hard hair like thorns, not so much like a porcupine, but harder than normal and, therefore, it is known as spiny rat or "ratón espinoso" in Spanish.

It is nocturnal and arboreal species, feeding probably on fruit and young tender leaves and shoots. In fact, it never has been caught or seen at ground level. He moves among the branches of tall trees, usually at night, when they are most active. During the day, adult pairs or lone individuals sleep in holes in trees, they stick their heads out, and can rest for long periods, almost without moving.

The threats to this species are unknown but unfortunately they had lost much of his habitat in it's geographic range due to deforestation
Now, these are some of the other species we were able to photograph that day:

 Rufous-crested Coquete (Lophornis delattrei) - male


Rusty-margined Flycatcher (Myiozetetes cayanensis)


Smooth-billed Ani (Crotophaga ani)


Spotted Antbird (Hylophylax naevioides) - female


Violet-bellied Hummingbird (Juliamyia julie)

Yellow-tailed Oriole (Icterus mesomelas)