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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…

Once more around the Pipeline Road (pt. 1)

We returned to Pipeline Road for more wildlife photography and one of the first subjects was one of my favorite antbirds.

Spotted Antbird (Hylophylax naevioides) - male

We observed this butterfly hovering in the dark understory, and we took the opportunity to practice the "wing blur" technique.

Butterfly (Lepidoptera)

Then we had a small rain and while we waited it to stop, some plants caught our attention.

Violet-bellied Hummingbird (Damophila julie) - male
As usual in Pipeline Road, hummingbirds are common on nectar feeders, and we never waste the opportunity to get good shots. The key to get a shot like the one above is patience and timing.

Blue-chested Hummingbird (Amazilia amabilis)

Black-crowned Antshrike (Thamnophilus atrinucha) - female
Black-crowned Antshrike (Thamnophilus atrinucha) are also very common around Pipeline Road.  Females, as shown, are brown to buffy brown above, brighter on the crown; wings fuscous-black, edged with brown; under surface buffy brown to grayish brown, paler on throat.

Anole Lizard (Anolis sp.)
Male anoles have colorful dewlap, or flap of skin hanging in an arc from the neck region, which they can inflate during courtship and aggression displays. Some female anoles also have this dewlap, although it is often lighter in color. While most anoles with a prominent dewlap are males, this is still not a 100% guarantee.

Yellow-backed Oriole (Icterus chrysater)
Yellow-backed Orioles (Icterus chrysater) are found throughout Central America and northern South America, in Belize, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and Venezuela. In Panama it’s fairly common on both slopes from Veraguas eastward to Colombia. Found on upper levels of forest and woodland, and in shrubby areas with trees.

Dusky Antbird (Cercomacroides tyrannina) - female
Female Dusky Antbirds (Cercomacroides tyrannina) are largely warm cinnamon below, with darker brown upperparts and pale rufous wing spotting. It is found across much of Middle America, from southeast Mexico southwards, thence across much of northern South America south as far as northern Brazil.

Golden-crowned Spadebill (Platyrinchus coronatus)

Golden-crowned Spadebill (Platyrinchus coronatus)
Distributed from Honduras to northwest Ecuador and, then on the opposite side of the Andes, across the greater part of the Amazon Basin, the Golden-crowned Spadebill is, nonetheless, a generally uncommon albeit probably often overlooked species. It doubtless goes unrecorded due to its generally quiet and unobtrusive habits, a lack of knowledge among most observers of its vocalizations, and the fact that it generally only sings frequently around dawn. In Panama it’s fairly common on entire Caribbean slope, and on Pacific slope on eastern part of the country and in extreme western Chiriquí. Found in lower levels of forest.

White-whiskered Puffbird (Malacoptila panamensis) - female

Song Wren (Cyphorhinus phaeocephalus)

Song Wren (Cyphorhinus phaeocephalus)
Song Wrens (Cyphorhinus phaeocephalus) spend the preponderance of their time on the forest floor foraging in small family groups and are renowned for their song.

White-vented Plumeleteer (Chalybura buffonii)