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Panama: 4 Days of Birding

A couple of friends and myself , nature lovers/birders/ hikers/ photographers made a very short but sweet 5 day trip to Panama to do some birding, with the highlight of the trip being an opportunity to hopefully view and photograph the incredibly beautiful Resplendent Queztal- hailed by many to be “The Most Beautiful Bird In The World.” 1 Day in Panama City, enjoying the views, nightlife, some light souvenir shopping, then one Morning at Pipeline Rd/ Discovery Center, then 2.5 Days in Boquete’s Cloudforest/ foothills birding.

With a bit of quick online research and limited time, after we arrived with contacts we hired an 8 seater that came with a driver, this way the four of us could be very comfortable. We soon decided that our first birding stop was at Pipeline Rd near the Panama Canal, then we took an 8hr drive to Chiquiri, to the town of Boquete to visit the Cloud Forest of the Vulcan Baru a national park where the Queztal is known to be seen, as this was the highlight of the trip for us, as well as an opportunity to see many other species that would all be lifers for us.

My friends and myself are nothing short of hardcore birders and we love the challenge of finding and photographing new species all sweat, so we set out, split up at times and hit the trails on the mountainsides and opted out to not go on any guided tours, or visit any lodges… no pretty perches, and easy shots here. You probably are saying what are those guys really thinking?? Well we didn’t get tons of pretty pictures with clean backgrounds, but we got a treat of a lifetime, some breath-taking views, a taste of the culture and the joy of finding and seeing close to not too shabby 200 birds and photographing over one hundred thirty + lifers, many more were seen than photographed. Wish we had time to visit some different locations / habitats - but we'll save that for a future trip.

Perhaps the most memorable moment of the trip, and biggest treat had to be on our third day, which was actually on our second day visiting the Vulcan baru and surroundings when that morning we set out on the trail to see the Resplendent Queztal. All four of us set out together- we were lucky to see 3 different males and possibly 2 females at different points on the trail, I was the first of our group to spot and photograph this extraordinarily beautiful creature.
My photography setup, thankfully for today’s dslr high iso capability: “Make use of natural light.” Of course this is a matter of personal choice and taste for the kind of images we like to create. “Natural Wild Life” – extremely challenging but most rewarding, especially facing the mostly overcast weather of the cloudforest along with rain and barajaque a sort of fine snow/hail that drenched us a couple of times. I felt sorry for my D500 + 200-500mmf/5.6 which was attached to my 1.4XII TC for most of the trip as well as my TC1.7XII when in desperate need of reach - knowing that reach is usually the biggest problem when out there in the wild.

Anyways, don’t let me bore you any longer, hope you enjoy these images and all the sweat, dirt, rain that went into creating them.

Wendell SJ Reyes

Apr 11, 2017 at 05:25 PM

  Previous versions of Stephen-Jay's message #13995812 « Panama: 4 Days of Birding »