Birdingpals Trip Report
Birding Venezuela and Panama
by Birdingpal James Day
Two weeks in eastern Venezuela and one week in Panama, and I saw so many birds I won´t bother to list them all. Now I´m recuperating in Argentina before trying to find a few more birds before returning to Bulgaria February 23.
I saw some 320 species in Venezuela, including 112 species new for me and 20 endemics (or near endemics, as we were along borders with Guiana and Trinidad). Highlights included Harpy Eagle. Female and all-white young. This was a close call, as the land
overseer didn´t want to let us on the property due to a feud with a local guide we had in our vehicle. But after I told him I had come 14,000 km to see the bird, and my partner Ted showed him some pictures of his grandchildren, he relented and took actually too close to the nest. The female starting screaming at us (her tongue looked purple), so I suggested we back off. We did, and she did. As all this was going on, our guide, John Kvarnback (email@example.com) yelled out Spangled Cotinga. So we had two prize birds on either side. This was near El Palmar, and agricultural activity surrounded the nest tree. At night, we saw thousands of Oilbirds
exit a cave.
Another highlight was my first antpitta, Slaty-Crowned, on the Paria Peninsula, Cerro Humo, with guide Daniel Muller (firstname.lastname@example.org); this is near Trinidad. He also showed us Cream-colored Woodpecker and, minutes after the antpitta, the
endemic Paria Whitestart. Oh, and how could I forget the displaying Crimson-hooded Manakins; they did a side-to-side dance step, and then there was some bowing and trembling. Little Cuckoo was also a highlight of Paria.
In El Valle de Anton, Panama, with guide Mario Urriola (email@example.com), we such excellent birds as Barred Hawk (seen and heard), Tawny-crested Tanager and Tawny-capped Euphonia.
On my last morning, near the Gamboa resort, we had a bonanza, including Turquoise Cotinga, Cinnamon Woodpecker and Black-cheeked Woodpecker.
In general we did well with raptors and jacomars and cotingas, the last including Guinian Cock-of-the-Rock, the spectacular
Pompadour Cotinga, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, and Black-tailed Tityra. And we heard Capuchin Bird´s call, which is like a chainsaw.
Here are some other birds of interest.
An asterisk indicates a Venezuelan endemic:
Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift
Eastern Long-tailed Hermit
Amazonian White-tailed Trogon
White-throated Barbtail* (not seen well, maybe the rarest bird seen)
Northern White-fringed Antwren
All these were in Venezuela
Black and Chestnut Jay