Sunday, March 19, 2017

Panama - from Darien to El Valle de Anton

On our way back to the Summit Hotel we stopped for breakfast at the Hotel Avicar, and enjoyed watching the hummingbirds again, this Sapphire-throated Hummingbird was treat to see:


After a long drive including a goodbye to our guide who was dropped off near the airport, we stopped on the way in to the hotel grounds to watch a Yellow-headed Caracara rolling a Capibara over.   At first we thought it was dead but it was just enjoying the benefit of having the bird remove various parasites from it:


We stayed a night at the Summit before being dropped off at the airport the following morning, renting a car for the remainder of our stay in Panama, we got a 4x4 this time as we planned to reach some more out-of-the-way places.  

On the way to El Valle we visited Alto de Campana to walk the trail there, which we managed to meander off, finding this abandoned house, like so many properties in Panama it's been left to tumble down over, but it is in a lovely if isolated location:


Back on the trail and headed on we bumped into a school group who were also visiting the area, time to head on as that kind of noise doesn't work well with birding!  Onwards then to El Valle.

By now as well as the infections we'd bought with us the one the American bird guest had shared so generously was upon us too, so we were looking forward to staying at the most expensive and theoretically at least luxurious hotel we'd booked for the whole trip, the Hotel Los Mandarinos:


I won't bore you with all the details but suffice to say we were really disappointed.   The food choices were limited, better in the Spanish restaurant, the wifi hard to use unless you visited a special lounge, it was very expensive and the build quality was poor both in design and execution.   In fact the cheap rough-and-ready hotel in Darien provided much better quality of sleep than this exclusive boutique hotel.   Avoid.

Anyway we decided on a walk that afternoon as there's a short hill climb to one of the recommended birding trails, which we took, seeing a pair of Pied Puffbirds:


A Hepatic Tanager:


Orange-chinned Parakeet with eyes bigger than its belly:


At one point we meandered off the trail, unintentionally and found this abandoned house.  It looked like a lovely spot to live so we wondered why it had been left to crumble:


Back on the trail and in the forest again we saw our first ever Broad-billed Motmot, which didn't budge despite me manoeuvring for a better angle to photograph it:



We headed back to the hotel not leaving again other than to go out to eat as by now the various infections had got the better of us so we decided we needed a day of complete rest.

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