Monday, March 27, 2017

Panama - Santa Fe to Fortuna

The more observant will have noticed a little sequencing issue there, hopefully back on track now :)

Our last morning in Santa Fe was typically beautiful, cool air, morning mist, clear skies and sunshine.  It really is a lovely spot:


The Yellow-crowned Parrots visited again:


There was another trail we wanted to try-out in Santa Fe, though again pre-much unmarked until you get to the parking spot, down to a waterfall.

It's a rough road/track and very muddy in places you need at least boots and better wellies.  We did see some good birds though including Flame-coloured Tanager:


and a new life species for us the Ruddy Pigeon:

















Together with an Olivaceous Flatbill:


The last part of the trail, disappointingly, is impassable without walking poles as it is steep, sheer mud.   So we had to turn around and retrace our steps,  It was the one consistent frustration of being in Panama that nothing was really being looked after when it come to recommended places to visit and see.

We headed on to our next stop, three nights booked at Finca La Suiza on the edge of Fortuna National Park.  This was going to be the treat for Helen's big birthday as they had a reputation for doing great food, having well looked after and extensive trails.   We were shocked then to arrive to find the place locked and 'se vende' (for sale).   We were stuck.  It was 3:30pm and we were quite a long way from anywhere so what to do.  We started driving into random places and asking around, the first one we tried was booked.   We then stopped by a bus with some tourists and asked them.   A local overheard us and recommended we talk to Olga at Brisa Del Diablo, which we duly did.  Home run!

Olga was able to shuffle around some bookings and accommodate us for the three nights.  In addition it turns out she is a gourmet chef and was able to summon up a number of vegetarian feasts she could provide there and then.  We really had landed on our feet as you can see from the view here:


Their gardens looked down into this extensive valley with Volcan the mountain rising in the distance.

On one of the trees a Lesser Elaenia was hunting:


They also said they'd had a toucan in the garden for the last couple of days, eating the mulberries.  We duly checked out the various bushes and hey presto, a wonderful Blue-throated Toucanet that really was not bothered at all by us.

It waited until it had room, then approached a cluster of berries:


Grabbing one:




















And then tossing, catching and swallowing the berry:


Before hanging around until it had room for another:


I could have watched this bird for ages but the sun was heading to the horizon, the cold beer was calling and it was time to properly relax before an enormous and fabulous four course evening dinner.


Helen had her birthday wish but not quite in the manner expected!

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