Sunday, March 26, 2017

Panama - Santa Fe

Santa Fe was a lovely place to visit, we stayed at the Coffee Mountain Lodge, a small family-run establishment with great coffee, well built comfortable rooms and views overlooking the local hills.   We got some great birds just sat on the small veranda as you'll see below.

The birding trails, though marked-up on a map are like almost all the nature trails and parks, poorly marked, poorly maintained and almost an afterthought, which is a shame.   We think we worked out where we were supposed to walk, having paid to park at a restaurant close to the what we thought might be trail.   We did have to cross some excavation work for what looked like a new house going up.

Anyway we sort of followed our noses on a rough track which passed some more modern and then some very basic housing, and then bingo we were in woodland.   The transition was a very positive shock as it went from quite to alive with birds, almost instantly.   We actually had one of most pleasurable birding experiences of the whole holiday here, watching an army ant swarm which was attended by a number of ant birds and other species, including this Dusky Antbird:


We edeged back from the leading edge of the army as it took down all sorts of insects, attended by these various birds.  It was a magic half hour.

Heading further on we encountered White-ruffed Manankins:


Northern-Barred Woodcreeper:



Smooth-billed Anis:



and a host of other birds.  It was a lovely trail to explore.   

Back at the Lodge we had saw a number of great species including Yellow-crowned Parrot:


I think this is a juvenile of the same species:


Yellow-headed Caracara, this one made a real racket in the tree opposite where we were eating our dinner:


And a handsome Ferruginous Pygmy Owl:



Great bird to be able to watch for the best part of an hour while polishing off a bottle of Chilean Shiraz:


Santa Fe was a very pleasant very relaxing place to stay, we loved it.

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