Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Panama - Volcan area

Finally the time had come for us to visit L'Amistad Park.  We'd tried but been let down by our car rental company in Costa Rica.

We drove up form our B&B at first light, arriving after the opening time of the park.   But it was shut and indeed locked.  We though about climbing the wall and fence (recently installed apparently) but finally manged to get in by crossing the river, boulder by boulder much to amusement of an already-drunk farm worker, who slurred, coughed and breathed hooch on us while we worked out what we were going to do.

We walked up to the car park, seeing Black-capped Flycatcher:


and Yellow-thighed Finch:


We walked a few of the trails but it did feel a bit naughty being in the park on our own, with everything shut (including the park station).   We saw a number of other specialists but not the hoped-for Three-wattled Bellbirds, another one in the probably not going to see category now.  It was an interesting place to visit but absent staff and indeed permission we didn't feel we could stay all day so headed out late morning.  We decided to exit by following the loop trail.  Little did we realise that a recent storm had rendered this trail extremely tricky to navigate and pass.  We had to cross the river twice, scrambling and using blown-down trees for support and as bridges.   Then we had a steep scramble up a scree hill to the road and our way out.  Phew.   Not quite what we'd envisaged but an adventure anyway.   

We decided then to explore some of the trails around the Volcan area, in particular we'd read about some cabins one of the birding hotels had, located up a 4x4 only trail.   We headed to the hotel, had coffee, got permission to ascend and then gave it a whirl.

Stopping of course to look at rivers, we did see an American Dipper, still no Tyrannulet though:


The Volcan area produces almost all the vegetables grown in Panama so finally the food was varied, you can see what an impact it's had on the landscape:


The trail very quickly narrowed and this too proved inpassable to our quite large 4x4, due to felled trees blocking the full width of the track.   A narrower vehicle could have done it but we had to reverse down the extremely rough track, turning on a narrow bridge to head out.

It was a day of frustrations really, time to head back to the feeders and coffee at Cielito Sur.  A new Hummingbird graced the feeders, this time a Snowy-bellied Hummingbird:



The son of the owners called us at one point, a female Red-headed Barbet was on one of the feeders by their house:



Cielito Sur doesn't do dinner so we drove a couple of kilometers up the road towards Volcan and a lovely little restaurant called Fanny's.   She produced delicious vegetarian food three evenings running and some magnificent cocktails too.

While waiting for our food we watched the to-ing and fro-ing of a number of birds including this White-winged Tanager:

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