El Valle–Dec 3rd

7 12 2010

We awoke to wind and overcast on our first morning in El Valle. El Valle is higher elevation than Gamboa, and sits in an extinct volcanic crater. Dramatic country….but difficult to appreciate in low clouds, winds and drizzle.

Our guide for the day, Ken Allaire, met us for coffee and we decided to head down to the lowlands outside the valley to get out of the weather (or, at least, to have it further over our heads!).  What started out as one of those ‘this might not be so good’ days turned out to be epic. I shot over a thousand frames, picked up several birds that I’d not seen or imaged before, and Chris was in hog heaven.

Shortly after getting down into the lowlands, we ran into the guides and a group from the Canopy Lodge–obviously we weren’t the only ones with that idea about how to handle the day. We stopped at some pastures and picked up my first Long Tailed Flycatcher–what a stunning bird!

Next, we walked into an area off the road that the Canopy Lodge guys were working, and they pointed out a magnificent Rufous Browed Peppershrike. Great bird, and one I didn’t expect as I’d only seen them in the highlands of Costa Rica before.  We also got great shots of a Groove Billed Ani displaying, and a Blue-Black Grassquit.

Rufous Browed Peppershrike, Pacific Lowlands near El Valle, Panama

We headed towards the Pacific to a rice farm that is open to birding and there we hit the jackpot. There were birds everywhere. Not being a lister, I won’t list them all, but we did see our first Yellow-Headed Vulture, picked up a beautiful Panama Flycatcher, and I got to do an absolute study of a Roadside Hawk that apparently wanted me to make him famous (He just kept posing and posing). Oh, and lest I forget, the Streaked Flycatcher put on quite a show for Chris and I.

Roadside Hawk, Pacific Lowlands near El Valle, Panama

Panama Flycatcher, Pacific Lowlands near El Valle, Panama

Lesser Yellow-Headed Vulture, Pacific Lowlands near El Valle, Panama

Ken Allaire did a great job for us–he worked hard and knows his birds and the habitats. As I mentioned, I hit the shutter button over a thousand times, and in reviewing the images I’m force to choose the Sublime over the Great images. Such problems!!

Tomorrow, we hope for less rain and if that’s the case we’ll hit the highlands above El Valle.

One last thing–DO click on the images and view them full sized–the images you see without clicking don’t do them justice!

Streaked Flycatcher, Pacific Lowlands near El Valle, Panama



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