Canopy Family Panama

Tamarin Tour: Mammal & Birding Adventure 


Day 1: Arrival

Today the group arrived to Panama at about 6:00 pm and then they were transferred to Canopy Tower, 45 minutes away from the international airport. We want to get some rest before our long day of searching for Panamanian wildlife!

Day 2: Semaphore Hill, Summit Gardens, Ammo Ponds and Chagres River

On the second day we started up on the Canopy Tower´s observation deck, where we were at treetop level surrounded by a beautiful tropical rain forest of the Soberania National Park. We also had the opportunity to see the world famous Panama Canal from the same spot. This was a great chance to see some Panamanian wildlife, including canopy birds that are usually hard to see from the ground. Toucan, Parrots, Pigeons and Honeycreepers were some of the birds that adorned the tree tops.
We spent about one and a half hour up in the observation deck. Then we went down to the dining room to have a good breakfast and then get ready for our first walk down Semaphore Hill Rd. But we couldn´t leave the dining room without enjoying the company of a small family of Geoffroy´s Tamarin that came to the Cecropia trees just a couple of feet from the windows.
On our walk down Semaphore hill, we saw many birds including Broad-billed Motmots, Dot-winged Antwrens and Black-breasted Puffbird. And of course a good variety of mammals such as the Central American Agoutis, a male White Nose Coati, one small family of Mantled Howler Monkeys and Greater White-lined Bats roosting under a bridge.
Lunch was ready at 12:30pm. We took a little break from all the Panamanian wildlife until about 3 pm. Then we got on the Rainfomobil and drove down to the Summit Botanical Garden. After a quick visit to the Harpy Eagle Visitor Center, We walked around the garden.
After about one hour at the garden, we drove north along the Canal, for about 20 minutes to the town of Gamboa. Our first spot were the Ammo Ponds. Then we drove about 2 km back south to the Chagres River.
Just when we were learning about the Jacanas, Limpinkins, Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, and other Panamanian wildlife that inhabit the river, we saw a female Lesser Capybara and her young.
It was time to get back to the Tower for happy hour and dinner. But the day could not be completed without a Great False Vampire Bat, coming around the Tower right at dusk to feed on the Cecropia fruits.

Day 3: Barro Colorado Island and Night Ride down Semaphore Hill

We started up with breakfast at 6am to be on time at the Smithsonian dock in Gamboa. This time we were visiting the world famous Barro Colorado Island. We were on the boat that will take us to the island at 7:15 am, ready for a 40 minutes ride on the Panama Canal.
Once on the island, our guide gave us a brief introduction about this “living laboratory” considered the most studied tropical area in the world.
Even though the mammal activity was a bit poor, because that is how nature is sometimes. There were many other wild creatures. One of the most interesting behaviors was to see a Hawk Wasp, hutting and dragging an enormous Panama Blond Tarantula, all the way back to its nest to feed its young. The Black and Green Poison Dart Frogs were everywhere, some big spiders including Silver Argiopes and Golden Orb-Spider.
We got back to Gamboa at about 4 pm and then we were transferred back to Canopy Tower.
We had an early dinner at 6 pm. We were all ready at 7pm to go out in our first night ride down Semaphore Hill.
On this first night ride we spotted Forest Rabbits, Panamanian Spiny Pocket Mouse, Common Opossum and a pair of Western Night Monkeys that quickly creeped away from us making long leaps from branch to branch.

Day 4: Jungle Boat Trip on the Gatun Lake-Panama Canal and Night Ride from the Panama Rain Forest Discovery Center in Pipeline.

The weather today did not seem to be on our favor. We had breakfast at 6:15 am to be ready to leave to Gamboa. But this is the rain forest! The rain stopped right on time at 8 pm so we could start our incredible jungle boat trip right on the Panama Canal. The trip started with the fast and graceful swimmer and local resident of the dock area, a Neotropical River Otter.
We explored some the inlets and small islands for Panamanian wildlife, and of course the monkey island, which was definitely our highlight. On this island we had the opportunity to see and photograph White-faced Capuchin Monkies, which were literally only a couple of feet from our boat. We also had some sightings of American Crocodile, Common Slider Turtle, Mantled Howler Monkeys and tiny Proboscis Bat. Many birds were also spotted, including Limpkins and many Snail Kites.
We got back to the dock at about 12:00 pm to be on time for lunch at the Tower. After a longer break, we headed back to the Gamboa area at about 4:00 pm, this time to visit the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center and its canopy observation tower.
Once we got to the top of the observation tower, many birds stated to show up, including the majestic male Blue Cotinga, Red-legged Honeycreeper, many Keel-billed Toucans and Black-crowned Tityra.
Just before dusk we had our box dinner right at the visitor center. Then at about 6:45 pm we slowly started our way back to the Canopy Tower. On our way back, we spotted a pair of roosting Chestnut-mandible Toucans and a small group of 3 Night Monkeys this time they were moving more stealthily so we got much better views this time.
Right at the Canopy Tower gate, getting back from pipeline that night, we saw our first Hoffman´s Two-toed Sloth.

"Right at the Canopy Tower gate, getting back from Pipeline that night, we saw our first Hoffman´s Two-toed Sloth."

Day5: Pipeline Rd and Plantation Rd.

After having breakfast at 7 am and been counted as part of the National Population Census, which was held that day. We drove about 7 miles to the world famous Pipeline Rd. As soon as we got there, we took a little side trail down to a hollow tree, that work as a roost site for three Western Night Monkeys.
We also enjoyed looking at many beautiful birds, for example Slaty-tailed, Violacious and Black-tailed Trogon, Crimson-created and Cinnamon Woodpecker.
We searched for Panamanian wildlife until 12:00 m and then went back to the Tower for lunch a little siesta time.
At 3:00 pm we took a short one mile ride down to the Plantation Rd. It is a 4 miles long trail but we only did about one mile, the birds like Rufous Motmot, Shaggy Bat and other wildlife wouldn’t let us go any faster.

Day 6: Dawn Ride down Semaphore Hill Metropolitan and Panama Canal Visitor Center at Miraflores Locks.

It was time for a very early start. At 5:00 am we started our dawn ride down semaphore hill and part of the main road that leads to Gamboa, until about 6:00 am. Apparently the animals decided to sleep in this morning, so we did not see much. Then we had breakfast and at about 7:00 am, we were on our way to the Metropolitan Park in Panama City. On the “Mono Titi” trail (Spanish for Tamarin monkey) we saw, Lance-tailed manakin and unexpected Pheasant Cuckoo, several Geoffrey’s Tamarins and Two-toed Sloth. Many other birds were also seen. We also went for a short visit to the Amador Coastway area to look for Crab Eating Raccoon and other Panamanian wildlife.
After lunch at Canopy Tower, at 2:30 pm we visited the Panama Canal Miraflores Locks Visitor center to learn more about one the eighth wonders of the world.

Day 7: San Lorenzo National Park and Night Ride down Semaphore Hill.

Breakfast at 4:00 am! Yes, that early! Well we wanted to get to San Lorenzo National Park at 6:30 a.m, it is a one and a half hours ride to the Atlantic side.
We hiked for about 2 hours along a paved road with no traffic and with big and beautiful forest on both sides. Our first Panamanian wildlife sighting was a Hoffman´s Two-toed Sloth deeply slept. But this one was only one of the 4 Sloths we saw.
We had a good midmorning snack at a historical place, the San Lorenzo Fort built in the 15 century by the Spaniards.
At about 11 am and after a little dip in the warn waters of the Caribbean Sea, we worked our way back towards the Gatun Lucks. Before crossing the locks, we stopped at a secret spot to see a Golden-Collared Manakin Lek and just as we walked into the lek, a curious Kinkajou came out of its roosting spot to see what we were doing. How exciting! He showed up with no previous announcement. It was by far the sight of the day.
After we got back to Canopy Tower and we had a delicious BBQ, we still had some energy left to go out for a last night ride. Yes we were positive to find a new mammal and sure we did… a Rothschild´s Porcupine, one of the most difficult and poorly know mammal of the area do to its nocturnal and arboreal habits. For some people this porcupine was their favorite sighting of the week.

What a way to end our week at Canopy Tower!

"...we headed up to the Amphibian Rescue and Research Center, only 10 minutes from the Lodge."

Day 8: Gamboa, Transfer to Canopy Lodge and Chorro el Macho Trail and Bat Night at the Lodge.

Before we departed from Canopy Tower, we went for a quick visit back to the Chagres River to look for Capybaras on last time.
Then we drove 1 hour and 45 minutes up to the foothills where the Canopy Lodge is located.
Many birds, that are frequent visitors of the feeders, where there to greet us. We had lunch a siesta time.
At about 3 p.m. he took a short and easy walk from the lodge up the “El Macho” waterfalls. On this trail we spoted a beautiful White Hawk, perch just over the trail. We also found some Tink Frogs.
Then it was time for dinner and a glass of wine. This was the preamble to an extraordinary “Bat Night”, which included netting, echolocation and a lecture on bat behavior conducted by Veronika Cottontail and Kirstin Übernickel from Ulm University of Germany.

Day 9: El Nispero Amphibian Center and Cerro Gaital Natural Monument and Night Walk around Canopy Lodge Ponds.

On this day we started with a cloudy sky a little bit of rain, but right after breakfast a big downpour that lasted all morning halted our plans to search for Panamanian wildlife. Fortunately our plan for this morning could be changed, on a rainy day what a good a idea to have an indoor activity as a plan B. So we headed up to the Amphibian Rescue and Research Center, only 10 minutes from the Lodge.
There we learned more about the Panamanian frogs and how they are doing in the tropics with the threat of a fungus that is killing these amphibians and the importance of places like this, to preserve this beautiful creature from extinction.
After about 2 hours a rain, it was a good time to do more indoor activities, so we decided to visit the local market.
We went back to the lodge for lunch. After a break, drove up to El Gaital Natural Monument, located at about 4 miles from the lodge. We hiked all the way up to the top of the hill where we were at about 1000 feet high, not many mammals this time, but we did see some beautiful birds such as Silver-throated Tanager, Black-faced Grosbeak and Green Hermit.
Since we started the day with frogs, why not ending the day with frogs? After dinner, we got or flashlight put on our headlights and went out to look for frogs, right on the lodge grounds.
We were delighted by a pretty chorus of frog, after looking carefully around the ponds; we finally saw some striking Red-webbed Tree Frog (very common), Blue-spotted Tree Frog and White-spotted Glass Frog.

Day 10: La Zamia and Chorro el Macho Trail and transfer to Panama City.

We got the end of a wonderful week, but we were not finished yet. We still had all morning to do one more trail in search of Panamanian wildlife. So we head up to la Zamia trail, at the foot of Cerro Gaital. We hiked for about 2 hours. Variegated Squirrel was our only mammal, but some birds like Northern Barred Woodcreeper. Since the activity on this trail was not very active we decided to go back to el Chorro Macho waterfall trail, and what a good decision! We found a roosting Great-crested Owl! What a sighting! Not a bad way to end our trip.
Then it was time to go back to lodge for lunch and packing. Oh, but we couldn´t leave without first drawing some of our famous parakeet napkin holders among the participants.
We all had a great time looking for Panamanian wildlife!

Total Mammal List account (29 species)

1. Mantled Howler Monkey (Alouatta palliate)
2. White-faced Capuchin (Cebus capucinus)
3. Geoffrey´s Tamarin (Leontocebus geoffreyi)
4. Western Night Monkey (Aotus lemurinus)
5. Kinkajou (Potos flavus)
6. Hoffman´s Two-toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni)
7. Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus variegates)
8. White-nosed Coati (Nasua narica)
9. Variegated Squirrel (Light morph) (Sciurus variegatoides helveous)
10. Variegated Squirrel (Dark morph) (Sciurus variegatoides melania)
11. Red-tailed Squirrel (Sciurus granatensis)
12. Lesser Capybara (Hydrochoerus isthmius)
13. Central American Agouti (Dasyprocta punctata)
14. Forest Rabbit (Sylvilagus brasiliensis)
15. Panamanian Spiny Pocket Mouse (Liomys adspersus)
16. Rufous Tree Rat (Diplomys labilis)
17. Common Opossum (Didelphis marsupialis)
18. Rothschild´s Porcupine (Coendou rothschildi)
19. Proboscis Bat (Rhynchonycteris naso)
20. Black Myotis (Myotis nigricans)
21. Shaggy Bat (Centronycteris centralis)
22. Common Tent-making Bat (Uroderma bilobatum)
23. Seba´s Short-tailed Bat (Carollia perspicillata)
24. Common Long-tongued Bat (Glossophaga soricina)
25. Orange Nectar Bat (Lonchophylla robusta)
26. Great False Vampire Bat (Vampyrum spectrum)
27. Common Big-eared Bat (Micronycteris microtis)
28. Greater White-lined Bat (Saccopteryx bilineata)
29. Neotropical River Otter (Lontra longicaudis)

Mammal Trip Canopy Tower/Canopy Lodge
Other Species

1. Giant Toad or Cane Toad (Bufo marinus)
2. Blue-spotted Tree Frog (Rhacophorus gauni)
3. Red-webbed Tree Frog (Hyla rufitela)
4. Green and Black Poison-Dart Frog (Dendrobates auratus)
5. Brilliant Forest Frog (Rana warszewitschii)
6. Glass Frog (Cochranella euknemos)
7. Clay-colored rain frog (Eleutherodactylus cerasinus)
8. American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus)
9. Green Iguana (Iguana iguana)
10. Stripe Basilisk (Jesus Lizard) (Basiliscus vittatus)
11. Common Basilisk (Basiliscus Basiliscus)
12. Four-lined Whip-tailed lizard (Ameiva quadrilineata)
13. Central American Whip-tailed Lizard (Ameiva Festiva)
14. Blue-tailed Skink ((Cryptoblepharus egeriae)
15. Yellow-headed Gecko (Gonatodes albigularis)
16. Fer-de-lance (Bothrops asper)
17. Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas)
18. Panamanian Common Slider Turtle (Trachemys scripta)
19. Forest Giant or Helicopter Damselfly (Megaloprepus caerulatus)
20. Panama Blond Tarantula (Psalmpopoeus pulcher)
21. Golden Orb-Spider (Nephila clavipes)
22. Silver Argiope (Argiope argentata)


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