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Canopy Family

December 2015

Featured Bird

Tufted Flycatcher David Tipling

Tufted Flycatcher
Mitrephanes phaeocercus

A small, plump flycatcher of the wooded foothills, the cute Tufted Flycatcher is olive-green above with 2 grayish-olive wing bars, an ochre-orange breast and distinct pointed crest.  It perches on small branches in the mid-story of the forest, periodically making sallying flights for small insects, similar to wood-pewees.  It frequently calls, giving a series of high pip notes.  It ranges throughout the Pacific slope of Central America and northwest South America from Mexico to Ecuador.  This resident species is one of the many flycatchers that can be encountered in Panama, and is common in the cloud forest surrounding the Canopy Lodge. 

Rare Sighting: Tufted Flycatcher is an occasional vagrant to the southern U.S., and there have been several records of this species in Arizona and Texas.

Focus on Plants

Prestonia portobellensis Jerry Harrison Panama

Prestonia portobellensis

Prestonia portobellensis is a beautiful member of the Dogbane family, Apocynaceae.  The genus Prestonia comprises approximately 60 species found in Central and South America and the West Indies.  This widespread liana is characterized by oval leaves with a narrow tip, 9-20 cm long, arranged oppositely.  Flowers are distinctive with 5 corolla lobes, 10-15 mm long, on a raised greenish tube with a yellow rim.  Lobes are white with pink striations.  Fruits are a dry follicle containing seeds.  Like all members of the family, this liana contains a thick milky latex.  It flowers most of the year, but flowers are more abundant in the dry season and early wet season.  Fruits mature primarily in the dry season.  Prestonia portobellensis is found from southern Mexico to Ecuador, and is common along forest edges and in a wide variety of habitats in Panama.

Guest Spotlight

Graham Sparkles Panama

Graham Sparkes from England recently visited the Canopy Tower, Canopy Lodge and Canopy Camp with Oriole Birding.  An avid traveler with a life list of over 6500 species, Graham added 35 species during his stay with us including one of his most-wanted, the Sapayoa, completing his goal of seeing a bird from every family of birds on Earth.  Congratulations, Graham!

Photo of the Month

Semiplumbeous Hawk Panama Dennis Riphenburg

This beautiful Semiplumbeous Hawk gives Dennis Riphenburg from California a little wave during his recent visit to the Canopy Tower.  Click on the photo to view a larger image. 

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Recent Sightings and Trip Reports

In the past month we have had great sightings of Red-billed Scythebill, Tufted Flycatcher, Streak-chested Antpitta, Speckled Mourner, Sunbittern, and rarities including Kelp Gull, Rothschild's Porcupine, CRESTED EAGLE and HARPY EAGLE!  Check out more recent sightings and trip reports for the amazing birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, butterflies and dragonflies seen around the Canopy Tower, Canopy Lodge and the new Canopy Camp Darien!

Kelp Gull Panama Mark Watson

A Kelp Gull found by Canopy Lodge guide Danilo Rodriguez at Santa Clara Beach during a full day of birding in the Pacific lowlands on November 17; photo by Mark Watson.

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Share Your Experience!

Have you stayed with us lately?  We would love to hear from you! We welcome you to post your comments and experiences on TripAdvisor.  Visit our TripAdvisor pages for the Canopy Tower, Canopy Lodge, Canopy Camp and Canopy B&B.  If you haven't visited us yet, check out what others are saying!

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Greetings from the Canopy...

Dear friends, 

With 2015 coming to a close we look back at the great year we have had at the Canopy Family: we celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Canopy Lodge, the 15 years of Carlos Bethancourt as one of the most valued collaborators of the Canopy Family and the early success of the Canopy Camp Darien, well into its 2nd year of operations. Meanwhile, the Canopy Tower continues to be an icon in the birding world.  In 2015 we also introduced our butterfly tour and offered it three times successfully. It is now part of our regular catalogue.  We also had the pleasure of welcoming many new and returning guests with whom we shared the incredible biodiversity of Panama.  We are so blessed to call you all a part of our family!

So this holiday season I would like to extend our warmest wishes to all of you from the entire Canopy Family for a safe and joyful Christmas and New Year's.  See you in 2016!

Raul Arias Canopy Family Panama

   Best wishes, and I hope to see
   you here in Panama soon,


Raúl Arias de Para - President/Founder


Canopy Family News

Canopy Family Festivities

The "Christmas breeze" has arrived in Panama!  Heading into the dry season this month, the rains are slowing down and we are enjoying the rich breeze of the beginning of the season, a reminder that Christmas is upon us and getting us into that festive mood.  On December 9, Canopy Tower, B&B and office staff gathered for our annual Fiesta de Navidad to celebrate Christmas, Raul's birthday and the year 2015 with great food, drinks, awards, gifts and great company!  

Canopy Family 2015Canopy Family 2015

Highlights from the Canopy Tower Christmas Party: Employee of the Year Jenn with Carlos, Daniel & Zelesny (left); singing "Happy Birthday" to Raul, with Daniel, Carlos & Denise (right).

Click here for more photos from this year's
Canopy Tower Christmas Party

Recent Guests at Our Lodges

WINGS Birding Tours Panama

WINGS Birding tour group, led by Gavin Beiber and Alex Sanchez, at Cerro Azul during their tour at the Canopy Tower and Canopy Lodge in November.  

Oriole Birding Canopy Lodge Panama

Oriole Birding group, led by Ashley Saunders and Domiciano Alveo, at the Canopy Lodge.  They experienced the best of birding in central and eastern Panama; they started at the Canopy Tower, then spent 4 nights at the Lodge, and finished with a week of birding the Canopy Camp in Darién.

Miriam Rakowski Canopy Tower PanamaHarpy Eagle Darien Panama

Miriam Rakowski of New York visited us again at the Canopy Tower and at the Canopy Camp for the first time, where she was very lucky to see a Harpy Eagle at El Salto Road on November 25th!  This was Miriam's fourth stay with us; she has now experienced all of the Canopy Family lodges and was rewarded with this amazing sighting!

Creature Feature

Glossy Daggerwing Panama Tino Sanchez

Glossy Daggerwing
Marpesia furcula

Some of the most wanted butterflies to see in Panama are the daggerwings.  Superficially looking like swallowtails, these beautiful butterflies belong to the large brushfoot family, Nymphalidae.  Daggerwings are medium-sized butterflies recognized by their long pointed tails on the hindwings.  Glossy Daggerwing is one of the most beautiful species of the genus.  Males are brightly marked with orange & purple near the body with a dark brown border and hindwings, and brown underside with dark wavy lines.  Females are brown with a white stripe and spots on the forewing.  Females are rarely seen as they prefer to be high in the canopy, whereas males stay close to the ground.  Larvae are brightly colored, with a single row of spines down the back and a pair of spines on the head.  Their host plants are of the family Moraceae.  Daggerwings in general are often found at mud puddles and along riverbanks, forming large aggregates.  However, Glossy Daggerwings are solitary and not known to be found in aggregates.  This species is found from Nicaragua to Bolivia, from sea level to 1400m.  It is fairly common around the Canopy Lodge and especially the Canopy Camp.


Sneak peek at next month's Canopy Family newsletter...

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Stumped?  Visit our Canopy Family Flickr Photostream and browse our photos for this upcoming featured bird!

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