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Canopy Family

July 2015

Featured Bird

Plain Xenops Cedric Ng

Plain Xenops
Xenops minutus

What is a xenops?  A xenops is a small, titmouse-like member of the ovenbird family, Furnariidae.  At 12 cm in length, the Plain Xenops is cinnamon-brown color overall and a more intense ruddy color on the rump and tail, with light-brown unstreaked underparts.  The wings have a broad buffy band across the primaries and secondaries.  It is best distinguished by its bold white malar stripe and buffy eyebrow stripe.  Males and females are alike, and young birds are differentiated by their dark throats.  The short, wedge-shaped bill with an upturned lower mandible is distinctive, which it uses to pry bark from branches while foraging for small insects and spiders.  Plain Xenops are true climbers, suggestive of nuthatches.  They glean on small vertical branches, twigs and vines, and often hang upside down.  They never use their tail as a prop.  They are often found in pairs, and usually feed in mixed flocks.  Their song is a rapid series of 8-12 high-pitched notes.  In Panama, Plain Xenops breed between January and March.  They are cavity nesters, and line their nests with shredded plant fibers.  They lay 2 eggs per clutch.  Plain Xenops is widely distributed from Mexico through the Amazon Basin.  In Panama, it is common in the lowlands and foothills; it is found in the middle and upper levels of the forest, and found at all the Canopy Family lodges.

Focus on Plants

Warszewiczia coccinea

Warszewiczia coccinea

This member of the Rubiaceae family is known by many common names including Cresta de Gallo, Guna, Orinera, Crucero and Sanguinaria.  It is a tree or shrub that grows to 15 m tall, reaching the midstory of the humid lowland and foothill forests of tropical America, and is found from Mexico to Brazil.  Its preferred habitat is forest edges and roadsides, making it easy to see.  It is immediately recognizable by its bright red sepals (12 cm in length), which dangle from the much smaller red-orange flowers.  The smooth, shiny leaves are simple and opposite in arrangement.  The fruits are globose capsules that contain many tiny (0.1 cm long) seeds.  Warszewiczia coccinea flowers and bears fruit at the end of the dry season into the middle of the rainy season, especially in July and August.  It is occasionally used as an ornamental due to its attractive inflorescences, and has been introduced to Africa.  The root smells like anise and is used by some indigenous people as an aphrodisiac.  It is also used to heal inflammation of the bladder.  This beautiful tree can be found around all the Canopy Family lodges.

Photo of the Month

Common Potoo Jill Lapato

It's the season for babies!  This Common Potoo chick catches on quickly to the "potoo position", well taught by its devoted parents.  Jill Lapato captured this sweet duo during her 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 Black-crowned Antpitta, Blue-throated Goldentail, Orange-bellied Trogon, Blue-throated Toucanet and Red-throated Caracara!  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!

Canopy Tower TripAdvisor

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!

Here is a recent review from a guest at the Canopy Lodge: 

"Perfect Eco Lodge retreat outside Panama City... Rooms are very spacious with everything you need to watch the wildlife that surrounds you. Food is great, service fantastic & the atmosphere is relaxed but with great attention to detail. Take advantage of the wonderfully knowledgeable guides to see birds, butterflies & all sorts of wildlife in the area. Can't recommend enough."

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Greetings from the Canopy

Dear friends, 

In September 2005, we proudly opened the 2nd lodge in the Canopy Family of ecolodges—the Canopy Lodge in El Valle de Anton, a small village in Central Panama where my parents had a summer home and where I spent most of my childhood vacation time.  This year, we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Canopy Lodge!  Since 2005, the Canopy Lodge has welcomed birders, nature lovers, families and celebrities to enjoy the charm of the western foothills of Panama and its tropical paradise of birds!  For those of you who have visited the lodge in the past 10 years, thank you for coming, and to those who have not, we hope to see you soon.  Here’s to another great decade for the Canopy Lodge!

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Canopy Lodge, we are offering a special birding package with a very attractive price. It is our way of saying Thank You!

Raul Arias de Para

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

Raul Arias de Para

Raúl Arias de Para - President/Founder

Upcoming Deals

BIRDS OF THE CANOPY LODGE 10-YEAR ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL

Canopy Lodge 10th Anniversary

Celebrate 10 years of the Canopy Lodge with us!  Book your stay at the Canopy Lodge for September 2015 and receive a 20% discount.  Discount applies to standard room rates and our Birds of the Canopy Lodge all-inclusive 7-night birding package.  Contact us now to experience and celebrate the Canopy Lodge.

Canopy Family News

Canopy Family & ABA's Birders' Exchange donate binoculars in Panama

This year, we received 2 pairs of binoculars through the American Birding Association's Birders' Exchange, a program that collects donated binoculars, field guides and equipment and distributes them to people working to conserve birds and habitats in Latin America and the Caribbean.  Thanks to our good friends Jeff and Liz Gordon at the ABA, we were able to gift these binoculars to special individuals who work with us.

Birders' Exchange in Panama

Anibal Rodriguez, the grounds-keeper for a lovely property in El Valle near the Canopy Lodge, has shown us his generosity for many years to enter the yard to view a resident pair (and their young) of Spectacled Owls.  His keen eyes help us to find these special birds, and his interest in protecting these birds and their habitat is contagious!  We presented a pair of Bausch & Lomb binoculars to him during a recent visit.  He immediately tied a string to them and put his new binoculars around his neck, eager to see the owls and other birds on the property. 

In Darién, we have built a good relationship with a nearby Embera indigenous community, Nuevo Vigia.  The community is located along the Turquesa River and is surrounded by extensive mature secondary forest.  We visit the community with our guests to explore the trails for birds and other wildlife.  In turn, the members of the community have embraced this new approach to tourism by hiring out community members as guides to accompany us and selling their beautifully woven baskets and masks.  By providing this income to the community, they agree to maintain the forest.  We gave Nuevo Vigia a pair of Bushnell Elite binoculars, to be jointly used by the team of guides and for those interested in learning the birds and wildlife around their homes.  We presented the binoculars to the president of the community, Elida Aji, and instructed that she will be in charge of their new optics.

We are proud to involve members of the local communities we work in and promote birding and ecotourism activities in their daily lives.  We have appreciated the kindness and assistance of various local friends of the Canopy Family over the years.

Canopy Camp Darien

NEW: Hot Water Showers at the Canopy Camp!

You spoke, we listened.  Even though Darién is hot year round and many of our guests relish a cold shower mid-day, we have recently installed on-demand individual gas water heaters for the showers at the Canopy Camp.  We understand that at the end of the day, many of our guests enjoy a nice warm shower under the stars!

Recent Guests at Our Lodges

Guests at Canopy Lodge

Many happy birders this past month at our lodges!  Top, David Marteney, Mark Shapiro, Lynn Anderson, Canopy Family guide Domi Alveo, Ron and Robin Marteney enjoyed a week of birding at the Canopy Lodge.  Above, a group of friends from Canada, USA and the UK birded all three lodges with Carlos Bethancourt as their outstanding guide!

Creature Feature

Tungara Frog

Tungara Frog
Engystomops pustulosus

A common and well-studied frog in Panama, the Tungara Frog is best known by its unusual call “tun” followed often by “gara”, heard frequently from small forest puddles, pools, ditches and standing water bodies during the rainy season.  It is a medium-sized frog; males and females are 3.3 cm and 3.6 cm in length, respectively.  They are toad-like in appearance; the body, head, limbs, and even the eardrums are covered in warts.  They also have a large poison gland on each side of the neck like the toads (Bufonidae).  The vocal sac of the male is very large compared to the size of the body.  The Tungara Frog is a member of the Leptodactylidae family, the “foam frogs”.  They produce a foam nest to lay their eggs along the edges of temporary and permanent puddles on the forest floor, where the tadpoles will then develop in the rain pools.  Tungara Frogs have a patchy distribution from Mexico through Central America and into northern South America, and are very common in Panama.  Guests often remark on their loud calls after rain at the Canopy Tower. 

Give-away: Tungara Frogs have an unusual predator—the Fringe-lipped Bat (Trachops cirrhosus), which is attracted to the frogs by their loud call!  Read an interesting article about this here.

 
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