One of the few birding trips I made last month was to the foothills close to Panama City... the area of Cerro Azul / Cerro Jefe. This is a popular weekend destination for the citizen; however, many people lives complete-time up there, including many birder friends. Osvaldo Quintero, Rafael Luck, Itzel Fong and myself departed from the city in a relaxed trip all the way up to the private neighborhood of Los Altos de Cerro Azul, and went directly to our first destination, the naturals paths at the end of the Paseo Colombia.
The day was partially cloudy, and as soon as we got out of the car, we started to watch birds. A female Gartered Trogon welcomed us, offering excellent photo opportunities. The eye-ring color and the undertail pattern are diagnostic. She ate some Cecropia fruits by hovering in front of them for few seconds.
The mossy start of the path provoked a nasty fall to Osvaldo... thanks God he was not hurt... a tough guy for sure! Seeing this, we decided to left the paths, and moved one to the highest part of the foothills, to Cerro Jefe. The elfin forest covering the highest slopes is something special, looks like another world!
We visited the Vistamares lookout and, despite the lacks of birds, we enjoyed the views of the surrounding forests. Notice how the elfin forest have twisted and dwarfed trees (many of them palm trees), an adaptation of the windy conditions up there... the fancy houses of Los Altos can be seen in the background.
To call it a day, we went to Los Altos Camping Club in order to have lunch. We decided to seat in the terrace, facing a fruiting tree... for our surprise, the tree was FULL of birds! We had a great time shooting our cameras at Black-cheeked Woodpeckers, Blue-gray, Palm, Crimson-backed, Golden-hooded and Plain-colored Tanagers, Red-legged Honeycreepers and Scarlet-thighed Dacnis, among others!
Great way to call it a day!
|Panama City, as seen from Cerro Jefe|