Panamania Day 7: Metropolitan National Park

November 25, 2019 0 By Audrey

I was excited for the Metropolitan National Park because it is in the heart of Panama City, the only wildlife refuge within city limits, and it was just a 10-minute taxi ride from our hotel. I was also nervous, because this was our first morning birding without our guide, Saul. The crutches were off…would we even see anything?

It was also one of the rainiest predicted days of the trip, but our walk started out nice.

We heard rustling in the tree-tops and looked up to see tamarin monkeys!

This was a welcome surprise and a good start. Then unidentifiable birds sang, a woodcreeper sp. flew by, my lens fogged up and I felt a little frustrated. After days of acclimation, jungle birding was still a big challenge.

Then a trogon appeared before my eyes.

Much better! They at least perch out in the open and aren’t quick to fly away. It gave me enough time to identify it as a Slaty-tailed Trogon. Thank goodness for trogons.

From there the birding was as up and down as the trail was, we’d have quiet moments and then a burst of activity.

In one burst was a pair of woodpeckers, Red-crowned and Crimson-crested.

I still can’t believe I’ve actually seen this woodpecker.

Other bursts included a Yellow-backed Oriole searching for insects in some dead leaves.

A startling Crimson-backed Tanager.

And a bright Summer Tanager.

I got better looks at a Squirrel Cuckoo.

And a better photo of that great-named Buff-throated Saltator.

About a third of the way up a Coati family crossed the trail.

Including a wee little coati.

After a steep haul at the end my mom and I finally made it to the top.

We took a moment to enjoy the views but there was no time to linger because we had to make sure to be back down in time to meet the taxi driver.

On the return, I found two new birds, a Plain-colored Tanager.

And this super cooperative warbler that I’m calling Bay-breasted Warbler (female/immature), it has just a hint of chestnut on those flanks.

Before we finished the skies really opened up on us and we ran for cover, well my mom ran, while I hung back for a Snowy-bellied Hummingbird.

It was feeding on the crêpe ginger (Cheilocostus speciosus) near the visitor center.

Then I got really soaked at the end watching the Scarlet-rumped Cacique, a noisy social bird whose red rump is visible in flight.

Not bad for a city park! It’s pretty much just like Forest Park in Portland (okay it’s nothing like Forest Park). Birding with Saul, we averaged 79 species per checklist, on my own I only managed to squeeze out 23. I’m sure I missed a bunch, but it was still a nice hike, and we were back in time for the taxi driver.

Gracias a Dios por los trogons.

Pío pío,

Audrey