Thursday, July 16, 2009

Birding Pipeline Road

This morning we got up and breakfasted early so we could take a walk with Sharon, our hostess here at Simply Devine Homestays. We left about 6:30, with Sharon setting a good pace - for exercising, not birding. But after all the time we've spent lately sitting in airports and on airplanes, we certainly need some regular workouts, and Sharon happily indulged us a couple of short stops to look at Bat Falcons sitting on snags. She walked us through Gamboa to the start of Pipeline road (about 20 minutes), where she turned back for the rest of her brisk walk and we continued at our birding pace.

Our walk on Pipeline was an entirely different experience than the ones we took there in December with Carlos and Jose, 2 of our excellent guides at the Canopy Tower. Either we've forgotten a lot or we didn't learn it in the first place, because we did not see nearly as many birds and we recognized almost none of their songs and sounds. None of that stopped us from having a good time, and of course we recognize that birding without guides and experts is a crucial part of learning. We will go back to the Tower for a refresher course in less than 2 weeks.

Among the birds we did see and ID (along Pipeline Road and at Discovery Center) were a pair of Fasciated Antshrikes, a pair of Dot-winged Antwrens, a Violaceous Trogon, 4 Collared Aracaris, several Cocoa Woodcreepers and Red-crowned Woodpeckers, 2 Anhingas, Black-breasted Puffbird, Streaked Flycatchers, Great Kiskadees, Social Flycatchers, Long-billed Hermits (see video below shot by Les at Discovery Center), Rufous-tailed Hummingbirds, Sapphire-throated Hummingbirds, White-necked Jacobins, White-vented Plumeleteers, Clay-colored Thrushes, Orchard Oriole, Variable Seedeaters.

One bad thing happened on our Pipeline walk - more accurately, a pair of bad things. Les threw some tread - all he had. On the way up, the sole of his left shoe came off. On the way back, the sole of his right shoe came off. Each sole came clean off, not in shreds, but in one tidy piece. We've heard that this tropical environment is unforgiving, but we're surprised to be victims of it on day 2. Tomorrow we must go shopping for footwear. Shopping - that's worth another post, since we've already been to the grocery store, with great results.

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