Panama Biodiversity Tour



From July 18-27, 2012, a group of five of us joined our guide, Bob Behrstock, for a Biodiversity Workshop organized by Naturalist Journeys and based at the Canopy Tower and Canopy Lodge in Panama. Four of us were from Albuquerque, including my friends Marj and Dwayne (who were also on last year's Brazil trip with me) and my butterfly and birding friend, Rebecca. Arriving late the night before the trip started, Rebecca and I met up with the group the next morning at the Canopy Tower, where we'd stay for the next five nights while taking day trips to Soberania National Park and other nearby areas. The last four nights we were at Canopy Lodge in the cooler high country of El Valle de Anton. I'd last been in Panama in August 2005 on a birding trip; this time we'd also be looking at birds, but for some of us the butterflies were the big attraction.

Although it was the 'Green Season' in Panama, the weather was generally pretty good and we only got caught out once in a pretty heavy downpour. Being in the rainforest under usually cloudy weather, however, made photography a bit of a challenge at times. From the more than 900 pictures that made it home with me, I've boiled that down to those shown here. They're presented pretty much chronologically, except for grouping all of the butterfly pictures on pages 5 and 6. All were taken with my Nikon D90 and cleaned up later with CaptureNX. Did my best to try to label them correctly, and can easily fix them if anyone spots mistakes.


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After getting settled in our rooms at the tower, lunch, and a little time checking out birds and butterflies from the observation deck, we went back down the hill to walk Plantation Road.


Katydid

Red-tailed Pennant
(Brachymesia furcata)

Spider

Amphibian

Blue-chested Hummingbird

Leafhopper Bug

The next morning it was off to Pipeline Road and the Tower at the Rainforest Discovery Center. After our local guide, Michael, picked up on our interest in butterflies, in addition to the two kinds of toucans, Blue Contingas, a couple of woodpeckers, and several other species, he'd soon be getting the scope on butterflies he'd spot way below us.


Palm Tanager

Collared Aracari

Lizard

Caterpillars

Grasshopper

White-necked Puffbird

Pheasant Cuckoo

Lizard

Amphibian

Amphibian

Rufous Motmot

Spider

Moth

Caterpillar

Caterpillar

Lizard

Grasshopper

Lizard

Mantled Howler

Hummingbird

White-whiskered Puffbird

Brown Setwing (f)
(Dythemis sterilis)

Keel-billed Toucan

Keel-billed Toucan

Chestnut-mandibled Toucan

Blue Cotinga

Lineated Woodpecker

Keel-billed Toucan

Snake

Friday, we drove to the Ammo Dump Ponds near Gamboa and later the Summit Gardens (Thanks to Bob Behrstock for the grasshopper ids.).


Grasshopper

Spider

Leafcutter Ants

Buff-throated Saltator

Barred Antshrike

Greater Ani

Caterpillar

Katydid

Spider

Immature Grasshopper
(Coscineuta coxalis )

Grasshopper
(Coscineuta coxalis )

Tamandua

Heliconia

Beetle
A short video of those leafcutters in action can be seen here.

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