Achiote Road, Panama

Collared Aracari
click photos to enlarge
December 2, 2011

Gene and I plan to transit the canal in mid-January and last week it hit me that I only had about six weeks left in Panama and I still hadn't made it to Achiote or Pipeline Road!  As luck would have it, I broke a tooth and had to see a dentist. The dentist is in Colon and I thought as long as we had to go to Colon, we could rent a car at the Budget rental at the cruise ship port.  By the way, the dentist, Dr. Ida Herrera, was great and she's a birder! She has an eco-lodge. I haven't been there, but I will post the url for people checking out accomodations in Panama:

We got the car for a week and I am birding with four wheels rather than two feet.  What a luxury!
Ruddy-tailed Hummingbird
Yesterday we drove to Achiote Road, but I really didn't see much different than I see on San Lorenzo road.  To be fair, we were driving and checking out the lay of the land and I didn't get out of the car enough.  I told Gene I was coming back without him so I could park and walk!
Welcome to Achiote, an environmentally friendly community.
We did see a Green Kingfisher and I have only seen one once before, at the Linton anchorage. Oh, and I saw some Yellow-faced Grassquits at the Toucan Visitors Center.  I haven't seen one in Fort Sherman, but I did see them at the Linton Anchorage.
Black-cheeked Woodpecker
We both went back today.  I think Gene came mainly because I planned to stay late and he didn't want me out there alone. I wanted to be there at dusk in hopes that I might see a Potoo.

It was a great day!  We walked some of the Trogon Trail and I finally nailed down a Song Wren.  I have seen flashes of them twice in Fort Sherman, and I was pretty sure of the ID, but I didn't see them well enough to be positive. I had great views today and listed them as Lifer #921. It was too dark for a decent photo.  I got a quick view of a Flycatcher who I heard way before seeing.  I'm still working on the ID.  As we came back out, I saw a bird fly up into a big tree next to the car and I got my bins on it-- Black-striped Woodcreeper! #922.  I was whoo-hooing that when I heard some very vocal birds down the road.  I saw some black birds going from tree to tree and I walked down the road keeping an eye on them.  Achiote is very busy and the drivers drive like bats out of hell!  I had to keep stepping on to the shoulder as big trucks and Red Devils roared by, honking as they passed to make sure I knew they were there. Anyway, I finally could get off the shoulder long enough to see #923 Purple-throated Fruit Crows very well.

I saw a few birds that I don't see too often:  Ruddy Ground Dove,  Collared Aracari, Black-cheeked Woody, and Golden-headed Tanager.

We drove home in the rain after dark.  A night bird did fly right in front of the car, but I don't know what it was.  Thank God we didn't hit it!  No luck on the Montezuma Oropendola or a Potoo.

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