April 14, 2015, San Blas Area, Panama — Yesterday evening, a birder with the (awesome) name of Guido Berguido picked me up in Panama City and we drove east into the night. We have just three full days to see as many birds as we can in Panama! To kick things off, Guido, a local guide named Arquimedes (who was celebrating his birthday today), and I spent this morning at a patch of lowland forest called San Francisco. By a stroke of luck we caught a ride with a priest who was checking on the community’s water supply at the top of a steep dirt road, and then we walked back down. The birding was incredible: We found 100 species of birds by 8:00 a.m., including a Blue Cotinga, a Black-crowned Antpitta, and Ocellated, Spotted, and Bicolored antbirds! At 8:30 I saw a male Shining Honeycreeper—my 2,000th bird this year.
We could have spent all day out there, but I had an 11:00 interview which required cell service, so Guido and I reluctantly returned to the nearby town at about 10:30. The interview was for a live Colombian radio show. It was slightly surreal to be sitting in rural Panama while being broadcast in Colombia! (The 10-minute clip can be heard here.)
After an early lunch, Guido and I took a relaxed siesta and returned to the San Francisco forest in mid-afternoon. A couple of hours later, as we drove toward the San Blas foothills where we will spend tomorrow morning, I added up our sightings. Somewhat surprisingly, with a four-hour break in the middle of the day and without trying to run up a daily list, Guido and I recorded 186 species of birds today—my biggest single day of the year so far!
Which reminds me: The species list page has been reorganized in reverse chronologic order and I can now update it myself with a cell connection. (These blog entries, meanwhile, still require wifi and editors’ approval, so are sometimes delayed accordingly). This means that the species list will be kept more current, and will often be updated a day or two ahead of the blog.
New birds today: 38
Year list: 2015