Birdwatching: Hummingbirds

Panama’s birds are not shy.  Depending on the season, location and luck you can expect to see many different species in one day.   Of all the vast variety of bird species in Panama, the hummingbirds are of our favorite.  There are more than three hundred species of hummingbirds in Panama constituting the family Trochilidae, many of which have romantic names, such as the green-crowned brilliant, the purple-throated mountain gem and some other with more beautiful names.   The fiery-throated hummingbird, for example is a glossy green, shimmering iridescent at close range, with a dark blue tail, violet-blue chest, glittering coppery orange throat, and brilliant blue crown set off by velvety black on the sides and back of the head.  Some males take their glamorous plumage one step further and are bedecked with long streamer tails and iridescent mustaches, beards and visors.

These little, high-speed animals are so named because of the hum made by the beat of their wings; at up to one hundred beats per second, the hummingbird’s wings move so rapidly that they are often undetectable by the naked eye.  Hummingbirds are often seen hovering next to flowers, from which they extract nectar and insects with their long, hollow, and extensile tongues forked at the tip.  Alone among birds, they can generate power on both the forward and backward wing strokes, a distinction that allows them to fly backwards.

Hummingbirds are loners and they bond with the opposite sex only for the few seconds it takes to mate.  Many, such as the fiery-throated hummingbird, are violently territorial.  With luck, you might witness an impressive aerial fight between males defending their territories.   Come to Panama for birdwatching this season!  Contact us for more information at info@ecocircuitos.com

 

 

 

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EcoCircuitos training seminar for guides

The EcoCircuitos Team started two weeks ago the basic knowledge, risk management and leadership training program for future guides.   Laura Ramirez, Fabio Trujillo, Jorge Mayorga, Roberto Jaén, Annie Young and Rick Morales are sharing their knowledge and experience of many years as professionals in this industry.

We are offering 6 sessions of theory where the primary focus is interpretive training in the cultural, natural, and human history of Panama plus relevant resource material shared by our senior guides.   We also are taking the participants to the field and testing their knowledge and skills with an expert team that will evaluate them.  The training program also incorporates a mentorship component from our staff guides to the future team.  We want you to have fun while guiding!  Join us in a fantastic career for the next season that combines education and social development.  If you want to take advantage and be part of one of our training seminars, contact Laura Ramirez in the office at 315-1488.

Visit an Embera Community in Gatun Lake – A unique experience

by:  Anne Kehmeier, Intern

Luckily I had the chance to join an exciting EcoCircuitos tour to the indigenous village of the Embera Drua people to get to know their lifestyles and traditions. Accompanied by a great naturalist guide we started our trip with a ride through the Canal Zone and the nice Soberania National Park where we even saw a small anteater on the street. Arrived at the bank of the Chagres River we boarded a motorized piragua (dugout canoe) with an indigenous guide and captain and traveled the Gatun Lake to the communityt. We had a stop for a small hike of the botanical trail “Venta de Cruces” off the community. This forest was full of interesting trees, plants and small animals like the rana hoja, a frog that looks like a leave and is very well camouflaged. The indigenous guide explained us how the trail was used and showed us many different plants. He described how these plants were applied and still are nowadays, for example for medical purposes. After the small hike we continued our boat tour to the village. While enjoying the view out of the boat over the river and the nearby forests and the refreshing water that spilled over to us in the boat from time to time we reached the bank where the Embera village is situated. Our arrival at the “dock” was accompanied with local music and we were welcomed very friendly. After some time of enjoying the marvelous location and the view of the river we were given a presentation about clothing, handcrafts and other traditions and lifestyles by a young representative of the Embera community. Most of the arts and crafts are made of natural resources like seeds, leaves and different kinds of wood. Then we even had the pleasure to have a traditional lunch which existed of delicious fried plantain and fish, followed by fresh bananas and pineapples as desert. After this yummy lunch the Embera women showed us a really fascinating dance accompanied by interesting traditional music presented by the Embera men. We were even invited to join the dance and learn some steps; this was really exciting and fun! After this program we had the opportunity to explore the village and the surroundings a little bit, of course in way that does not disrupt the daily life of the community. By doing so we could also buy some of the beautiful handcrafts made by the Embera.

I was very pleased to hear and to see that the local community really benefits from tourism and this is a way for them to demonstrate their traditions and sell their self-made products. As this community lives in the Chagres National Park, thus a protected area, they are not allowed to hunt, to cultivate fields and use the wood of the forest to keep their farms. Therefore it is a great opportunity that they profit from tourism as they welcome regularly small groups and thus they have the opportunity to sell their handcrafts like nicely designed plates, small statues, neglects, bracelets and much more. In this way they do not only preserve their traditions but also conserve and preserve the nature around them.

I really enjoyed this adventure, the people were really friendly and open-minded and I learned a lot about the life in the Chagres National Park. It was a pleasure for me to get to know the Embera people and I am really glad I had this opportunity. Thanks for this great, exciting, personal and very unique experience!

Discovering Boquete, the highlands of Panama

by Juan Jose Calvache – Operations Manager

Last week I had the opportunity to visit Boquete in a Fam Trip organized by Finca Lerida, Air Panama, Tree Trek and Fresas Café.

It was a beautiful experience, discovering new and charming landscapes of the mountains of Panama, Chiriqui province at the western side bordering Costa Rica.

We flew with Air Panama with the new fleet of modern planes and upon arrival the staff of Finca Lerida was organizing our transfer to their mountain lodge.  Cesar one of our top birder guides in the highlands was in charge of the group and he show all his skills as a top birder and naturalist guide.

We discover with other eyes Boquete, the nature and its people.  We hike around the national park, and around Finca Lerida private reserve, we visit the coffee farm and learn about the amazing process of coffee… the smell of fresh coffee is fantastic!

Boquete offers amazing array of activities, such as the Canopy Adventure, Rafting, coffee farms, strawberry picking and hiking the cloudforest.  I had the opportunity to spot an amazing bird… The Quetzal in its splendor.

I highly recommend this great extension tour to the Highlands where EcoCircuitos will organize a trip to your needs.   If you are in Panama, don´t miss the opportunity to explore Boquete at the western side of Panama.

For more information, contact us at info@ecocircuitos.com  or call our toll free number at 1-800-830-7142

New Birding Tour in Bocas del Toro

Tranquilo Bay is ready to announce the addition of guided birding trips on the Western Caribbean Slope to their excursions.

Tranquilo Bay has been birding the Western Caribbean Slope for many years and in 2008 hired two full time biologist, that combined have 16 years of experience working in the Province of Bocas del Toro.
birding tours panama
In western Panama the Caribbean Slope of the Talamanca mountain range, Tranquilo Bay’s back yard, plunges some 11,000 feet from the high alpine forest of La Amistad National Park into the lowland rainforests bordering the Caribbean Sea, in a span of less than 40 miles. Within the areas we explore from our comfortable facility the altitude ranges from 7,000 feet to sea level in a zone where nearly 500 species of birds can be found. This extreme biodiversity and high level of endemic species is due to abrupt changes in altitudinal zones and extreme geographic features creating many distinct ecosystems, as well as, migratory corridors.

Tranquilo Bay is located on 100 pristine acres, adjacent to Bastimentos National Marine Park, amongst the convergence of 3 distinct ecosystems. This creates an extremely diverse and unique wildlife observation site where flora and fauna overlap from separate worlds increasing diversity. In a week it is possible to identify over 100 species of birds without leaving the property. There are several elevated porches throughout the facility, creating an incredible eye-level view. While birding onsite you might also encounter white-faced capuchin monkeys, night monkeys, two and three toed sloths, iguanas, caiman, butterflies, a variety of frogs and lizards, and within the canopy a collage of rain forest hardwood and fruit trees, lianas, mangroves, ferns, orchids and cycads.

Some common Birds Of Isla Bastimentos (Common favorites)
Gold Collared Manakin, Three Wattled Bell Bird, Violet Crowned Wood Nymph, Red Lored Amazon Parrots (by the hundreds), Green Ibis, White-Crowned Pigeon, Blue Dacnis, White Hawk, Red-legged Honeycreeper, Green Honeycreeper, Lineated Woodpecker among others.

EcoCircuitos Panama is proud to offer birding tours to Bocas del Toro with a great team of guides. For more information, contact us at annie@ecocircuitos.com or info@ecocircuitos.com

Turtle observation in Panama

Turtle observation panamaIf you are looking to observe sea turtles and sea turtle nesting Panama is one of the most popular places in the world for this. Four species of marine turtles are known to nest in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago only. The leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), green turtle (Chelonia mydas) and loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), that can be seen in different seasons during the year.

During the season for the leatherback you can see it along the beaches of Bluff and Bastimentos in Bocas del Toro. This is the largest of the marine turtles. A mature female averages 150 cm in length and weighs around one half a ton. Females lay eggs about 9 times during their 4 month gestation period, with 10 days roughly been nest making. Escorted by a naturalist Guide and sometimes by a biologist on site doing their research, you will have the opportunity to admire this amazing wonder of nature. We won´t be disturbing the turtles so the tour will be manage in a very sustainable way only for very small groups. To learn more about this great educational tour, please contact us at info@ecocircuitos.com come and discover Panama with the best team! http://www.ecocircuitos.com