Tour of the week – Birding Achiote Road – Community Project in the Atlantic side

Achiote is located on the western side of the Panama Canal, bordering with the San Lorenzo National Park, between Gatún Lake and the Caribbean Sea. It is a rural community with approximately 500 inhabitants, which was founded on the basis of banana exportations in the 1930s. It is in an exuberant valley, covered by innumerable shades of green, flowers, and multicolored birds. Its small size and intimacy make it a paradise-like refuge only 25 minutes from Colon city and the Colon Free Zone.

We will be birding along Achiote Road consistently produces more than 300 bird species. Your best opportunities for Crested Oropendola, Collared & Slaty Backed Forest Falcons, Plumbeous and Semiplumbeous Hawks, Hook-Billed Kite, Band-Tailed Barbthroat, Rufous-Breasted Hermit, Ocellated Antbird, Olivaceous Flatbill, Black-Tailed Trogon, Speckled Mourner, Purple-Throated Fruitcrow, Chestnut Mandibled Toucan could be found here. Spot-crowned Barbet prefers the common cecropia trees, and Hoffman’s two-toed sloth also resides here. Numerous species of striking heliconia plants are common, as are their attendant hummingbirds, the hermits, named for their retiring nature. We will visit and will enjoy a local lunch at Los Tucanes Community center and will learn about the main routes of migratory birds of prey of the Americas converge, turning the region and the Canal area in general into a great hotel for them twice a year: from September to November, and from February to March.

We suggest to wear clothes that are comfortable, cool and light colors. On your feet wear sneakers or boots, and in general think in terms of maintaining a certain harmony with the forest. Bring an umbrella or raincoat. When you are inside the forest make sure to speak in a low tone of voice. Avoid wearing perfume or creams when you visit the forest, strong smells can bother or confuse animals. Contribute towards keeping the community clean. Bring drinking water and insect repellent.

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