Cerro Azul & Cerro Jefe
Friday, July 19th: We got an early start for our drive to Cerro Azul and Cerro Jefe. Once there we almost immediately found the endemic Stripe-cheeked Woodpecker, several of them. We also noticed a flock of Carmiol's Tanagers. A little later, we added Bay-headed Tanager. Further along we noticed a number of birds working the vegetation on the far side of an open area. A couple of them were Sulphur-rumped Tanagers.
We got in the van and drove over to the Harrison's house. They are ex-pat friends of Carlos who keep a lot of feeders. The hummingbird activity there was incredible. Not only were there about 100 hummers around the feeders, but they were everywhere you looked in the trees. We found 10 species of hummingbird there. New birds included: Crowned (Violet-crowned) Woodnymph, Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer, Green Hermit, Violet-capped Hummingbird, Highland Hepatic-Tanager, and Bananaquit. Besides the new hummers, we also found Long-billed Hermit, White-necked Jacobin, Snowy-bellied Hummingbird, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Blue-chested Hummingbird, and White-vented Plumeleteer.
After leaving the Harrison's, we headed up the road toward Cerro Jefe. I had left behind the camera to concentrate on birding and it really paid off here. Ann, David, and I agressively presumed a tanager flock up the high. It paid off big time. While away from the group we found Rufous-winged Tanager, Black-and-yellow Tanager, and Emerald Tanager, not to mention another Stripe-cheeked Woodpecker. When they caught up, we added Spotted Woodcreeper and Tawny-capped Euphonia. Another uphill chase yield more Black-and-yellow Tanagers, and left us in perfect position for me to spot White-vented Euphonia and Speckled Tanager at the same time Carlos did. After all this excitement it was time for lunch (and then some). There was a complication concerning the place we were going to eat, and the Harrison's graciously offered their home instead.
On the way back to the tower we stopped at Panama Viejo (old Panama City, once sacked by Morgan) to view the tidal flats. Here we found Snowy Egret, Wood Stork, Short-billed Dowitcher, Black-bellied Plover, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Wilson's Plover, Willet, Whimbrel, Crested Caracara, Cocoi Heron, Western Sandpiper, White Ibis, and Ruddy Turnstone. Then we returned to the tower for a barbeque to end our stay.
I ended up with 69 species for the day, 30 of them new for the trip. My trip total is now 224. I also got 6 lifers, bringing my total to 40 for the trip.