Rio Indio Valley
Monday, July 22nd: Today we went out into the wilds of Panama to do some Pacific Slope birding. Instead of a van, we piled into four 4x4 vehicles (3 trunks and a Cayenne S) to drive north from El Valle past the small village of Jordanal. Our guide Carlos tells us that the road is only about 5 years old, and that this area was previously only accessible by trail. The people living out here seem to be upgrading their homes now that they have a road.
Google Maps does not show a road (or much of anything) in this area, and the NGS Panama map does not have sufficient detail. The road heads east until after it crosses to the right side of the Rio Indio, as shown on the Canopy local map. It then runs northward in the Rio Indio valley, to the village of Jordanal. There's a river crossing there (to the west side) and the road is worse past Jordanal. We continued a short distance until arriving at a hanging footbridge across the Jordanal.
From other sources, I found that Jordanal is at about 1200 feet elevation. That and the river crossing allow us to find the approximate location of the town on the 1:250,000 US military map. It's about 8 miles north of Cerro Gaital.
We soon picked up our first Buff-rumped Warbler at a stream crossing. A feeder added White-lined Tanager and Scarlet-thighed Dacnis. Further along we found Sepia-capped Flycatcher, Black Hawk-Eagle, and Dusky-faced Tanager. At one point we made a sudden stop for a perched Barred Puffbird (several were present). We also added Cinnamon Becard and Long-tailed Tyrant on our way out, in addition to numerous previously seen species.
After lunch, we found Shining Honeycreeper and Olive-striped Flycatcher in the nearby trees. A Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner was heard on the way back, but considerable searching failed to reveal it. While looking at another bird, I heard cries about a barbet up the trail. I hurried toward them to see a couple of Spot-crowned Barbets, a bird I had twice missed on this trip.
It was a long day on a rough road, but I was very happy to get the barbet. I ended up with 61 species for the day, 13 of them new for the trip. My trip total is now 258. I also got 2 lifers today, bringing my total to 45 for the trip.