Our base of operations in Chiriqui was Los Quetzales Lodge and Spa in Guadeloupe. We stayed in the Lodge which turned out to be very spacious and comfortable. There are smaller rooms available for backpackers as well as larger suites. Meals at the restaurant were excellent and they packed us some great lunches as well. They also have cabanas higher up in the La Amistad National Park, which looked terrific and which were well equipped with hummingbird feeders. I would recommend this lodge very highly.
The grounds were always good for a wander about during a free moment. I found my lifer Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher on a tree by our rooms balcony, a bird I had looked for on previous trips to Costa Rica and Panama. The mountain stream at the edge of the property yielded the diminutive Torrent Tyrannulet and a Spotted Sandpiper , and the trees near it’s edge had Slate-throated Redstart , Brown-capped Vireo , Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush , Mountain Elaenia ,the gorgeous Flame-throated Warbler and the widespread Clay-colored Robin. At night approached, Cattle Egrets flew in to roost in the trees and Dusky Nightjars called from the mountainside.
In the Lodge’s grounds, hummingbirds are attracted to both the feeders and the formal plantings. The large Violet Saberwings are easy to see, and we found Green Violet-ear , Garden Emerald and Scintillant Hummingbird . Blue-gray and Silver-throated Tanagers are common and tiny Variable Seed-eaters can be found in the shrubs. Look for Blue-and-White Swallows on the power lines.
From the lodge, a road travels up to the Amistad National Park, if driving, a 4WD vehicle is necessary as the road becomes very rough. Initially passing by patchwork fields rising towards the highlands, this is a good area for Yellowish Flycatcher , and Yellow-faced Grassquit . As we entered the forest, one of the first sounds we heard was the beautiful flute-like song of the Black-faced Solitaire . Other thrush species found include the Mountain Robin or Thush , Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush and Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush . A woodpecker with a brown breast caused some confusion until it was realized it was the distinct subspecies of the Hairy Woodpecker . We were excited to hear a Resplendent Quetzal calling and eventually found a female, and shortly thereafter we saw the endemic Orange-bellied Trogon .
The cabanas in the park have all been outfitted with hummingbird feeders. The large Violet Saberwing is the dominant species, particularly aggressive to other members of its species. The elegant White-throated Mountain-Gem is usually numerous and the buff fronted female is a treat. Green-fronted Lancebill were nesting in the eve of one cabin, and Stripe-tailed Hummingbird made a brief appearance. Magnificent Hummingbird were common as were Green-crowned Brilliant . Feeding on spilled seed below one feeder were four interesting species: the large Yellow-thighed Finch and Large-footed Finch , the tiny Slaty Finchand the colorful Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch . Near the lowest cabana we saw the uncommon Maroon-chested Ground-Dove and Chiriqui Quail-Dove.
We stood on the deck of one of the highest cabanas looking out over the canopy and were rewarded by a host of great birds. They included Prong-billed Barbet , Tufted Flycatcher , the local Dark Pewee , Black-and-Yellow Silky-Flycatcher , Collared Redstart , Rufous-browed Peppershrike , Yellow-winged Vireo, Golden-browed Chlorophonia , and Sooty-capped Bush-Tanager . The ovenbirds were represented by Red-faced Spinetail , Spotted Barbtail, Buffy Tuftedcheek , Ruddy Treerunner , and Streak-throated Treehunter. Great birds like the Silver-throated Tapaculo and Wrenthrush were heard but not seen.
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