Pipeline Road by day: great for bird and bug enthusiasts!

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Last weekend, we walked for 30 minutes to Pipeline Road, or “Camino del Oleoductos”. I have heard that it is a great spot for birds, glass frogs and reptiles. Unfortunately I did not get to see the glass frogs since we went during the daytime, but I did hear howler monkeys and get a glimpse of what was either a capybara or a very large agouti. At first, I was skeptical about how great Pipeline Road could be for birding when Gamboa itself seems to be a mecca for toucans, parrots and tanagers, but I quickly found myself corrected by the incredible mixed species foraging flocks. I saw one flock containing what seemed to be greater anis, a large lineated woodpecker, squirrel cuckoos and a woodcreeper – perhaps one of the strangest aggregations of birds I have seen yet.

The insects on pipeline road during the day were also amazing. There were numerous butterflies, flies and beetles that were fascinating, including a tortoise beetle (sorry, I did not get a picture… it flew away before I could whip out my camera). A large web of colonial spiders greets tourists as they enter the trail. However, as far as frogs go, all that we saw was a tungara frog (Engystomops pustulosus) and some leaf litter toads (Rhinella alata), but I heard what sounded like some Silverstoneia from near a creek. I hope to be able to visit Pipeline Road during the night sometime soon!

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