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Panama 2009

Burbayar Lodge, close to Nusagandi :

Burbayar Lodge is located on the Llano-Carti road that heads north at Llano from the PanAmerican Highway some 34 miles by road east of Tocumen Airport (the north turn is 9 miles after Chepo and before the Bayano Lake). From the turn-off from the highway it is a further c.9 miles on the road to Carti before you come to the entrance sign for the lodge, on the left, just a couple of miles from the Continental Divide:
- Photo by Sheridan Coffey

The terrain in this area is a series of low but very steep winding ridges, so traveling anywhere involves constantly going up and down short but steep inclines. Once inside the lodge gate you cross a nice stream (good for odonates and leps) and then climb a short but very steep slope to the top of a ridge where the buildings of the lodge are located.
- Photo by Sheridan Coffey

The accommodations are simple thatched cabins (below is the entrance to our cabin) with two beds, a bathroom (with cold water shower) and a lovely covered rear balcony. There is electricity for about 3 hours each evening around dinnertime - enough time to recharge your equipment batteries; otherwise lighting is by kerosene lamps that are lit in your room each evening by the staff. The temperature in late March was pleasant and we experienced no biting insects in our entire time at Burbayar:
- Photo by Sheridan Coffey

Delicious meals are served outside the main building on a covered porch that has some hummingbird feeders:
- Photo by Sheridan Coffey

One big advantage of the terrain is that the lodge grounds are level with the tops of many tall trees growing downslope, allowing rare eye-level looks at canopy species, e.g. this Sulphur-rumped Tanager:
- Photo by Sheridan Coffey

- and our balcony afforded the same opportunities - we took the following shots from there:
Lineated Woodpecker:

Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet:

Even if the up/down trails prove tough for you, there's great birding right by the cabins, as there are numerous bushes that mixed flocks wander through many times each day, allowing really close looks at a variety of species - some of which one normally sees only far up in the canopy. Here are some pics (not digiscoped - with a 400mm lens) that I got in a fairly short time:

As guests of the lodge you have permission to use the Nusagandi trails that eminate from the Llano-Carti road to the north (and the lodge will take you to the trailheads and guide you on the trails), but the lodge also has some nice trails of their own where along with birds (I saw a Crested Guan within 100 yards of the lodge) you can see butterflies:

- odonates:

and an array of cool plants (this is the "Hot Lips"flower!):

The staff are very helpful and friendly, and the bilingual Bird Guide Michael is a very nice and personable young man who knows his birds and is great at spotting them. The charismatic owner Inaki came to our rescue when Sheridan broke her ankle (on level ground!), and was absolutely FANTASTIC, going far beyond what anyone could have expected in the situation - we both recommend Burbayar wholeheartedly!