One of the reasons we started our Wildside Nature Tours Honduras trip at Panacam Lodge was that it is close to Santa Barbara Mountain National Park. Resplendent Quetzals are possible there, however, that appears to be my worldwide nemesis bird and we didn't see it. I'm beginning to think that is a bird I am simply not destined to see in the wild because I've been to a number of places where is should be "no problem" for me to find one and all I've gotten is the call and shadow. But I'm not a one bird woman and there were plenty of other birds for me to enjoy in our spot for resplendent quetzal.
The trails were rocky and slick with moisture. All of us had to take careful steps in our hiking shoes. A doctor once informed me that I have "weak kneecaps" and prone to things sliding out of joint. I try to exercise in a way to minimize that, but I'm also very careful about my footing in such situations, especially when I'm balancing my gear. Our mountain guide clearly lived in the area his whole life and easily managed the trails swiftly in only sneakers.
Despite the general lack of quetzals, we had great birds like flame-colored tanager, collared trogon, bushy-crested jay, golden-winged warblers and white-faced quail-dove. You can see our eBird list here.
After lunch we birded Archeological Park Los Naranjos. There are Mayan ruins that are about 28,000 years old and lots of lovely birds. You could easily spend three hours just around the main entrance. There were motmots, oropendolas and even a few North American songbirds to found.
And though we spent most of the late afternoon grabbing lifers and didn't really look at the ruins, we did make a quick walk to Lake Yojoa which was an outstanding view of the mountains (one of which we had been on top of in the morning). As the sun descended on this magnificent view we saw bare-throated tiger-herons, northern jacana, snail kite and purple gallinule. Just when we thought the view couldn't be more magical a few dozen nightjars filled the sky with their bouncy flight. The big treat for me was that it was a mix of common nighthawks and lesser nighthawks and what a treat to be able to study the differences side by side.