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WEATHER: beautiful sunny day, windy at times, rain later and high humidity.

It was 6am when we met in the hotel gardens at the Bougainvillea, our main target bird was the Cabani’s Ground Sparrow which had been seen recently. We staked out the area for a while but the bird did not show, so we set off for an hour long walk in the garden. We saw quite a few new species it was much more lively than yesterday afternoon and we saw a few goodies!  The White-eared Ground Sparrow was a little tricky, but most of the group had a sighting and the Rufous-capped Warbler eventually showed well for all of us.

Buff-throated Saltator - Richard Pettet

A Lineated Woodpecker was a brief but enjoyable sighting and we tackled the identification problems of a few Vireos, we noted Yellow-throated, Philadelphia and Yellow-winged Vireos. Chestnut-sided, Tennessee and Yellow Warblers all showed up and flyover species included Montezuma’s Oropendula, Crimson-fronted Parakeet and a White-tailed Hawk landed briefly in the top of a pine tree.

we revisited the Mottled Owl in the gardens 

After breakfast we checked out of the hotel and set off for the mid-elevation sites between the dormant Volcanoes Poas and Barva. A long and winding road into the foothills found us, some 45 minutes later, at Freddo Fresa Restaurant and the Hummingbird Garden where we enjoyed a superb couple of hours.

a female Magenta-throated Woodstar - Richard Pettett

The hummingbird feeders were very active and we saw all of our target species which included: Volcano Hummingbird, Purple-throated Mountain-Gem, Violet Sabrewing, Lesser Violetear, Green Hermit and Magenta-throated Woodstar. Other species seen around the gardens were Yellow-faced Grassquit, Brown Jay, Baltimore Oriole, Mistletoe Tyrannulet and Wilson’s Warbler.

a White-tailed Emerald - Richard Pettett

A walk into a wooded ravine produced even more sightings such as Spot-crowned Woodcreeper, Red-faced Spinetail, Golden-winged Warbler, Mountain Elaenia, Streaked Flycatcher and we had great views of two Gray-breasted Wood-Wren. On the way out of the garden we had views of White-crowned Parrots.

Red-faced Spinetail - Richard Pettett

Driving higher into the foothills we stopped at the famous La Paz Waterfall where we found more species. On the river we saw Torrent Tyrannulet and in the scrub nearby  a host of birds flitted about, Common Chlorospingus, Chestnut-capped Brushfinch, Orange-billed Sparrow, Yellow-thighed Brushfinch, Black-and-white Warbler, Costa Rican Warbler, Golden-winged Warbler and several other species.

Torrent Tyrannulet - Richard Pettett

We had lunch at the well-known Balcony of Hummingbirds restaurant at Cinchona, what a fantastic place where anything can turn up at the feeders, the views of the Virgen Valley and the Virgen del Socorro Waterfall are spectacular. We added another 20+ species as we stood in very close proximity to a number of feeders. The star birds were Coppery-headed Hummingbird, Northern Emerald Toucanet and Two-pronged Barbet. The supporting cast included a good number of hummers, tanagers and even a Yellow-billed Cacique showed up.

Two-pronged Barbet - Richard Pettett

Tanagers stole the show with their various and most colourful outfits, We saw Bay-headed, Silver-throated, Spangled-cheeked, Crimson-collared, Scarlet-rumped, Blue-gray and the less colourful Palm Tanager. Phew, they took some getting through.  A White-faced Coati joined both Red-tailed and Variegated Squirrels raiding the bird feeders too!

Violet Sabrewing - Richard Pettett

Before we left for the our next destination we made a quick stop in the valley below Cinchona, it had clouded over and rained threatened but we walked down a track to the river. It was fairly quiet until we bumped into an area full of birds and off we went again listing quite a few new species for the list. A Group of Zeledon’s Antbirds were quite showy, alongside them was a Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush, a Slate-throated Redstart and up above we saw Tufted and Yellow-olive Flycatchers.

a party of White-faced Coati at the roadside 

At the river we added Black Phoebe, Louisiana Waterthrush and Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. Two Swallow-tailed Kites flew over very high up and an unidentified hawk flew away from us at the bridge over the river. A Collared Peccary was seen on the track just across the bridge. It started to rain quite heavily so we abandoned our birding and jumped onto the bus. It was 3pm when left the Virgen Valley and set off for La Selva Biological Station our next destination.

a Keel-billed Toucan at La Selva

We arrived with time to spare for a little birding in the main car parking area at the Lodge Centre. Two species of Toucan went straight onto the list and a number of other species quickly followed. I’ll mention a few such as White-browed Gnatcatcher, Black-faced Grosbeak, Golden-hooded Tanager, our first Trogons, two species: Gartered & Slaty-tailed were seen.

We checked-in and went to our accommodation to drop off our things and have a quick wash and brush-up before returning to the centre for dinner. During both trips to and from our chalets we saw wildlife, Common Pauraque on both journeys and a Striped Hog-nosed Skunk as we travelled after dinner!

What a day, full of new and exciting sightings and happy memories.