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WEATHER: cloudless sunny day, very hot and humid. Temp 33C +

What superlatives can I use when describing our boat trip on the Tarcoles River? It was fantastic, a perfect morning, exquisite light and a superb temperature. It is definitely a highlight of the tour and over the years we have recorded some great species during the trip and today was no exception.

We arrived at the jetty at 6am and boarded our exclusive boat for the trip, the weather was just perfect and temperature ideal. Soon we had nearly all the herons and egrets on the list as well as Roseate Spoonbills, Wood Storks, Anhinga and Cormorant. A few waders were seen early on with Whimbrel, Willet, Semi-palmated Plovers, Spotted Sandpipers and Least Sandpipers seen well.

As we drifted down river we added Osprey (at least 4), Common Black Hawk, Brown Pelican and Magnificent Frigatebird. Then we found one of the stars of the show, a Reddish Egret! Wowza!! This juvenile bird wasn’t reddish but it had a slight tinge of pink with grey and white.

Reddish Egret taken by Chris Perry

We drifted into the mangrove forest and very soon we had Mangrove Vireo in the bag with Mangrove Warbler, we also saw American Redstart, Yellow Warbler, Tennessee Warbler and a Scaly-breasted Hummingbird.

Our main target bird of the mangroves was the Mangrove Hummingbird, it took us a while but we eventually found a female. In the meantime we saw American Redstart, Tennessee and Yellow Warbler, Tropical Peewee, Green Kingfisher and a few flyover species.

Yellow-crowned Night Heron taken by Chris Perry

From the mangrove forest we headed out ot the river mouth passing below the Brown Pelican roost and a little further on there was a Magnificent Frigatebird roost, some of the male Frigatebirds had their bright red ‘balloon’ throats.

Magnificent Frigatebirds - by Chris Perry

We searched the beach area for Skimmers but found none, we added a couple of waders to the list and saw more Ospreys. A tern roost held Royal and a single Sandwich Tern and a summer plumage Laughing Gull.

Roseate Spoonbills

Before we finished the trip we set off up river to look for the Collared Plover, we checked the shingle banks and after some searching the Captain finally found a single bird. It was very hard to locate, I decided to give the Captain a round of applause for his skillful efforts. Unfortunately my clapping flushed the bird before everyone had seen it, doh!!!! I never heard the last of that!!

We set off back to the hotel around 8:30am, Jason had one more trick up his sleeve, he stopped the bus to show us a pair of Black-and-White Owls, nice one. Back at the hotel we took breakfast at 9am and had the bus all packed up at 10. Some of the group found a party of Painted Buntings in the grounds, a group of four and another of three, including the colourful males.

there was lots of these on the lawns at the hotel in Tarcoles - Spiny-tailed Iguana

Our journey down to San Isidro took the rest of the day as we made a couple of birding stops and a lunch stop. At Quepos we searched the rocky shoreline for Wandering Tattler and scanned the ocean for Brown Booby. We found the Tattler but not the Booby. We also added Tropical Mockingbird to the list and few other species.

a poor picture of the Wandering Tattler

After our lunch stop we drove a few kilometers south and turned into the Palm Tree Plantation, on the other side of the Palms, at a place called Playa del Rey, we birded a track for an hour so. Along the track we saw many species including a party of Dickcissels, some Blue-black Grassquits, Brown Cowbirds, Red-crowned Woodpecker and lots of common species.

a female Dickcissel

We arrived at our lodge around 4:30pm most of the group went for a relaxing shower and a lay-down before dinner. Others spotted a few birds in the garden including the Endemic Fiery-billed Aracari.

Later, as Chris and I walked up the track to the restaurant a Screech Owl called from very close by. We got the torch onto it and logged our first Tropical Screech Owl! How good was that.