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WEATHER – hot, dry and humid all morning – cloudy and much cooler later.

Our day started at 6am with a walk around the gardens and riverside at Talari Lodge. Many species were on show but it took a while before we got new birds for the list. The beautiful Orange-billed Nightingale-Trush gave itself up quite easily whilst the Piculet did not show at all. Our first Smooth-billed Ani was a bit distant and a flyover Fork-tailed Flycatcher was seen by most of us.

Roadside Hawk in the gardens at Talari Lodge taken by Chris Perry

We found a few species along the river and on the boulders in the river: Ringed Kingfisher, Black Phebe, Spotted Sandpiper and a Grey-cowled Wood-rail. Other interesting species in the garden included Tropical Gnatcatcher, Mourning Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, White-fronted Parrots, Crested Guan, Roadside Hawk and lots of tanagers, hummers and flycatchers.

Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush - by Chris Perry

After breakfast we packed up our suitcases and left the lodge, heading for the high altitude area where we are due to stay for a couple of nights. Before we left the area we visited a site near General Viejo where we searched open dry meadows for Pearl Kites. We found another couple of Fork-tailed Flycatchers and we saw lots of other species but the Kite did not show up.

Mourning Warbler another pic from Talari Lodge garden taken by Chris Perry

Another little excursion near the town centre of San Isidro had us searching the tree tops for a sighting of a Turquoise Cotinga, in recent years we have never missed it! Unfortunately, we could not find one this year and so we had another dip for the day!

Our lunch stop was high up in the mountains where the restaurant had a balcony and some hummer feeders, we saw a few species there including a couple of new species for us, Brown Violetear and Long-billed Starthroat. We also saw Violet Sabrewing, Scaly-breasted & Volcano Hummingbirds.

Long-billed Starthroat - seen only by Chris Perry

female Violet Sabrewing - by Chris Perry

Crowned Woodnymph - by Chris Perry

Before dropping down into the Gerarda de Dota Valley we turned off the main road onto a track which led us up into the Paramo, a unique treeless habitat found at a height of around 10,000 ft. above sea-level. A unique set of birds can be found in this habitat we set out to look for the Volcano Junco and Timberline Wren. The Wren gave itself up reasonably easy but the Junco only showed itself to Steady Eddie Baxter, he lagged behind us and sat on a rock and bird came to him, he was very happy to show us his picture of the bird!! Smug Eddie!

We also found Large-footed Finch, Sooty-faced Finch, Sooty Thrush, Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush, and Common Chlorospingus. It wasn’t until we had walked the entire length of the track back down to the main road that we got good views of the Junco, it was nice to wipe that smug smile off Steady Eddie’s face.

Volcano Junco -taken by Chris Perry

Around 4pm we arrived in the valley of Gerardo de Dota and after checking in we set off in the gardens for a birding session. We quickly built up a good list of species with some nice new sightings for our list. Wilson’s Warbler, Spangled-cheeked Tanager, Mountain Elaenia, Ruddy Treerunner, Sooty-faced Chlorospingus and Spotted Wood-Quail. I am sure there were a few more but I don’t have to the time to record them here.

one of Chris's must see species - we saw a few of them today - Swallow-tailed Kite, photo by Chris Perry

We ate dinner at 7:30pm and most us enjoyed the local home-grown fresh Trout, yum, yum!