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WEATHER: overcast all day rain after lunchtime.

Our final day was upon us but we had some time to go birding I the morning before we departed to the airport. We met at 6am and Jose, the owner of the hotel, led us down a short path to view a nest site of the Golden-Olive Woodpecker. Luckily for us one of the adult birds was present and we saw it clearing out some strands of wood shavings from te nest hole before it flew off to the distant trees. It was a new bird for our trip list and much appreciated, thanks to Jose.

The Golden-Olive Woodpecker, throwing our some wood shavings

We then boarded the bus to some local fields down in the valley. Our target birds were Sunbittern and Cabani’s Sparrow, both were hard to find so we knew we had a challenge. Jose knew of a couple of sites for both of them, he stopped the bus near a bridge over a small river and got out. He immediately signalled for us to jump off the bus to view a wonderful SUNBITTERN, it was standing on a nest on the bow of a tree over the river. We watched the bird walk all over the nest made of blackened leaves and mud. It flew down to the riverside to gather more nesting material and when it flew back up to the nest we could the wonderful, sun-discs displayed on its wings.

Sunbittern standing on its nest

Sunbittern showing off its beautiful wing-patterns and carrying muddy leaves for the nest - Richard Pettett

Sunbittern in flight - Richard Pettett

We watched the bird for about 20 minutes and saw it in flight several times, what a stunning bird and those wing marking are just outrageous. The photographers were in heaven. Whilst we were there a White-tailed Kite landed in a nearby tree giving excellent views.

Red-billed Pigeons

For our very last birding trip of the tour we drove a little further along the valley to where the coffee plantations were situated, we hoped to see the mythical Cabani’s (formerly Provost’s) Ground-Sparrow, they are notoriously hard to catch up with as they skulk in the undergrowth. We found a party of Black-headed Saltators, our first for the trip and we saw a number of other species such as, Yellow-throated Euphonia, Lesser Goldfinch, Keel-billed Toucan and other common species.

finally we caught up with ther Cabani's Ground-Sparrow - a shot by Richard Pettett

After hard work by Jose and Jason we eventually tracked down this very elusive species, we walked along a raised track with views of the rows of coffee bushed set out below us. Everyone got to see the Sparrow through the scope, amazing really.

the very large Blue Morpho - a still taken from a short video by Richard Pettett

From there we had to return to the hotel to pack and to vacate our rooms but we had one more stop to make. We had driven over the dam at the Lake Cachi a couple of times and today we made a quick stop to search for more species.

We had great views of over 10 Least Grebes, shown above and Muscovy Ducks, Great Egrets, Great and Little Blue Herons, a Green Heron, a Bat Falcon and Turkey Vultures. In the trees in the car park we saw Keeel-billed Toucan and Collared Aracari.

Sooty-faced Finch- taken by Richard Pettett at the bird-viewing platform at our hotel

We arrived back at 11am which gave us an hour to wander through the garderns and up to the viewing platform. We never saw anything new but we had great views of all the regular hummers including the Black-bellied and the Green Thorntail.

Black-bellied Hummingbird - Richard Pettett

a selfie taken by Jose with the group in the background. Richard Pettett, our drive Roman (in red) and Jason our Guide are the ones crouched down.

At dinner Last night.

We packed up the minibus at 1pm after lunch in the lodge and goodbye to Jose and his wonderful staff. It took 2 1/2 hrs to get to San Jose aiport giving us enough time to check-in and relax in the departure lounge.

It had been a great trip with plenty of exciting sigtings. The Snowcap Hummingbird was voted the best bird of the trip. We saw over 460 species of birds, many butterflies, 20+ mammals, lots of reptiles and a few amphibians. If you enjoyed reading this blog why not join us on next year's tour.