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WEATHER: overcast with light rain to start, broken sunshine later. Hot and humid.

The main reason for visiting Caño Negro was a boat cruise along the river and into the marshy areas. It was a fine start to the day, a little overcast but dry, warm and no wind. We set off from the quay at 6am and immediately starting listing Kingfishers, Cormorant, Anhingas and Herons.

a very common sighting along the river, Ringed Kingfisher - taken by Richard Pettett

the much smaller Green KIngfisher also taken by Richard

We had a fantastic trip drifting through the lakes and marshlands getting very close to a lot of species. A few special sightings were made and our boatman was an excellent birder and he knew where to find most species we asked for.

Southern Lapwing - Richard Pettett

A Jabiru was high on our list and we were led to an area of marsh where an adult bird was feeding, during our journey to that place we were shown Nicaraguan Grackle, Glossy Ibis, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Boat-billed Night-Heron and the star bird a Yellow-breasted Crake.

Yellow-breasted Crake - Riochard Pettett

The Crake was a very special find as they are usually very timid, this bird eventually came out as we all sat still on the boat, what a little beauty that one is.

they don't come much better than this Jabiru - Richard Pettett

We saw Osprey, Plumbeous Kite, Bat Falcon & Roadside Hawk with many other species dashing around in the trees at the edge of the marsh. T one stage we left the boat for a short walk on the river bank, there we found Spot-breasted Wren and the beautiful Slaty Spinetail.

Spot-breasted Wren - Richard Pettett

At one stage the boat steered the boat into a very narrow cutting, we had grassy banks on each side of us. Jason our guide called out an Olive-crowned Yellowthroat. We listed around 70 species in the 2 ½ hrs we spent on the boat and everyone came away very happy. From the quayside we found a second Jabiru and Jason got us all onto a Gray-headed Dove.

 A Caimen eating a fish - Richard Pettett

The morning birding didn’t stop there because we had breakfast in the el fresco setting of the hotel overlooking the gardens. During our meal we clocked a good number of species: Black-cheeked and Cinnamon Woodpeckers, Rufous-tailed and Scaley-breasted Hummingbirds, Black-striped Sparrow, Red-legged Honeycreeper, Yellow-throated & Yellow-crowned Euphonias and several common species.

the beautiful Cinnamon Woodpecker

It was 10:30am by the time we had loaded up the bus and set off towards Arenal our next destination. We knew we had to endure the 19km bumpy track before reaching the main road but we planned to make several stops to break the journey up.


The track was amazing, every time we pulled over we saw a good number of species and most of them were new for us. Birds of prey we seen on several occasions, Plumbeous Kite, Grey-headed Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk and a White-tailed Hawk. We found our second Great Potoo and added Groove-billed Ani, Northern-beardless Tyrannulet, Mistletoe Tyrannulet and we had seeder-fest.

Nicaraguan Seedeater - Richard Pettett

Nicaraguan Seedeater was our main target and we all saw a few of them very well, we also added Thick-billed Seeder, Morelet’s Seedeater, Variable Seedeater and Ruddy-breasted Seedeater to our day list.

Great Potoo with a Groove-billed Ani in the picture

A pool alongside the road was jam packed full of birds, Northern Jacana, Great and Snowy Egrets, White Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Wood Stork, Great Blue Heron and to our great surprise a Jabiru was amongst them. During this stop we also added Green Heron, Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, Harris Hawk, Tropical Pewee, Mangrove Swallow, Gray-breasted Martin and Orchard Oriole.

Bare-throated Tiger-Heron by Richard Pettett

Boat-billed Heron - taken earlier today by Richard Pettett

Time passed quickly and soon we were on our way, arriving at the main road around 12noon. We drove for another hour or so and stopped for lunch. A little later we stopped in Fortuna to visit a Cabin complex that had a few small pools in a wooded area. We found more species there, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, a few flycatchers, tanagers and warblers. A Two-Toed Sloth with a baby was nice to see.

Nicaraguan Grackle

WE arrived at Arenal Observatory Lodge just as it was getting dark so we never had time for any birding, a  nice dinner was taken at 7:30pm after which we retired to bed, it had been a very long day.