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WEATHER: clear blue sky all day, a nice cooling breeze but still very hot and humid.

The last bird we saw last night before going to bed was the Pacific Screech-Owl in torch light, the first bird we saw this morning was also a Pacific Screech Owl, seen in daylight roosting by the restaurant.

our first bird of the day, Pacific Screech Owl, taken by Richard Pettett

We set off at 6am for a pre-breakfast walk along the trails around the Lodge, it was a lovely temperature, the light was fantastic and the bird song was amazing. Our walk took us over gently rolling hills through open dry forest and grass meadows. We soon caught up wit four species of Orioles, Orchard, Baltimore, Spot-breasted and Streak-backed. This was followed by three new hummers, two of which were feeding in the same tree as our first Prothonatory Warbler. We listed Canivet’s and Blue-vented Hummingbirds.

Yellow-throated Vireo - taken by Richard Pettett

Prothonotary Warbler - taken by Richard Pettett

Our first Turquoise-browed Motmot went on the list as did Great-crested and Brown-crested Flycatchers, the first appearance of Banded Wren was also a nice find. Jason played the call of the Lesser Ground-Cuckoo and got an immediate reply, we waited and listened but the distant call never came any nearer and we never got to see this enigmatic bird.

Turquoise-browed Motmot -0 Richard P{ettett

A lot of Parrots and Parakeets were dashing noisily about, we saw Orange-chinned, Orange-fronted Parakeets and a few White-fronted Parrots. Our first sighting of White-throated Magpie-Jay was a crowd pleaser, oooh, aaah, was uttered repeatedly from the group.

Black-headed Trogon - Richard Pettett

Many other species came and went, I’ll name a few but there were many more: Black-headed Trogon, Yellow-olive Flycatcher, lots of Doves, Barn Swallows, woodpeckers and common flycatchers.

Streak-backed Oriole

Breakfast was enjoyed at 8am and at 8:45 we boarded the bus for a drive down the approach track and onto a side track to the privately owned salt pans. In the first meadow along the track we stopped to look at the beautiful Eastern Meadowlark with a few Groove-billed Anis and a Melodious Blackbird. A little further we got off the bus and walked to the salt pans. It was a flycatcher feast!

Panama Flycatcher

Tropical Pewee

They were in every tree, we saw Great-crested, Browned-crested, Nuttings, Panama, Northern Scrub-flycatcher and Yellow-Olive Flycatchers; also  Tropical Pewee and White-lored Gnatcatcher, all within a few hundred meters of each other.

We saw Crested Caracara, Lineated & Hoffman’s Woodpecker, Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Rose-throated Becard, a couple of Scrub Euphonias and in the grass by the side of the track we found a Grey-crowned Yellowthroat. The number of Tennessee Warblers was incredible we saw several in a single on many occasions they were joined by Yellow Warblers and more of the Prothonotory Warbler.

Least Sandpiper - Richard Pettett

At the saltpans we had very harsh sunlight a a strong heat haze to contend with as well as the difficult task of identifying some of the smaller waders found there. Eventually we got to grips with Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Least, Semi-palmated & Western Sandpipers, Spotted & Solitary Sandpipers, Semi-palmated and Wilson’s Plovers, we also saw Short-billed Dowitcher, Willet, Black-necked Stilts and Whimbrel.

note the large bill on the Wilson's Plover - Richard Pettett

All the common Herons and Egrets were present along with Yellow-crowned Night-Heron and White Ibis, a Black Hawk flew over pans a couple of times creating panic amongst the smaller waders. We stayed for about an hour before jumping back onto the bus for the ride back to the lodge, just before we left we had the spectacle of a few dozen Magnificent Frigatebird circling above us on the thermals.

Lesser Yellowlegs - Richard Pettett

After a long lunch break we met up at 3:15pm for another birding excursion, this time we took a trail along to Laguna Ensenada. It was much quieter during the mid-afternoon hot spell but it livened up as time went by. We found many of the species seen earlier today and we added a couple more. Everyone got better views of some species that we had glimpses of earlier. Scrub Euphonia was one of them, Orchard and Streaked-back Orioles, White-fronted Parrot and White-lored Gnatcatcher.

Ensenada Laguna

At the laguna we spent a very pleasant time watching dozens of birds and a few small American Crocodiles, also along the track ahead of us we spotted a Jaguarandi but only the first half-dozen people in the group saw it. Birds on and around the lake included most of the Herons you would expect to see, also Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Blue-winged Teal, a Northern Shoveler, Purple Gallinule, Common Gallinule, a Least Grebe (seen only by me), Northern Jacana, Amazon Swallows and a host of herons and egrets.

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

Our walk back was spoilt by an onslaught of mosquitos, most of us was prepared for them but some were not. We watched Black-headed Trogons, more parrots, parakeets and flycatchers before climbing back onto the bus.

on the trail to Laguna Ensenada

we saw a Jaguarandi along this section of the trail

The last half an hour of daylight was spent on the old jetty down below the gardens of the lodge, as we lost good visibility we found a good number of species  a few of them were new for the list. Black Skimmer was nice to see but distant as were Marbled Godwits, Long-billed Curlew, Roseate Spoonbills, Royal Terns, an Osprey and dozen of herons and egrets. Frigatebirds drifted by and a few species of waders dropped down not too far from us. The sunset was magical as usual what a beautiful place this is.