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WEATHER: wall to wall sunshine all day, very hot and humid but breezy too.

We had a mixed bag of luck today with some good finds and some dips!! First thing this morning we made a second attempt at seeing the Lesser Ground Cuckoo in the dry forest area next to the lodge, It was a very pleasant morning with a lovely temperature at 6am.

Ferruginous Pygmy Owl

At one stage we heard the Cuckoo calling and it was fairly close but we stopped and searched for a while and found no sign of it. We did add Lesser Greenlet to the list and we heard a White-winged Becard calling without finding it. The rest of our sighting were many but all species that we had encountered before, a Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl sat out nicely for us as did Crane Hawk, Lineated Woodpecker, both Cinnamon and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Streaked-backed Oriole and lots more.

a Crane Hawk - Richard Pettett

Lineated Woodpecker

After breakfast we loaded up the bus in preparation for our departure, I went down to the wooden jetty for one last peak and I found our first Surfbird! Also close by was a Tricoloured Heron. I dashed back to the car park and told everyone about my sighting and several of them hurried off to see it. Unfortunately no-one else saw the Surfbird, they did find the heron and a few other waders including a Black-bellied Plover. Oh well, you can’t win them all!

a proper picture of the Lineated Woodpecker taken by Richard Pettett

On leaving Ensenada we headed south, but before we got onto the Pan-American Highway we visited an are of salt pans at Coco Rocas. At the pans we had nice time sifting through many waders and finding one or two new species for the list. Marbled Godwits sat with dozens of Willets and Whimbrels, we also found two or three Stilt Sandpipers amongst the Least, Western and Semi-palmated Sandpipers. A small number of Semi-palmated Plovers were on the banks, along with Lesser Yellowlegs, Spotted Sandpipers and we found our first and only Gull of the trip, a Laughing Gull.

a Hoffman's Woodpecker

Other birds in the area were Common Black Hawk, Osprey, Boat-billed and Great-crested Flycatchers, Common Ground Doves and a variety of herons and egrets. We left the area and put some miles in once we had got back on the main road.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - Richard Pettett

South of Puntarenas is the port of Caldera and that is where we stopped for lunch. The restaurant sat on the edge of a large tidal Lagoon where we saw Whimbrel, Spotted Sandpiper and out first Brown Pelican. Lots of Magnificent Frigatebirds had been seen all morning and several were in view for the restaurant.

Mangrove Warbler (aka Yellow Warbler) - Richard Pettett

A short visit to the Mangrove swamp near the restaurant produced find of a few more species, we found the elusive Mangrove Vireo as well as the Mangrove Warbler ( a sub-species of the Yellow Warbler), also a Rufous-naped Wood-Rail was seen by a few of the group. A Plain-capped Starthroat and a Green-breasted Mango were two more hummers' for our list.

Mangrove Vireo - Richard Pettett

We had a couple of hours of daylight left and we decided to search for the Ground Cuckoo in a couple of places that Jason knew off. We struck a blank at both places but we did find a Striped Cuckoo which was a nice surprise.

Striped Cuckoo - Richard Pettett

Grey-cowled Wood-Rail - Richard Pettett

Finally we stopped in some dry woodland near a stream and searched for a Long-tailed Manakin, we saw dozens of birds but not the Manakin. A pair of Feruginous Pygmy Owls came out calling and they attracted the attentions of several species. We saw Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Shining Honeycreeper, Cinnamon Hummingbird, Scrub Euphonia and on the side of a pool we found a couple of Grey-cowled Wood-Rail and a Northern Waterthrush. A Grey Hawk sat out nicely on the top of a nearby tree in the late-afternoon sunshine.

Plain-capped Starthroat - Richard Pettett

It was now 5:30pm and we had another drive to the hotel, we arrived in the dark around 6:30pm, the driveway to the hotel was about 5km long!!