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Day 5 (Tuesday, 22nd February)

We set off early from Punta Leona and arrived at the small town of Orotina by about 6:00am. This was to look for the well known and popular Black-and-white Owls. Normally a deep forest species, this misguided pair had taken it upon themselves to reside in the town square of Orotina. Probably more of a challenge than finding the birds was finding the square itself Ė we had to zigzag through the unmarked streets to find it. Once there, one of the locals was happy to point out one of the birds perched unmoving above us. We admired this for some time, but were also aware of the fact that an equally disturbed Sloth was often to be found here. We didnít find it, but did stumble across the second of the owls. Owls were not the only birds to be inhabiting an unlikely spot, since we also had White-winged Doves, the first of the trip, Great-tailed Grackles, and Clay-coloured Robins in profusion. There was even a Hoffmanís Woodpecker in one of the bare trees. We felt exhausted after such intense birding, so treated ourselves to some coffee and a sizable chunk of banana cake in one of the local cafes.

Black-and-white Owl

Hoffman's Woodpecker

Black-and-white Owl

Hoffman's Woodpecker

Clay-coloured Robin

White-winged Dove

Clay-coloured Robin

White-winged Dove


 

Hummingbird garden

River

Hummingbird garden

River above waterfalls

We then made the journey across Alajuela to La Paz waterfall gardens. These are ostensibly a tourist attraction, but are wonderfully laid out, with plenty of man made attractions for non birders. We hadnít covered the waterfalls by the morning, since this was where a lot of the groups were ultimately heading, and in the afternoon decided on a riverside walk in the opposite direction. In addition to the butterfly garden, orchid garden, and serpentarium, there was also a hummingbird garden, aimed at attracting wild birds. As soon as we had paid our entrance fee at reception, we were immediately mesmerised by the hummingbirds and tanagers around the feeders directly outside of the main building. Green-crowned Brilliant, Purple-throated Mountain-gem, and Violet Sabrewing quickly fell to the tickerís pencil, with frequent visits from Silver-throated Tanagers, Common Bush-tanagers, and Tennessee Warblers on the adjacent fruit feeders. With a slight drizzle and low cloud all morning, we had to be careful with the cameras, but canopies had been thoughtfully provided at the feeding stations for shelter. We eventually made our way down to the hummingbird garden, where we spent the rest of the morning (either at the hummingbird feeders or nearby fruit feeders). La Paz is reported to have a list of 24 different hummingbirds, but on our visit, and this may demonstrate seasonal variations, we had 4 regular species, with Black-bellied Hummingbird flitting in and out on occasion, as well as brief Fiery-throated Hummingbird outside of the garden, and Coppery-headed Emerald below the top restaurant. The fruit feeders were often very busy with avian traffic, and I spent most of the morning under an arbour watching Tanagers in the form of Silver-throated, Golden-hooded, Crimson-collared, Blue-grey & Olive. Brief appearances were made by Buff-throated Saltator, Prong-billed & Red-headed Barbet, and Tawny-capped Euphonia. A confiding Ochraceous Wren was feeding more or less at our feet, and at one time crossed the arbour almost through the tripod. Other regulars at the dining table included the ubiquitous Clay-coloured Robin and plenty of Baltimore Orioles.

Violet Sabrewing

Green-crowned Brilliant

Violet Sabrewing

Green-crowned Brilliant

Tennessee Warbler

Silver-throated Tanager

Tennessee Warbler

Silver-throated Tanager

Buff-throated Saltator

Chestnut-capped Euphonia

Buff-throated Saltator

Tawny-capped Euphonia

Crimson-collared Tanager

Ochraceous Wren

Crimson-collared Tanager

Ochraceous Wren

Prong-billed Barbet

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Prong-billed Barbet

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Summer Tanager

Yellow-thighed Finch

Summer Tanager

Yellow-thighed Finch

The intention to only stop off at La Paz for the morning turned into a full day visit, and we were more or less the last people to leave at closing time (5:30pm). In addition to the display from the morning regulars, additional species turned up throughout the rest of the day. First stop was back to the fruit feeders, where a Coati was feeding on the bananas. A Streak-breasted Treehunter was picked out above the feeding station, and seemed to be passing through, when it stopped to preen for some time directly above us. We had planned to visit the waterfalls at some time, but this was the goal of most of the tour parties, so we descended the initial part of the path behind them, and turned upstream instead, alongside some spectacular rapids (and no other people!). There were very few birds here, apart from a group of 3 Slate-throated Redstarts, but it was an enjoyable walk. On the way back, we passed the trout lake, which was more like a swimming pool (without trout) and found ourselves below reception. The first Passeriniís Tanagers were picked up here, along with close Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Coppery-headed Emerald, and Purple-throated Mountain-gem. After gorging ourselves on the reception hummingbird feeders, we returned to the fruit feeders once more, where birds visiting had subsided to some degree. We staked this spot out until the light began to fade a little at around 4:15pm. Returning to the track below reception, we picked up closer Passeriniís Tanagers, along with a scolding Grey-breasted Wood-wren. The light on the Golden-hooded & Blue-grey Tanagers seemed to show the birds off so much more impressively than earlier in the day. The £12 entrance fee for La Paz was more than worth the money, and the quality of the birds eclipsed the many visitors frequenting the gardens. 

Blue-grey Tanager

Copper-headed Emerald

Blue-grey Tanager

Coppery-headed Emerald

Golden-hooded Tanager

Purple-throated Mountain-gem

Golden-hooded Tanager

Purple-throated Mountain-gem

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird

Streak-breasted Treehunter

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird

Streak-breasted Treehunter

Home

Paintings gallery

Video clips

Images

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Contact

Site map

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Content

Introduction

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

Orchids

Species list

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