After an 8am breakfast we drove maybe 15 minutes to a dirt road that took us up into the hills. Here amidst nice mixed pine-evergreen forest we spent an enjoyable couple of hours in perfect temperatures watching a real excellent cast of desirable species. We began with a pair of Rusty Sparrows, Tropical Parula, Black-headed Siskin, Acorn Woodpecker and an extremely obliging Grace’s Warbler that gave cripplingly close views.
|Black-headed Siskin- endemic to Central America|
|Grace's Warbler showed really well this morning|
Driving higher the next stop was timely as we entered woodpecker heaven with Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, a pair of Arizona Woodpeckers, Lineated Woodpecker and at least 3 Grey-crowned Woodpeckers. Some flowering bushes held Bullock’s Oriole, along with a number of previously seen warblers and we also saw Squirrel Cuckoo and called in a Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet.
By now it was mid-morning and we decided to return to the Botanical Gardens as there were still a couple of birds we needed there. It was hot by the time we arrived so we made our way to the restaurant to view the feeding station, but it was all quiet. So we walked around the gardens hoping for Mexican Hermit and during our time here a few people in the group managed to catch a glimpse of it. But we did get a couple of Short-tailed Hawks and an immature Red-tailed Hawk flying over, and over the course of lunchtime a pair of San Blas Jays came in, along with a White-throated Thrush.
|San Blas Jay - a Mexican endemic|
There were further reappearances of Plain-capped Starthroat, Rusty-crowned Ground Sparrow and MacGillivrays Warbler.
|Rusty-crowned Ground-Sparrow again...|
Once we were done here most of us returned the short distance to our lodge for a rest, whilst Gary & Trevor remained behind and they managed a view of the hermit, along with a Lucy’s Warbler and an Orange-billed Nightingale Thrush.
Back at the lodge and a cracking male Blue Bunting showed well, as did a Sinaloa Wren that allowed some decent photo opportunities.
|Blue Bunting (male) - only found from Mexico to Nicaragua|
|Sinaloa Wren - a Mexican endemic|
A last check around the gardens before dinner resulted in a pair of Black-vented Orioles and a White-collared Seedeater.
Our first night-birding session drew a blank due to cool temperatures, light rain and low cloud! Go figure! But a Common Pauraque was found on its roosting branch in the lodge gardens before we retired for the night.