Not to be defeated we decided to don our waterproofs and walk the trails within the NP. These are mainly concrete trails through stunted and often very dark forest. Black-billed Nightingale Thrushes proved very easy to see, often hopping along the paths and on our soggy walk round we also managed to see c6 Fiery-throated Hummingbirds, 1 Black-striped Sparrow, 1 Black-cheeked Warbler and 2 Black and Yellow Silky Flycatchers feeding on berries at close range. In some mature forest at the carpark end of the trail a strange woodpecker turned out to be the local race of Hairy Woodpecker. A Large-footed Finch also showed at really close range.
Black-billed Nightingale Thrush
With the weather showing no signs of improvement we deciced to bite the bullet and drive to La Paz Waterfall Gardens. This is a rather strange place, part gardens, part forest with waterfalls and part zoo. Zoo is perhaps a little harsh as it consists of a reptile house, butterfly house, aviary and a couple of rescued big cats. Despite being very commercial with vastly overpriced admission (and them trying to sell you not just admission but buffet lunch too) it's a great place to spend a 2 or 3 hours birding. We found it hard to drag ourselves away from the hummingbird feeders where we enjoyed mega views of Violet Sabrewing, Black-bellied Hummingbird, Purple-throated Mountain-Gem, Green-crowned Brilliant, Coppery-headed Emerald, Green Hermit, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Steely-vented Hummingbird, Stripe-tailed Hummingbird, Green Thorntail and Brown Violetear! Despite a problem with condensation in my lens (cured with a hairdryer in the gents!) the feeders were also visited by apair of Black-cowled Orioles, a Baltimore Oriole and Bananaquits whilst a pair of Sooty-faced Finches hopped by under the benches.
Walking around the rest of the gardens and doing the waterfalls walk we also saw Slaty-backed Nightingale Thrush, Black-faced Solitaire, Tufted Flycatcher, Melodious Blackbird and a pair of Chestnut-capped Brush-Finches feeding around the straw in a cattle shed.
The drizzle had kept it up all afternoon so deciding to call it a day we headed for the exit but on the way things suddenly livened up with a feeding flock of birds moving through the gardens, in just 10 minutes I'd identified Blue Dacnis, Golden-hooded Tanager, Silver-throated Tanager, Spangle-cheeked Tanager, Blue-grey Tanager, Passerini's Tanager, Black-headed Saltator and best of all the only Prong-billed Barbet of the whole trip.
Purple-throated Mountain Gem