To make the most of the time we had left we'd booked a boat trip on the Rio Tarcoles the previous evening through the hotel reception. At $60 per person for about 2 hours it wasn't exactly cheap but I have to say it was very enjoyable and a nice treat for our last morning.
Meeting at 06.15 meant an early alarm but we met our guide/boatman and were quickly pulling away from the small wooden quay to flocks of Yellow-naped Parrots leaving roost.
For close views of herons, kingfishers etc the trip was excellent. Yellow-crowned Night Herons, Little Blue Herons, Anhingas, Great Blue Herons, Bare-throated Tiger Herons, Cattle Egrets, Snowy Egrets and Tricoloured Herons were plentiful with smaller numbers of Black-crowned Night Herons, Green Herons, Neotropic Cormorants and Great Egrets. We had no less that 5 species of kingfisher which is apparantly a record - 1 American Dwarf Kingfisher was the undoubted highlight but 2 Green Kingfishers, c6 Amazon Kingfishers, 2 Ringed Kingfishers and a single Belted Kingfisher were also great to see so well.
Black-crowned Night Heron
Great Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron
Yellow-crowned Night Heron
American Dwarf Kingfisher
While cruising I got onto a Lesser Yellowlegs on a mid-stream island with Hudsonian Whimbrels, Spotted Sandpipers, 2 Southern Lapwings and Black-necked Stilts making up the other waders. Into the bargain our boatman also got us onto 2 Turquoise-browed Motmots which I'd never have picked up as they were well hidden.The other biggy was a single Mangrove Hummingbird a much wanted restricted range endemic. Add loads of Scarlet Macaws, American Purple Gallinule, Northern Jacanas, 1 White-tailed Kite, 6 Mangrove Black Hawks, 3 Yellow-headed Caracaras, 2 Ospreys, 2-3 Peregrines, Cinnamon Becard, Mangrove Swallows, Barn Swallows and loads of American Crocodiles and it all added up to a great mornings birding.
Mangrove Black Hawk
We were back at the hotel for a late breakfast before deciding on our next move - a walk along Playa Tarcoles. This was pleasant but hot with nothing new birdwise except the chance to photograph some Royal Terns. In Tarcoles village en-route were 2 Groove-billed Ani and c20 Wood Storks that showed well in a roadside creek and adjacent trees.
Wood Stork (juvenile)
Wood Stork (adult)
We wound the day down around the hotel, dipping in the pool and making a short walk. Very welcome visitors were 2 Fiery-billed Aracaris just meters from our room with 1 perching briefly but photographically well on a volleyball net! Others birds around the gardens and area were Grey-capped Flycatchers, 1 Streaked Flycatcher, several Blue-black Grassquits, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, 2 Blue-grey Tanagers, 4 Palm Tanagers,2 Common Tody-Flycatchers, 1 Chestnut-mandibled Toucan, 4 Slaty-tailed Trogons and 2 Yellow Warblers.
With a triplist of 336 (including 207 lifers) this was one of my most productive trips ever. Made all teh sweeter by it being totally self-guided. Having covered a relatively compact are there are also plenty of reasons to return to the wonderful birding destination that Costa Rica is...!