Monday, April 22, 2013

La Paz Waterfall Gardens


Another bright and early start saw us headed for Bosque de Paz.  It was a long and winding drive.  On arrival we found a gated entrance.  On enquiry we were advised we could have entry to the reserve area and lunch for the day for $110 each, which frankly seemed excessive.  We will ask them about accommodation on our next trip, probably.

In the river outside of the reserve we saw an American Dipper:


Greyer than the UK bird but a much more active swimmer, we saw it diving in, swimming and then emerging notably down stream, something it repeated a number of times.  We'd been hoping to see American Dipper on a number of trips, finally we have!

The morning light was breaking through the trees:


And other birds included Brown Jay:


We decided to head on to La Paz Waterfall Gardens, though we stopped for breakfast at the Restaurant Alto Palomo.  It appears lots of locals walk up through the gardens to the restaurant, which has lovely views and keeps chickens and goats (growing its own breakfast menu).  We ate then walked down through the gardens, seeing a Flame-coloured Tanager:




Together with Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher:



We really enjoyed our little walk in the gardens, then headed on.

The entry to the waterfall gardens is also very expensive, $36 each, and you can add a buffet lunch for $14 each if you want.  We declined.  The Where to Watch Birds in Costa Rica book suggested they had three fruit feeding stations.  This has been reduced to just one, directly inside the entrance.

You can't grumble about the proximity to the birds though, including Silver-throated Tanager:



and a female Passerini's Tanager:


Walking on there were a number of Rufous-collared Sparrows:


Moving around in a part of the gardens we saw Black-cowled Oriole, which reminded me of the Scott's Oriole we saw in Arizona last year:


a Common Bush-Tanager:



And a Slate-throated Redstart:


We had a long walk through the grounds, it is principally a zoo, housing birds, animals and butterflies.  The animals and birds are supposedly being 'looked after' having been taken from the wild or indeed taken from people who shouldn't have had them.  We did look at the cats but didn't go into the bird cage.

The hummingbird feeders however were a delight, with loads of birds zooming in and out.  One actually glanced off my forehead in its enthusiasm to get to a feeder.

We saw a female Coppery-headed Emerald:


and male:

Black-bellied Hummingbird:


Green-crowned Brilliant:



and a female:


Not sure what this one is:


A Purple-throated Mountain-Gem:



Rufous-tailed Hummingbird:



Violet-crowned Sabrewing:


The wild butterflies in Costa Rica are beautiful and diverse:



The mists rolled in so we decided to head-on, this time to our hotel back above Alajuela as we had completed the first loop in our figure-of-eight trip. 

The view down to San Jose was impressive:


The rooms were really comfortable too.  The food was expensive and with little for veggies but dinner was pleasant nonetheless.  

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