I finally managed to walk to Guayabo Monumento Nacional from home via San Diego, but I needed the very considerable help of neighbour Gerardo Guillén to get down to the river and then across. Gerardo had to swing the cuchillo very expertly in order to find the original path. Tarzan in the jungle. The expedition didn’t bring much in the way of bird sightings as we had to concentrate on finding our way. Highlight was a pair of Bay wrens (Thryothorus nigricapillus) , which were in clear view for more than 10 full minutes. The river bottom is very beautiful, as is the walk home uphill via the village of Guayabo Arriba. The National Monument is halfway up the slope between Guayabo Arriba, at the top, and Guayabo Abajo, at the bottom.
A return visit to San Diego the next day, again hot and sunny, brought many of the same species. On the way down, I just missed a troupe of 7 Collared araçaris at Villa Spoonky, reported by the owner. I was happy to find a single male Scarlet-thighed dacnis calling persistently on the downslope to San Diego. The call is short and a bit squeaky and I hope to recognise it again in future.
Down at Chalo’s cabin, he and I had good views of a male Purple-crowned fairy (Heliothryx barroti) at the forest edge. This is only my second local sighting of this species, both at the same location. It seems to enjoy hovering in mid-air at the edges of flowering trees, rather than zipping around like a Rufous-tailed. Its two-tone look, with the pure white underparts make it relatively easy to identify.
We sat in the shade close to where a sloth used to hang out and were treated to lots of activity from various warblers (including Blackburnian and Black-throated green). In the same area were three Rose-breasted grosbeaks (Pheucticus ludovicianus), all either females or immature males. These are the first I have seen this year. Richard Garrigues’ photo shows a young male with just a tinge of red on the throat.