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Costa Rica Day 21

January 26th 2022

Cracking record for the patch was this female Blue Grosbeak in the NE corner

Yesterday, I returned to La Fortuna with Graham after spending six days on his patch near to San Ramon, La Virgen, that he’s been observing since the end of December. This morning, I was itching to get onto my own patch and with in five minutes of entering, just after 06.00, I got a surprise. I kicked a Bare-throated Tiger Heron out on the east edge of the weedy field. Surprised because of the habitat I flushed it out of as they normally hang out on rivers or ponds. I’ve always seen tiger herons of both species on rivers. The weedy field itself still held good numbers of grassquit and Collared Seedeater with single figures of both Indigo Bunting and Dickcessel. On the west pool there were now 2 Green Heron and not including the individual in bad shape, 2 new Green Ibis. Nearby there were only the 2 Boat-billed Night Heron and it was looking like it was goin to be the same species as usual after an hour including all three species of the kingfisher that were heard and seen all over the shop. In the centre of the reserve, an Osprey flew low over the water and the Rufous-tailed Jacamar was still present. In the NE corner there’s an area of, what appears to be some kind of Mallow, but not like the plants back home. These ones are tall that you can walk under. Wood Thrush, Rose-breasted Grosbeak and Mourning, Tennessee and Yellow Warbler can always be found here and maybe something new in. On this occasion it was a female Blue Grosbeak that put on good show for a few minutes before I lost it.

Like many of the North American species observed, Rose-breasted Grosbeak are seen daily in ones and twos

Not so pretty as the other grosbeak but by far the rarest, being a first for the patch, was this female Blue Grosbeak.

Female Collared Seedeater

Green Kingfisher in the shade

Later in the afternoon, I returned and started at the south end where on the perimeter there is an edge of primary forest looking over the chocolate plantation. After seeing one everyday in Graham’s garden, a male White-collard Manikin, out of nowhere, perched just above me head! Another new species for the patch after the grosbeak and this was followed by the second record of Bright-rumped Atilla. There were also Olive-green Flycatcher, Black and White, Golden-winged and many Chestnut-sided Warbler, Yellow-throated Vireo and 3 Greyish Saltator in the area. Just before I left to return back to my digs, I spotted a Common Pauraque on the deck just off the path. Also found the hole where the Yellow-throated Toucans ar breeding after Claudio telling me earlier.

From nowhere this male Collared Manikin jumped up in front of me very briefly

Bright-rumped Atilla

The first Yellow-throated Vireo for the patch was feeding with yank warblers

Greyish Saltator

Common Pauraque

Yellow-throated Taugan protecting it’s nest

The main path at the east end of the patch

Over the Brexit Cliff Edge | Friday Night with Byline Times


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83.2K subscribersJOINSUBSCRIBEDTo support Byline TV and get access to tons of extra benefits including extended content, Q&As and exclusive livestreams, hit the JOIN button or become a member on Patreon: _________________________________________________________ Join Byline Time’s Editor Hardeep Matharu and Byline Media Executive Editor Peter Jukes for an in depth look at the most important stories of the preceding week, from a perspective you won’t get elsewhere. Special Guests: Nazir Afzal OBE, Rushanara Ali MP, Liz Webster, Paul Niland and Caolan Robertson _________________________________________________________ To follow us on Twitter, its On Facebook its Special Thanks to our top tier Patrons: (Directors Club) Ahmed Hindawi, Alex Gullen, Alicia Pivaro, Andrew Cave, Bhags, Boyd Annison, Catherine Cox, Cathy McCaul, Christine Riding, Daniel Shimmin, Dave Nash, David Cheffings, Don Cuthbert, Don Syme, Gordy, James Crow, John Anderson, John Mackenzie, Kath, Mark Newton, Nigel Cates, Nigel Davies, Peter Qvortrup, Pranay Manocha, Richard Bennett, Rob Boney, Rob White, Stephanie Moss, Stuart Clark, Susan Angoy, Tim, Trevor Brown, Vittorio Vagliani, William & William Cooper


Costa Rica Day 17-18

January 22nd-23rd 2022

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Some 40-45 Black-faced Grosbeak was an impressive sight as they quickly moved through

First thing in the morning, the fruit tree was busy but this time a new species was added to the garden list. 2 Silver-throated Tanager and this quickly followed by a first for myself, a male White-tufted Manikin. Just a five walk from our digs, I came across 40-45 impressive looking Black-faced Grosbeak and distantly, 2 Lineated Woodpecker. Over a mile away there’s Reserve Ecloogica Bijaguai and along the way there was a single White-neck Puffbird. The track we were on crossed the same river that flows next to our digs and then cuts through the forest. It proved hard work birding the reserve and we didn’t see or hear anythin until we came to the accommodation used by volunteers working in the there. Here there were Golden-hooded Tanager and Blue Dacnis. We had already been out for nearly three hours and Graham returned home but I continued for another half a mile. As a result I got a pair of White-shouldered Tanager and a small mixed flock moved quickly through and as always, it was the usual suspects. Lesser Greenlet, Tropical Gnatcatch, Golden-winged, Black and White and Chestnut Warbler and Honeycreepers. Over 50 White-collared Swift flew through and at the entrance of one of the tracks leading into the forest, a Chiriqual Quaildove got up from the track in front of me and flew deeper into the forest. Almost back at the digs and I came across, this time, a large mixed flock with good number of species. These included some 20 Chestnut and 3 Black and White Warbler, single female Great Antshrike, Yellow-throated Vireo, Lesser Greenlet and a male Gartered Trogon.

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The male White-tufted Mainikin showed well in the fruit tree but not for the camera

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A large flock of cracking Black-faced Grosbeak moved through

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Male White-shouldered Tanager

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Returned home to find an adult Scaly-breasted Hummingbird feeding a fully grown youngster

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It rained throughout the night again and as a result there were more stunning moths

The following evening we were meeting up with, he’s known as locally in the area. The Frogman! He lived halfway between our digs and San Ramon and after breakfast Graham set off. I followed him an hour later and so close to the village, I got soaked to the bone from a very heavy downpour. We had some pub-grub and I soon dried off. Night had fallen and at 18.00, the frogman first showed us a Three-toed Slough before we started the muddy path around the area where he has created a haven for just frogs. Two and half hours later we had a total of twelve species of frog, a mixture of Glass and Tree Frogs including a Spotted Glass Frog. The latter species only the firth record in the last five years. That was the rarest but the highlight for both Graham and I, was not a frog but the most deadliest snake in Central/South America. A Free Lancer was coiled up on top of a plant at knee hight on the path itself. We also saw Salamander, praying mantis and wired insects. He invited us into his house for a drink and a bite to eat, Then in the warm starry night, we made our ways home. The frogman’s reserve is only advertised by word of mouth. So if you’re in the area of San Ramon, just ask anyone for the main man and your be put in the right direction and you won’t be disappointed. All images below taken by Graham

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We had a total of the impressive 3 Red-eyed Tree Frog

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Olive Tree Frog

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One of the most deadlist snakes in the Americas and the highlight of the evening was this Fer De Lance

Jacob Rees-Mogg Goes Unchallenged On Brexit Lies!

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Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg was interviewed by Nick Robinson of the BBC where he was allowed to rattle off lies sold as “Brexit Dividends” but was mildly challenged on one of them. I believe this demonstrates the lack of real accountability Tory MPs and in particular Brexiteers are placed under by the media and journalists. Patreon – Amazon – Facebook: –… Twitch – Merch –… Twitter – Buy Me A Coffee –

Costa Rica Day 16

January 21st 2022

Just before dark, after seeing one earlier in the day, a pair of White-whiskered Puffbird turned up in the garden

First light and the same birds as yesterday morning were feeding in the garden including the Collard Manikin. Graham and I set off north along the track back to San Ramon. We covered over a mile until we reached the open area where he has seen both Red-breasted Blackbird and Eastern Meadowlark in the fields grazed by cows. On the way there, there, of note, was a Bay Wren and Bright-rumped Attile. We arrived at a junction and here we got good numbers of blackbirds and larks as well as a single Grey-headed Yellowthroat. Graham left for home and I followed him some thirty minutes later and on the return there I had my first 2 male American Redstart and a single Mourning Warbler.

The area where the larks and blackbirds hang out Graham Gordong

There were at least up to 4 Eastern Meadow Larks

And good numbers of stonking male Red-breasted Blackbird with the odd females never far away.

Grey-headed Yellowthroat

It wasn’t long until I was back out again after Graham telling me of a few new species I needed that he had just seen up road. Only a five minute walk and I got one of the target species, White-whiskered Puffbird perched on the edge of the forest. Also in the area were up to 3 Orange-billed Sparrow,  another Bright-rumped Attila and a male Collared Manikin could heard deeper in the forest. Less than half a mile onwards along the track and I picked up my next new species, A group of 4 noisy Dusky-faced Tanager and roaming with them were  Olive-backed Euphonia and single female White-collared Manikin and Golden-winged and Mourning Warbler. The rain turned heavy and twenty minutes later I was dry sheltering back at the digs. Later on just as the light was fading a pair of White-whiskered Puffbird turned up in the garden.

This White-whiskered Puffbird showed well at close range on the edge of the forest

Although there were 3 Orange-billed Sparrow, this is the only record shot as they proved to all be very elusive spending time in cover on the deck

4 Dusky-faced Tanager were very vocal as they moved through

At the end of the day, this pair of White-whiskered Puffbird appeared in the garden

The rain didn’t let up throughout the night and while working on my laptop, the window I was next to with a light, like last night, were both getting plastered by moths and 100s of flying insects. As result I was getting nothin done, not by what was being attracted to the light but also because of the bat dodging my head as I sat down flying in my room. Add to this, Graham was shouting me, it seemed every ten minutes, when he had an interesting moth in the trap. Don’t ask me what species they are but there were some beauties. Also the mother Racoon turned up with her young and when they disappeared into the night, we were left with no bananas for the morning. All images below taken by Graham

Mother and one the youngster’s waiting for us to toss a banana to her. I do miss Skewball, my pet Racoon that I rescued while working in the states

The area where we, sorry, Graham cooked at the Base Camp

Brexit Red Tape Forcing Drivers To Wait Days At Ports!

And as a result, prices in your supermarket are rising


Jan 29, 2022

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Costa Rica Day 15

January 19th-20th 2022

This male White-collared Manikin was zipping around in the garden fruit tree

Yesterday late afternoon, I arrived at La Virgen after a four hour drive in an air-conditioned very smart double-decker. Dropped off in the small town, crossed the road and there to welcome me, was Graham Gordon. After getting somethin down my neck, we started the five mile trek to where he’s been staying out at in a very remote area over 2 miles east of San Ramon, since the end of December. We had only reached the edge of La Virgen, when 2 magnificent vocal Scarlet Macaw came into view. A look at the distribution and La Virgen is well out of it’s range. We crossed the River and on the wires were Ringed and Amazon Kingfisher and below on the rocks, there was a single Spotted Sandpiper. Almost reaching San Ramon, Red-lored Parrots flew overhead and there were Orange-chinned Parrots next to the road. A kind stranger gave us a lift to the village and here we watched a local football match before moving on. Two hours later we made it and I met the owner, Ken, who looks after the Base Camp. That evening we were chatting at the table and suddenly I tried to get both Ken and Graham’s attention as behind them, there was a mother and two young Racoons just outside the building. We threw out banana and they came a tad closer. Then it just got ridiculous as all three were now only meters from Graham and I. And I kid you not again, after the experience with the possum last night, one of the youngsters walked over my foot! Graham commenting on saying, he could of picked it up. After a good twenty minutes of entraining us, they disappeared into the night. Just over two years ago while working in Florida,  I had a young pet Racoon for five weeks that I rescued after being hit by a car. She used to relax on my shoulders, while at the same time, gently massaging my beard with her paws and also nipping my ears now and then with her sharp teeth. She had a box to spend the night but preferred to sleep on top of my head on the pillow instead and I took her for walks with a lead. For the next six days, this remote place in the middle of nowhere, was my home.

These 2 Scarlet Macaw were spending a few minutes bonding together in the middle of the town, La Virgen, before disappearing.

Orange-chinned Parrot

At 06.00 the following morning and I could hear the Louisiana Waterthrush while I was still in bed. The fruit tree in garden was alive with birds including, Olive-backed Euphonia, Green Honeycreeper and Blue Dacnis and the usual tanagers but 4 Bay-headed Tanager were a first for me. Flashing back and forth, a species I’ve seen in CR before was a male Collared Manikin and overhead, the very large Pale-billed woodpecker flew north. There were also Chestnut-sided Warbler and a single Yellow-throated Vireo and Ochre-bellied Flycatcher were also present and above were a few Vaux’s Swift.

This heavy load overtook this van on a short straight but you can’t see it, another truck was just coming around the bend seconds after I took this pic at La Virgen

Up to 4 Bay-headed Tanager were feeding in the fruit tree

It was good to see a male White-collared Manikin again after nearly twelve year when I first came to Costa Rica

Pale-billed Woodpecker high overhead

This impressive spider, nearly as large as my hand, was just outside my bedroom window

We followed a track out and just above the garden there were up to 3 Long-tailed Tyrant and a single Morning Warbler and Dark-capped Flycatcher. As I’m a, pause a lot and scrutinise every branch for half the day, kinda of birder, Graham had long gone ahead of me. Less than an hour later, he was returning and he let me know that just around the corner were Wilson’s, Mourning and a single Blue-winged Warbler. I soon moved when he mentioned the latter species and it didn’t take long for me to connect with it. It showed superbly at close range but the light was shite for photography. An hour later, I had moved on another mile and came across a flock of warblers and moving through included Black and White, Golden-winged and with them was another Blue-winged Warbler! Other species were Yellow-throated Vireo, Lesser Greenlet and Tropical Gnatcatcher. Returning home and high up in the trees, I spotted a Grey-headed Kite.

This Blue-winged Warbler showed well at close range but I was always looking into the sun when I tried to get a pic and had to make do with this flight shot.

A mile down road and I came across a mixed flock including it or another Blue-winged Warbler but it always kept it’s distance this time and only record shots were possible

Male Mourning Warbler

Tropical Gnatcatcher

Grey-headed Kite

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Jan 24, 2022


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Costa Rica Day 14

January 18th 2022

There are maybe 3-4 Golden-winged Warbler on the patch and at last, one of the individuals decided to come down from the canopy and show off at close range and it was a stunning male!

At 07.00 this morning, I was having breakfast at Claudio’s garden with him and feeding on the bananas, he puts out in a hedge only meters away from us, was alive with birds. All the Tanagers and Euphonias were there but I spotted a tanager that I not seen before. With the small flock of Red-winged Blackbird on the lawn was a male White-lined Tanager. Also feasting were Black-cheeked and Hoffmann’s Woodpecker and Green Honeycreeper and Blue Dacnis. The latter two species I had already seen elsewhere on the reserve with Shinning Honeycreeper. There were also Great Curassow and Grey-headed Chachalaca in the garden.

This male White-lined Tanager only came into the garden very briefly

Male Green Honeycreeper

Up to 4 Black-headed Saltator made a visit to the garden

It had gone eight and it started off well with not one but two new yank warbler on the patch. Feeding with Chestnut-sided and Golden-winged was a Bay-breasted Warbler and did it show well at head hight most of the time. I would of stayed with it if it was not for a movement in the long grass just to my right. Creeping low down, I could see my first Hooded Warbler but no chance of getting not even a record shot. I returned to the warbler but was distracted again. There’s maybe 3-4 Golden-winged Warbler on the patch but non of them have showed well. That was until today when a male was just above my head and I took full advantage of it.

My first Bay-breasted Warbler giving me crippling views.

I see Golden-winged Warbler everyday but not like this. Normally they are high up in the canopy

Mid-afternoon and for the rest of the day, it was dull with heavy showers. Out in the open next to the river, after yesterdays show of flycatcher, there was Ochre-bellied Flycatcher. On the river itself was the Louisiana Waterthrush and the pools produced all three kingfishers. Amazon, 2 Ringed and Green Kingfisher. The latter species I’ve seen flash by many times over the ponds. On the west side, the male Painted Bunting popped up again where there was also a Streaked Woodcreeper. Deeper into the middle of the reserve, I was standing still on the path, when a Keel-billed Motmot gently enlightened on a bare branch only meters away from me! Light was fading fast and with the now 5 sleeping Boat-billed Night Heron, was the ibis I very briefly observed deep in cover on day one in observing the patch. This time it was out in the open and I could now clearly see that it was a Green Ibis in very bad condition. It was time to start searching for wood rail and I was thinking that I’m probably just wasting my time. How wrong was I. I had only left the ibis and there at the waters edge was a Russet-napped Water Rail at close range. It had no idea that I was there and for the next twenty minutes it wondered into cover but always giving itself away by calling a kind of very quiet Bittern every now and then making it easy for me to track it down. It even kicked a Common Pauraque onto the path directly in front of me. On another pond, it’s was taking a bath when it was joined by what I presume was a female and they both bathed together before disappearing into the wood. I was just to make a move myself, when out of nowhere, a Common Apossum walked across the path I was standing on, climbed up a tree and licked it for a brief second, before coming back down and I kid you not, walked over my foot!! What away to end the day and as I walked out, Common Pauraque were vocal with maybe three or four individuals.

This Keel-billed Motmot appeared from nowhere and perched on a bare branch only meters away from me and stayed there for a good twenty minutes!

The mystery ibis that I observed almost in the dark on my first visit on the patch, as reappeared and turns out to be a Green Ibis in very bad condition. The lack of feathers on the face causing the problem of identification at the time when I first saw it

After seeing a Russet-napped Wood Rail very briefly, I made the effort just before dark in trying to relocate it againonly to come across a pair instead!

This Common Opossum walked over my foot as it left this tree! I looked after one of these mamals on my second visit to Costa Rica while working at a animal hospital and it was like a pet dog.

Tomorrow I leave La Fortuna and make my way SE in a four hour bus ride to La Virgen for less than £5! Here I’ll team up with Graham Gordon who has been in Costa Rica for nearly a month already. There I’ll be hanging out with him for maybe a week and then I’ll return to La Fortuna to continue watching the patch that I’ve discovered. Hopefully get better pics of the wood rails than the ones I took almost in the dark this evening.

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Costa Rica Day 13

January 17th 2022

Great day out on the patch! Many highlights including this stonking male Painted Bunting

Claudio, the owner of the reserve, that I’ve now been birding for the last four days, showed me around his land. Although I had covered the 6 hectares many times over, just in one morning, I was so pleased that we had a stroll together . Unfortunately, the language barrier played a big part in communications. Claudo carried a big stick with him and he started poking around in the leaf litter and within a few minutes, he picked up a blue and red Strawberry Poisoned Arrow Frog. This was followed by a larger Green and Black Poisoned Frog with crazy patterns all over its body. We came to a group of palms and there roosting in the shelter under the large leaves were Bats that I had walked past probably five or six times in a single day since day one. After an hour, Claudio return to his house, where he discovered another roost of bats that is at the entrance of the reserve and I continued to bird the area. It didn’t take long until I started adding on new species that I had never seen before. As I approached the weedy field, the flock of grassquits and seedeaters got up and with them 3 Indigo Bunting and 6 Dickcissel.

Strawberry Poisoned Arrow Frog

Green and Black Poisoned Frog

Claudio also showed me two roost of bats sheltering under the large over-hanging Palm leaves

Up to 6 Dickcessel were hanging out in the large weedy field including this male

A surprise was the tiny Olivaceous Piculat. Surprise because looking at the range of this species in the guide shows it to be only in the SW and NE of Costa Rica and this individual appeared to be carrying food. Both a Mourning Warbler and Ovenbird were feeding on the deck. The latter species I’ve seen back home on Scilly and many times in CR. But a stunning male Painted Bunting is a species I spent a lot of time, unsuccessfully, trying to see while in the US a few year back. The bunting flew up from grovelling on the ground into the open where I got very good views. Also Rufous-winged Woodpecker, Plain Xenops, and male Red-thighed Dacnis. It was good day for flycatchers with Yellow-bellied, Least, Grey-headed, Yellow-olive Flycatcher and Tropical Pewee. All new species and a Rufous Mourner was also added. Darkness was approaching and the moseys were out in force. A small group of Smooth-billed Ani came in but it was while returning from the NE end of the reserve that I got a brief but cracking views of a Russet-napped Wood Rail! It was in a ditch below me and I had no idea it was there until I was almost on top of the rail. It grunted as it climbed up the bank at some pace into deep cover and following it were two young!! I guess this is a good record to come across breeding Russet-napped Wood Rail in Costa Rica. After kicking a Common Pauraque in front of me off the main path, I ran out as fast as I could to escape the blood suckers.

At last I’ve connected with a cracking male Painted Bunting after missing out when in the states

Rufous-winged Woodpecker

Rufous Mourner

Tropical Peewee

Yellow-olive Flycatcher

Least Flycatcher

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher

Grey-headed Flycatcher

Male Red-thighed Dacnis

Smooth-billed Ani

UK Conservatives face ‘cultural problem’ with Islamophobia Start with the racists comments from Johnson

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Costa Rica Day 12

January 16th 2022

I passed this Black Phoebe by the side of the road while cycle twitching the Rufous-vented Ground Cuckoo at Arenal Observatory Lodge

Yesterday, Martin Goodey let me know that there was a Rufous-vented Ground Cuckoo at Arenal Observatory Lodge showing well on the Waterfall Trail. I had no idea what one looked like but after have a look in the guide, it was enough for me to hire a bike for a day at only £6 from the hostel. Heavy rain overnight continued well into the morning and I found myself setting off two hours later than I wanted to. It was gone 09.00 when I started the 16 mile cycle twitch east, on the road out of La Fortuna towards Lake Arenal. Makes a change to twitching in my kayak back home. I had done close to ten miles and had already had four brief rests to get in the shade as I was out in open to the sun that was killing me! I gave up and slowly returned to the digs and as usual when hiring a car while I’m traveling, took detours off the main road and started to explore the area. One I took was only a few miles from town and as a result by a river, I saw Black Phoebe and Buff-rumped Warbler with a vocal Bay Wren that showed briefly and nearby there were a pair of Tawny-capped Euphonia. The two latter species were firsts for me but the warbler I’ve only seen in Peruvian Amazon when worked out there some seven years ago.

Male Tawny-capped Euphonia

Buff-rumped Warbler

Dark-capped Flycatcher

Northern Oriole

Another stop near to town produced another new species with single Black-hooded Antshrike and White-winged Barcard. Also present were Black and White, Yellow and Chestnut-sided Warbler, American Redstart and Olive-backed and Yellow-throated Euphonia. As I approached town, I had no idea where I was until I recognised the hostel I stayed at on my second visit to La Fortuna some five year ago at the SE end. By the time I returned to the digs it was dark and I was ready for some grub!

Male White-winged Barcard

Male Black-hooded Antshrike

Yellow Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler

American Redstart

Furious Lorry Drivers Stuck For 17 Hours In Dover Queues


Jan 27, 2022


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Costa Rica Day 11

January 15th 2022

Two very colourful species today including a single Rufous-tailed Jacamar and this Broad-billed Motmot

With a few other early risers, I was up at 06.00 and it was already light. A few seconds after eating breakfast, I was back on the patch and it didn’t disappoint. There were less birds feeding in the weedy field than yesterday but I did kick a White-fronted Crake out, that showed well briefly before creeping deeper into the long grass. I decided to cover the whole of the area today and see what the crack is with the habitat, taking a few hours off at mid-day when the heat can be so intense making it hard work. There was a man-made stream that connected five ponds with the paths criss-crossing each other. The water I guess was coming from the River Danta on the west side. Immediately on entering, a single American Redstart, Masked Tityra, Summer Tanager, Yellow-bellied Eleania and 3 Rose-breasted Grosbeak were in the same tree together and on the deck there was a Dark-striped Sparrow. 

There were up to 3 Rose-breasted Grosbeak including two males

Dark-striped Sparrow

All the time while I’ve been spending time on the paths, I have not come across anyone until later on in the morning when I bumped into the owner of the land. It turns out that it’s private and it’s not a park. He was very happy for me to continue on observing the area and told me that in two to three months it will become a reserve and will be open to the public. He invited me to his house for a coffee and there I met his family and he continued to tell me his plans for the future of the area. An hour had gone by and I was itching to get back into the new reserve. Immediately just off the path, grovelling on the ground, were 2 Orange-billed Sparrow. Out in the open, a pair of Roadside hawks were on thermals with Turkey and Black Vultures. A male Orchard Oriole came into a tree where there was a pair of White-winged Barcard and Olive-backed Euphonia. I continued along the gravel path and almost walked into 2 Broad-billed Motmot! I had no idea they were there until one made a shot hop to a lower branch when I was almost a meter away from it.

Broad-billed Motmo

There were 2 Orange-billed Sparrow but both birds proved hard together as they spent most of the time grovelling on the deck in cover

 Male and female White-winged Barcard

Female Olive-backed Euphonia

Black-cheeked Woodpecker

It was while resting on the banks of one of the ponds that I caught some movement to my right. A cracking Rufous-tailed Jacamar was perched at the edge of the pond and flew low to otherside where I lost it. I lifted myself up and flushed both an Amazon Kingfisher and Common Pauraque. Two new species of Tanager popped up with the resident Passerini’s, Palm, Grey-blue and lesser numbers of Golden-hooded Tanager. A Silver-throated and a male Crimson-collared Tanager and in the shade there was a Bright-rumped Attila. I could hear a woodpecker nearby getting stuck into a tree, and after a while of searching, I spotted it low down and identified it as a Smoky-brown Woodpecker. Another species that took time to locate after hearing it and sounding like a Carrion Crow, was a male Barred Antshrike. Later, I also caught up with the female and to finish the day off after seeing four new species, I added another in the shape of a 2 Yellow-billed Cacique. The 4 Boat-billed Night Heron were roosting in the same trees but there was no sign of the ibis sp. Got back to the digs and  was ready to cook when I was invited out and a group of eight of us went to a pizza joint just up road. By far the best pizza that I’ve ever eaten!

Rufous-tailed Jacamar

Bright-rumped Attila

Male Crimson-collared Tanager

Smoky-brown Woodpecker

Male Barred Antshrike

Anole sp?

“I Am Fuming At Boris Johnson” Brexit Voter Regrets His Decision!


Jan 27, 2022

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Costa Rica Day 10

January 14th 2022

This Northern Waterthrush was one of many North American species that I uncounted this afternoon on my new birding patch that I’ve discovered on the outskirts of la Fortuna

I left Monkey Hostel 2, Santa Elaena, in glorious sunshine after the shite weather I had to put up with in the three days while I was there. At the hostel, I got to know a young Israeli and he let me know, as we said farewell to each other, that he tested positive with covid and had to go into isolation! Mid-afternoon and I arrived in La Fortuna after a three hour bus for less than a fiver!! I made the twenty minute walk west to my hostel, Rio Danta, that was on the edge of town. In the town, I passed a hostel which is now a very posh hotel, that I stayed in some fifteen years ago when I first came to Costa Rica. Next door, what was a restaurant that I ate in most nights at the time, is now a furniture shop. There was somethin about the town that I liked a lot that I made the effort to visit it again on my second visit to the country over five year ago and here I am again. After passing Red-winged and Melodious Blackbirds and Ruddy Ground Doves on the garden lawns and Tropical Mockingbird on the wires, I found the last building out of town, was the hostel. The only thing I’m traveling with is a small rucksack and nothin else. It’s all I need and I threw it onto my bed and with only two hours of light left, I ventured out to find my own patch to bird in the five days I’ve planned to stay here. I had only stepped outside, when I could see a lot of activity in a large weedy field boarding the road on the opposite side from the hostel. I could see good numbers of grassquits and seedeaters and with them were 4 Tricolored Munia with the odd Indigo Bunting. There was a Greyish Saltator on the far side of the field and above the saltator, there was a lot of movement in the trees and needed to get closer. As a result, I passed the trees and discovered a gravel path that I followed as it twisted around small ponds with the odd bench on either side. I guess I was in a public park and I didn’t leave until dark and didn’t bump into anyone but there was a good selection of birds. On the first small pond I came across, there were a pair of Northern Jacana and a single Green Heron and in the tall grass there were very vocal White-fronted Crake sounding similar to that of Little Grebe. Just around the corner there was a smaller pond with over hanging branches and on them were 4 Boat-billed Night Heron roosting and 2 very noisy loud rattling Ringed Kingfisher that were probably keeping them awake.

Rio Danata Hostel on the outskirts of La Fortuna

Good numbers of Red-winged Blackbird in the area

The only other Indigo Bunting that I’ve seen was the first Scilly record last year

Both Tennessee and this Yellow Warbler were also in the weedy field

Green Heron

Northern Jacana

Up to 4 Boat-billed Night Heron were roosting

Other common birds included Common-tody Flycatcher, Bananaquit, Streaked Woodcreeper, Yellow Tyrannulet, Dark-capped Flycatcher, Barred Antshrike and a number of species of tanagers. All the time I could hear Chestnut-sided Warbler all over the shop and saw small numbers of Yellow and Tennessee Warbler, Northern Oriole with single American Redstart and Louisiana and Northern Waterthrush. 2 Wood Thrush were fighting, a Streaked Woodcreeper was flying from tree to tree and a step off the path flushed 2 Common Pauraque. Both birds immediately settled back down only a few meters from where they had got up and I left them alone in peace. It was almost dark, as I could hear Orange-chinned Parrots goin to roost overhead with the odd pair of the larger Red-lored Parrot with them. I needed to make a quick exit as I was getting eatin alive by the moseys. I was making my way out when I got distracted by a grunting sound coming from cover next to one of the ponds just off the track. The bird came out very briefly and what I observed was an ibis sp with a white face. This rules out any ibis I know of and being in the Americas, I ain’t got a clus what species it could be. I guessed it was probably one of the wood ibis. I could only get a single record shot and was back in doors within a few minutes.

Hooded Tanager

Yellow Tyrannulet

Dark-capped Flycatcher

Female Barred Antshrike

The comic looking Common-tody Flycatcher checking me out

Streaked Woodcreeper


Chestnut-sided Warbler, as expected were all over the shop

Tennessee Warbler

American Redstart

There were up to 2 Wood Thrush

Northern Waterthrush

Louisiana Waterthrush

Out of the 2 Common Pauraque

Well that turned out to be a lot easy than I expected in finding a patch to bird on and it was just across the road from the digs I’m staying at! And looking at Ebird, it appears as though no one is observing this area.

The Truth About Boris Johnson: Ruthless Pursuit of Power

A year ago, Byline TV contributor Otto English took us on a deep dive into Boris Johnson’s past and the choices he made on his way to power. Now, one year later, Otto reexamines the red flags that should have been apparent to everyone, and looks at the dire consequences of a Boris Johnson premiership.


Jan 25, 2022


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Costa Rica Day 6-9

10th-13th January 2022

A 5 mile walk back to Santa Elena along Monteverdi Road from the Cloud Forest Reserve produced many species including this Yellowish Flycatcher

After staying in Tilaran for two nights, I made myself further south towards Santa Elana, Monteverdi, on a two hour bus for only £3! This is a place I’ve never been before and I wanted to make a visit to the Santa Eleana Cloud Forest reserve nearby. I thought that Tilaran was windy but that night, it felt like the roof of the hostel I was staying in, was goin to blow off! With heavy rain also, no one got any sleep I don’t think. I still got up at 05.00 to catch the first bus to the reserve. 05.30, I was back in bed! It would of been a total waste of time goin and instead, I got stuck into my breakfast with a view of the cloud forest. Suddenly, I jumped out of my skin as the French windows slid open directly in front of me by a bloody Squirrel Monkey!! He did it with such ease and I just stayed still hoping he wouldn’t see me As I’ve found out, they can be very aggressive when food is about and I was sure he was goin to jump on my table and take my melon, yogurt and granola away into the forest. He had a look around, briefly turned towards me and went back out. And he didn’t slide shut the doors letting the rain and wind in. As it was 06.30, there was no one else around and it was later that the owner told me that he comes in and they feed him Normally there’s three! The following morning it was a repeat of yesterday. Got up early, the weather was still shite, returned to bed and this time while staring out of the window, I was ready for the monkey’s.

Finally, on my third day, I arrived at the entrance of the reserve at 06.15 on the bus. The wind had died down but it was still overcast and very blustery. Scanning the canopy proved hard work as birds moved through and I couldn’t get anythin on them as a result of the conditions. I wasn’t goin to fork out £25 to probably end up in frustration trying so hard to pin anythin down in the dire weather. Instead I decided to walk the 5 miles back to the digs along the Monteverdi Road. After two hours, I had only covered a single mile, due to pausing and trying desperately hard to get onto anythin. However, shortly afterwards, the wind subsided but it was still overcast with light showers. This made birding a lot easier and at last I could start to identify birds and pin them down with my camera. This included Chestnut-capped Brushfinch, Golden-winged, Black-throated Green, Yellow and Chest-sided Warbler, Philadelphia Vireo and a single Slaty-tailed Trogan. Only the Brushfinch was a new species but taking a track off the main road proved productive. However, the first bird that I saw, after a few species of hummingbird, was a Red-billed Thrush Nightingale. In an open area there were Yellowish Flycatcher, Mountain Elaenia, both Collard and Slaty-throated Redstart, Ochraceous Wren, Slaty Spinetail, White-naped Brushfinch, Common Chlorospingus, Spotted Woodcreeper, Black and White and Wilson’s Warbler. A few new species and the wheather was turning for the better as the sun came out for the first time since arriving in Santa Eleana.

So pleased in getting this Red-billed Thrush Nightingale but it proved to be very elusive

Only a small number of species of hummingbird including this Green Violetear

And this Violet Sabrewing

I came across many White-cheeked Sparrow in driveways

A total of 4 Black and White Warbler were seen

8 Black-throated Green Warbler

And at least 10 Wilson’s Warbler

Some 15 Philadelphia Vireo were observed but this was the only individual that showed well in the dull light

Ochraceous Wren

Mountain Elaenia

Yellowish Flycatcher

Another two miles down road and I was seeing the same species that I had earlier on except for the exemption of Golden-winged Warbler, Ovenbird, White-cheeked Sparrow, Mistletoe Tyrannulet, Emerald Toucanet and Golden-browed Chlorospingus The two first species were the only ones that I’ve seen before. I was always scanning the skies for raptors and was kinda of taken back when I spotted fairly high up 2 Magnificent Frigatebirds. But the coast is only a few minutes away as the crow flies and that’s the direction that they were heading for, west. I also explored the large gardens that I was passing and came across a small flock of White-throated Blackbird feeding. While in another garden there was a stunning, Silver-throated Tanager. Closer to the town, I took a quiet track from the road and came across 2 Black Quan with more species of north American bird including Tennessee Warbler, Summer Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak and Baltimore Oriole. The highlight were up to 6 White-throated Thrush feeding a large fruit tree. Approaching the hostel, the showers became heavy rain and I continued to watch it downpour, looking out from the French windows. I might of lost two days of birding, due to the weather, but I’m not here to run around after birds. Just relaxing at the hostel, with the view I had, was spot on.

Only a single Golden-winged Warbler but a stunning male

2 Emerald Toucanets were in the same tree as the warbler

Good numbers of Tennessee Warbler along the way

Out of the 4 Golden-crowned Chlorophonia I could only get record shots including this male

Near to town this Black Guan was out in the open next to the track I was passing on just before dark

A common bird is this Squirrel Cuckoo

However, the highlight were a small group of White-throated Thrush

The Tories Are Taking The Pi** At This Stage!


Jan 17, 2022

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