Which is exactly what happened. Snow, what snow? The plane took off more or less on time, leaving a white Sussex behind. With an entire field guide to learn and a ready supply of G&Ts the flight passed really quickly and a few minutes later we arrived into a warm San José. No snow here - what a difference a few thousand miles makes! First bird a Black Vulture out of the window as we taxied in. The airport was relatively efficient and barring a cursory and pointless x-ray of our suitcases we got through very painlessly. It took a while to find our pick-up, but we were soon on the road, heading west away from the city centre to our hotel.
This was the Hotel Robledal which had very welcoming staff and nice rooms. And, from my point of view, spectacular gardens. God I love the tropics - heliconia and gingers everywhere, bougainvilleas draped in colour, palms and a profusion of large-leaved vines.
We had a few hours to kill before dinner and devoted these to birding the hotel gardens. Whilst it wasn't as tropically birdy as I hoped we added a whopping 13 species before settling into deck chairs by the pool for our first beer - Imperial. We also learned from reception that a man called Leonardo was to be our guide and that he was arriving on Sunday morning at 6am. To say we were excited does not adequately describe the state of affairs. The first of many chicken and rice dishes for dinner and we hit the hay.
|Great Kiskadee - very common almost everywhere
|Great-tailed Grackle - ditto
|Pygmy Ferruginous Owl nested in the hotel gardens