On my first afternoon in Costa Rica, I walked up to the university campus in San Pedro. Although the light was already fading - it gets dark at 5:30 every day of the year in Costa Rica - the campus clearly had a lot of potential for birding.
One huge tree near the entrance was busy with Great Kiskadees and Clay-colored Robins, the national bird.
More exciting still, some small trees nearby had Tennessee Warblers and a new bird: Blue-gray Tanager. In the dusk light, the Tanagers appeared almost ghostly.
I returned to explore other parts of the campus early on Monday morning but I saw very little, except for more Kiskadees, Robins, Rufous-collared Sparrows, Blue-gray Tanagers and Crimson-fronted Parakeets.
However, when I went back to the tree near the entrance, it was again pretty busy with Kiskadees and Robins. Then, at about 8:30, the tree positively erupted with bird action. Scores of Kiskadees and Robins began flying madly around, making an incredible amount of noise. They were joined by Blue-gray Tanagers, Tennessee Warblers, a Black-and-white Warbler, a Chestnut-sided Warbler, and Yellow-throated Vireos.
Although the lighting was difficult, I spotted a Summer Tanager and some Baltimore Orioles, followed by another new bird, a Hoffmann's Woodpecker.
Then, after 15-20 minutes of frenzied activity, the tree returned to normal. I guess what I had witnessed was a mini-version of a well-known feature of bird behavior in Costa Rica, a mixed flock.
I spent my final morning in San Jose up at the university campus again. There was no frantic activity this time but there was still plenty to see.
This spider was one of only a handful I saw on my trip.
Several trees had squirrels but they were very shy and difficult to photograph.
Something in one tree made an amazing sound - a cross between a dog in pain, a turkey gobbling and a car alarm. It turned out to be the call of a pair of Montezuma Pendulas. Certainly the oddest bird call I've ever heard.
Different sections of undergrowth had two new birds, a Plain Wren and a Grayish Saltater.
At long last I managed to get some slightly better photos of Blue-gray Tanagers.
My final sighting was a bird that I'd been hoping for throughout my trip, a Rufous-tailed Hummingbird.
Tomorrow: The Sarapiqui River