Saturday, December 17, 2016

Costa Rica Installment #4 - Sarapiqui (27-28Nov2016)

Our last destination for the trip was the Caribbean Lowlands and specifically Sarapiqui.  This area includes legendary birding spots like La Selva and Selva Verde.  We ended up leaving early because record flooding was raising the Sarapiqui River to unsafe levels.  However, I managed to fit in some birds in the rain.

White-collared Manakin - none of the Manakins cooperated during this trip.  The horrible weather and dark jungle canopy made it tough.

Band-tailed Barbthroat - I ended up getting better pics but I liked this one because it shows both diagnostic marks in the band-tail and the barb throat.

Bay Wren - wrens in the jungle are loud but hard to find and even harder to photograph.

Red-throated Ant-tanager - the platform feeder at Selva Verde Lodge was kind of gross.  It looked as though they never clean it.  I will have to get a better photo of this species some other day.

White-collared Manakin female.

Ringed Kingfisher - I spent quite a bit of time looking for Sungrebe in the river beds next to the lodge.  A local guide told me to be careful because of flash floods can fill the river up very fast.  I did not believe him and kept looking but I never found one.  The next day after heavy rains all night I woke to the river completely full and almost cresting the high banks.  The spot where I took these Kingfisher shots was completely under water.  Some of the locals were saying that the nearby town was flooding badly and many people would be forced out of their homes.

Bare-throated Tiger-heron.

Black-Mandibled Toucan

Tropical Kingbird

Bare-throated Tiger-heron juvenile.

Ivory-billed Woodpecker......errr I mean Pale-billed Woodpecker.

Band-tailed Barbthroat

Plumed Basilisk

Gray Hawk

"Blue Jeans" poison dart frog next to the pool.

In the afternoon on the first full day in Sarapiqui we went to La Selva which is a biologic reserve within the Braulio Carillo National Park that is run as a consortium of universities including Duke.  The only way to be able to walk around inside the park in this area is to get a guide, so we all pitched in and got a wonderful guide.  I love Ticas and Ticos.  The Costa Rican people are some of the nicest people on the planet.  That being said, I was the one that found the bird of the day at least for me...

King Vulture!!!

If I had not seen the adult I would probably not have known this one was a juvenile King Vulture.

Right before or after we saw these vultures, I had an experience which I never wish to repeat.  My older brother is a bit of a jokester so when I felt some weird feathery sensation on my inner thigh I thought maybe my brother was tickling me with something but I then quickly realized it was not him It was a critter crawling up my crotch!!  I did a crazy dance hoping it would fall down my shorts and it worked, a GIANT Wolf Spider dropped onto the path.  But that was not the end of it!  It proceeded to chase me!  Never have I ever seen something like this.  It ran a good 15 feet after me and I ran screaming like a baby.  Finally it decided to go a different trajectory and I lost it.  Now you may think I am being melodramatic, but all of the other 10 people there witnessed the whole thing and confirmed it was one of the weirdest things they have seen and that the spider was HUGE.  The guide was chuckling but she also confirmed that was the first time she ever saw a spider be so aggressive.

Broad-billed Motmot

White-collared Manakin

Gartered Trogon

I think this is a Cocoa Woodcreeper

Northern Barred Woodcreeper

Rufous Motmot - these bad boys make huge earthen dens on the sides of the trails.  I should have taken a picture.  I need to start taking more pics of things other than birds.

Spider Monkey

In the primary forest section of the trail we ran into some cool birds but it was so dark that my camera was not cooperating.

Olive-backed Quail-dove

Another Broad-billed Motmot

Boat-billed Flycatcher

Like a Kiskadee but with a bigger bill and different call.

Ruddy Ground-dove

The next morning as I already mentioned was raining badly and the river was cresting but I managed some poor pics of a couple birds at Selva Verde Lodge...

Red-capped Manakin

Orange-billed Sparrow

Variable Seedeater.

Since we were bailing on Sarapiqui one day early due to heavy rain and flooding we decided to spend our last day at La Paz Waterfall Gardens and pamper ourselves with an overnight stay at the Peace Lodge.  Pictures from stay will be in my next and final installment to be posted in a couple days.

Pura Vida.

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