Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Costa Rica Trip Report: Day 2 at Bosque Del Cabo

Our 5:30AM Howler Monkey wake up call went off at 5:15AM. But, that was OK since I can think of much worse ways to get woken up. Since it started getting light by 5:30AM, we got out of bed to get ready to head out for a pre-breakfast hike. We noticed some droppings on the floor next to the bed. At first we thought they might be mouse or rat, but we soon realized that they were bats that had roosted in the cabina thatch. Thank goodness for the canopy above the bed which caught anything that fell from the thatch during the night.

As the sun came up , we ventured out to the deck just in time to see a huge troop of coatis come by. There were at least a dozen and some were juveniles. The White-nosed Coati is pretty darn cute. While they were foraging around the cabina, an Agouti also ventured in for a time and a troop of Spider Monkeys swung by in the trees below the cabina. That's a lot of action for 6AM.

Spider Monkey

For our pre-breakfast walk we decided head down the main driveway again to check in on the sloth and see what else was up and about. However, we didn't make it more than 20 yards before movement caught our eyes. Chestnut-mandibled Toucans were once again visible in a tree near our cabina which turned out to be a welcome daily occurrence through out the trip. About 100 yards further down into the main garden we could see more Coatis. They had to be a different troop than the one that passed by our cabina because the garden is in the opposite direction from where the first troop was headed.


So, we headed down to take some pictures of the coatis but soon noticed that they weren't alone. There is a big tree in this area of the garden that was full of fruit and more Toucans, Spider Monkeys, White-faced Capuchin Monkeys, and a Coati or two were all enjoying it.



Watching these four species sharing the same tree in relative peace was really nice. After taking more pictures, we finally made it to the driveway and headed off to see the sloth but it was gone. Geez, how far could a sloth go overnight? Well, far enough so that we sure couldn't find it. I guess more sloth photos would have to wait. We continued down the driveway for about a 1/4 mile. During this walk we found a Mangrove Black Hawk, another Coati, some more Capuchin monkeys, a Pale-billed Woodpecker and a Violaceous Trogon. Not too shabby.

Pale-billed Woodpecker

After breakfast we walked to the Tropical Garden and looped back to the main road via the Golfo Dulce trail. This is a circuit we made many times because it takes you through various habitats and is one of the easier (i.e. flatter) hikes. Besides seeing yet another coati near the suspension bridge (we saw two during our entire stay in 2007 and have seen two dozen in the first day in 2009) and numerous birds none of which cooperated for photos, we found some Howler Monkeys on the main road. One of the Howler Monkeys had a baby that had to have been just days old.

Howler Monkey

After lunch, we took the Creek Trail. I wanted to find some poison dart frogs and this is one area in which we spotted them during our last trip. However, we never did find any along this trail for the entire week no matter what time of day. The wildlife patterns sure changed in the two years since our last visit even though it was the exact same time of year. The lack of rain must have something to do with that. We did happen upon this beautiful juvenile Bare-throated Tiger Heron that was begging for its picture to be taken.

Tiger Heron

Tiger Heron

From the Creek Trail we hooked up to the Trogon Trail, to the Golfo Dulce Trail and back to the Tropical Garden. We never expect to see much wildlife in the afternoon and we didn't on this trip either. But, the Tiger Heron made it worth while. Back near the restaurant, the Toucans were still in many of the trees and the Spider Monkeys were still hanging out in the trees below our cabina.


With more daylight now, I tried to spot our resident bats on the roof of the cabina but instead say these:


They were huge (about the size of my wife's hand) bright green Katydids. We hoped that they wouldn't visit us during the night and they never did. But, they were pretty much there everyday just hanging out on the main support beam.

As the sun was going down we headed to the bar to socialize and try the daily special. This is a regular phenomenon at BDC and one that all guest should enjoy. The bar is typically alive with chatter before dinner as people met, talked about their sightings for the day, and discussed plans for tomorrow. The appetizers served were delicious everyday as was the daily special. Our $125 bar bill for the week should attest to our regular attendance at the daily pre-dinner bar scene. Tonight, we had a special treat because one of the local scientists studying wild cats came to give a slide show. As is true with most scientific reports from the rainforest, they can be depressing due to the continued poaching of animals and de-forestation of habitats. But, the work Aida and her team is doing is really significant as they claim to have one of the largest camera trap operations in the world. Some of the photos taken were really cool and we learned a lot about the wild cats in the area.

After dinner we ventured out with camera gear and flashlights (Be sure to bring GOOD flashlights and extra batteries with you). My night walk goal was to see and photograph the Red-eyed Green Tree Frog which is one of my favorites. They typically hang out at the small pond near the main road and true to form we did hear a couple chirping at us but they were two high up in the tree to see. Their occasional chirps just taunted me. The night wasn't a total bust however. We did spot a frog and a huge swarm of Leaf-cutting Ants going about their business.


Jungle Frog

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