Thursday, May 19, 2011

Costa Rica - Day 5

Day 5 started out with rain, but it had stopped by the time we were ready to hit the trails. We planned on an early breakfast today because we wanted to hike the Pacific Trail at low tide after breakfast. So, we decided to stick around the main gardens to see what might be out and we did see quite a few things along with the resident agoutis which were very common and the occasional coatimundi.

Gecko in our Bungalow:
Central American Smooth Gecko

Bright-rumped Attila:
Bright-rumped Attila

Blue Morpho in Flight:
Blue Morpho in Flight

Juvenile Green Iguana:
Juvenile Green Iguana

After breakfast, we loaded up the gear and began our trek to the Pacific trail head. But, before we had even left the grass area of the main garden, I heard a bird call that was close by so I walked up to the small grove of trees to the left of the parking area to see what it was.

Well, the owner of the bird calls was no where to be seen. But, I did spot some movement and I couldn't believe what I saw! It was a little juvenile sloth and it was no more than 10 yards away. It is hard to imagine something a whole lot cuter than this in the rainforest.

Juvenile Three-toed Sloth

Juvenile Three-toed Sloth

Juvenile Three-toed Sloth

We ended up watching this sloth for over a half hour as it climbed down to the ground, took care of it's weekly "business", and then climbed back up until it was pretty much obscured by leaves. It was an amazing experience not only because it was so close and not at all bothered by us but also because it was still obviously learning it's way in the world and was a real timid climber (but obviously not a timid pooper). I was also pretty impressed with myself after having spotted my 2nd sloth of the trip. I am not sure if I can officially call myself a "sloth whisperer", but I decided too anyway. Is there a Discovery Channel show in my future?

This amazing experience did put us on the Pacific Trail later than planned so we knew that we couldn't dawdle a whole lot on the way to the waterfall since low tide had passed. But, in the rainforest you never know what you will see next and one of my favorite critters, the dart frog, was out in force on the trail heading to the beach. We saw 9 Green and Black Dart Frogs and 1 Golfo Dulce Dart Frog on the way down and ended up seeing 8 Green and Black Dart Frogs on the return trip back up. I just can't get enough of these little guys.

Black and Green Dart Frog

Gulfo Dulce Dart Frog

We also saw some lizards on the way down including this Four-striped Whiptail:
Four-striped Whiptail

We had only tried once before to find the waterfall along the beach and we ended up giving up that time because the heat was unbearable and the sand was really soft which made for slow going. But, that was during the dry season. The walk turned out to be a piece of cake this trip. The weather was at least 10 to 15 degrees cooler and the sand was pretty firm thanks to the rain so we reached the entrance to the falls in less than a half hour. Knowing that time was now on our side again, we took our time reaching the falls (you have to cross lots of fallen logs to get to the creek) and making the return journey back to the lodge. The falls themselves were not easy to photograph, nor were the little blue crayfish in the river.

Hermit Crabs:
Hermit Crabs

Fruit Bat:
Fruit Bat

The Beach:
Pacific Beach

The Falls (in HDR):
HDR Waterfall

Despite the many...many...many stairs, this is a worthwhile hike and produced some nice pictures for us including our first ever bat photos.

After a hearty lunch (I think the chicken burrito, grilled turkey ham sandwich, and tuna sandwich are my favorite lunch options), we headed towards the Titi Trail again. Can you ever have enough Titi? I don't think so. We had a very eventful hike thanks to a small ant swarm and two separate groups of White-collared Peccaries. The peccaries were camera shy but I managed to get some other photos.

Black-cheeked Ant Tanager which is found nowhere else in the world:
Black-cheek Ant Tanager

Male Black-throated Trogon:
Black-throated Trogon

And, the Female:
Female Black-throated Trogon

On the way back to the lodge, we had an interesting encounter. Can you guess what this is? (Answer at the end of today's post)?

Scarred Coati Looking for Bananas

For those unfamiliar with BdC dining, breakfast and lunch are served off menus that change a little each day (new items added and some taken away) and everyone sits at private tables. Dinner, on the other hand, is typically served as a buffet and people sit together at big tables. Some may not like this "forced" social interaction and initially we weren't certain that we would like it either. But, after 3 trips, we have learned that this interaction is great. We have met so many fantastic people and it's always a great way to learn what and where others are seeing things. It was great to meet and share laughs with Brianna and hubby, Chris and Nicole, Mike and Sarah, Stefan, and others whose names I have sadly forgotten since I didn't write them down or trade contact information with them. Anyway, we had a great time at dinner tonight and really hit it off with everyone (I think we were down to 9 people tonight). For the night walk, everyone decided to go out to the little pond since it was really buzzing the night before. We saw some of the same frogs, but also some new ones and got some better photos as well.

Neotropical Bird Eating Snake in the Dining Room Rafters:
Neotropical Bird Eating Snake

Small Boa Constrictor in the Library Rafters:
Boa Constrictor

Red-eyed Tree Frog:
Red-eyed Tree Frog

Hourglass Tree Frog Chillin':
Hourglass Tree Frog

BIG Marine Toad:
Marine Toad Calling

Common Paraque (A Night Hawk):
Common Pauraque

One of the other couples spotted some eyes in a nearby palm tree and took a picture. There was some debate on whether it was an opossum or a big rat or something else. The picture just wasn't conclusive so we headed to check it out. We saw the eye-shine but didn't get a good enough look to make a positive ID. We would have to return tomorrow night to try again.

It goes without saying that today was a fantastic day and the juvenile sloth was the highlight.

Answer to "What is it?" - If you guessed one beat up coatimundi, then you were right:
Scarred Coati Coming Back Down

No comments: