Thursday, December 12, 2013

Costa Rica - Day 6 (Part 3) - March 21, 2013

     After dinner we set out on a night hike on the Nature Pavilion's trails. Due to safety concerns, I do not advise anyone to attempt a night hike in any tropical area unless you have someone with your group that is knowledgeable about the potentially dangerous wildlife that comes out after dark. One person of our group does have this knowledge so we were able to safely conduct our search for reptiles, amphibians, insects, and nocturnal mammals. Although headlamps have their advantages, we found it better to hold a light in our hands to keep the insects from bouncing off our faces when they became attracted by the light. I applied a natural mosquito repellent, and had treated my socks and pants with long-lasting permethrin  and did not have a single bite.
     The trail starts out by the house, then dips down to the floodplain of the Sarapiqui River, crosses over a slow flowing channel of the river, crosses an island, and ends at the bank of the main river channel. During our hike we saw a few species of amphibians, and one snake. In fact, it was the only snake we saw our entire trip despite our searching efforts. We also saw plenty of insects, some of which we gave a wide berth. The Bullet Ants were everywhere, and we quickly learned to simply not touch ANYTHING, even hand railings because of these ants. Luckily nobody was stung.      

Clouded Slugeater (non-poisonous) - was found just above head level on the side of the trail

Clouded Slugeater - neat how they hang onto the branches. 

Bullet Ant 

Drab Treefrog

Giant Toad

"Whip Spider" or "Tailless Whip Scorpion"
A Cicada coming out of it's shell
Fully formed Cicada

Some sort of Katydid

Smoky Jungle Frog

Litter Toad

Golden Orb Weaver - notice the strands of the web are golden, not white or clear

     All these creatures were so distracting that although we thought we were keeping track of the turns and forks in the trail, we ended up getting lost for a short time on our way back to the casa. Luckily, one of us remembered a few features along the trail and was able to get us back on track before too much panic set in. We were hoping to see more reptiles and amphibians, but since we were there in the dry season, I suspect many of these critters were in hiding. The slow moving channel of the river was alive with the sounds of different species of frogs and toads chirping, grunting, and croaking away, but we only actually saw a few of them.
     By the time we got back to the casa we were completely exhausted, but also very excited to see what our first full day of birding the area would bring. The beds were so comfortable that I was asleep within minutes, and had the best sleep of the entire trip!
Stay tuned for Day 7!

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