Monday, January 6, 2014

Costa Rica - Day 8 - March 23, 2013

     On our last full day at the Nature Pavilion  we woke up fairly early and headed straight down the road to check out Tirimbina Biological Reserve. Since the daily passes allowed us to leave and come back as often as we wanted, we bought our passes and did a quick pre-breakfast walk. Our first encounter was a young, slightly damp Gray-lined Hawk drying it's wings.We also saw Gray-capped Flycatcher, Common Tody Flycatcher, and other more common species.

Young Gray-lined Hawk drying off it's wings at Tirimbina
    After almost two hours of exploring some of the trails at Tirimbina we were more than ready for breakfast. Since we had really enjoyed our breakfast the day before, we went back to the same place (Restaurante Pollo Ranchero). During our meal we spotted a couple Broad-winged Hawks and some Ruddy Ground-Doves. With our energy restored  we headed back to Tirimbina to more fully explore the grounds and hanging walkways. The hanging walkways were not quite a scary as I had imagined, but they sometimes caught me off-guard and were not fun when having to pass someone. They were also impossible to take photos from due to the unsteadiness. However, the views from these walkways were great and I would walk them again in a heartbeat!
Entering one of the hanging bridges.
View from the hanging bridge.
     Our first exciting find was a Slaty-tailed Trogon that hung around long enough for everyone to enjoy it and get photos.

Slaty-tailed Trogon
     We saw many other birds and other critters on our walk, but one of the most exciting events was when a Spider Monkey decided to swing through the canopy nearly overhead! When I first saw the branches shaking only saw a little bit of fuzz sticking out of the dense leaf cover, so it was first identified as a squirrel. However, we continued to watch it and finally got to see it swinging from branch to branch using hanging vines as "connections" on it's treetop highway. Truly one of those moments you never forget. 

A toad I found hiding in a hollowed out space in a dirt bank. 

A  helicopter damselfly. This thing was HUGE! Probably as big or bigger than my hand with all fingers splayed. 

Just a grasshopper munching away...

My favorite vine of the whole trip.

Army ants! There was a Spotted Antbird having a feast on these guys!

Phiale formosa (male)

One of the few butterflies that sat long enough for a photo.

Another lizard of some sort (sorry, I don't have a herptile id guide for Costa Rica)

     We returned to the Nature Pavilion around 3pm, and as it turns out, just in time to add Melodious Blackbird and Giant Cowbird to our trip lists (these species might have slipped by us earlier in all our excitement over Trogons, Toucans and Hummingbirds). 

Melodious Blackbird
     We spent the rest of the day sitting on the deck of the Nature Pavilion relaxing, playing cards, and just enjoying the sights and sounds of the Caribbean slope region of Costa Rica. We always kept our cameras and binoculars close by though just in case something new showed up. Here are some final photos taken at the Nature Pavilion:

Southern Rough-winged Swallow

Red-legged Honeycreeper showing how flexible his neck can be.

Female Red-legged Honeycreeper unimpressed with the flexibility of her potential suitor's neck.

Scene from the next Jurassic Park...just kidding...Gray-headed Chachalaca

Green Honeycreeper (male)

Blue-gray Tanager stuffing his face with banana

Golden-hooded Tanager checking me out

Red-legged Honeycreeper (male)

Gray-headed Chachalacas

Collared Aracari doing a modeling session for me

Collared Aracari smiling for his photo op

Collared Aracari

 Of course, we had to visit our favorite dinner place later in the evening which was bittersweet because we were leaving for our final destination in the morning. 

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