Friday, August 14, 2015

A day at the beach

Last full day in Costa Rica!  I spent the morning on the balcony, and the afternoon at the beach.  It was pretty great!

In the morning there were the usual suspects.

green heron
 This giant moth flew around for a while, it was surprisingly loud.
 One of the wrens got over its shyness and posed on the railing.
rufous-naped wren
Off to the beach!  I packed up a bag (forgetting my swim shirt, more sunblock, and bug spray) and headed off.  As soon as I got onto the beach I looked left, and there were 2 open chairs with sweet, glorious shade - umbrella *and* trees!  I plopped myself down and settled in for a wonderful afternoon.  I read until I got hot, and then I either ran into the water for a dip (it was wonderful) or ran to the bar for a daiquiri and a refill on my icy cold water.  A couple of times I scooted my chair back further under the trees for excellent shade as the sun moved.  This was the kind of beach afternoon that vacation dreams are made of!
 I left the beach in time to do my shopping (the vendors I wanted stuff from said they left about 4), made my purchases, and headed back to the room.  Just in time to see the monkeys in the tree right outside, a whole pile of them, crossing from tree to tree.  So I got out my camera and sat on the balcony (have I mentioned how much I love our balcony?) and watched the monkeys do their thing.  There were at least 3 or 4 with little monkey babies on their backs, it was so cute!  :-)

Oh, and here is the green iguana, the pond boss.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

A few new visitors today

Another day mostly on the balcony, with all of the usual suspects plus a few new visitors.  I know I should probably go walking and see some other stuff, but it's so hot I just have no energy for that whatsoever.  Luckily, I love this balcony!

cinnamon hummingbird  

variegated squirrel 

streak-backed oriole

streak-backed oriole

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Adventure Day Number 2!

Time for another adventure day!  Ersel picked us up just after we spotted some caracaras at the hotel.  Off to a good start!

yellow-headed caracara
Another great breakfast, and another long drive, this time up to Murcielago Park.  We picked up a couple of journalists on the way, anting to do a story about this tour company, which is fairly new and totally awesome.  :-)  We stopped at their headquarters (a gorgeous ranch) to gear up and then headed over to the park.  Right away we saw more monkeys!
white-faced capuchin
turquoise-browed motmot
The birding trail we followed was gorgeous, but the birds were mostly just teasing us.  To me this motmot was the star attraction.  

Snack on the beach, and then out on the boat!  Here's the beach we just left.
 Geological formations with layers that contain the history of millions of years.
 Frigates and an optimistic pelican hang out with local fishermen.
 Turtles!  This is the pre-egg-laying phase.
 We should probably leave them alone.  :-)
 This was just ridiculously beautiful.  Like, if somehow a postcard became 3-D, photoshopping and all, and you got to go inside it.  Everything was so bright and vivid and beautiful!
 Hawk!  He flew back and forth between a couple of trees, and then he got a fish!
mangrove black-hawk
 Snorkeling was really nice - how great to be back in the water!  It was cloudy and I'm not good with underwater photography, but here's a little of what we saw.

 Oscar (the boat driver who is impressive with incredible credentials) found us some starfish!


 On the road again, heading back to the ranch.  Another spoonbill, another crappy picture.

roseate spoonbill
 The light was incredible as the sun set, so we stopped for some magazine-style pictures.  What a day!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A Day of Hardly Moving

I'm so tired.  I've been coughing, I don't want to eat, I don't want to move much, and Adventure Day and Turtle Night just about did me in.  Today, it's all balcony, all the time!  Sadly the pond is not active since the rain storm - too much dirt stirred up in the water.  But between the birds that are still around and my room service lunch (chicken soup and mashed potatoes) I had a wonderful restful day.
There were a pair of these woodpeckers teasing me, sadly this is my best shot.  So cute!
Hoffmann's woodpecker 
 Euphonias came by!  Oh I have missed these little guys!  Look how bright!  With a fancy yellow cap on the fellow!
scrub euphonia
 They deserve two pictures.
scrub euphonia
 This dude looks like a blue jay went shopping and overdid it.  
white-throated magpie jay
 There were three juvie green herons flying all around, this tree, that tree, side of the pond, back up into another tree, chasing each other here and there.  They are not good at landing in trees yet.  It's pretty funny.
green heron
 Ducks love a nice portrait.
black-bellied whistling duck
 Parakeets!  I've seen (and heard) dozens flying around, a few finally landed where I could (barely) see them!  I'm not 100% certain on the ID, but that's as close as I could get.
orange-chinned parakeet 
 There is a pair of wrens nearby.  They love, love, love to sing their songs.  Look at that eye!
rufous-naped wren

Monday, August 10, 2015

Aventure Night

Tonight was amazing.  We went with a guide to the beach looking for turtles laying eggs, which was a little chancy - the night of the zillion turtles laying eggs was a few days ago, we were hoping for stragglers.  There was a huge storm that led to a frantic chase for some sort of dinner, then we were off to parts unknown (well, the beach anyway) with nothing to lose.

It was a long drive but we made it, passing a tarantula and a snake.  Nature is creepier at night.  Once on the beach we walked along to the red light of the guides' flashlights.  My own red flashlight that I got expressly for this purpose was sitting uselessly on a shelf in NYC.  Oh well, onward!

We found a turtle who was done laying and heading back to the water.  Cool, but not completely satisfying!  Then we found another one who was just starting to dig.  This was promising!

Sadly this turtle was injured, and usually they don't accept help. But our guide tried to help anyway, and she accepted!  I got down on the sand for a close-up view of the turtle trying to scoop sand and not doing a good job, and our guide reaching in and scooping, scooping, scooping her a perfect nest.  Once they were done, the eggs came!  It was so wonderful to see.

After the eggs were all laid, the guide helped her scoop the sand back over them so hopefully they will hatch in their time!  She was old and injured, and this was probably her last year laying eggs.  It was wonderful to be there!

Relaxing day at the pond

Today I finally got some rest, mostly out on the balcony looking over our gorgeous pond!  It seemed like everyone was here at some point.  I was super excited to see the mot mot!  Sadly it was only in bad light.  But still!  :-)

turquoise-browed motmot
 There was plenty of action in the pond.
white ibis
 I forgot to take pictures of the roseate spoonbills!  So all I have is this guy in the background of the green heron picture.
green heron, roseate spoonbill
 Tropical kingbird wants to know what I'm looking at.
tropical kingbird

northern jacana, great egret
 There were plenty of iguanas, this is a black one, there were also a few green ones about.
black iguana
squirrel cuckoo 
 There was even a tiger heron for a while!
bare-throated tiger heron
 This egret soon sensed that something was amiss.
great egret
 Muscovy duck!  I've only ever seen domestic versions, but this one looks like a wild one to me. Well, not much white, anyway.
Muscovy duck