Skip to main content

Costa Rica 2009

Next January will mark my fourth trip to the little southern Central American country of Costa Rica. It is a birder's paradise. More than that, anyone with an interest in natural history will be awed and dazzled by the incredible diversity of life to be found in Costa Rica's varied habitats.

Our local guide, as in the prior trips, is the incomparable Noel Urena. Few if any know the birds of this lush country like Noel does, and he is a master at recognizing calls and finding even the hardest to locate of jungle birds.

We will be visiting four primary destinations, ranging from the Caribbean to the Pacific. Last year, we saw some 330 species of birds, not to mention all of the other fascinating biodiversity.

I like to keep these trips small, about eight people, so that everyone has maximum opportunities to see all birds and other wildlife. Due to two cancellations, we have room for a few more participants. Please let me know if you are interested, and I will send along additional details. My contact info is at the end of the post.

Costa Rican roadside scenery. This stream, tinted whitish-blue by mineral deposits, coursed under a roadway on the lower Caribbean slope. Of course, we stopped to admire the view and in the process found lots of wonderful birds and plants. Any stop anywhere is almost certain to produce a lot of noteworthy sightings.

A bit higher up the Caribbean slope. One can see the origin of the aptly named cloud forests in this shot. Even though it is only about half the size of Ohio, Costa Rica abounds in habitat diversity, ranging from humid lowland jungle to mountainous highlands populated by montane flora.

Birding is stupendous. Getting great looks at many species is often not a problem. I photographed this Bare-throated Tiger-Heron from a boat in the jungles of Tortuguero National Park, a vast waterlogged coastal jungle along the shores of the Caribbean. Access is by boat only, and this method of transport offers stupendous views of birds, monkeys, sloths, caimans, and other sundry beasts. We'll be going here in 2009.

Chestnut-mandibled Toucan, photographed while ingesting sensational Costa Rican java on the deck of the villa at Oro Verde preserve. We convene on this balcony each morning, and rack up dozens of species practically at one's fingertips. The cecropia tree that this toucan is gracing attracts incredible birds, including Oro Verde's mascot species, the Baird's Trogon. Oro Verde will be another stop on our itinerary.

The dates of the 2009 expedition will be January 20 - 30, and we'd love to have you along. It will be an unforgettable tropical trip, and if you haven't been to the tropics, expect a huge swell in your life list.

For further details, e-mail me at ambrosia@columbus.rr.com

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Pinching Beetle, a rather brutish looking bug

The world is awash in beetles, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Few of them can match the intimidation factor of a Pinching Beetle, Lucanus capreolus, though. Those formidable looking mandibles look like they could slice off a finger.

Today was one of those coolly diverse days. I started off down in Fayette County, visiting the farm of a friend. He has restored about 25 acres of wetlands, and the response by the animal community has been nothing short of phenomenal. Blizzards of dragonflies of many species, amphibians galore, and nesting Blue-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebe, and Sora. Among MANY other things. And all in a short two years. Add water and they will come.

Then, working my way home, I ducked into a Madison County cemetery that has a thriving population of Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels, and shot images of our native prairie dog. Then, I stopped at a spot along Little Darby Creek, waded on in, and procured some pretty nice shots of various stream bluets and dancers. …

Calliope Hummingbird in central Ohio!

A hatch-year male Calliope Hummingbird strikes a pose. Small but tough, the hummingbird was feeding actively yesterday in 39 F temperatures. It frequents feeders and gardens at a home in Delaware County, Ohio, about a half-hour north of Columbus.

Fortunately, the wayward hummer appeared at the home of Tania and Corey Perry. Tania is a birder, and knew right away that the hummingbird was something special. For a while, the identification was up in the air, which isn't surprising. The Calliope Hummingbird used to be placed in its own genus, Stellula, but has recently been submerged into the genus Selasphorus, which includes Allen's, Broad-tailed, and Rufous hummingbirds. The latter two, especially, are quite similar to the Calliope in subadult plumage. Rufous is the default "vagrant" hummingbird here, with dozens of records and birds turning up annually. There is but one Ohio record of Allen's Hummingbird, from late fall/early winter 2009. Ditto the Calliope Hummi…

Ballooning spiders

Fear not, ye arachnophobes. The subject of this entry is indeed about spiders, but the star of the show is about as cute as a spider can get. And you'll want to know what we're about to learn...

On my recent West Virginia foray, we were strolling down a seldom-used lane, when a bright yellow object caught our eye. It was a goldenrod crab spider, Misumena vatia, on top of a post! Not only that, she - it is a girl - was acting extraordinarily goofy. The spider would stilt up as high as she could go on her legs, weave back and forth, jig side to side, and otherwise engage in what appeared to be spider break-dancing.

Click the pic for expansion, and you can see two columns of silk issuing from her spinnerets. This is an important point, as we set about determining what this non-web-making spider is doing.


So fixated was our spider on her task that she even rejected what would seem to me to be a perfectly scrumptious meal. This little caterpillar climbed rapidly up the post and dire…