Day 6/23

Morning

Yesterday I have checked the weather forecast and that looked very bad. I had already made plans to depart to the north-west, because the weather is always fine there. This morning I wake up and discover a beautiful blue sky overhead. That changes things completely. A few days before the predictions were just fine for this area but yesterday they were not.

Around 07:00 I go to Santuario Ecologico and hope to see some animals there. It is very difficult to find and there is also nobody at the entrance except for a noisy little dog. I walk around the house and notice a woman very deep asleep. I quickly go back before I startle her. I am not in the mood to just wait here until someone comes around here en just go into the forest. First to a not-so-special-little-waterfall. While I am busy photographing, a large bird arrives from the left. It is standing just right of the stone and is a bit blurry by the long exposure.

Waterfall, Santuario Ecologico, Monteverde area,, Costa Rica.

It crosses the stream and then I lose it.

Hereafter I walk a couple of trails. The first few stay on even terrain but the Red-trail descends deep into the canyon and I decide to take that one. Somewhere half way down I find this beautiful vivid fern.

Fern, Santuario Ecologico, Monteverde area, Costa Rica.

Very steep indeed and the trail has been destroyed in various places by landslides en fallen trees. I check whether the ground is stable enough and climb further. Nothing as bad as going back where you came from. In the end it has been a tough path to follow and I did not see any animal. Back at the entrance, someone is finally there and I pay for my ticket.

Next, I pay a visit to a habitat for Hummingbirds. In front of the cafΘ there are feeders with swarms of Hummingbirds surrounding them. The area on the other side of the road does appeal to me: Hummingbirds in the wild. When I want to pay for the ticket, they are startled: ‘Wow a customer’. Now I do understand why. You can enter the are as there is no one controlling it. All in all I wandered there for 20 minutes and then I had seen it all. No Hummingbird to see. I have seen 3 butterflies, that is all.

Better to check out the feeders. There are some 10 Bananaquits, small little birds and an aweful lot of Hummingbirds. Finally some nice photographs again. Time was already pressing. I photograph for some two hours here. I have shot so many. Not all perfect, but a lot of them are more than ok.

Bananaquit, Monteverde area, Costa Rica.

Bananaquit, Monteverde area, Costa Rica.

Bananaquit, Monteverde area, Costa Rica.

Bananaquit, Monteverde area, Costa Rica.

Bananaquit, Monteverde area, Costa Rica.

Bananaquit and Hummingbird. Actually I had to make two exposures, one focused on each bird to get both sharp.

Bananaquit, Monteverde area, Costa Rica.

First I try to capture some Hummingbirds in flight but that proves to be quite difficult. They are so fast. The only place where they are kind of stable is close to the feeders.

Hummingbird, Monteverde area, Costa Rica.

Hummingbird, Monteverde area, Costa Rica.

But soon I discover that here they also take rests in between, nicely posing for a good sharp shot.

Hummingbird, Monteverde area, Costa Rica.

Hummingbird, Monteverde area, Costa Rica.

Hummingbird, Monteverde area, Costa Rica.

Hummingbird, Monteverde area, Costa Rica.

Hummingbird, Monteverde area, Costa Rica.

Hummingbird, Monteverde area, Costa Rica.

Then I find a Praying Mantis on a leaf.

Praying Mantis, Monteverde area, Costa Rica.

Praying Mantis, Monteverde area, Costa Rica.

Praying Mantis, Monteverde area, Costa Rica.

A French woman does not understand her camera and I help her with the settings. She did not get the colours of the birds right.

A Scottisch ‘birder’ tips me to go to La Selva. Hundreds of bird species are flying there. That is in the north-east, back in the direction of Arenal and Poas. Direct routes from here do not exist. I am not sure whether it is best go east or west. Difficult, very difficult…

Afternoon

In the afternoon I relax a bit, after 7 hours of walking around. Life is good here in the garden.

Evening

At 17:00 I go to the Children’s Eternal Rainforest for a night tour. While I wait for the guide to arrive, the sun sets and leaves a nice dark yellow glow behind it. Quickly I shoot a couple.

Sunset, Monteverde area, Costa Rica.

Somewhat later, the light gets even better, but the guide has arrived in the meantime. Better not to take risks in the dark.

A see of red eyes is awaiting me, according to the Lonely Planet. Well, that is bit overdone. I actually see 3 eyes glowing from a couple of moths (-;

But I have to admit. It is a nice tour with a knowledgable guide. We see a couple of sleeping birds, among which a Toukan. They tend to sleep in tiny trees on thin branches. Reason is that snakes or other predators would shake these trees, awakening the bird that might have a chance to escape. Furthermore, a walking stick of around 8 centimeters. Walking sticks can grow here up to 30 centimeters and a finger thick. We also see a walking leaf. Cute little animal. There seem to exist walking flowers as well, but not here. We also see a Coati, some large butterflies (Monarch), a huge Tarantula, handsized and coloured black with orange. These wait in a hole in the ground and if you shove a stick along the sand inside, they come out and bite the stick. I have made a mental note about their where abouts and will visit them again in the morning at daylight. Maybe he wants to pose for me a bit (-; Furthermore we see some small spiders, some frogs and a sloth high in the tree and barely visible.

December is the most windy month overhere. The best time to visit is april-may. It is a lot more busy, but there is no wind. Every animal movement can easily be heard this way. Now, everything is drown out by the noisy wind. I had hoped to see more larger animals. A couple from New York has just arrived from Arenal and have done a night tour overthere. They have seen a lot of frogs and even a couple of snakes.

The guide tells us that a lot of Bromelia’s are growing in the trees around Arenal and frogs just love that. In Monteverde everything is covered with epiphytes while here, less than a kilometer from Monteverde there is a transition forest without both Epiphytes and Bromelia’s.

Withint two weeks the hole country overflows with Americans and then everything will be booked completely. Night tours with 50 people are no exception. This time we are with four. So I have picked the right time.

Tomorrow morning I will return to the Hummingbirds and after that to the same forest as tonight but then at daylight. After that I will continue to the north west.

Maps, Charts & Downloads

GPS Map with color coded altitude information

Color coded distance/altitude chart

Color coded distance/altitude chart, Costa Rica Dry Season 2011, Day 6

Download the original gpx file here.

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