Monday, December 07, 2009

Costa Rica: Aerial Tram Ride

The final section of the 3-in-1 day tour was an aerial tram ride through and over the rainforest.

The five of us and a guide squeezed into a tiny gondola and spent the next hour getting a slow and often close-up look at trees and plants. On the outward part of the ride, we traveled through the lower canopy.

On the return part, the gondola took us up to and over the canopy.

To be honest, it wasn't very exciting. However, our guide did his best to engage us by telling some interesting facts about the local flora and fauna; for example, because there is no defined growing season in Costa Rica, the trees there have no annual rings by which they can be dated. And it was rather cool to look down on 20-foot-wide ferns and other plants that we usually look up to.

At the end of the ride, our guide showed us a rather fine stick insect ...

I begged off the next event, a visit to butterfly and snake collections, in order to do a little birding around the tram terminal. As I was admiring an unusual butterfly ...

a local birding guide came up and introduced himself, asking if I'd like to see an anteater that he'd just been watching. We both scoured the area where he'd seen the animal and we soon spotted it. Unfortunately, we were too close and it moved away almost immediately.

As my newly-found friend had nothing to do until his transportation arrived, he and I spent the next 15 minutes birding together. It was a very quiet time of day for birds but we did spot a couple of Chestnut-mandibled Toucans and then two new species: Black-and-yellow Tanager and White-necked Jacobin hummingbird.

By now it was time to meet up again with my group - and for the very best sighting of my three days in Costa Rica. The anteater (more accurately, a Northern Tamandua) suddenly climbed out of the undergrowth and spent the next few minutes wandering about in the branches right above our heads.

I managed to get a couple of better photos ...

and even to take some video.

What a great way to end the tour!


Pam said...

How fantastic to get the shots of the anteater. Despite not having a lot of time you certainly managed to see plenty - well worth the few days you spent there?

Jeff said...

I had fun but it was really frustrating. Even a week would be frustrating, because there are so many different things and areas to see. So definitely a place for an extended holiday/vacation.

sharon said...

Looks like a fantastic place to visit! Nice shots of the anteater and the stick insect is impressive!

Jeff said...

Hi, Sharon. The stick insect was VERY impressive. I couldn't see it at first because I was looking for something much smaller.

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