Sunday, December 06, 2009

Costa Rica: Selva Verde

Our 90-minute visit to the Selva Verde bi
ological station started off in style: A sloth was hanging out in a tree overlooking the parking lot. Although my photos show nothing more than a dark blob among the leaves, we were able to see the sloth fairly clearly through binoculars.

Next up was a 20-minute hunt for poison dart frogs. This took us past a few butterflies and fungi, and lots of interesting plants, including red (inedible) bananas.

It didn't take long to find a "strawberry" frog.

A few minutes more and I spotted a "blue Jeans" poison dart one also - but this time my flash malfunctioned.

Heading back to the lodge for lunch, we passed another stunning iguana and several small lizards.

The biggest lizard was a Jesus Christ Lizard, so called because it can walk - well, run - on water.

We also passed some very large termite nests in the trees.

Although birds were largely conspicuous by their absence, I got a brief glimpse of a Violet-crowned Woodnymph hummingbird, which appeared almost totally black from the front.

A nearby bird-feeding table was attracting Montezuma Pendulas and Blue-gray Tanagers.

Montezuma Pendula

Blue-gray Tanager

With the help of a young researcher, we also saw a larger green frog with its eggs ...

and a Praying Mantis.

The lunch buffet looked very appetizing but I contented myself with bolting down some forkfuls of beans and rice, so that I could spend a few extra minutes around the bird-feeding table. On my way there, I met up with the Jesus Christ Lizard again.

The fruit on the table had brought in a Black-cheeked Woodpecker as well as a Clay-colored Robin. A Summer Tanager popped in but was scared away by the arrival of a pair of Montezuma Pendulas.

Then, just as I had to leave to get back on the bus, I was thrilled to see a Gray-headed Chachalaca come down from the trees to eat. A wonderful bird and a great way to wrap up the all-too-short visit to Selva Verde.

Tomorrow: An aerial tram ride through the rain forest and a great final sighting


Birdwoman said...

Wonderful photographs of a wonderful place. The birds are great but I especially love the frogs and lizards. Interesting creatures.

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Pam said...

Fantastic posts on your trip, some great photos and what an amazing array of wildlife you have seen. Sloths are the oddest creatures!

Jeff said...

The frogs and lizards are fascinating, Birdwoman. I wish I'd had time to see more of them.

I'm with you, Pam: sloths are very odd. I often think they look like ghosts are supposed to look.

Elizabeth said...

I have really enjoyed your Costa Rica pictures. The sloth is so great! I love sloths. Every time I see one, my initial reaction is still to think that the picture is fake.

Jeff said...

I know what you mean, Elizabeth. Sloths are very unlikely animals.