Monday, 4 January 2021

Parque National Manuel Antonio

On March 19 I awoke before dawn to listen to the forest come alive. Little Tinamou, Yellow-throated Toucan, Blue Ground-Dove and various flycatchers all joined in for the dawn chorus. After breakfast, we watched a Bicolored Hawk fly over us. It is always a treat to see this uncommon hawk in the Neotropics. 

We left the Hot Springs Lodge area and rumbled down the gravel road back to the highway. A short distance later, we turned off the road and headed towards Parque National Manuel Antonio, arriving around 8:30 AM. The cool morning was quickly heating up and bird activity had already began to diminish. 

Mouthless Crab (Cardisoma crassum) - PN Manuel Antonio

PN Manuel Antonio is set up for muggles who wish to get in their nature experience. Along the well-worn trails it is an easy place to see a number of mammal species which are acclimated to the crowds of tourists. These include Brown-throated Three-toed Sloths, Hoffman's Two-toed Sloths, and three of Costa Rica's four monkeys: Mantled Howler, White-throated Capuchin, and Central American Squirrel Monkey. 

White-throated Capuchin - PN Manuel Antonio

Upon arrival, several guys wearing fake national park uniforms forced us to pay for parking at a location quite far from the national park gate. It was only after the fact that we realized these guys were not actually affiliated with the park, and there were better parking options closer. Others harassed us in an attempt to sell trinkets or to offer their guiding services. These early experiences put our guard up, but once we were actually in the park we were able to relax a little. The joys of visiting touristy areas when traveling!

We walked on some of the trails for an hour or two in the morning. Despite the mid-morning heat we found a few interesting birds, such as some vocalizing Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls and Fiery-billed Aracaris, Slaty-tailed and Black-throated Trogons, Golden-naped Woodpeckers, Black-bellied and Riverside Wrens, and lots of Black-hooded Antshrikes. Five species of migrant wood-warblers were a nice addition to our lists as well. A stroll around the Sendero Punta Catedral provided excellent views of the coastline, including numerous Brown Boobies by their nesting colony. Later in the afternoon, we stumbled across a rather tame pair of Ruddy Quail-Doves. 

Ruddy Quail-Dove - PN Manuel Antonio

Ruddy Quail-Dove - PN Manuel Antonio

We enjoy numerous reptile sightings during our visit. The most common, by far, were the ubiquitous Black Spiny-tailed Iguanas, followed by Delicate Ameivas and Common Basilisks. We also found two new species of anoles and a Speckled Racer, which bolted after a quick look. 

Black Spiny-tailed Iguana (Ctenosaura similis) - PN Manuel Antonio

Many-scaled Anole (Anolis polylepis) - PN Manuel Antonio

Copper Anole (Anolis cupreus) - PN Manuel Antonio

We encountered both species of sloths, a group of Mantled Howlers, and tons of bold White-throated Capuchins. My main target had been the Central American Spider Monkeys but that, unfortunately, was not to be. 

White-throated Capuchin - PN Manuel Antonio

White-throated Capuchin - PN Manuel Antonio

Despite the crowds of people, we were able to find a relatively secluded beach for some mid-day relaxation in the sun. This provided a good opportunity to put our snorkels and masks to use. The beaches here really are quite picturesque.

PN Manuel Antonio

By early afternoon we were ready to head back to our accommodations. We stopped in town to fill up on groceries and visited a nearby restaurant with a magnificent view over a valley. Evidence of the pandemic was finally beginning to be seen as we had to use hand sanitizer upon arrival and every other table was out of order. This seemed a bit odd at the time, but now it is just a part of life...

That evening I set up my moth sheet for the final time in Costa Rica. The diversity was a little better than the previous night. In fact, there was almost no overlap with the species. Ah, the biodiversity of the tropics.

Hypercompe caudata - Hot Springs Lodge area, Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Jupoata rufipennis - Hot Springs Lodge area, Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Unidentified treehopper (tribe Ceresini) - Hot Springs Lodge area, Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Eucereon formosum - Hot Springs Lodge area, Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Abrochocis esperanza - Hot Springs Lodge area, Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Idalus critheis - Hot Springs Lodge area, Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Unidentified Scoopwing Moth (subfamily Epipleminae) - Hot Springs Lodge area, Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Cosmosoma caecum - Hot Springs Lodge area, Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Epeiromulona sp. - Hot Springs Lodge area, Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Unidentified Planthopper (tribe Flatini) - Hot Springs Lodge area, Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Phostria tedea - Hot Springs Lodge area, Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Trichromia cardinalis - Hot Springs Lodge area, Puntarenas, Costa Rica

The award for Insect Of The Night was a tie; shared between a Peruvian Shield Mantis and a Split-eyed Owlfly. 
 
Peruvian Shield Mantis (Choeradodis rhombicollis) - Hot Springs Lodge area, Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Peruvian Shield Mantis (Choeradodis rhombicollis) - Hot Springs Lodge area, Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Ululodes cajennensis - Hot Springs Lodge area, Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Ululodes cajennensis - Hot Springs Lodge area, Puntarenas, Costa Rica

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