Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Last Morning at La Selva Biological Station

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March 16 was our final morning at La Selva Biological Station. Since the previous two days had gone so well, I did not have any pressing bird targets to seek out. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast around 7 AM before crossing the swing bridge and birding a different trail. 

One of the highlight birds for everyone was this Chestnut-colored Woodpecker that perched in a tree just above eye-level. If only I had not screwed up the focus of this photo!

Chestnut-colored Woodpecker - La Selva Biological Station, Heredia, Costa Rica

It was a sweltering morning and birding was a little slower when compared to the previous day. Most species were repeats, though we added a few new ones. A Long-billed Starthroat perched in the same tree as the Chestnut-collared Woodpecker. An Eye-ringed Flatbill perched motionless on a horizontal twig. Northern Waterthrush and Ringed Kingfisher were found along the Río Puerto Viejo. And some heard-onlies, such as Great Antshrike, Black-faced Antthrush, and Lineated Woodpecker, were also new ones for the trip. 

Orses cynisca - La Selva Biological Station, Heredia, Costa Rica

It was a good day for cotingas. We viewed a pair of Snowy Cotingas from the swing bridge, though they were further than the previous day's sighting and I did not take any photos. It was nice for Laura and my parents to see this species, though! A little while later, some interesting vocalizations caught my ear, leading us to some very distant Purple-throated Fruitcrows in the canopy. 

It was mainly the herps that provided the best photographic opportunities.

Strawberry Poison Dart Frog (Oophaga pumilio) - La Selva Biological Station, Heredia, Costa Rica

A sprinkling of rain during the night was all that was needed to get the Strawberry Poison Dart Frogs out and about. We must have seen over a dozen of the little gems!

Strawberry Poison Dart Frog (Oophaga pumilio) - La Selva Biological Station, Heredia, Costa Rica

Strawberry Poison Dart Frog (Oophaga pumilio) - La Selva Biological Station, Heredia, Costa Rica

Any day that you see a snake in the tropics is a good day for Laura and I. Indeed, today was declared a good day when I noticed a sleek, black serpentine shape stretched out on the top of a bank near a small creek. I called everyone over and we enjoyed excellent looks at the impressively long specimen. I originally thought that this was a very dark Bird-eating Snake, but upon doing more research I determined that it was an Ecuador Sipo (Chironius grandisquamis). This was a milestone for me since it was the 100th species of snake that I have photographed in the wild. 

Ecuador Sipo (Chironius grandisquamis) - La Selva Biological Station, Heredia, Costa Rica

I tried to catch this individual but I should have known that my attempt would be futile. Sipos are extremely fast, much more so than a clumsy gringo. It whipped off the side of the embankment towards the creek. 
Ecuador Sipo (Chironius grandisquamis) - La Selva Biological Station, Heredia, Costa Rica

The Black River Turtle seems to be the default aquatic species in this part of Costa Rica. In fact it was the only turtle species that we encountered at La Selva. This one slipped off its log as we approached its creek, but it did not go far. 

Black River Turtle (Rhinoclemmys funerea) - La Selva Biological Station, Heredia, Costa Rica

Turtlin' - La Selva Biological Station, Heredia, Costa Rica

Our time at La Selva was unfortunately coming to an end. And later that day, Laura and I quickly realized that our galavanting in Central and South America was also going to be put on hold temporarily. 

We left La Selva and traveled west, crossing over the mountains and skirting San Jose on our way to the Jaco area on the Pacific Coast. We checked the internet and saw that the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, had issued a request to all Canadians that were abroad to come home "while you still can". We had been putting off the inevitable for the first few days of my parents' trip but could not any more. That evening, at our apartment in Jaco, we made the tough decision to book flights home to Canada. Luckily, Laura and I were able to book tickets for the same flight that my parents were scheduled to fly on. It was a tough decision, but a necessary one as Covid-19 was becoming a very real threat around the globe. 

As I write this over eight months later, the snow flies outside and the virus continues to wreak havoc around the world. In the grand scheme of things, not being able to travel is a relatively trivial problem when others are facing real loss. 

At least, in recent weeks there have been some positive developments on the vaccine front. 2020 is nearly behind us and I think that 2021 will be a much better year. Fingers crossed. In the meantime, I still have a few more Costa Rica posts from the remainder of my parents' visit. Stay tuned.

1 comment:

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