Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My Diary of My Trip to Costa Rica. Episode One

Arriving in Costa Rica, I was met at the airport and taken to hotel.  After checking in, my plan was to photograph their gorgeous guidance, however, it is the rainy season Costa Rica and a thunderstorm came up, so I sat on the balcony with my roommate and we just observed the changes in the sky and talk.  We met our leaders Greg and E.J, who discussed the plans for the following day and our itinerary
Before I left the Hotel I shot a couple of photos of the gardens.
 _D8C9368 July 15, 2012 NIKON D800 _D8C9371 July 15, 2012 NIKON D800 _D8C9376 July 15, 2012 NIKON D800
After breakfast, we brought out the gear and luggage and then Jose loaded everything on the bus and we started our trip to our first location, a lodge in the Atlantic lowland rainforest.  I obtain some photos through the bus window.
 _D8C9381 July 15, 2012 NIKON D800 _D8C9383-Edit July 15, 2012 NIKON D800
On the way to the lodge, we passed pineapple, yucca, heart of palm and pepper plantations.
 _D8C9407 July 15, 2012 NIKON D800
The problem we had on arriving in the closest town to the lodge was that the bridge over the small river  was washed out and we had to cross on a temporary log and rock filled incline.  People from the lodge brought our gear and luggage over and they transported us up to the lodge.
 _D8C9410 July 15, 2012 NIKON D800
After signing in and obtaining our rooms, and having lunch; everyone set up on the covered porch to start photographing.  We were looking for Toucans, Oropendulas, Parrots and many other species of birds.  Over the next 2 days, the group divided it's time between photographing from the open covered porch at the lodge, One third traveled to the Lodge managers house where there were perches set up the photograph  Many of the smaller bird species, such as honey creepers and finches. 
 _D8C0068-Edit July 15, 2012 NIKON D800
Shining Honeycreeper
 _D8C0121 July 15, 2012 NIKON D800
Blue-grey Tanager
 _D8C0139-Edit July 15, 2012 NIKON D800
Montezuma Oropendola
 _D8C0435 July 16, 2012 NIKON D800
Green Honeycreeper
 _D8C3271 July 18, 2012 NIKON D800
Collared Aracari
 _D8C9962-Edit July 15, 2012 NIKON D800
Black-checked Woodpecker
 _D8C9429 July 15, 2012 NIKON D800
Great Kiskadee
 _D8C9964 July 15, 2012 NIKON D800
Brown-hooded Parrot
 _D8C9995-Edit July 15, 2012 NIKON D800
Brown-hooded Parrot
_D8C2352-Edit July 17, 2012  500.0 mm f-4.0
Keele-billed Toucan
Collared Aticari - Pteroglossus torquqtus,
Collared Acarira
There were also opportunities to photograph everything from caimans to ants and other macro subjects. 
Leafcutter ant
Leaf-cutting Ant
One of the more interesting subjects to photograph and watch was the green basilisk lizard, otherwise known as the Jesus Christ lizard because it's ability to run on water.  It was interesting to watch one of those lizards running on water, they really do it.  They are able to do this because of long toes on the rear feet, and fringes of skin that open up in the water that increase the surface area.  As a rapidly run, they slap the splayed feet against the water and create a tiny year pocket that helps them from sinking, as long as they can keep their speed up.
Green Basilisk Green Basilisk
From the porch, one of the afternoons, we did observe a caimans swimming in the lagoon below us.  But, the best views of the of the caimans were at night.  The lodge offers a walk with the night watchman, who feeds chicken parts to the caimans.  The watchman has named the caimans and calls them to come get their food.  We were able to be close to the caimans, not in any danger, and able to touch their tails.
Spectacted Caimen _D7K3361 July 17, 2012 NIKON D7000Spectacted Caimen
In fact, he had the youngest member of our group, a great young lady who is14 years old, straddle a caiman’s tail.
 _D7K3414 July 17, 2012 NIKON D7000
The weather was hot and humid, with rain showers and storms intermittently.  It usually did not take long for our close to become damp with perspiration, and the best time of the day was the evening shower.  The meals were served buffet style, and typical Costa Rican recipes with plenty of fresh fruits.  In fact, one of the best events was when they had just harvested pineapples, and they served us slices of those pineapples, which were the most tastiest pineapple I have ever eaten.  The pineapple was juicy and warm, having just come off the plant.  I could've eaten the whole pineapple myself.
We finished our visit to the lodge in the same way that we had arrived, packing up the vehicles, traveling down to the river, and crossing the river, then loading everything onto our bus to be on the road again.  To be continued in the next blog.