Friday, January 10, 2014

La Selva - Trails

When we weren’t on the lake with our guide we were out on one of the trails hiking through the rain forest. We never had any rain, but there were still wet spots where the rubber boots were necessary. We were fortunate that the four of us had our own private guide so it was easy to hear him tell us all about the flora and fauna and how the indigenous peoples used the various plants and animals.

A termite home. They don't harm the trees unlike some other parasites.

This flower is used for birth control. The black spots are flies.
We saw lots of spiders and other creepy-crawlies, but never saw a snake. It looks like Linda will get her wish and not have to see a snake here just like she never saw one in Africa. They do have anacondas here, but none showed up for us. We also saw quite a few birds, but pictures are difficult in the dense, dark forest. Even when you do get a clear view, the birds seldom stay put long enough to get a clear focus.

Find the Leaf Frog

One morning we started by climbing some 125 steps to the top of a tower built around a kapok tree. This put us at the top of the forest where we had a unique opportunity to see birds that were unavailable at ground level. Andres, our guide was disappointed in the number of birds we saw that morning. He said they needed some rain to get things growing and making the birds more active. I found it hard to be too disappointed when we saw eleven new birds that morning and had some great views of capuchin and spider monkeys playing in the trees.

On two evenings I went out looking for owls. Andres arranged for another guide, someone who knows where to find owls, to take me out alone after dinner. We had  just our flashlights to guide us. We stopped several times with the lights off. It was so dark that I had visions of being left behind with no idea which way would get me back to the lodge. After a couple of hours of nothing but owls calling in the distance we made our way back to camp. The next night I joined another couple from Costa Rica with a different guide who is an expert at finding owls. We stopped in one spot for about 45 minutes while he tried to call them to us. Again we heard them, but did not see anything. He said that to have the best chance of seeing owls, we needed some moonlight which was available at 4:00 in the morning. There were no takers. Maybe next time. 

On the last morning as we were preparing to leave this very rare Bald-faced Ibis stopped by for a visit. 

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