Costa Rica: First day near Carbonera, day and night wildlife

8 May

Lovely morning. I was up early but not early enough to see the sun rise. Still, as the sun was rising to reach the layer of clouds that hung over us all day, the view at that time was really pretty:

Sunrise, Playa Carbonera

Sunrise, Playa Carbonera

This day was devoted to spotting wildlife, as was the early night since we had signed up for the lodge night walk with young naturalist Guillermo.

During breakfast one of the naturalists came in the main bungalow, holding a small coral snake on the back on his hand:

Young coral snake on the hand of the naturalist who found it

Young coral snake on the hand of the naturalist who found it

We thought this had to be the non-poisonous fake coral snake, which pattern of coloured rings differs from the venomous one. But it was the Costa Rica coral snake. It was just still too little to be able to bite. The naturalist let it go on the ground next to us, where it tried to hide under Vlad’s flip flop, and then under a rock. A bit later, it was about to slither away:

Young coral snake coiled on the ground

Young coral snake coiled on the ground

We decided to walk down to the beach. On our way we saw a young green iguana:

Young green iguana

Young green iguana

And we saw a couple of coati mundi in a mango tree, hunting for fruit. Here is one:

Coati mundi in a mango tree, at snack time

Coati mundi in a mango tree, at snack time

We ventured away from the country road into what we thought was a short cut to the beach but was in fact a private property, and back-tracked. But I stole (snapped) a few photos, including a pineapple, a bungalow, and a beautiful red hibiscus flower that looks like a Christmas tree bauble:

Pineapple growing

Pineapple growing


Bungalow

Bungalow


Red Japanese lantern, a species of hibiscus with chiseled petals.

Red Japanese lantern, a species of hibiscus with chiseled petals.

At the beach our attention was drawn to a tree that was squawking. Several scarlet macaw were perched and as we drew closer we saw them through the foliage. Here is one holding in its beak what it was going to tear to pieces and eat (almond), and the same bird flying away later in a blur of red and blue feathers:

Scarlet macaw

Scarlet macaw


Scarlet macaw flying away

Scarlet macaw flying away

We also saw a mangrove black hawk perched on a palm tree and surveying the beach:

Mangrove black hawk

Mangrove black hawk

Back up the hill to the main bungalow. After lunch we observed a couple of Swainson toucans who were pretty close to where we were on the deck:

Swainson toucan

Swainson toucan


Dandy Swainson toucan

Dandy Swainson toucan

The sun sets around half past five and it gets dark shortly after 6 p.m. We were at the naturalists’ station for a night walk around one of the trails in the reserve. There were two other people with us, and Guillermo, the guide. The walk lasted almost two hours and near the end, I was glad I was doing it, but *so* ready to be out of the woods, away from its insect diversity. Here is is impressive list of what the guide spotted to show us: giant brown grasshopper, gaudy leaf frogs, basilisks, Jesus Christ lizards, a weird-looking angular black insect from the same family of the scorpion, wolf spiders, jumping spiders, asleep blue-throated female trogon, baby scorpion, Fer-de-lance snake, and finally, a tarantula.

Night insect of the family of the scorpion

Night insect of the family of the scorpion


Gaudy leaf frogs at night

Gaudy leaf frogs at night


Tarantula just out of her nest

Tarantula just out of her nest

And since we’re at the chapter of the night residents, here is a large moth (its width was about the length of my hand) that I photographed the day before:

Huge moth, its width was the length of my hand.

Huge moth, its width was the length of my hand.

After the emotion, we were ready for civilization, dinner and we rewarded ourselves with red wine from Chile.

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