Saul might do a future post on our Costa Rican adventure, but in the meantime, here are a few photos to give you an idea of what we’ve been up to. If you’re a birder, you’re going to enjoy this gallery. If not, I hope you like reptiles!
A green iguana basks on a high branch
The Common Basilisk is known as the Jesus Christ lizard for its not-so-common ability to run on water in pursuit of its prey
Another iguana, perhaps contemplating whether this is the right tree to climb next
A Magnificent Hummingbird shows off his extra-long bill
Photographing hummingbirds in flight takes a lot of patience. With both the bird and its wings moving at lightning speed, this type of shot, with the wings frozen, is one of the more elusive ones to achieve.
A perched Green Violet-Ear
An extra pair of wings crept into the corner of this shot of a Magnificent Hummingbird
Hummingbirds are iridescent, meaning that their colours change depending on the viewing angle. The fiery throat is just barely visible in this pic, but gets much brighter if caught at that impossible perfect angle in the impossible perfect light.
Add rainy conditions, and the photographic challenges go up another notch
The Fiery-Throated Hummingbird’s brash metallic iridescence is evident in this sunlit shot
This beach is called Dominicalito, which means little Dominical. It is the sister beach to Dominical, a famous surfers’ beach in the laid-back and ever-so-slightly seedy surfers’ town of Dominical, where we spent 2 days.
For those who didn’t take geography at school (like me!), Costa Rica is on the isthmus (land bridge) between North and South America. It therefore has a Pacific and a Caribbean coastline. Doesn’t look like the Oregon coast, does it?
After the many beaches with freezing water that we encountered all the way down from Alaska, the suddenly balmy water of Costa Rica’s Pacific beaches was a real pleasure
Look at the sand grains at the bottom of this photo. This little hermit crab was about the size of my pinky nail. As I found when I got curious about why all the tiny shells on the beach were walkabout, there were hundreds of these little crabs on Dominicalito Beach.
Our eating establishments of choice in Costa Rica are called sodas. Sodas are basically the (far cheaper) Costa Rican equivalent of the American diner. Every town has a few and they all serve these plates of typical Costa Rican dishes.
Another soda favourite, batidos (fruit, ice and milk whizzed up in a blender) are rather more exciting than the rice and beans. They are my favourite way of consuming Costa Rica’s marvellous tropical fruit bounty.
An osprey caught in a less-than-elegant pose, probably drying his wings after fishing
The osprey’s competition fishes further down the river
The adult version of this bird is indeed little and blue, but this juvenile hiding among the Cattle Egrets and Snowy Egrets was betrayed by his pale greenish legs
We had a particularly good sighting of these strange-billed birds
Green iguanas are easy to miss when you’re just wandering around not looking for them, and gave me a couple of near heart attacks when they suddenly decided that I was going to brush them with my elbow and skedaddled
We spent a few minutes watching a pair of caracaras hunting near a beach, but were under pressure from disinterested Costa Rican beachgoers who actually wanted to use the narrow dirt road, which we were blocking, to access the beach
Something red at the top of a tree
When I sent our first picture of these ridiculously colourful parrots to my family, first question I got back was “Are they fake?”
These two were having a loud altercation, not sharing a kiss
Want to guess what we’re seeing?
The Resplendent Quetzal, one of the world’s most magnificent trogons
If this bird were a soft toy, I would think that the designer had been indulging in something illegal
Of the 6 quetzals we saw, this immature male was the only one to perch, briefly, in the open. He doesn’t yet have the tail streamers, but his kuif is definitely coming along!
“Playa” is the Spanish word for beach. A good word, I think.
This particular phenomenon is called a “sloth jam” and occurs when a sloth sticks his head out near a major beach
As you probably know, sloths move slowly. They also stay up in the treetops, except for once a week, when they come down to “use the facilities”. This makes them hard to see and harder to photograph, but with the help of a skilled nature guide, we tracked down 4 three-toed sloths in Manuel Antonio NP, the most-visited national park in Costa Rica.
The two-toed sloth is nocturnal, but this one was on the move looking for a more peaceful tree after being disturbed by a troop of monkeys
It’s not called a rainforest for nothing. Let’s just say that not all of our hikes are dry, and that some of our possessions definitely smell funny.
Didn’t really mean to develop a Star Wars theme in this gallery, but tell me this American Crocodile doesn’t look like Jabba the Hutt!
Another resident of the Río Tárcoles
Not all the beaches in Costa Rica are sunshine and palm trees
Pura Vida is a local phrase. Its literal meaning is “pure life” but it appears to be used in many situations, including as a response to “How are you?”. Maybe I will come up with a better explanation in our next Costa Rican instalment, coming soon!