This is a continuation of my trip to Costa Rica from August.
I know some of us get tired of trying to get through a 200 photo mega post, so I will break this trip up into
Aguas Zarcas Area - Frogs
Aguas Zarcas Area - Reptiles
Caño Negro Area
Sarapiqui Area - You Are Here
While we were staying in the Aguas Zarcas area, we wanted to get a little bit lower in elevation for birds and herps and some research led us to the Nature Pavilion (aka Sarapaqui Eco-observatory). This place is set up largely for bird photography (and is unbelievable for that ), but it also has a series of trails along the river bottom allowing access to some decent patches of secondary forest. They do charge for access (like most places in CR it seems ), but Dave Jr. couldn't have been nicer and more helpful. Apparently, no one had ever asked to access their trails after dark before but he was willing to allow us to access them for some herp photography. We probably saw more herps along his trails in the daytime anyway.
For birds, this place was spectacular. They feed birds from the deck and some pretty remarkable birds are easily seen and photographed from there -
Crimson-collared Tanager -
Green Honeycreeper -
as well as some awesome hummingbird feeders on the back deck that are swarming with hummingbirds (Rufous-tailed in this case) -
OK, enough birds. See my post on the birding forum if you need a bird photo fix.
As we looked at birds from the deck, we picked up a few herps.
Yellow-headed Geckos (Gonatodes albogularis) basked on the rocks next to the deck -
and some anoles that I believe to be the Slender Anole (Anolis limifrons) -
In the forest we saw more Slender Anoles (A. limifrons) sleeping at night -
and some "Humble" Anoles (Anolis humilis) active in the day -
The most abundant herps here were the frogs. In the evening we found a number of Tink Frogs (Diasporus cf. diastema) - but I didn't photograph any.
I did find this single hylid that I believe to be the Mountain Stream Treefrog (Isthmohyla rivularis) -
But what this place did have in abundance were dendrobatids. These frogs are common, and hop around the forest floor in broad daylight, yet they can be very frustrating to photograph. They rarely stop hopping for more than a few seconds and they always turn their backs to you when you approach with a camera!
There were a few Green-and-Black Poison-Dart Frogs (Dendrobates auratus)
but by far the most abundant herp was the Strawberry Poison-Dart Frog (Oophaga pumilio). It was hard not to step on them in some areas of the trail.
All the frogs we saw where the "Blue Jeans" phase -
The only chance I got to get a decent photo of one was when I came across one sleeping at night on a leaf -
Everywhere you went in the forest, you heard the insect-like calls of the Strawberry Poison-Dart Frogs -
So the Nature Pavilion was a great stop for bird photos and a pretty nice place to hike for herps. We only spent a few hours hiking around there and I'm sure that if we had given it some more time we could have recorded more species there.
My overall summary was that Costa Rica was fun. It was pretty easy to access and has a good diversity of herps and birds. It was a bit pricey, but that is to be expected to what is largely an "eco-tourist trap". I would make a trip back if the opportunity presented itself.
It is highly recommended as a good stepping off point for those new to international herping.
My species list is as follows (I may have missed one or two - these are what I have in Herpmapper with vouchers) -
Frogs and Toads:
Craugastor cf. fitzingeri
Dedicated exclusively to field herping.
Moderator: Scott Waters
5 posts • Page 1 of 1
Fun posts. I love Costa Rica, touristy or not, the place delivers on having some of the most easily accessible wildlife viewing in the world. Nice job on getting a decent shot of the auratus. I have yet to accomplish that.
Wow! I've never gotten an up-close look at the green honeycreeper. It's always been a small green blur to me. And nice to see Gonatodes albogularis like that, I love the genus! Looks like a nice relaxing trip.
Chris - Great series. I was there back in June and the frog recordings really took me back. I really enjoyed the Isthmohyla. I saw another species in the genus, a cool couple frogs.