Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

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MichaelCravens
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Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by MichaelCravens » October 25th, 2011, 7:54 pm

Costa Rica, my trip first out of North America, was a montage of exploring, chasing wildlife, and spending time with my girlfriend before she left for three months to Nicaragua. Therefore, this account will be a mix of herping and other photos.

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I spent nearly a month in Costa Rica on a very limited budget. My travels were by public transportation, and I couldn't afford guides, so I was left to my own devices. Going off of books I studied before leaving, and some sound advice from others on this forum, I managed to see some amazing jungles, coastline, and wildlife.

Part One: Tortuguero

My first destination was Tortuguero National Park, a lowland jungle on the northwestern coast. Getting here proved to be a crash course on travel in a foreign country. I didn't know a lick of Spanish, and didn't bother learning any because I planned on traveling with my girlfriend, Mary, and her friend, Kenzie, who are both fluent. Thanks to a mix up with the airline tickets and a mudslide, I was forced to spend the first three days on my own. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise. After a series of confusing taxi, bus, truck, and boat rides, I had not only made it to Tortuguero but also learned the necessary skills, and gained the confidence, that would help me navigate the rest of the trip.

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This orange-bellied swamp snake Tretanorhinus nigroluteus was the first herp of the trip, found under some trash on a river bank on my first evening in Tortuguero. I had no idea what it was until I returned home and looked it up in Savage. You can easily see all the grain in this image from the high ISO I was using. Unfortunately, this will be a recurring theme throughout all of the following photos, as I forgot to turn it back down for the remainder of the trip.

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The next morning I headed into the national park where I came across well defined trails cutting through the forest. These trails were crawling with leaf cutter ants. It just so happened that I had recently read Parasite Rex by Carl Zimmer and learned that the ant riding on the leaf is not just lazy, but has a job. Its job is to attack a parasitic fly whose intention is to lay its eggs inside the head of the carrier ant.

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I was extremely excited to see this eyelash viper Bothriechis schlegelii glowing in the vegetation.

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A local kid flagged me down and showed me this brown vine snake Oxybelis aeneus in an overgrown fence line.

Finding a place to herp legally at night is harder that you would think without a guide. But through talking with locals, I found a preserve that would let me in for the equivalent of two dollars a night.

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My first smoky jungle frog Leptodactylus savagei

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Yellow blunt-headed Snake Imantodes inornatus

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This white-lipped mud turtle kinosternon leucostomum was found at night swimming in some flood waters along with another.

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One of my most wanted species, the red-eyed treefrog Agalychnis callidryas, showed up in the beam of my headlamp.

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Many of the other variations of the eyelash viper showed up on my nightly jungle walks.

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This brown wood turtle Rhinoclemmys annulata was found at night as well.

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This Halloween snake Urotheca euryzona had me second guessing picking it up due to its resemblance to one of the regions coral snakes.

During my evenings spent hunting at night in Tortuguero, I also spotted some great mammals like the common opossum and the kinkachoo.

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A local and I hitched a ride with a fisherman down river to an ancient volcano “The Hill” where I was excited to find my first strawberry poison arrow frog Oophaga pumilio.

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This whip scorpion was found clinging to the wall of a damp cave.

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While waiting to catch a ride back to Tortuguero, we sat and visited with a couple guys that were cleaning fish and iguanas. While one iguana was being butchered on the riverbank, the other was looking on, I have to assume in horror, with its legs bound behind its back. I went to photographing the unfortunate bound lizard and one of the guys came up and untied it for me. I guess he was thinking that I wanted a more natural photo of it when, in fact, I was much more interested in the scene that was unfolding. Without a common language in which to communicate, I couldn’t protest, so I just kept taking pictures. Shortly after the photo above was taken, the iguana, with a burst of speed, pulled its tail free from the guys hand, took a running leap, and dove into the river. On one hand, I felt a little guilty about the guy loosing his dinner on my account, but on the other, I couldn’t help but be happy for the free iguana.

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While waiting around the village for my companions to finally show, a group of boys got my attention and took me to this thing that was lying in a dried up ditch. My first impression was a salamander similar to an amphiuma, but through the research I did before leaving the states, I knew there weren’t any legless amphibians in the country aside from caecilians. I decided it was an eel, that maybe came to the surface in a last ditch effort to escape desiccation in the drying ground (?).

Finally, after three days and considerable worry on my part, Mary and Kenzie made it to Tortuguero.

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The following day we spent paddling and birding up tributary rivers into the jungle until they became too small to navigate.

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Flora along the river side

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My first spectacled caiman Camin crocodiles along with many black river turtles Rhinoclemmys funereal were spotted.

A short walk away from the river and into the jungle awarded us with more dart frogs, a rain frog, howler monkeys, white-headed capuchin monkeys, and spider monkeys.

Tortuguero was a great experience, I got my feet wet communicating, and even partying a bit, with the locals, got to see some great wildlife, and was able to paddle some beautiful jungle rivers.

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Our water taxi from Tortuguero

Part Two: Puerto Viejo and Cahuita

While I was focused on jungles and wildlife, Mary and Kenzie were focused on beaches and culture so, per their request, we headed south to Puerto Viejo. Puerto Viejo is a very colorful town with a lot of Caribbean influence. We mostly, explored the town, swam, and hung around the hostel drinking rum with pureed mango and papaya. Fortunately for me there were always new birds to see and Cahuita National Park was a relatively short bus ride away offering other wildlife.

A note on swimming in the ocean: take rip tides very seriously. Mary and I were going for a swim and everything was fine. She headed for shore with no apparent issues and I took a couple of steps deeper to rinse the sand out of my shirt. I started to swim back and soon realized that I wasn’t making any distance, in fact, I seemed to be getting deeper and farther away from shore. I kept swimming, kept getting hammered by the waves, and kept loosing energy. I could see Mary on the beach, looking concerned, and then a local showed up with the same look on his face. My thought process went something like this, well this is embarrassing, to this might be serious, and finally, to I’m going to drown! Obviously, I didn’t, I eventually broke free of the current, but it was exhausting and very scary. It seems obvious now, but not having spent much time swimming in the ocean, it never occurred to me that I was caught in a riptide until after the fact.

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This semi famous hostel, Rocking J’s, was our home for a few days.

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The equivalent of five dollars a night got you a hammock to sleep in.

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I met a lady at the hostel, who told me she had seen a sloth in a tree a couple of miles up the road. I hadn’t made it a mile when I saw this three-toed sloth slooowwwly crossing the road in front of me.

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After giving him a lift across the road, he climbed up into some shrubs and gave me the opportunity to get some shots.

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A street view of Puerto Viejo

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Street vendors were all over.

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Mid morning, the fisherman came in with their catch to sell.

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Four-lined ameivas Ameiva quadrilineata and yellow-headed geckos Gonatodes albogularis were common around the hostel.

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Just a couple photos of the coast around town.

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The best way to get around the area was by bicycle.

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Finally took a day to myself and visited Cahuita National Park where I found the other species of sloth, two-toed, sleeping high in a tree.

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Was hoping this was a crab-eating raccoon, but it appeared to be the northern species.

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I’ve traveled to south Texas twice hoping to see this species, Speckled Racer Drymobius margaritiferus, but with no success. I, of course, was pleased to see it in Costa Rica.

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Not sure what species of bat these are.

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Red-tailed squirrel

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The eyelash vipers were much larger here than those in Tortuguero.

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A brown basilisk Basiliscus vittatus

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This helmeted iguana Corytophanes cristatus was hiding deep in some vegetation.

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This is either a fledgling boat-billed or one of the knight herons.

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This Green Basilisk Basiliscus pulmifrons was my last herp upon leaving the park.

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Finishing off a good day with some grilled chicken, fish, pineapple, and some local brews.

Part Three: Manuel Antonio and Uvita

Despite the warnings of tidal waves, from the same event that was currently devastating Japan, we headed west for the Pacific coast. None of us were interested in visiting Manuel Antonio. The girls having already been there, warned me of too many tourists and high prices, but it was my only chance to see the northern subspecies of squirrel monkey, so they conceded to spending just one day there.

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This drab treefrog Smilisca sordida was found in the bathroom of our hostel.

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The next morning I was up early and waiting for the gates to open at Manuel Antonio National Park, where I saw this Central American Agouti.

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White-headed capuchins were common.

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Male Black Spinytail Iguana Ctenosaura similes…

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And a female

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A hike to the top of a hill, awarded me with this view.

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Finally, after completely giving up hope, I found a group of squirrel monkeys on my hike out of the park.

At this point of the trip, we all had big plans to explore Corcovado National Park, the largest tract of primary rainforest in Central America, before heading up north towards Nicaragua. Trouble securing permits to enter the park threw a wrench into our plans. Since Mary had to be in Nicaragua on a certain date, she couldn’t wait on permits, and since I wasn’t willing to miss Corcovado, we decided to spend our remaining days together in Uvita before parting ways for the next two months.

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Not a lot of herping was done here, but a lot of birding, snorkeling, and attempted surfing. One evening, I saw a huge crocodile in a lagoon at the entrance of Ballena National Marine Park. A couple of days later there was a buzz about a small girl walking her dog near the lagoon and being attacked by a crocodile. She survived, but lost a foot. It was speculated that the croc was going after the dog, but regardless they shot a large crocodile on the very next day.

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Ballena National Marine Park

Part Four: Peninsula de Osa and Corcovado


Unhappy about saying goodbye to Mary but, at the same time, very excited about seeing the Osa Peninsula and Corcovado National Park, I caught a bus south, alone.

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The marina I caught a boat to the peninsula from.

The first few nights I camped on a river near the edge of the park, still many miles into the forest, waiting for the entrance date on my permit. My days mostly consisted of birding and my nights herping. It was nice to be camped in a jungle where I could watch scarlet macaws and various toucans without leaving my encampment.

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My camp

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There were huge clusters of these butterflies along the river.

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This Gulfo Dulce Anole Anolis polylepis was found in camp.

My nightly trips into the jungle awarded me with many Anurans.

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Wet forest toad Incilius melanochlorus

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Cane toads Chaunus marinus

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Common rain frog Craugastor fitzingeri

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Drab treefrogs Smilisca sordida

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Smokey jungle frog Leptodactylus savage, in situ

One evening, while out herping late into the night, I spotted some glowing eyes far up in the canopy. After about an hour of moving around to, unsuccessfully, get a look at it, I discovered that I didn’t know which direction I had came from. This was a daunting revelation when standing in an enormous jungle, alone, in the middle of the night. I did eventually find my way back to the stream I had been following, but not without a considerable amount of panic. After this experience, I kept much closer to the trails and streams.

My itinerary for Corcovado National Park was to leave from Los Patos Station, which I had been camped near, backpack twenty plus miles across the park to Sirena Station, spend a couple of nights there and then hike the coast eighteen miles out to La Leona Station.

The hike in was beautiful and took me through many different forest types that I had yet experienced. While I was somewhat rushed to make the miles, I still managed to photograph a few critters.

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Pink-bellied litter snake Rhadinaea decorate

I also got a good look at a Central American forest racer Dendrophidion percarinatum, but it escaped without a photo.

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Brilliant forest frogs Lithobates warszewitschii were common on the forest floor.

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Rainforest rocket frog Silverstone flotator

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The roots of a giant old growth tree

One of my most wanted species on this trip was the green and black poison arrow frog Dendrobates auratus. It was the dry season, however, and Anurans were tougher than usual to come by. For this reason, I was extremely excited to see a perfect little green and black poison arrow frog hopping across the trail before ducking under a leaf. I took the opportunity to drop my pack, pull out my camera stuff, and set up a macro rig before moving the leaf to photograph the frog. Unfortunately, to my dismay, the little frog had vanished. I looked all over the place but couldn’t find it anywhere. This was also the last green and black poison arrow frog I would see on this trip.

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Getting close to Sirena Station, a large group of collared peccary crossed the trail in front of me.

Sirena Station was literally crawling with all sorts of wildlife. I would have loved to spend a full week or more there, but my permit only allowed me to stay two nights. My days were spent hiking coast line and jungle trails and my nights were spent spotlighting the surrounding flora.

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Two mangrove black-hawks hanging out on some rocks at low tide

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A pack of white-nosed coatis had found some old turtle eggs and were busy digging them up.

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This boa constrictor, up in a tree overhanging the beach, was a very exciting find for me.

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The beginnings of a coconut tree

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A small shorebird that I haven’t identified

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A bare-throated tiger-heron hanging out at a lagoon where I spent countless hours waiting, unsuccessfully, for a tapir to appear.

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These crabs were thick on the ground in some areas.

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Great Tinamou

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Looking up into a giant strangler fig

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A guide that I became friends with, that was working at the station, showing some roosted bats.

On my last night at the station I finally got some rain, which led to some great finds.

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This red vine snake Siphlophis compressus, showed an interesting behavior by, after being held and released, holding the curves of its body high in the air.

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A masked treefrog Smilisca phaeota

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The red-eyed treefrogs on the Pacific side are not nearly as attractive as those on the eastern side of the country.

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A large marbled treefrog Trachycephalus venulosus

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I’m not sure how it works out like this so often in field herping, but on the very last night of the trip, after searching countless hours, and many nights, I finally got my most wanted snake, the Fer-de-lance Bothrops asper.

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The hike out of Sirena was rushed, but gorgeous. Beautiful, wild, and desolate coastline the whole way and not another human to be found. Upon making it to a village, I hitched a ride to the nearest bus station and headed north for the air port and then back to the states.

I ended with 47 species of herps, and 101 species of birds (listed below), most all of which were lifers for me.

Complete Costa Rica Bird List

Total Species (101)

TINAMIDAE
Great Tinamou Tinamus major
PELECANIDAE
Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis
PHALACROCORACIDAE
Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus
FREGATIDAE
Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens
ARDEIDAE
Bare-throated Tiger-Heron Tigrisoma mexicanum
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
Great Egret Ardea alba
Snowy Egret Egretta thula
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Nyctanassa violacea
Boat-billed Heron Cochlearius cochlearius
THRESKIORNITHIDAE
White-faced Ibis Plegadis chihi
Green Ibis Mesembrinibis cayennensis
Roseate Spoonbill Ajaia ajaja
CATHARTIDAE
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
ANATIDAE
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna autumnalis
ACCIPITRIDAE
Osprey Pandion haliaetus
Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus
White Hawk Leucopternis albicollis
Common Black-Hawk Buteogallus anthracinus
Mangrove Black-Hawk Buteogallus subtilis
Great Black-Hawk Buteogallus urubitinga
FALCONIDAE
Crested Caracara Caracara plancus
Yellow-headed Caracara Milvago chimachima
Laughing Falcon Herpetotheres cachinnans
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrines
CRACIDAE
Gray-headed Chachalaca Ortalis cinereiceps
Crested Guan Penelope purpurascens
Great Curassow Crax rubra
HELIORNITHIDAE
Sungrebe Heliornis fulica
CHARADRIIDAE
Wilson's Plover Charadrius wilsonia
HAEMATOPODIDAE
American Oystercatcher Haematopus palliatus
COLUMBIDAE
Rock Dove Columba livia
Pale-vented Pigeon Columba cayennensis
Common Ground-Dove Columbina passerina
Ruddy Ground-Dove Columbina talpacoti
Blue Ground-Dove Claravis pretiosa
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi
PSITTACIDAE
Scarlet Macaw Ara macao
Orange-chinned Parakeet Brotogeris jugularis
Red-Lored Parrot Amazona autumnalis
Mealy Parrot Amazona farinose
CUCULIDAE
Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani
Groove-billed Ani Crotophaga sulcirostris
CAPRIMULGIDAE
Common Pauraque Nyctidromus albicollis
TROCHILIDAE
Bronzy Hermit Glaucis aenea
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia tzacatl
TROGONIDAE
Baird's Trogon Trogon bairdii
Black-throated Trogon Trogon rufus
Slaty-tailed Trogon Trogon massena
ALCEDINIDAE
Ringed Kingfisher Ceryle torquata
Belted Kingfisher Ceryle alcyon
Amazon Kingfisher Chloroceryle amazona
Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana
BUCCONIDAE
White-whiskered Puffbird Malacoptila panamensis
GALBULIDAE
Rufous-tailed Jacamar Galbula ruficauda
RAMPHASTIDAE
Fiery-billed Aracari Pteroglossus frantzii
Keel-billed Toucan Ramphastos sulfuratus
Chestnut-mandibled Toucan Ramphastos swainsonii
PICIDAE
Black-cheeked Woodpecker Melanerpes pucherani
Red-crowned Woodpecker Melanerpes rubricapillus
Lineated Woodpecker Dryocopus lineatus
Pale-billed Woodpecker Campephilus guatemalensis
DENDROCOLAPTIDAE
Cocoa Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus susurrans
Streak-headed Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes souleyetii
THAMNOPHILIDAE
Black-hooded Antshrike Thamnophilus bridgesi
Western Slaty Antshrike Thamnophilus atrinucha
Chestnut-backed Antbird Myrmeciza exsul
TYRANNIDAE
Common Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum cinereum
Bright-rumped Attila Attila spadiceus
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus
Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarhynchus pitangua
Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis
Gray-capped Flycatcher Myiozetetes granadensis
White-ringed Flycatcher Conopias albovittata
Streaked Flycatcher Myiodynastes maculatus
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus
Western Kingbird Tyrannus verticalis
Rufous Piha Lipaugus unirufus
HIRUNDINIDAE
Gray-breasted Martin Progne chalybea
Mangrove Swallow Tachycineta albilinea
SYLVIIDAE
Long-billed Gnatwren Ramphocaenus melanurus
Tropical Gnatcatcher Polioptila plumbea
TURDIDAE
Clay-colored Robin Turdus grayi
PARULIDAE
Buff-rumped Warbler Phaeothlypis fulvicauda
THRAUPIDAE
Passerini's Tanager Ramphocelus passerinii
Cherrie's Tanager Ramphocelus costaricensis
Blue-gray Tanager Thraupis episcopus
Red-legged Honeycreeper Cyanerpes cyaneus
EMBERIZIDAE
Variable Seedeater Sporophila Americana
Thick-billed Seed-Finch Oryzoborus funereus
Orange-billed Sparrow Arremon aurantiirostris
Black-striped Sparrow Arremonops conirostris
Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis
Buff-throated Saltator Saltator maximus
ICTERIDAE
Bronzed Cowbird Molothrus aeneus
Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula
Scarlet-rumped Cacique Cacicus uropygialis
Montezuma Oropendola Psarocolius montezuma

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robbielab
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by robbielab » October 25th, 2011, 8:14 pm

Some great finds and awesome pics, Michael. Not a bad choice of destination for a first trip out of the US!
The cluster of butterflies are actually a day-flying moth species Urania fulgens - gorgeous little things. :thumb:
Great post!

Cheers,
Robbie

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cbernz
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by cbernz » October 25th, 2011, 9:45 pm

Great set of photos. I never get tired of Costa Rica travelogues.

Your bats are Rhynchonycteris naso, one of the Long-nosed Bats. The heron is an immature Yellow-Crowned Night Heron. I think your first Smilisca is a Scinax elaeochroa. The shorebird is a plain old Spotted Sandpiper in winter plumage.

I'll trade you a dozen herps from my last trip for your compressus. That snake is ridiculously beautiful.

gus
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by gus » October 25th, 2011, 10:04 pm

Amazing, you've got some really cracking shots! I'll also never tire of Costa Rica shots

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Dell Despain
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by Dell Despain » October 25th, 2011, 10:11 pm

Nice post Michael, really enjoyed it. Glad you didn't drown in the rip tide, and it was a good thing to hear that the Iguana got away. I think I liked the Swamp snake the most of all animals posted, go figure.
Your most sought after snake in Cost Rica was a Bothrops a.? Go figure. :)

-Dell

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Rags
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by Rags » October 25th, 2011, 11:11 pm

Nice stuff, looks like you found some great creatures.

Enjoyed the photo of the ants and the Sloth amongst a good bunch. Bad luck on the Green and Black P.A. Frog.

Thanks for posting these. Rags

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Dr. Dark
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by Dr. Dark » October 26th, 2011, 2:55 am

GREAT post from my favorite herping place! I agree with cbenz...that S. compressus is insanely beautiful!

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MichaelCravens
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by MichaelCravens » October 26th, 2011, 4:07 am

cbernz and robbielab, thanks very much for the corrections and help.

You other guys, thanks for the comments!

Michael

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Matt.O
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by Matt.O » October 26th, 2011, 4:53 am

Awesome post Mike!!! Been looking forward to seeing a post from you and wasnt dissapointed. I believe your eel is a
Marbled Swamp Eel Synbranchus marmoratus or something similar looks just like the ones ive caught in Peru

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MichaelCravens
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by MichaelCravens » October 26th, 2011, 5:20 am

Thanks Matt! The marbled swamp eel is what I came up with after returning home. I'll take your opinion as confirmation and add it to the fish list.

Michael

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Mulebrother
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by Mulebrother » October 26th, 2011, 6:13 am

Attention Newbies
Use this as an example of 'how to post a herp trip on FHF'
This is the blueprint.
I normally dont care much for the central american posts...but this one was GREAT.
Thanks for taking us along!

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vincemartino
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by vincemartino » October 26th, 2011, 8:20 am

Awesome account of your trip and some great photos. I like your method of travel.

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MichaelCravens
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by MichaelCravens » October 26th, 2011, 12:07 pm

Mulebrother, thank you! That was quite a complement.

Vince, thank you too.

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Cole Grover
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by Cole Grover » October 26th, 2011, 12:26 pm

Bad-ass! Nice post, man. A month in Costa Rica, huh? That would be fantastic.

-Cole

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kcmatt
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by kcmatt » October 26th, 2011, 12:50 pm

Mike, great stuff! Especially as I am in the throes of planning a trip for next spring to include south of Puerto Viejo (after doing time at Manuel Antonio with the family). I am working the same things you found out, like nighttime access into jungle paths. You wouldn't think that would be a difficulty until you really look into it. I was very glad to see that you pulled a plumifrons in Cahuita. I am hoping to get one there or in Manzanillo. Corytophanes too. It seems that lots of folk find eyelashes on that coastal path in Cahuita also. Was the B. plumifrons near water or just along the path? Any decent snorkeling in Manuel Antonio?

Great adventure, thanks for the post.

mikemike
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by mikemike » October 26th, 2011, 12:50 pm

Awesome post, Michael. Great shots and I love seeing a huge variety. Thanks a lot for posting it for us.

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TNWJackson
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by TNWJackson » October 26th, 2011, 1:27 pm

Great post!

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Dan Krull
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by Dan Krull » October 26th, 2011, 2:05 pm

Wonderful job telling a story with the photos. The transition shots, habitat, pics of you and your lady, all brought the story together wonderfully! She's a keeper by the way. Not every woman can 1. look fantastic in the jungle, 2. go on a serious central american herping trip, and 3. balance a pineapple on her head. Get a ring!

Finally, I would be afraid of what your photography would look like if your ISO were set properly. Those were some wonderful shots dude. Great work. Thanks for posting!

Dan

OH yeah, and how is that Tretanorhinus nigroluteus not Nerodia? It looks like clarkii crossed with rhombifer or something. Cool snake!

J-Miz
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by J-Miz » October 26th, 2011, 3:05 pm

Yet another great post from Costa Rica! Wonderful wonderful photos! Too bad about the ISO, but I cannot see the grain in any of the photos, to be honest!

:thumb:

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Andy Avram
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by Andy Avram » October 26th, 2011, 5:02 pm

Great trip report! I also appreciate how you enjoyed things outside of the herps. I think I need to try your trip route next time I ever go back to Costa Rica.

So, where is the mammal list? I am truly, truly jealous that you got all the monkeys, both sloths, agouti and even the stupid miss I had with the coatis.

Andy

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MichaelCravens
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by MichaelCravens » October 26th, 2011, 5:49 pm

Matt,

Thanks. The plumifrons came from behind the visitor center near a stream, there were a few of them. I also got them in other areas too, so they shouldn't be an issue. You'll certainly get eyelashes along that coastal path. Snorkeling is tough without taking a boat out to reefs, due to large waves just about everywhere I went. I didn't look in Manuel, but my girlfriend says that she's heard there's snorkeling to be had there. I didn't do it, but I heard Manuel is the place to get the silky anteater. If I can help in anyway, please don't hesitate to ask.

Dan,

Thank you, and Mary got a kick out of your reply. As for Tretanorhinus nigroluteus, they are actually very different, they sort of feel rubbery, like a boa and nothing like a watersnake and their eyes pushed way up on the front of their face like an anaconda. It was a very interesting snake.

Andy,

Glad you enjoyed it! All I got aside from what was in the post was a Variegated Squirrel. Missing the Tapir was the biggest heartbreak of the trip.

All you other guys,

I'm very glad you liked my report and your comments are very much appreciated.

Thanks!

Micahel

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Andy Avram
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by Andy Avram » October 26th, 2011, 6:28 pm

Missing the Tapir was the biggest heartbreak of the trip.
Understandable. We were hiking in an area where Tapir tracks were all over the place. We never did see them, but we weren't in the area very long, nor were we there around evening. That would have probably been my number one sighting.

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Mike Pingleton
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by Mike Pingleton » October 26th, 2011, 6:52 pm

Holy crap, Mike! That was great! Pics and narrative were awesome.

Congrats on the great trip! Mary's a keeper for sure.
-Mike

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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by Gordon C. Snelling » October 26th, 2011, 7:40 pm

That first shot of the vine snake is the best I have ever seen. Wow

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moloch
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by moloch » October 27th, 2011, 12:42 am

Great report, Michael, with lots of interesting photos.
I spent nearly a month in Costa Rica on a very limited budget. My travels were by public transportation, and I couldn't afford guides, so I was left to my own devices. Going off of books I studied before leaving, and some sound advice from others on this forum, I managed to see some amazing jungles, coastline, and wildlife
I think that trips like these are the most enjoyable.


Regards,
David

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Hans Breuer (twoton)
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » October 27th, 2011, 4:09 am

Excellent! I love well-rounded posts (not only herps, but also habitat, food, local peculiarities and wimmen) Thanks for the effort!

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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by joeysgreen » October 27th, 2011, 5:36 am

Super excellent post dude! Ditto all of the above comments. Man, does that sloth every look happy to be back in the tree. Did he put up much fuss when you carried it across the road?

Ian

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MichaelCravens
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by MichaelCravens » October 27th, 2011, 8:32 am

Thanks again for the comments everyone, I really enjoy reading them.

Hans,

I hope to visit your side of the world next. Curtis Hart told me your the guy to talk to, so you can expect to hear from me.

Ian,

I carried him, sort of, by the nape of the neck, he just hung with his limbs all spread out looking for somthing to grab. There was a lot of traffic, so I figured it was justified.

Michael

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-EJ
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by -EJ » October 27th, 2011, 10:16 am

Fantastic post. I loved the photos. I like the idea of the map and trace. My favorite... the sloth. You were lucky and capitalized on that luck very well. Thanks... I really enjoyed the post.

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incuhead2000
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by incuhead2000 » October 27th, 2011, 10:48 am

Epic.

That is all.

Oh...and the vine snake shot rocks my socks :thumb:

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justinm
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by justinm » October 29th, 2011, 9:46 am

Haven't talked to you for a while. Looks like you've been busy. Great post, I was very impressed with some of your pics, but I usually am. For me the Sloths have been something I've wanted to see in the wild for a long time, those pics were super. Have fun in the SW, I'm trying to figure out when I can make it out there next year.


Justin

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MichaelCravens
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by MichaelCravens » October 30th, 2011, 3:27 pm

Justin,

Be sure to let me know when your headed out; my door is always open, if needed.

Michael

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Bill Love
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by Bill Love » October 30th, 2011, 7:26 pm

Wow ! ! !

Epic trip, backed by exceedingly nice imagery! You should volunteer to give a full PowerPoint presentation of the trip to the Arizona Herp. Association once you get situated out here.

AsydaBass
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by AsydaBass » October 31st, 2011, 9:22 pm

Looks like you had a great time down here. I think your Rhadinea decorata might actually be a Coniophanes fissidens though.

Great photography as well. Anymore rain/litter frog pictures?

-Don

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MichaelCravens
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by MichaelCravens » November 1st, 2011, 2:19 pm

Bill,

I'd be happy to.

Don,

Thank you for the heads up. I have many more Ranid photos from that trip, I'll try and get them up soon.

Michael

caudata.ON
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by caudata.ON » November 1st, 2011, 8:02 pm

Fantastic shots, haven't been on the forum for awhile, Dan told me about your post and it was great to see many of the creatures that he and I saw down there this year. Hope to run into you again sometime.
Brian Wylie

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MichaelCravens
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by MichaelCravens » November 2nd, 2011, 6:22 pm

Hi Brian, It's good to hear from you. I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

Michael

jimoo742
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by jimoo742 » November 3rd, 2011, 4:30 am

Great post. I need to get back there again. Heard they were clamping down on the night outings within Corcorvado.

You saw A LOT more than I did, but I was lucky enough to have a tapir and calf come into the Sirena clearing while there.

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loarie
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by loarie » June 24th, 2012, 10:16 pm

Very cool pictures - looks like a great trip! GVI just reported an orange bellied swamp snake from Tortuguero http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/95917 - your sighting helps confirm that this is the right ID - do you agree that its Tretanorhinus nigroluteus?

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MichaelCravens
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Re: Costa Rica, lots of photos and long winded

Post by MichaelCravens » June 25th, 2012, 7:51 am

I'm glad my photo helped. I've only encountered the one but, for what it's worth, your ID looks correct to me.

Michael Cravens

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