Ramblings of an Amateur Photographer

Costa Rica - Day 5 - Hanging Bridges & Night walk

We took two tours today.The first was to hanging bridges with our guide named Oscar. This was another walk through the rain forest (a different kind of rain forest). We had several folks on the tour with us, not enough to make it uncomfortable, but enough to make a lot of noise and color commentary. *rant* I'm not sure why people need to provide their own color commentary on everything they see. Do they really think yelling at the wild monkey will actually cause them to come closer and pose for them? *end of rant* we saw howler monkeys, screech owl, a snake, two different mot mot birds (there are six different kinds) and several other birds (I'm not much of a birder). The guide warned us not to stick our fingers in any holes. I'm not exactly sure who he said that for, but I make it a practice not to stick any part of my body in any strange hole.

Later that day, we decided to take a last minute night walk tour with Gerald. I really wanted to see some frogs and the place we went, people on Trip Advisor called it "Froggy-palooza". A side note, Positive comments and Trip Advisor are really valued here in Costa Rica. Most places asked that if we liked it, to post a comment on the site. It hasn't rained at all since we have been in Costa Rica, it looked like it was going to, but dry as a bone. I say that because when we arrived at the tour, the first thing Gerald said was "since we haven't had rain for a while, I don't think we'll see any frogs." My heart deflated a bit. We walked along, avoiding the bats and keeping a watch out for frogs, bugs, bats but most importantly, vipers. Along the walk, they had a couple of "cages" with some critters in them. I say hat in quotes, because they weren't captive, really. They only stayed long enough to be rehabilitated, then released. The folks who ran this preserve / nature trail, were very environmentally aware. I am impressed by the environmental awareness of the Tico population. Americans could learn a few things from them. The first thing we saw, Carolyn spotted, was an armadillo. It was standing on the path while half the group walked passed it. We also saw leaf cutter ants. These little guys are very cool. The workers are all female. They are sightless and can travel up to a kilometer by following a trail of pheromones. Leave cutter ants are actually farmers. The colony has a queen who says in the colony, males who mate and die and the rest are females. Workers who ferry the leaves from place to place, soldiers who guard them as they do it and tittle inspector ants. These are the most impressive. They inspect every leaf for mold or spores that could kill the crop. If they find one they will stand on it and make the worker discard it. The leaves are taken back to the colony as a base for growing tiny mushrooms, which he ants feed on, they don't actually eat the leaf. We also saw army ants, these are as big as my thumb. All along the forest are balsa wood trees, which are hollow. The army ants live inside and protect the tree. If the tree is attacked, they will swarm the attacker. One bite from one of these could put you in the hospital for a week or worse, you could die. We did start to see some toads along the path and a few bats. Finally Gerald looked up and spotted a red eyed tree frog (gaudy leaf frog) way up in the trees, asleep. It looked like a wad of chewing gum stuck to a leaf. He said if we didn't see any more he would come back and wake him up. Lucky for that little guy we did see more, only 2. One up in a leaf then one right by the water. I waited patiently as everyone else got their shot, then he closed his eyes due to all the flashlights. We waited a bit and he honored us by opening his eyes again. What a wonderful creature. I tried a couple using flash, but they came out way to bright. Finally I side lit him with a flashlight and snapped off a few shots. I am very happy with what I got. These are straight out of camera, with a minor crop.