A long wish-list sleeper was ticked off this year with a great trip to Costa Rica. The country is small, about the same size as Ireland but there the comparisons seem to end.
It has kept many of its forests and regrown many others. It has a great variety of habitats and features – highlands, beach, mountains, cloud forest, rain forest, mangroves ….And it has both Caribbean and Pacific shores!
Best of all for wildlife enthusiasts, it has brilliant birds, animals and plants. Over a few posts, I hope to show a sample of these.
Let’s start with some common birds and animals.
While Crows, Starlings and the odd Buzzard might act as scavengers in these parts, in Costa Rica they are replaced mainly by Black and Turkey Vultures and Grackles
The vultures can be seen in the skies all over the country and it feels strange to hear them described as ‘only’ vultures!
A hot country with rain, breeds loads of insects which spawn many flycatchers. One of the commonest is the Great Kiskadee, seen on wires in all regions.
The rivers and canals are home to many species including the ancient Anhingas, often seen drying their wings. This one looks like a rock star.
Many herons can be seen waiting patiently for a fish to come close.
Rivers are not for the faint-hearted. They host snakes, Caiman and Crocs that are way beyond ancient!
Meanwhile the trees are home to 4 different types of Monkeys. Nosiest of these is the Howlers whch have a habit of waking people at dawn with their deep growling howls, produced by large throat balloons.
The cheekiest monkeys are the Capuchins which have learnt to rob food from tourists but ‘normally’ eat fruit and small animals.
Its also in the trees that Sloths can be seen. It’s hard to believe how hard it can be to see such big slow moving creatures.
It can be hard to see both large and small mammals but Agoutis and Coatis can usuallly be seen with a bit of patience. And Squirrels often come close.
This can only be a quick look at the common wildlife in Costa Rica but more will appear in subsequent posts. Let’s leave with one of the iconic birds of the region – the Hummingbird – as well as bright flowers which are also a big feature of beautiful Costa Rica.