iNatting in Costa Rica

Hello iNatters,

It may seem as if I have dropped off the face of the iNat world (was that a distant cheer I heard? :-), and in a very real sense, that has been true since I’ve had no Internet connection (or even a useable cell phone signal) since the evening of January 26. But I have been taking lots of images which will get posted on iNat when time and Internet conditions permit. I will make this initial blog (I guess this is a blog?) post and sort of keep it as a running journal of this trip for those interested.

I have a friend, David Ferry (who is not on iNat but an O.K. guy anyway), who I have known for 38 years. He is a retired physician from southern California and a superb bird/wildlife photographer. Every now and then David gives me a call and we abandon our wives for a while and take off to do some bird photography someplace. This time Dave’s idea was Costa Rica. I have been in Costa Rica several times before, but the most recent trip was more than 20 years ago, so I was well out of practice with Costa Rican birds, etc. We planned out a three-week trip back in the summer of 2015, and on January 26, 2016, we met up in the Dallas airport and then flew down to San Jose, Costa Rica. We spent the night in a hotel in the city, then on the morning of the 27th, we picked up a rental car and launched off toward the Nicaraguan border. We were headed toward an eco-lodge named Laguna del Largarto in northern Costa Rica about 10 miles from Nicaragua. We had a Garmin GPS road navigator, several maps as well as driving directions sent to us from the lodge, so we should be fine…..right? Well, not so much. It was a total of perhaps 150 miles or there-abouts, but about 1/3 the distance was on very rugged dirt roads (read 15-20 mph max) with few signs and many roads going in many directions. The poor little Kia Sportage we rented (less than 4000 kilometers on the odometer) never before saw such roads, I’m sure (but we have only had one flat tire…so far). We arrived at our destination, after a few roadway adventures, about 6 hours after our departure from San Jose. Laguna del Largarto is in a lowland forest location, so it is quite warm and humid. It is near the Rio San Carlos which flows north into the Rio San Juan at the Nicaraguan border, just a few miles away. Our room at the lodge was spartan and utilitarian but quite clean and it had a fan! All three meals each day are served on a large open-air deck with a roof with lots of perches set up at eye level where a host of toucans, parrots, a few tanagers and many other birds come to feed on bananas put out for them, much to the delight of bird photographers! Every now and then a troop of 12-15 Coatimundis comes into the area like a military assault unit to grab the bananas which is always a riot to watch. We had arranged for a guide at the lodge who caters to photographers so we had access to several photo blinds and other photo opportunities which was a special treat. I will mention a few details about the photos with the photo records themselves when I post then rather than going into it all here. Suffice it to say the image quality will range from quite high-end images that I consider among the best stuff I’ve ever taken, to some quick “iNat photos” taken from a great distance, from a moving boat, or out of the car window along roadsides or in some cases from a Land Rover. Although designed as a bird photo trip, I tend to get distracted by butterflies, dragonflies, frogs, etc., from time to time as some of the images will illustrate. Dave and I are fortunate enough to have professional quality photo gear and on occasion we manage to use it correctly, so some of the shots I would consider of excellent quality. I hope you will agree.

We left Laguna del Largarto this morning, February 2, headed toward another eco-lodge called Bosque de Paz which is where I am now....with Internet for three nights! I will add comments to this posting as we go along the trip and as Internet availability and my time permit. I had 393 emails waiting! We will visit two additional locations after Bosque de Paz. We are often busy all day with barely enough time to download images at night, so it will take me some time to catch up. We plan to be home February 14, and at the rate things are going now, I will have many very nice images from the trip (along with many images destined for iNat eyes only :-).

Greg

Posted by greglasley greglasley, February 02, 2016 06:12 PM

Comments

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I was wondering where you were. I've learned to assume your absences from iNat mean some cool adventure in the field. Stay safe friend. Can't wait to see your images.

Posted by mchlfx about 3 years ago (Flag)
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Adding records is just too tedious and time consuming at the moment on the very slow Internet I have. It is about a 5 minute per record ordeal. Can't deal with that. I'll keep trying later.

Posted by greglasley about 3 years ago (Flag)
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We can wait (excitedly)!!!

Posted by mchlfx about 3 years ago (Flag)
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Yes, I had missed you, Greg. But figured you were somewhere other than Texas. Had a clue when saw your first Costa Rica posts....
Have a great adventure... and wishing you and your friend a safe trip home.

Posted by connlindajo about 3 years ago (Flag)
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Very cool; I'm looking forward to your photos.

Posted by hydaticus about 3 years ago (Flag)
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Sounds like you're having quite the grand adventure! (I totally said that in a Bilbo Baggins voice) I look forward to seeing your pics when you get home! :D

Posted by krstldwn about 3 years ago (Flag)
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Very excited to see your posts. While very very jealous at the same time. As a birder Costa Rica is number one on my bucket list. Can't wait to see the posts. Safe travels my friend.

Posted by brentano about 3 years ago (Flag)
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Thanks for the comments, friends. I have an excruciatingly slow internet connection here...no idea what the next place will be like. Much of what I have to post will have to wait until after mid Feb when I get home but I'll try to post a few things now. Having a great time...wish you were here!
Greg

Posted by greglasley about 3 years ago (Flag)
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May the gods of Kia smile upon your journey. For those who haven't fiddled with it much, the new obs search makes for a nice way to view Greg's stuff, especially for those rare instances when he uses his equipment correctly (I write as I consider deleting every photo I've ever taken in shame): http://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=6924&subview=grid&user_id=greglasley

Posted by kueda about 3 years ago (Flag)
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Incredible adventure. I so enjoy reading these and living vicariously through your travels. :)

Posted by sambiology about 3 years ago (Flag)
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Incredibly beautiful photos, including the one of that thorny tree.

Posted by connlindajo about 3 years ago (Flag)
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So far none of the three you mention, @matty but we have till the 14th.

Posted by greglasley about 3 years ago (Flag)
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Great post and fantastic shots, as usual. However I am in awe of the night bat shots.

Posted by lonnyholmes about 3 years ago (Flag)
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Sounds like you're having a lot of fun!

Posted by blubayou about 3 years ago (Flag)
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Hello All. Tonight will be our third night at Bosque de Paz and we push on toward our 3rd of 4 locations for this trip tomorrow morning. Bosque de Paz is at 5000 feet so it was a relief to have cooler temps than Laguna Largarto. Green-crowned Brilliant, Magnificent Hummingbird, Purple-throated Mountain-gem, Violet Sabrewing, Green Hermit are all very common hummers here and I was fortunate enough to get nice shots of all of them in addition to an Agouti and a few leps and other birds. Seeing a lot more bird species than I can get shots of but such is the nature of tropical forest birding.

I have been able to post images to iNat from our first 4 days (Jan 27-30) but not sure if I will be able to post more tonight or not. Internet comes and goes here. Not a clue what the Internet possibilities will be at our next spot, but I will eventually get caught up. We are seeing lots of wildlife and having a great time. Wish you were here! :-)
Greg

Posted by greglasley about 3 years ago (Flag)
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Your photos are absolutely stunning! I appreciate the updates--it's certainly adding a lot of awesome observations to my subscriptions page.

Posted by hydaticus about 3 years ago (Flag)
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Wow!!! The observations and photos you have been able to post are stunning. Costa Rica is on my bucket list. I look forward to seeing all the other observations when you return to a real internet connection. And soon you can start shooting Odonates in TX again, too! I have seen a few on some of the warmer days, and I can't wait until the full season starts again.

Posted by beschwar about 3 years ago (Flag)
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All still going well. Took us 4+ hours to go 100 miles today. Narrow, winding mountain roads, lots of trucks, you know the story. Finally arrived at Paraiso Quetzal Lodge about 3 PM. We are at 9000 feet elevation, misting rain and cold. We hope to go out looking for quetzals Sunday with a local guide. I've seen quetzals a number of times in southern Mexico and have one shot of a female from 10 years ago:
http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/167006
but never got any decent shots of a male, so maybe we will get lucky.

They have several hummingbird feeders here which are amazing! Green Violetear, Magnificent Hummingbird, Fiery-throated Hummingbird are all very common and dozens swarm around each feeder. I'll eventually post some shots. The Fiery-throated was a new bird for me which was fun. Also saw male and female Volcano Hummingbird but only got shots of the female so far, so we will work on the male tomorrow. Internet still iffy and only available in the lodge reception area, so I won't have regular access here since our cabin is about a half mile from the lodge HQ. I still need to try to catch up from postings in January at previous locations.

The past three nights at Bosque de Paz have all been amazing for moths. I hope to drive @gcwarbler nuts with the moths I will post eventually. And I tried to crop the shots for them to all face upwards! More later.

Posted by greglasley about 3 years ago (Flag)
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Hi Greg - good luck on the Quetzal!

Posted by earthgrazer about 3 years ago (Flag)
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Wow, wow, wow! The pictures are rolling in like you are on some other planet. Mind-boggling bird beauty. Thanks Greg

Posted by robberfly about 3 years ago (Flag)
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The moth and butterfly diversity you are posting is just amazing! This trip should keep you busy for a while! :-)

Posted by beschwar about 3 years ago (Flag)
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Yes, Ben...it is nuts. The past three days we have been at 9000 feet where quite cold at night. 4 and 5 degrees C. Not many moths here but a few. Next 5 nights will be back at something like 3000 feet so should do better in that category.

Posted by greglasley about 3 years ago (Flag)
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Our day to look for quetzals in the mountains was blown out by cold rain and high winds, so we missed out on that. It has been quite some time since I have seen that species, but so it goes. There will be another time. Yesterday, the 8th, we drove to Rancho Naturalista in the Turrialba area where we will be the last five nights before heading home. It has been raining steadily since we arrived, 24 hours so far. Mostly I have relaxed on the deck and taken a few shots of birds in the rain. It has been a memorable trip with lots of great opportunities to see some amazing wildlife.

Posted by greglasley about 3 years ago (Flag)
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As if I needed to be reminded that I am not in Texas, it has rained the past 40+ hours with hardly a respite. Usually light rain, but it just does not stop. And the forecast calls for more of the same. Oh well. I wish this rain was falling in Texas!

Posted by greglasley about 3 years ago (Flag)
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Well, my Costa Rica adventure is about over. It has been a great 3 week trip but I'm ready to be home. The last 5 days have been constant rain, but that is nature. Today I drove back to San Jose and we fly out early in the morning. Due to the 5 days of rain in what is supposed to be the "dry" season, there were several blocked roads due to mudslides, but after a few detours I made it back to the hotel in the city. Anyway, it has been great, but headed home to Texas now.

Posted by greglasley about 3 years ago (Flag)
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:-)

Posted by connlindajo about 3 years ago (Flag)
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I've just come across this "blog", linked to a photo of a CR moth Goniodonta mexicana (which I also got in CR). Just to say I like your description of "iNat" photos. Many of mine are of that standard, especially the fishes that I submit to the "Australasian Fishes" project but the wonderful people still manage to identify them, somehow!

Posted by nyoni-pete 9 months ago (Flag)

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