Saturday, March 9, 2013

La Selva Specialties

La Selva was an interesting place.  I've never heard of a birding buffet line, but that's as close as I can describe the birding there.  La Selva is a research station where all sorts of grad students doing neotropical projects conduct who knows what research (though more than one person has guessed that removing some of the antbirds is part of someone's protocol).  My guess is as a fund raiser they have all students/employees go out once a week or once a month and stake out a bunch of ridiculous birds.  The trails were fairly narrow and we walked single file seeing strawberry poison dart frogs (red body with blue legs) as well as a black one with neon green patterning.  After a bit we came to a spot where Little Hermit leks.  The guides put the scope on one and everyone walked up in a single file, looked and then turned back.  The next stop was a Crested Owl roost.  There were 2 deep in a palm.  I was back to shooting at 1/60th of a second.

The next stop was for a Great Tinamou sitting on its day roost, perfectly still, trusting its camouflauge to keep it from being noted.

An incredibly tucked in Vermiculated Screech-owl followed.  We circled back out to the main trail hearing Fruitcrows and seeing Mealy Parrots and Western Slaty-antshrike before a Black-faced Trogon and Broad-billed Motmot appeared.
Having missed the species that could be found on the Hotel Bougainvillea grounds the first morning this was my first wild motmot.

Pale-billed Woodpecker is as close as you can come to seeing an Ivory-billed.
Apparently they also have a double knock pattern.

Crested Guan, a sloth, helicoptor damselfly (with body about 5-6 inches long) all appeared.  The final scope was put on what we were told was a "bird."  About half the people looked through and thought it was a rubber ducky that had been put in for a final laugh for the guides.  They chuckled and walked on.
It took me a couple seconds through the scope to figure out what I was looking at before I muttered "Holy crap," and stepped back.  It's an Eyelash Pit Viper.  The yellow morph is apparently the least common morph accounting for 5-10% of the population.  We saw 2 within 5 feet of the trail over the course of the trip.  Which means that we probably passed 20 brown ones without seeing them.  Hence the "come to Jesus talk" that Steven gave us the night before going here about Not Touching Anything, no branch, no tree, no nothing.  Oh and stay on the trail like your life depends on it (they wouldn't even allow you in if you wore sandals).  One final herp, the Jesus Christ Lizard (a baselisk that sprints on its back legs including reportedly across water, hence the name).

No comments: