Friday 24 July 2015 90 °F
This is the report about my fourth day on my recent trip to Costa Rica, which was Friday, July 17. I will post reports about days 5-7 tomorrow (July 25) and post about days 8-10 on Sunday (July 26). Then, on Monday, July 27 I will leave for my annual 3-week trip to Idaho with my family, so I will post daily about that starting then. Before reading any further, remember that my #1 target bird for the trip to Costa Rica as a whole was the Resplendent Quetzal, the main target bird I missed when I visited Panama in 2013. I will remind you of this fact at the beginning of every post because this bird was in the back of my mind every moment of every day during the trip, so we'll have to wait and see if I find it sometime!
Again, italics will indicate copied journal entries from the journal in which I wrote during the trip. Enjoy!
The first two items in the title of this post should be relatively self-explanatory especially once you read the post, however the expression "¡Pura Vida!" probably needs a bit of clarification. It is Spanish for "pure life" and is an abundantly-used phrase in Costa Rica, the only country to use it so liberally. It is literally used as a salutation, good-bye, you're welcome, and everything in between. It became a bit of a slogan for our group by the end of the trip, so now whenever we pass each other in the hallway at OPRF High School, we will greet each other with a vibrant "¡Pura Vida!"
We awoke at 7:00am to a pouring rainstorm, changed into bathing suits, and had breakfast in the food court at Selva Verde Rainforest Lodge.
While at breakfast, the rain let up a bit and I even managed to photograph some wildlife, including this beautiful Green-and-Black Poison Dart Frog:
And this Green Basilisk:
We then bussed to a river rafting company at the Sarapiqui River because there was no lightning and the rain had let up a bit. Soon, our group was floating down the gorgeous Sarapiqui on two rafts holding five students and six kayaks, each holding two students. We had a great time splashing and racing each other, and we even managed to spot some interesting wildlife including many huge trees, a few life birds for me, a multitude of iguanas, and even one cayman (small crocodile) on the shoreline!
I do not have any photos from the rafting because I wisely left my camera on the bus; otherwise, it would have gotten drenched. The rafting trip took a little less than two hours and soon we were trekking back to the bus.
After that, we changed and toured a monoculture pineapple farm. We rode around in a large trailer attached to the back of a tractor and consumed (virgin) piña coladas, dozens upon dozens of pineapples, and other various pineapple-themed treats.
We had a fantastic guide for that tour, I believe his name was Miguel. He told us all sorts of interesting trivia, fed us multitudes of pineapples, and had a hilarious sense of humor. He would repeatedly ask us trick questions about pineapples, pretend we answered correctly, then all of the sudden say "No" dryly - but always with a slight smirk on his face. What a character!
After our last lunch at Selva Verde, we started driving to Don Juan's Farm in the town of La Fortuna, the next place we are staying. On the way, we stopped at "Las Iguanas," an ice cream parlor famous for passion fruit ice cream and many wild iguanas inhabiting the surrounding trees. It was a success because the passion fruit ice cream found my stomach and then the iguanas found my camera - see below!
My life bird CRESTED CARACARA on the drive to Don Juan's farm:
A beautiful pastoral view from the bus with the distant mountains shrouded in the clouds:
Mid-afternoon, we arrived at the Don Juan Farm in Selva Verde where we are staying for one night.
We were immediately treated to a captivating tour of the farm by a fantastic guide named Sergeio. Don Juan's Farm is a sustainable farm that produces many different foods and resources and is based off of three principles: conservation of wildlife around the farm, education of visitors to the farm, and of course, like any farm, production.
It is a beautiful place with lush green pastures, pockets of dense rainforest, and mountains in the distance:
The 5 boys in our group shared a cabin together while lucky Mr. Farley, one of our group leaders, got the left cabin all to himself!
I surreptitiously birded during the tour. RED-LORED PARROT:
MEALY PARROT, a life bird for me!
After touring the farm, we had a quick break and then ate dinner. Dinner was fish, rice, beans, and a bounty of other delicious food, all caught/produced right here at Don Juan's Farm! After dinner, we had a group meeting in an open-air meeting area where we enjoyed sharing our tboughts from the day, journaling, and playing a hand-slapping game called "Down by the banks." After the fun circle meeting, all of us settled in for the night. All of the boys are staying in one large cabin tonight, however thankfully we all get our own beds. We stayed up late in our room playing card games, telling jokes, and overall having a good time.
The full bird species list for the day is below.
World Life List: 855 Species (exactly 100 life birds in Costa Rica!)
49 species, 12 life birds:
Bare-throated Tiger-Heron LIFE BIRD
Southern Rough-winged Swallow LIFE BIRD
Mealy Parrot LIFE BIRD
Amazon Kingfisher LIFE BIRD
White-ringed Flycatcher LIFE BIRD
Buff-rumped Warbler LIFE BIRD
Olive-crowned Yellowthroat LIFE BIRD
Black-faced Grosbeak LIFE BIRD
Red-throated Ant-Tanager LIFE BIRD
Red-billed Pigeon LIFE BIRD
Crested Caracara LIFE BIRD
Groove-billed Ani LIFE BIRD