Art Prints

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Costa Rica with Greentours ~ Sep. 2012

TTL - Through The Lens - Tour with Greentours UK to Costa Rica Sep. 2012

White-necked Jacobin, Photo courtesy Moira Gardner
Costa Rica 2012 750 - red-eyed tree frog
Red-eyed Tree frog, Photo courtesy Andrew Eadie
a tiger moth Dysschema paracelsus
Tiger Moth, Photo courtesy Martin Angel
Group Photographing a 3-toed Sloth
Scarlet Macaw, Photo courtesy Ron Humphrey

A great surprise came when Tony asked me if I wanted to join as a participant on the TTL tour with Greentours - Natural History Holidays to Costa Rica that he was leading with Chris Gardner.
As we (Always An Adventure) had our own little Birding & Photography tour there in March this year, I was very excited with the proposal.
Costa Rica - such a beautiful country with an amazing variety of wildlife, a laid-back attitude and service minded Costa Rican people. A country with great flavor of spice and color.  
After my first trip to the country, when I got over 300 life birds, I simply fell in love with the place. This feeling only became stronger after the TTL trip with Greentours.  Now I'm sitting here in Ottawa, editing amazing images and writing this BLOG entry while dreaming of my return.

Hummingbird Costa Rica - magnificent hummingbird 
Magnificent Hummingbird, Photo courtesy Andrew Eadie
Costa Rica 2012 415
Photo courtesy Andrew Eadie
Green-crowned Brilliant, Photo courtesy Mary Guy
Army ants Eciton burchelli on house wall
Army Ants, Photo courtesy Martin Angel
Copy of Costa Rica 2012 547 - Common Basilisk
Common Basilisk, Photo courtesy Andrew Eadie
Snow Cap, Photo courtesy Tony Beck
Moira meets paca
Moira meets Paca, Photo courtesy Martin Angel
IMG_0372A - banded peacock
Banded Peacock, Photo courtesy Ron Humphrey
Copy of Costa Rica 2012 823
Photo courtesy Andrew Eadie

Upon arriving at the airport in San Jose, the first bird we saw was, of course, the Black Vulture.
We headed straight for our first lodge at tranquil Bosque de Paz. What a magnificent place, with a wonderful bird feeding station, an orchid garden, a butterfly garden, a waterfall and a stream. I think I could remain only at this place for weeks, photographing the lovely surroundings and the amazing micro world inside the rain forest.
We stayed here for two nights before we took the long drive over to Laguna Lagartos' - 1250 acres of virgin rainforest. Having the place to ourselves was a plus and we had a hard time sitting still as the forest and wildlife was constantly calling our names.
I had the first view ever of a Puma’s paw print! It was fresh in the mud after a light rain shower, and we were walking the same trail as the Puma had just a few hours before us. I have to admit the thought was quite exciting!
Strange insects, butterflies, damselflies, mushrooms, monkeys, frogs and plants were captivating, and held our attention for hours at the time. Back at the lodge and the fantastic patio, we watched and photographed Montezuma Oropendulas, Scarlet Macaws, Collared Aracari and many other bird species. We had Spectacled Camen in the ponds next to the lodge and Emerald Basalisks running around the property.
While visiting a private home in the nearby area, a big earthquake hit an amazing 7.6 on the Richter scale. It's absolutely crazy no one got hurt during this significant tremor. We were about 160 km east of the epicenter, and we could feel the natural phenomenon very well unfolding under our feet. So well, that after about half a minute I started getting bit worried as the movements continued. Another 15-20 seconds later, everything went more or less back to normal. The Howler Monkeys went totally bananas for about 45 minutes after the quake ended.
Nevertheless, Laguna Lagartos was a fabulous, lively and entertaining place .
We spent 3 glorious nights there.

Puma paw-print!
Photographing Red-legged Tree Frog
Red-legged Tree Frog 
red-legged tree frog Hyla rufitela
Nina shooting Red-legged Tree Frog, Photo courtesy Martin Angel
smile please - spectacled Camen
Spectacled Caiman, Photo courtesy Martin Angel
Orchid, Costa Rica
Orchid flower, Photo courtesy Andrew Eadie
Jumping Spider
Jumping Spider, Photo courtesy Moira Gardner
Abstract, Photo courtesy Ron Humphrey
2CostaRica12-1019 - Honduran tent-making bats
Honduran White Bats, Photo courtesy Mary Guy

Our next stop was up in the cloud forest surrounding San Gerardo and Savegre Lodge. When I was there in March, I missed good views of the male Resplendent Quetzal. But, this time, with help from a local guide, we got him! The Quetzal loves avocado trees, and sure enough, there it was, obscured by branches, lianas and green leaves. What an amazing bird, with the “punkiest” hair-do I've ever seen.

Photo courtesy Mary Guy
a tropical tiger beetle Pseudoxycheila tarselis
Tropical Tiger Beetle, Photo courtesy Martin Angel
Costa Rica 2012 128
Photo courtesy Andrew Eadie
Photographing Poison Dart Frog 
saturnid moth Antheraea godmani
Saturnid Moth, Photo courtesy Martin Angel
masked tree frog Smilisca phaeota
Masked Tree Frog, Photo courtesy Martin Angel

After Sevegre, and the nice clean crisp mountain air, we headed for the Osa Peninsula. Getting there was fun and extremely interesting. We were transported by Aero Taxi from Golfito to Jimenez. The small airplane ride took only about 20 minutes giving us a fantastic view of the nearby area. Our lodge, Bosque del Cabo, is a private reserve overlooking the Pacific Ocean. During our 5 days stay, we observed several Humpback Whales, a Minke Whale, all kinds of monkeys swinging from the treetops, Crested Caracaras loafing around on the lawn, 9-banded Armadillos turning the earth for crabs and other food, and many other bird and mammal species. Of course, the loudest of them all were the many Scarlet Macaws ruling the air space.
Again, we had the place almost totally to ourselves, and the people at the lodge really spoiled us well. It was a serene and wonderful experience to have been there.

IMG_0273 - Giant hellicopter damselfly
Giant Helicopter Damselfly, Photo courtesy Ron Humphrey
Costa Rica 2012 229
Photo courtesy Andrew Eadie
Jumping spider in TRF-04
Jumping Spider, Photo courtesy Martin Angel
Harvestmen, Costa Rica
Harvestmen, Photo courtesy Andrew Eadie
Golfe Dulce anole Norops polylepis male displaying
Male Golfe Dulce Anole (displaying), Photo courtesy Martin Angel
Dragonfly on Leaf
Dragonfly, Photo courtesy Moira Gardner
green iguana Iguana iguana
Green Iguana, Photo courtesy Martin Angel
Rain forest, Photo courtesy Mary Guy
Group Exploring
Central American Agouti, Photo courtesy Mary Guy

Our last night was spent at the fabulous La Cusinga Lodge in the Dominical area. The place grasped my heart so intensely, I simply have to go back! The sooner the better!

Scarlet Macaw, Photo courtesy Tony Beck
Photo courtesy, Ron Humphrey
Hummingbird, Costa Rica - green-crowned brilliant
Green-crowned Brilliant, Photo courtesy Andrew Eadie
gladiator tree frog Hyla rosenbergi pairing-12
Mating Gladiator Frogs, Photo courtesy Martin Angel
Collared Aracari, Photo courtesy Mary Guy

Unfortunately, all (good) things must come to an end.  This time, I simply wanted to stay. I had purposely throughout the trip refused to look at my photos, so that I could extend the trip much longer after I got back home. I'm still editing images and re-living the tour - the places, the food, the people, the animals, the insects, the flowers, everything!
We were 11 happy travelers, including two leaders, who had a lot of fun, learning and teaching each other about nature, wildlife, flora, fauna and most important of all; photography.

Thank you to all you wonderful people: Moira Gardner, Mary Guy, Martin Angel, Heather Angel, Andrew Eadie, Michael Brooking, Ron Humphrey & Hilary Humphrey. You all made this trip so very unforgettable. Also a great thank you to Chris Gardner and Tony Beck for your excellent expertise, patience and knowledge.

2CostaRica12-824 - Rufous-tailed Hummer
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Photo courtesy Mary Guy
Ron-Little-Camera-250 - Golfo Dulce
Golfo Dulce, Photo courtesy Ron Humphrey
Moira Gardner & Mary Guy
White-fronted Nunbird

MORE photos captured by Nina Stavlund & Tony Beck from the trip can be seen here:
And, MANY more images will be added to this gallery the next following weeks.

Stay Tuned!

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