Tuesday 14 March 2023, 1400 – I took the opportunity during our 90-minute lunchbreak to back up the photos we’d taken that morning and to recharge phone and camera in preparation for whatever wonders the afternoon had in store.
Almost immediately we hit the forest, Angel did his stop-and-point thing and even I managed fairly quickly to see what it was he was indicating – a Lineated Woodpecker. And the resulting image demonstrates elegantly why I always recommend to photographers that they shoot in RAW. If you shoot just JPEG, you’ll get something like this:
But with the extra detail available in a RAW image, you can get this:
We came across a Tinamou nest and its beautifully-coloured eggs –
I’m amazed that a coatimundi or peccary hadn’t made a meal out of it, frankly – and we saw a couple of Crested Guan at fairly close quarters, entirely unfazed by groups of punters, which meant they sat still for their close-ups, thus saving me some angst just in case I needed some for later.
We saw something new – a Scarlet-rumped Cacique (female, unfortunately – the male has wonderful orange decoration around the eyes, apparently) –
and something not new – a three-toed sloth, which Jane swears is smiling
but I’m buggered if I can see that. Never mind.
Then things got quite a lot more interesting quite quickly. The first sight was of the fourth kind of Monkey found in Costa Rica, the Squirrel Monkey. We’ve seen Howlers and Capucin and Spider Monkeys; and we’d seen in the distance the movements in the trees that signified Squirrel Monkeys coming through. But I finally got a clear sight of one of these small creatures (only about 25cm from head to bum) and I almost got a sharp photo, too.
Then The Word Got Out of something important to see and we scurried off in the direction indicated and – lo and behold! –
I got my Anteater shot, after all. I even got some video of it, too.
It had breached a termites’ nest and the termites were understandably less than happy about that so they went after it. This is why it is scratching and trying to use the tree to rub the attackers off.
Soon after that, I got my very first Potoo. OK, it was only a Common Potoo, but I’d never seen one before, so it wasn’t common for me.
This was another demonstration of the value of a long lens and a big sensor, as I was using, as opposed to a phone-and-scope setup. Angel managed to get this shot on Jane’s phone:
slightly larger, yes, but with chromatic aberration defects to detract from the overall quality.
We got another demonstration of the skill of guides. There are two birds in this scene, and I couldn’t see them for ages.
Yes, there they are:
male and female Yellow-Crested Night Herons.
We followed the river to the shore, where a Urania Fulgens moth obligingly stopped for a rest so I could take a photo;
and the beach had a dead tree on it with an extraordinary root system.
We saw Black Hawk Up,
and, as we neared the Ranger Station at the end of our tour, a Costa Rica take on the Monkey Puzzle Tree.
It was, in the end, a very satisfying day, despite the frustrations I felt at points along the way about my inability to (a) see things and (b) get photos of them.
Once back at the station, we had a shower. It was a cold shower. Jane reckons that that was exactly what she needed after five and a half hours and seven and a half miles in the sweaty forest. I reckoned it was fucking torture, and something I never want to do again.
Dinner was served from 6pm and we took the opportunity to go early, mainly because – guess what? – tomorrow’s start would be an early one. The facilities at the station are basic but well-organised; Jane got the top bunk and I got the bottom bunk, and we settled down for what we expected to be a poor night’s sleep, given that there are several other people in bunks in the same area
and we had to be up and ready to go out at 0500 the next day.
The next exciting episode will cover the night’s sleep and the following day’s action-packed, erm, action – come back in a day or so to find out how it all panned out.