Friday, June 1, 2007

17. Jungle Cruise (6/1/07)

Friday, June 1, 2007
Today we were birding at 5:30 AM.
(Photo by Linda)
I had definitive sightings of two trogons, the Violaceous Trogon (Trogon violaceus)
Violaceous Trogon (Photo by Linda)
and the Slaty-tailed Trogon (Trogon massena). Also the Great Green Macaw (Ara ambigua), Brown-throated Parakeet (Aratinga pertinax), Orange-chinned Parakeet (Brotogeris jugularis), Golden-hooded Tanager (Tangara larvata), and even Brown Boobies (Sula leucogaster) which were flying high overhead towards the sea.
After breakfast of gallo pinto and eggs over hard, we went out to see a Hoffmann's Two-toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) in a tree near the dining hall! Awesome view through the scope.
Hoffmann's Two-toed Sloth (Photo by Linda)
Feeding the fish while waiting for the bus
I purchased a wood carving of a sloth from a local woodworker demonstrating his craft at Selva Verde.
Sloth carving
We boarded our bus at 8:00 AM for our boat trip on the Sarapiqui River. 
Brynne saw a running basilisk from the bus window. These lizards run on their hind legs. 
In the town of Puerto Viejo we saw the Pali market which is owned by Wal-Mart. Yes, the employees have their pep rallies every morning, shouting, "WalMart, WalMart!"
At the other end of town we arrived at the tour boat dock
Boat dock
where we waited for a boat to come alongside.
Boarding the tour boat
(Photo by Linda)
We motored upriver to see iguanas in the trees. Every once in a while an iguana will fall out of the tree into the water, but they are good swimmers. We saw a couple swimming iguanas.
See the iguana head in the water? (Photo by Kent)
Saw ornamental banana trees with birds all around, the Black-cowled Oriole (Icterus prosthemelas).
Ornamental banana trees
Other birds seen were an Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga), Mangrove Swallow (Tachycinetea albilinea), Green Heron (Butorides striatus), and the exciting find of a Sungrebe (Heliornis fulica).
The Sungrebe is hard to spot!
We turned around to head downriver
It's a jungle out there!
and passed a tree with several small Long-nosed Bats (Leptonycteris nivalis).
Long-nosed Bats (Photo by Linda)
The driver of the boat maneuvered the craft as close as he could and turned the boat around for the people on the other side to get a good look. Also saw howler monkeys (ho- hum!) and the back and tail of a Spectacled Caiman (Caiman crocodilus) hidden in tall grass.
Small green fruits fell off the trees and floated down the river alongside us.
Floating fig
These were Chilamate figs, named for the area in which we were. Even fish eat these fruits and we saw a couple get snatched from the water's surface.
Chilamate Fig (Ficus glabrata) (Photo by Linda)
I was getting so sleepy, I just wanted to lie down across the back seat of the boat. I thought it was the effect of taking pain medication for my knee, but others were lulled into sleepiness as well. But then it was time to return to the dock and we went full speed ahead, kicking up a nice wake.
Speeding back
Dock is multi-level depending on water levels
Back in town (Jimmy pointed out his house down one side street), we stopped at a souvenir shop.
Typical town street
Souvenir shop
It was mid-morning and there were long lines at the bank.
First day of the month at the bank
The Group of Five went window shopping down the street, and we followed to the first import store which had appliances. Cute little washing machines, computers, cameras, etc. There were a dozen yellow-shirted employees who came up to help each of us. Sorry, just looking!
Learning the work ethic?
Lunch back at Selva Verde was salad, breaded fish or lamb, with mustard or tartar sauces, white rice, zucchini, spinach souffle with mushrooms, and flan for dessert.
Next: 18. Tirimbina Biological Reserve.

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