Thursday, December 04, 2008

Monteverde cloud forest

Thursday, 11/27, Friday, 11/28

Leaving the hotel for the rain forest at 3:30. Before we left the hotel we saw tow Black Guan (large birds related to turkeys--all black except for a green mark on the beak. Not great pictures--very dark birds in a very dark forest.

The Reserva Biologica del Bosque Nuboso de Monteverde. This is one piece of a huge cloud forest preserve made up of a number of pieces owned by different conservation groups (including the Government of Costa Rica). About an hour and a half walk through the rain forest. Constant mist. "Most of the precipitation comes from leaking clouds, not rain.".

Lots of birds. Black: Quail, house and rufous-napped wrens, scarlet tanager, and the biggest, brightest blue humming bird I've seen. Not many pictures--a cloud forest with canopy trees and constant mist at 4:00 is kind of dark (understatement). Even setting the camera to 1600 ASA speed doesn't help much.

Ended tour at a bunch of humming bird feeding stations. An unbelievable number and variety of hummingbirds. After the hummingbirds leave at dusk we start to leave. A commotion at one of the feeders. It is a Olinga sucking the hummingbird syrup from the feeder. An Olimga is a nocturnal mammal with a very long tail that is related to raccoons. Not often seen.

Next morning we head to a private area that has suspension bridges over the ravines and valleys of the rain forest. Last night we saw the forest from the floor. Today we get to see the forest from the top. Great view. Not a lot of animals or birds but lots of plants. LOTS OF PLANTS. It is amazing to see how dense the forest is from above.

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