Ecotourism — Costa Rica 2.

View of Monteverde from the SkyWalk, April 2000.
View from the Monteverde SkyWalk, April 2000.

It is often said that the best bird watching can be done in Costa Rica, and there are many reasons for this. The people of the country (ticos) share many of the principles of conservation and nature appreciation in general.  Even in the largest cities, it is easy to find people genuinely curious and even knowledgeable about bird study.  Our family found ticans on two trips to be outgoing, well educated, and interesting.   On our first trip we drove everywhere in a rental car.   On the second, we were driven by Aldomar, hired by Wildside Birding Tours as the bus driver.  Wherever you go in Costa Rica you find new birds awaiting.

Views (above) from Monteverde's Sky Walk in the sub-cloud forest. When you get tired of staring upward at back-lit dark blob birds in the forest canopy in poor light, try the Sky Walk — you are now looking down  and through the tree tops, and listening to the very nearby sounds. Even the acrophobic among us seem to enjoy this walk.

Can you spot the blurred sun bittern in this stream on the right, not far from Rio Reventacion, central Costa Rica? Oh, well, we never said we were photographers! It was a thrill through binoculars.

Barely visible in this snapshot, this sun bittern walks slowly to the right.

Sun-bittern photographed with a 80 mm lens from our tour bus window, walks sedately to the right across the shallow stream bottom.

Pacific Coast near the mouth of Rio Tarcoles. Can you see the roosting owl? The dim silhouette of a Pacific Screech Owl barely visible in the center of the picture to the left. The dim silhouette of a Pacific Screech Owl is barely visible in the center of the picture to the left. Seen near the Tarcol Lodge, near the mouth of Rio Tarcoles.
Costa Rica affords many short morning eco-tours.  This one from Selva Verde lodge up and down the river, showed some of the amazing species in the Caribbean lowlands: river otter, Sun Grebe, and several species of Kingfishers.

Recordists, of course, try to avoid boats because of the overly loud engine noises, but the visual panorama can be breath-taking.

Next page - Panama

Yellow-Crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea) stands tall as our boat passes.