Costa Rica - Panama 110213 Sunday

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Click to enlarge All photos, NF Photo 110213
Time to go back home :(
San Jose           8.22   ->   Panama City   10.28
Panama City   19.40    ->  Amsterdam

Waking up time the earliest on this trip. 3.45!
Today the lugage was packed in the bus for a fast unloading. So, it was crowded. We had breakfast on the lodge before leaving. Coffe, juice, pancakes and the dripped bread, omelett. At 4 aclock in the middle of the night. Well, most of it ended up in the backpack for eating at the airport.

We drove through the night trying to get another nap. It took about an h to get to the airport. We droped Herman off on the way. And then goodbye to the CR staff.
This time I only got one window seat. But at least it was the first part down to Panama. So the Andes would be in view.

We went through the last birds at the gate while we ate the rest of the breakfast. And waited for boarding to Panama.

In Panama we left the airport as the plane for Amsterdam was not due before 19.40. We were picked up by the local guide they shall have during the stay in Panama.
We headed straight for Panama City. It was a weird town. Lots and lots of sky scrapers that was in strange shapes. And most of them not finished. Maybe they hav e the same tax rules I heard of in another country. That they had reduced taxes as long as it was not finished.
The town is located at the shore  to the Pacific. And I saw a shore with lots and lots of vaders. And we did not stop. My trigger finger scratched. :(

The guide obviousely had something in mind. We stoped at some kind of park. A lawn with a tree. On the ground some yellow finches  was feeding. Saffron Finch!

We continued to the Canal. There were ships and some laughing gulls. People seemed to find it interesting with the ships, but I got bored.

Then we went to an area with marches ans small lakes. Probably close to the Metropolitan Nat Park as we were outside a gate.  There were a brown heron, some jacanas and some other birds. And some ants that wanted to share our lunch. We walked a bit along the small lakes and birded.

We continued to Parque Nacional Soberania, a reserve in the forest. With hummer feeders and "näsbjörn". The best thing I saw there were a huge butterfly. A blue " jungfruslända" three times the size of ours. And I did not get any shot of it as it flew away before I had time to get the camera ready as I hardly believed my eyes.  
When we turned back to Panama city and the airport there was trouble on that old railway bridge. It was a one way lane for cars and cars could not meet on the bridge. And now it seemed as the lights was out of order and cars was standing in the middle from both directions and noone wanted to back off. It took 1 min and a polis to get one side to back its cars. Well, luckily we made it to the airport. It was a relief even if we lost some birding time. Then we said goodbye to those who should stay and headed for the gate.

And now all the trouble started. We were checked over and over. There seemed it had been an "incident" on a plane arriving from Amsterdam and now we had to suffer for that.

But that is in another post already written.

Thanks  to HG and Herman Venegas for a great trip to Costa Rica.

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Costa Rica 110212 Saturday Tapanti

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Click to enlarge All photos, NF Photo 110212  in CR

Woke up at 4. We are getting used to our going home times now. And I guess we wanted to get some birdingtime back from yesterdays adventure.  We grabbed some sandwiches and juice from the hotel. And a quick cup of coffee before we left.
We drove through a still dark Cartago towards the Tapanti Nat park. We arrived at the center at dawn. But as we were early we continued to see if we could find any pittas. And they showed themselves, problem was that only 4 of us could see them as the path was narrow and we went in single line.  And I was in the rear so I did not see them. :(
Then we went to the center and had our "breakfast". There was a couple of rooms in the center where animals was on display. I think they were researching too. Some Chestnut-headed Oropendola was building nests in one of the trees. It was fun to watch.

Then we went along the road for awhile. When we neared lunchtime we left for another lodge. Trushas Kiri Tapanti, But I was not hungry so I skiped the restaurant and walked along the stream for a while. I had some of the breakfast left and ate it there. Then I birded.
After that we could choose if we wanted to continue birding or go back to the lodge and start packing for our journey home. All women except me went back to the lodge but I stayed with the guys.
Emil let us off at a coffee plantation. I took some shots of coffee beans and flowers but not much birds. When teh bus returned we headed back to the center and birded along the way. And now it started to rain. The only discomfort , as I had the rain poncho,was that it darkened. So the pics of a Barred hawk was too dark. And the darkness was too bad because Herman discovered a red deer he never seen before. The deer was in a ravine and it was really dark. I did not get shots, only blurrrr. After that I was tired and went into the bus.

Back at the lodge around 16.30 it was packing time. And I went online and sent the journal to myself. This is the first Lodge where I have seen cockroaches. A total of three different ones. And big ones. I hope they will not be in my suitcase.

When we were piced up by the bus it was still raining. And raining hard. We went across the town to  a big restaurant. Today we were invited by our agent, Walter. There were wery loud music and the rain on the roof. It was almost impossible to hear your own thoughts. They had to lower the music. Dinner was good and we had wine to it. I sat at the window and saw that the buildings has no light in the windows. I wouldl only see streetlights wich seemd a bit confusing. Walter gave us presents. Small paintings in frames. I had seen them before at the Quetzals Paradize. It is CR birds painted on feathers. Really great.

We are going up ad 3.45 for departure to the airport at 4.30. No bird lists tonight, we will do it at the airport tomorrow.
Last, short, night in Costa Rica.
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Costa Rica 110211 Friday Copal o Tetey

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Click to enlarge All photos  NF Photo 110211
Woke up at 5 for an early cup of coffee  and some morning birding. My bed was a bit hard but I slept good none the less. And the room mate, that was supposed to be snoring, turned out to be not disturbing at all. The only trouble was to get up and down as we had three suitcases in that small space. I hope I did not drop anything through the gaps in the floor.
The kitchen staff, two beautiful local females, served us a cup of coffe. Then we headed into the forest.  I figured out why we were up so early all the time. It´s because the birds get quiet around 10. It was so dark when we headed out that we needed the flashlights.  And I only had that small one. Well, better then nothing. We went to the right side of the building.

Breakfast at 7.30 and then we went the same path we was on yesterday. We found some tiny lizards and a tiny frog that was hard do see it was a frog.

We were back at lunchtime. But had a while to capture some more snowcaps and butterflies. The bags should be packed and put down for the car to catch. I put it down and the tube too. But they did not take it. So I should be forced to carry it all the way down to the bus. I never understood why they brought it up in the first place. I did not need it. Well, I complained so Herman took it down. :)

On our way to the last lodge we were visiting a dam where a pair of Bat Falcons lived. They had been there for several years. At least they thought it was the same pair. They were gone for two years I think. But when we continued we got trouble. We were to pass a bridge over the river but they had changed it. Ading some suportive frame on it so the bus was to high. We had to turn around and drive around the lake instead of across. Einar was pissed of course and we lost birding time. We had to drive straight to the next lodge. Tetey Lodge. Getting there it turned out that HG Herman and Einar was staying in an other hotel. The place where we were supposed to eat a little later.

Brita and Karin went to find a shop and returned with cans of beer. So we sat in the lobby drinking beer and chatting when the bus arrived to pick us up.

We were picked up at19.00. It was not far. Food was good but the trouble started when people should pay. Because this was not included. Took a lot of time to sort out. :)

After dinner we used the VIP room for the birdlists. And then was driven back to our lodge.

This lodge had computers and they also gave me a user and pw so I could connect mine. Gave me an opportunity to send the diary to my self by mail. Always great to have a backup.

It is now 22.29 and I am going to bed. We are waking up at 5 again. Outside it is noisy. Lots of traffic and loud teens. What a difference to earlier.

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Costa Rica 110210 Thursday - Towards El Copal Lodge

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My World Tuesday, one day in Costa Rica this was my world
Click to enlarge All photos, NF Photo 110210 in Costa Rica
Woke up 5 to join the morning birding at the lamp. We met at the balcony to see newly awoken hummingbirds. And to get a cup of coffee. Hermans wife attended. There was also a great sunrise to shot. It is a lot of lights in the valley that you did not see in daylight. After a while, at 5.30, we went to the lamp to see what birds liked some butterfly for breakfast. I could take some shots of  both birds and moths even though it was pretty dark. No ID yet.

After breakfast we were divided into 2 groups. One for a harder longer walk and one easier. I choosed the "easy" one. But it turned out that we walked the same path most of the time. And the same ups and downs on slippery paths. But not that slippery here. On this walk  I suddenly saw something on a branch. Something white, and it started to move. It was some kind of lice I think. Our group finished our walk in the fenced meadow we visited yesterday. It was more birds today then it was yesterday so it was great.

We should be packed and ready to leave before lunch so when we got back to our room we was in a hurry. Both Brita and I wanted to take a shower as we has been sweating. But the staff had removed some towels so we got a problem. But we managed to fix it.  Mine was there but Britas was gone so she dried herself with a foot towel.
Tehn a final photo session at the feeders. Here a nice Green Hermit  female.

After lunch, the usual rise , beens and chicken, we left to go to Copal Lodge. The road was bumpy and messy. Mostly dirtroad. In this are they grow coffee and sugercanes. The suger cane fieds was harvested but now they burned it and the smoke was all over he place. There are also a lot of cowboys here. I guess it is easier to ride a horse then to drive a car in those hills.

Arriving at the Lodge we had to stop downhill and to walk up. It was too steep for the bus. Only jeeps or similar could go up there. So, we walked and breaded heavily uphill. Then a jeep came up with the luggage. I  and Sören was the last ones up. But, of course, I used my camera a couple of times.
The first bird we spotted was the snowcap and everyone started to take photos. This is a fast one and no feeders for help. But it was fun. There is one man in the group that always needs perfect shots. He gets it, but he is never satiesfied. Somehow it  annoyes me. Overall his shots are better then mine, he should be happy.

The luggage came eventually and we got our beds. I sleep in the uppper bed this time and Lisa I think, belowe me and Brita in a single bed.  This is a simple building build on poles. No heaters as it is always warm enough. The planks for floor are rough and you should not drpo small things as they can fall down to the ground. There is no heated water but showers if one like that. Light is switched off at 22.00h. This place is not conected to the outside world. But I like it. They are doing research here. Did not really figure out what but obviously something to do with the forest.
We birded a bit around the buildings and then walked into the forest. Steep as usual. Not much birds there but nobody seemed dissapointed as there were birds and butterflies around the lodge. I also saw a black humblebee. :) And snowcap.

Dinner was standard, rice, beans and something that looked and tasted like tunafish. The juice we was served was very good. They said it was made of some kind of seeds that had to stay in the water for awhile to release its taste.

We had only candles to light up in the diningarea. So it was hard to read the list when we went through what birds we had seen today. But Herman had a forehead lamp so the two of us saw rather good.

Now I sit in my upper bed and writes. The light will go out soon and I have my small lamp fastened on my watch. I need it to light my way to the toilet. OK, better finish, and hope I woudn´t need to go to the loa in the middle of the night.
El Copal Lodge
This is really the land of great contrasts. :)
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Costa Rica 110209 Wednesday on route to Naturalista

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Click to enlarge All photos, NF Photo 110209
Wake up at 5.15 to pack and for an early birding at  5.45.
Breakfast at 7.00 and then off to www.ranchonaturalista.net located close to volcano Irazo.
After a chilly night tucked in by lots of beautiful fleeze blankets, we set off for the morning birding. We had Jorge as a guide this morning. The young part of the owners duo. :) We headed into the forest, first to their forest feeder butthere were only oen bird. Jorge said it is a strange season. There used to be a lot of birds in the forest but now it is almost empty. A lack of seeds and berries probably. Like in Sweden then. :(
After a decent breakfast, and another visit to the feeders and the Fiery-throated Hummingbird, we were on our way again. HG said he had counted our birds. So, guessing game time. :) We now have about 430 spieces, seen or heard. And 3 days to go.

We are heading towards the Karibian side again travelling through the clouds. Taking shots through the windows of the bus will be some nice shots for the blogs. We are moving much faster now. I think the drivers name was Emil.

At Angustera Lake  we first made a stop at soem fenced medows. There were a lot of vultures and Grey swallows. A pair of Mockinbirds was sitting in a tree. And a Tropical Kingbird moved around, from the top of a pole to the next. It was hot now so I had to go to the bus to take some clothes of.
It was a beautiful lake with a lawn in front of it. And you had to go a bit downhíll to get to the lake.

People said it was spottingscope time so I brought mine too. That was a mistake. A few bird at the opposite side of the lake. How can people be so happy about a tiny dot in the scope. Saying it is this or that bird when in fact it is impossible to say. Never mind, I started to shot warblers instead. And a butterfly.

Our route took us to Cartago. That seemed to be Hermans hometown. As people had been nagging about t-shirts Herman took us to some friends shop while the driver fueled up the bus. The shop had some really nice things so I shoped as well. The town was hot and full of exhaust gases. Not nica at all when compared to the places we had been visiting so I was happy the moment  when we could leave it.

We continued to Naturalista for lunch and our new rooms. It was a two nights lodge. And guess what, a really nice room, with warm water. NB WARM water. The first thing to do was washing up a few things.

After lunch we was guided in the surounding area by a local guide. It was divided in three parts. Rain forest. Fenced meadow with cows in it and water pools. Was a bit laid back feeling about it. I mean after all those ups and downs in slippery forests we been doing the past two weeks.  Here too they did not know why it had decreased in numbers among the birds. We did not find much but it was a nice walk never the less. When it darkened we went to the pools in the forest. At dawn the whitecap and a few others had a habit of coming for a bath. And they showed up. :)

Eventually we headed back to the lodge for dinner. It was 17.40 then and both Brita and I had time for a shower. What a luxury, warm nice water over your body. Best one since we came to this country.

Dinner was served at 18.30. We had sallad, rice, corn and chicken. For desert the traditional brylepudding.
To the species going through Hermans wife was supposed to come, but she did not show up.

Going back to the room we discovered a lot of moths on the wall so ....shooting time. :) And then todays story sitting in the bed. But without a lot of blankets.

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Costa Rica 110208 Tuesday Quetzals Paradise

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Click to enlarge All photos NF Photo 110208
Today we are leaving for Quetzals Paradise.
Woke up 5.45 and our bags ready for loading at 6.15. We had time for a short birding before breakfast at 6.45. I found some bushes that looked like "björnbär" and it seems like they are used the same way too. There are actually many plants that are similar to ours.
Almost done with breakfast I looked out the window and saw some black birds feeding a yound. They had funny yellow knickers. I hurried out to get some shots before we leaved. Yellow-thighed Finch was the name. The young almost ready to fly.

Another funny thing about this journey, like all others I have done. My hair is so soft now and my skin don´t need any cream. It is smooth anyway. I like that.

On this level you easily get to much pressure on the ears and has to swallow hard t odjust to the airpressure every now and then.  We left Suria Lodge at 7.oo and it was straight upwards. With a new bus and driver. We arrived at Quetzals around 9 and took the first tour as soon as everybody got their rooms. It is steep here and the elevation is almost 3400 above sea level. It is tough. It´s OK to go downhill, but then we have to go back up...... We found some new nice species despite everything. One of them was Hairy Woodpecker.

We also headed in the other direction to see the vey old tree. It´s about 1000 years old and had a cave on ground level. I think it was called Mountain Oak.

Lunch was served at 13.00 so we had some fun at the feeders for a while too.

After luch we left for CR highest point. It was dry and almost desertlike. With bushes and dry trees.  They had a station at the top with a lot of antennas and stuff. Not so mucn birds but a terrific wiew over the valleybelow. Clouds beneath us circling the mountaintops. Beautiful  :) I think it was called Cerra de la Muerte 3400 above sea level. Well we were almost above tree level too. This place is the highest point on the Pan American Highway.

When we saw the bus again the driver was switching a wheel. I could not help myself but started to laugh. But it turned out it was not a puncture, he just had seen the tire was worn and decided to take the time to put a better one on.
Back at the Lodge I took another look at the souveniers they had. They had vests but they was too large for me. I bought a pen in a painted box and some dolphin earrings. Then I took some shots of the paintings on the tables. It turned out that the owner had dont it himself.

At 17.30 we headed down the path from the morning walk to try to find some owls. I dod not see any but we heard some nightjars.

Dinner was a disaster. We were served only sallat and spagetti. No meat or bread or whatsoever. I dont thing anyone felt full when we were done. :(

We skipped the spieces as we did not have that much today.  After "dinner" the girls sat in the bar for a while, drinking bear and talking. It was quite nice as the fire was going. Warm and cosy. Then Brita and I headed back to our cold little cabin. It was close as we had no1 on the corner of the main building.

The shower did not work of course, and it was cold. I sat on the bed with blankets around me to keep warm when writing. They had several beautiful blankets, "plädar" , on each bed to ensure we should sleep OK. I put one of them inside the sheets, that is warmer.

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Costa Rica 110207 Monday Suria - Savegre

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Click to enlarge All photos NF Photo 110007 Savegre area in Costa Rca

Breakfast at 6.15, and that is called "a sleeping morning". :)
After a great breakfast we were supposed to walk to the Savegre park as it was rather close. But as we had a new bus and driver arriving late last night Carlos were leaving. So we decided to go with him to Savegre. Then when we were there and the guides knew it was steep for people to walk, we went with Carlos a couple of km uphill. We had a local guide with us, and he was a treasure. He knew everything. He showed us a nest of the Volcano hummingbird where we left the bus. We would not have seen it otherwise.

A bit further up a Resplendent Quetzal pair showed up. Everyone was happy. We headed uphill and birded along the way. I want ahead and crossed a bridge to the otherside of a steep. There were some Ruddy Treeruners leaping across the trees. Got some good shots of them. Ant that was the turning back point. I had trouble, of course, to keep the pace. Too many things to document with the cameras. Like a beautiful Vulcano female hummer. And more birds and flowers and fish and............. Well, you get the picture. This was actually not good for my feet.

Well, I did not miss the serving. But I was a bit dissappointed. This was supposed to be good Lodge with high standard. Yet it was not that great. Not bad, but... I

 hurried back to the stream to try to find that Torrent Tyrannulet that eluded me on my way to the lunch. Well, now I got it. A few shots from a distant. But I have it. :) I also had the pleasure to study a small hummingbird taking a bath in the river. I was glad to be alone for a while so I could take the time. That river/Stream has the purest water I have ever seen. And it´s color was so beautiful. Then I headed back to the feeders in the garden.

At 14.00 we gathered again to go another path behind the garden. Imediately we found another Quetzal and that took some time. It decided to "show off" a bit so now I got a pretty good shot of it.

The forest path was as usual, steep and slippery and lots of roots. Not many birds wanted to join in. Finally we came to a small waterfall. And that seemed to be the goal for today. We turned back and were back at Savegere at 16,45. We split up and some of us headed back to Suria Lodge. Stefan, Sören and I started back to our lodge and took a look at the fish farming along the way. The last part to the lodge was steep uphill and both me and Sören got problem with breathing. We are at 2100 m above sea level so it is not that strange.

Back at the lodge I wanted to take a shower but the water was from the stream and ice cold. I settled for washing the hair.
We now have a new bus and driver. Dinner was pasta and meat sauce.
Then  the traditional species going through before bedtime.
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Costa Rica 110206 Sunday, Goodbye Pacific

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Click to enlarge, All photos NFPhoto 110206 in Costa Rica
Program: Packed and ready for departure at 5.45

jeeee, one of those early mornings or rather,  in the middle of the night, days.
We were packed and ready to go, but I had forgotten to get my breakfast. Luckily HG took it and gave it to me. Our first stop was Jaco where we looked for a Grey and White owl  and we found it. Our guide from yesterday had told us it was there. Great!

We continued to Villa Techa in Quepos where we were supposed to go birding for swifts. The bus was driving to the highest point at Villa Techa and then we had to climb a little. Not much swifts though. Maybe we were too late. But we did see front dotted swift and chestnut collored swift. Then Herman located a Blue-crowned Motmot, and when studying that one, a Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl came and sat down in a tree in the garden next to were we were.

Done with this we continued to Manuel Antonio Nat park. To my dissappointment we did not stay at the beach. :( I would have loved it.
To get to the entrance we had to pass by a lot of tourist sales. On a bus I saw a blue bird looking at himself in the mirror. It was very angry of this intruder bird he saw there. That was fun.

 In the nat park we walked a rather long way birding as we walked. Finally we came to a beach adn peopel started to look for seabirds. I didn´t bring the tube so I took some shots and them went down to the water and felt wat it was like. It was rather warm and people was swimming.

But this group is busy and I did not even have time to dry my feet until they started back. And I had to run. Later I think I understood why we was in a hurry all the time. I think the slow bus had something to do with it. Even if nothing was said. But my guess is that we should have had another hour if the bus had been a bit faster. :(

On our way back to the bus we had a little time to spend. I bought myself a bathing towel with a butterfly on it, and some small things for my family. And I have some small tokens from the beach with me as well.

We made a stop at the river Baru as Carlos wanted to fill up with gas. So we went to the bridge and did some birding from there. On one side we had a glimpse of the Pacific and on the other side was the river. There was swallows, vaders and some herons.

Goddbye to the Pacific Ocean.

Then we headed inland up to the highland again. And it was steep. After a while the engine was overheated and Carlos had to stop. We were in a rather narrow place and noone even hinted about going out. We just waited. Carlos and Herman was calling the agency, rather tired of the bus. The agency promised to have a bus on standby if we needed it. And we did. After a while the engine had cooled off a bit and Carlos started driving again. This time no more then 20 km/h to prevent another heating. Instead we get puncture no 3. On the way we also stoped at a local fruit shop.

When we had the puncture we left the bus and started to walking and birding uphill. Poor Carlos!  We foudn that little hummingbird. It was hard to get and I don´t know what species it is as i forgot the notebbook.

We soon arrived at the place where we were supposed to have a coffebreak or late lunch. At  Gerorgianic (?)    I had a carrot bun and coffee. And it really tasted good. They had some feeders and I took some pics of course. And was sloppy enough to forget my notebook. :(  Too bad, but nothing to do about it.

The remaining road to Suria Lodge was long and troublesome, especially with this bus. But it seems that they have ordered a new one for tomorrow. This time it was first uphill and then a long way downhill and engine breaking a lot.

We arrived app at 19.30 and had dinner as soon as we installed ourselves in the rooms.

They had a computer we could use in the lobby and I showed Herman my blogs.

For dinner we was served fish, (öring) They have it in the river and it was really tasty.
We went through the spices list. We have approx 400 species now acc to HG.  And then the evening business. Don´t think we showered. So far out in the wilderness there was not much warm water. The room is cold but has one heater. And we could finally go to bed early without worrying about an early morning session. So far we had little more then 5 h sleep per night and that is not good in the long run. Brita sleeps already while I write down todays adventure.

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