Monday, April 14, 2008
We got the wakeup call at 6:15 - way too early as far as we were concerned. The sunrise was very nice. On the flipside, mosquitoes had gotten in during the middle of the night - bad times. Before we left, Justin went out on the back porch to take in the sunrise while the birds and animas were more active. Among the highlights were a yellow-billed cardinal, a capybara, and a rufescent tiger heron. Our morning excursion left at 7, and went down the road towards the main lodge, with us stopping all the time to see things. There were far too many birds to count, but among the highlights were:
Near the main lodge we stopped at a museum that had pictures of many of the plants and animals in the reserve, as well as information on some of them. Right outside the museum was a large caiman just hanging out. After visiting that we walked down a bit to an area with a whole bunch of caiman, passing by a white-necked heron and some unusual orange vine on the way.
The large group of caiman came very close in the hopes of being fed. The caiman here don't get as large as the ones in the Amazon, and really are of no danger unless provoked. Mostly they just sat there (to the point insects kept landing on them), or they watched from the water.
After that we went back to the main lodge for a bit so that people could check the internet and buy stuff from the gift shop. We looked around for more birds, with some success. Justin saw a crested oropendola in a fishtail palm, and Crystal found a bunch of red macaws that we tried to take photos of. Some turned out, but they were so high up in the tree, they kept turning away from us, and the overcast sky made it difficult.
On the way back we finally saw some mammals. We saw a large group of peccaries, which look somewhat like pigs but with skinnier legs. We also saw a giant anteater, which took off once we got close, so all we got was a picture of his tail. All told, we were gone about five hours, and it was a good time, even if there was again a focus on birds. Lunch was very good, and after lunch Crystal read while Justin slept.
Our afternoon excursion was a walk, longer than the day before. By the horse stalls, there was a group of capybaras grazing along with the horses, which was funny. Right after leaving the lodge we saw a group of 5 hyacinth macaws, who were far away but at least staying put this time. Our walk was nice, but we didn't see a whole lot. We did learn that fire ants hurt when they bite - fortunately we weren't the ones being bitten. There were a lot of worker ants also. At the end we did see two nice birds, the Jabiru stork and the hyacinth macaw. Unfortunately, since it was near the end, the sun was going down and the photos didn't turn out so hot because they were backlit. We also saw a nice looking orange ginger or heliconia right before getting back in the car.
We came back and got cleaned up before dinner. For our evening excursion we went on a night drive. It was much more peaceful and relaxing than the other drives - people were much quieter. We saw a crab-eating fox right off the bat, which gave us high hopes. As it was, we didn't see another mammal for some time. Instead, about all we saw for the next hour were night herons and caimans. On our way back, Justin spotted a giant anteater, so we stopped for awhile to watch that, but again it scurried off shortly after we spotted it. By the time we got back, it was very cold outside, and we were happy to be back at the lodge. There was no issue getting to sleep.