Saturday, February 25, 2012

A matter of perspective

   Birdwatchers often remark that there should be guidebooks showing the undersides of birds as that is often all you can see. When we heard something fall right next to us on the path and looked up, we didn't need any special guide to know that the bird right over us was a Black Guan (Chamaepetes unicolor).
We could still see it's blue facial skin and red eye, but most impressive were the fluffy thigh feathers that guidebooks don't even mention.
   On the same outing, we saw this Striped palm pit viper (Bothriechis lateralis) sleeping in a tree at the entrance to the Santa Elena Reserve. Fortunately for the sake of identifying it, we could see the thin yellowish line bordering it's belly.  Twan Leenders' Guide to Ampibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica says this snake is "common in Costa Rica, but because it is camouflaged and usually immobile, it is rarely seen."
Agreed. Even after someone told us which tree it was in, it took us a while to find it.
   Sometimes it's not the birdwatchers that are looking up. This Golden-browed Chlorophonia (Chlorophonia callophrys) seemed to be checking out what its friends were doing. It was in a large ficus tree with a couple dozen of the same species, feasting on the abundant fruit.
Frogs sitting in their little pond inside a bromeliad plant really has no choice but to look up. This little tree frog happens to have a home on a low branch and we've visited him twice and seen how much he can grow in a week. A guide said it was one of the smilisca frogs that are very common in Costa Rica. This is the first I've seen in the wild; I think a lot of them live in bromiliads that are well above human eye level.
Finally, it's fun to get down to bug level when possible. This leaf mimic was recently walking across the porch at The Ecolodge at UGA Costa Rica.
By the way, if you are really curious about the weather in the Monteverde area, check out UGA's weather site. Just keep in mind that around here elevation really affects weather, so it can be warm and sunny in the upper San Luis valley and cool and misty at the nearby Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.

1 comment:

Queen of the Tea Cosies said...

Beautiful photos.
Beautiful birds, frogs, bugs.