Thursday, January 19, 2017

Day 2 - 2017 Costa Rica Journal

Our second day at Arenal Observatory finds us up bright and early.  We’ve got an all-day trip planned that leaves at 6:40 a.m.

While waiting for our breakfast-to-go, we had a little time to do some bird watching from the large deck area that looks out over a feeding table and a feeding tree.  We’ve never seen this unique type of bird feeding tree before.  There is a pulley system that allows the staff to lower the tree in order to fill it up with fruit, then raise it high enough to be out of reach of the White-nose Coati.
Arenal Observatory deck.
Feeding Tree
We picked up our breakfast-to-go, and caught our ride to the Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge.  This long drive was made even longer with a mix-up on the whereabouts of some other folks on the tour.  About half way to the Refuge we stopped at an iguana sanctuary located outside a little restaurant.  The story was that the restaurant owner started feeding scraps to the iguanas and now there are dozens of iguanas lying around.
Green Iguana
Apparently some folks kill and eat iguanas, and our guide referred to them as "Chicken of the Tree"!
"Chicken of the Tree"
Our tour continued with some really great bird sightings along the road to the Refuge. We saw more Northern Jacanas than we've ever seen before. These birds have extremely long "toes" that allow them to walk on top of floating vegetation. They seem capable of walking on water.
Northern Jacana adult
There were dozens of juveniles as well. They look very different than the adults, but they've got the big feet!
Northern Jacana juvenile
We also spotted our first Spectacled Caiman. They are related to alligators and crocodiles but are smallish (4' - 6') and pose no danger to humans.
Spectacled Caiman
We enjoyed seeing a beautiful adult Bare-throated Tiger-Heron. It turns out that these birds are a major predator of baby caiman. But as the caiman grow up they become hunters of the herons!
Bare-throated Tiger-Heron adult
Tiger-Herons are named not for their ferocity, but rather for their striped appearance as youngsters.
Bare-throated Tiger-Heron juvenile
(Click on any picture for a larger view)

Next time: Our boat tour of the Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge.


  1. Wonderful pictures. What kind of camera gear do you have?

  2. Hey Randy. I am using a Canon 7D MkII camera body with Canon's "second generation" 100mm-400mm zoom. The lens was designed for that camera body and they work really well together. I was able to get some really decent pictures inside of the
    jungle with very little light.

  3. Got the Bare-throated Tiger-heron at Bentsen State Park while out doing a bird survey!!!
    That was a rare treat.