Costa Rica, 2012

3/13 - 22/2012 (Tue - Thu)  10 days
Costa Rica 哥斯达黎加   Photo Album 1

Tour Director: Lauren Guzman (her son is Dylan)  - found on Web on this album

13 Tue - AA 1813 : LGA to MIA ; AA 1051 : MIA to SJO (Note: hassle of connecting flights - security check twice, the check before the international flight at Miami was tighter)
   evening at Barcelo San Jose Palacio Hotel (1 mile from downtown San José, just right outside of the busy city traffic zone) -
      Great-tailed Grackle -  
Hummingbird, possibly Rufous-tailed Hummingbird p.129  
Rufous-collared Sparrow, adult p.307   - <1>  
Clay-colored Robin - <1>  

14 Wed
   Poas Volcano, cloud forest -
female Black-and-yellow Silky-Flycatcher p.253  - <1>
Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush (6 in.) p.247
Rufous-collared Sparrow singing
   after lunch -
   Cafe Brit, a coffee plantation nestled in Barva de Heredia, on the slopes of the extinct Barva Volcano -
   evening at hotel -
White-winged Dove (video)

15 Thu -
   morning at hotel before leaving -
      Great-tailed Grackle - <1> (a female adult - note her iris not as yellow as a male; info1)
      Parakeets (a gang of 7 to 10+) - probably Crimson-fronted Parakeets
      Swallows - probably Blue-and-white Swallows
      swimming pool - butterfly (red/orange/brown)
      woodpecker - 2 times
   butterfly garden -
      Peleides Blue Morpho, Common Morpho, or The Emperor (Morpho peleides)  - <1>
      Strawberry Poison Dart Frog (size: < 1 inch) - <1>   <2>
   banana factory -

Great Kiskadee - <1>
Tropical Kingbird - <1> (I think is a molting Gray Kingbird; or Tropical Mockingbird?  other Flycatcher?  Tanager?) (Gray Kingbird is a very rare passage migrant along the Caribbean coast, seen in March and from Sept to early Oct).  Someone took a photo of Gray Kingbird in Tortuguero, Costa Rica at the end of November (src). ... eBird has 6 records of Gray Kingbird for Costa Rica. One at Tortuguero. But none after October. Consider submitting to eBird ...
Tortuguero -
      Red-eyed Tree Frog (inc. 16 Fri) - <1>   Video
      golden silk orb-weaver spider -

16 Fri -
   near the lodge, Tortuguero -
      golden silk orb-weaver spider - Video
   before the pm boat ride (2:59pm), Tortuguero, with Winnie's camera -
a long-tailed lizard  - <1>   <2>   <3>  

17 Sat -
   Morning cruise on Tortuguero River -
Roseate Spoonbill  - <1> (10:45am)

18 Sun -
Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge - P1150495.
     Long-nosed Bat : probably Greater Long-nosed Bat or Lesser Long-nosed Bat  - <1>   <2>   <3>  
Howler Monkey?) - <1a> (processed by CyberLink PhotoDirector 3 free version, 1/31/2013)    <1b> (out-of-camera JPG)
     Ringed Kingfisher - female-1   female-2   female-3    female-4 (from RAW)   
     Boat-billed Heron -   <1>
     Little Blue Heron -   <1>

Crested Guans - Video 
male Green Honeycreeper (a Tanager) - Video 

19 Mon -
  am before leaving, at the hotel (Arenal Manoa, Fortuna)
     Bare-throated Tiger-Heron -   <1>   <2>  
White-shouldered Tanager, female southern Pacific race -   <1a>   <1b>   <2> ; I think not Gray-headed Tanager (Eucometis penicillata). (*1) 
  at the bus, before going to hanging bridge hike
Blue-and-yellow Macaw (not Scarlet Macaw nor Green-winged Macaw; not Great Green Macaw) -   <1>   <1-bad>   <2>   <3>   (They are popular in aviculture because of their striking color, ability to talk, ready availability in the marketplace, and close bonding to humans.)

卻歷久常新               <1>

20 Tue (JW Marriot Resort and Spa @ Pacific Coast, Guanacaste) -
   mating bugs (smaller male over larger female) - <1>
   butterfly - mating1
   grasshopper - <1> (excellent
camouflage on sand) (look similar to Zayante band-winged grasshopper, Trimerotropis infantilis, & Lompoc grasshopper, Trimerotropis occulens - pic; both of them are endemic to California)
   crab -
      ghost crab -  <1>   <2> (horns attached to the end of their eyes so is a male)
hermit crab -
   lizard -  
Blackbelly Racerunner / Seven-lined Racerunner (Aspidoscelis deppei) or called Deppe's Whiptail  - <1>
   White-winged Dove p.89 - <1>    <2>     

21 Wed -
   Scrub Euphonia (p.327, not Yellow-throated) : male adult feeding juvenile (passing a mistletoe berry?)   male adult 1
   bird and crocodile spotting cruise on the Tarcoles River, after lunch
Jesus Christ Lizard - <1a>    <1b> (look like an adult male)  
   stay at
Holiday Inn San Jose Aurola Hotel & enjoyed the last supper.

22 Thu - AA 988 : SJO to MIA ; allow at least 2-3 hour for transfer.  At Miami had to pick up luggage and went through Custom and then returned the luggage back to AA.  The luggage so couldn't make it on the same flight with us.   Then went thru security check again for the domestic flight.

Scrub Euphonia  - <1>  <2>
   Their diet consists of a variety of tree-borne fruits. In particular, they are known to feed on mistletoe berries. Their gut is specially adapted for mistletoe berries, which are poisonous.
   These finches tend to move to places where mistletoe berries are the most abundant. They are most commonly seen in small groups foraging in their favored feeding areas.

Yellow-throated Euphonia (Euphonia hirundinacea) - <1>   <2>

"The twenty-five species in the genus
Euphonia share several unusual features setting them apart from other members of the Thraupinae.  They completely lack a gizzard, apparently a specialization of the digestive tract for a diet of fruit.  Available data also suggest that euphonias have an unusual breeding biology:  they build covered nests, they lay larger clutches than the typical two eggs of most tropical passerines, and they feed fruit to nestlings to a greater extent than other frugivorous birds (Morton 1973)."  ... from Sargent, Wilson Bull., 105(2), 1993, pp.285-300.  src
ABSTRACT of Nesting Biology of the Yellow-throated Euphonia: Large Clutch Size in a Neotropical Fr
ugivore - "Most nesting occurred from April to July in covered nests in road banks.  Modal clutch sizes was five eggs ... Only female incubated eggs, but both parents fed nestlings."

Blackbelly Racerunner (Aspidoscelis deppei) or called Deppe's Whiptail (Cnemidophorus deppei)    :
         - info1  info2 ; This lowland species is found as far north as Michoacán, Mexico, and southward to Nicaragua on the Atlantic slope, and to central Costa Rica on the Pacific slope. It is found between 0 to 530 m above sea level.)   
         - Deppe's Whiptail: A small, slender lizard with narrow, pointed head and long toes; blackish or dark brown body, sometimes with pale green areas; 7 or 8 narrow cream-colored stripes down the back; to 8 cm (3 in), plus long tail. (Chisbala).  Habitat: Northern Pacific coastal sites; found in open areas, sandy spots with little vegetation, beach dunes. src
         - with several brown/orange longitudinal stripes; probably a Whiptail (Aspidoscelus sp. pic1  pic2) or  Mabuya sp.; wiki  info1
- not Six-Lined Racerrunner (Cnemidophorus sexlineatus)  info1  info2  - The Six-lined Racerunner (Cnemidophorus sexlineatus) is a species of lizard found in the United States, from Wyoming across the Great Plains east to Rhode Island, south to Florida and west to southern Texas, and in northern Mexico, in Tamaulipas.
         - not Rainbow lizard (Cnemidophorus lemniscatus info1   pic1 
Note: Many species that were Cnemidophorus are now considered Aspidoscelis based upon divergent characters between the two groups.
         - Cnemidophorus is a genus of lizards which belong to the family of Teiidae, which are commonly referred to as whiptail lizards or racerunners. Note that the nomenclature for this genus has recently been re-examined by T. W. Reeder et al. in 2002. Many species that were Cnemidophorus should now likely be considered Aspidoscelis based upon divergent characters between the two groups.   wiki

Common Morpho (Morpho peleides) - pic1   info1 ; different from The Menelaus Blue Morpho (Morpho menelaus)  wiki;  see also Blue Morpho

Elephant Beetle (Megasoma elephas, a  Neotropical rhinoceros beetles)  - pic1    wiki     info1 - not  hercules beetle (Dynastes hercules)

Long-nosed Bat :
   The Greater Long-nosed Bat or called Mexican Long-nosed Bat (Leptonycteris nivalis)   wiki
         - This rather large, brownish bat has an extremely long slender nose with a leaflike projection of thick skin on its end.  Ears extend well above top of head.  Interfemoral membrane narrow; there is no tail.   It is found in western USA, not in eastern.  It is a species in the family Phyllostomidae (New World leaf-nosed bats).  Similar species: (1) Hognose and (2) Leafnose Bats have conspicuous tail.  src: A Field Guide to Mammals: North America north of Mexico.  Peterson Field Guides. (Third Edition)  1976  by William H. Burt, Roger Tory Peterson (Editor), Richard Philip Grossenheider (Illustrator) 
- Saussure's long-nosed bat form the genus Leptonycteris within the leaf-nosed bat family Phyllostomidae. include:

Southern Long-nosed Bat, Leptonycteris curasoae
Big Long-nosed Bat or Mexican Long-nosed Bat, Leptonycteris nivalis
Lesser Long-nosed Bat or Mexican Long-nosed Bat, Leptonycteris yerbabuenae.


Elph's picture (direct link): seashell Common Hairy Triton (Monoplex pilearis)?  info1  -  but ours is smaller (I think it is about 2 inches) and darker in color.  And Common Hairy Triton is rare under stones at any depth but prefers deep water.

More Winnie's pic

Useful url :

Somebody's bird and wildife 2011 Dec trip - many good pictures (common:  Green Iguana,  Variegated Squirrel , Tropical Kingbird, Blue-gray Tanager, Great Kiskadee, Rufous-collared Sparrows   )

hassle of connecting flights:

1. If travel from A to C via B where B & A are in the same country, then security measure of international level (tigher) will be performed at B; in the coming back, luggage will have to check by Custom in B and pick up again for the flight from B to A.  E.g.,
        NYC (domestic security, check-in luggage) -> Floida (no luggage issue but while leaving, international security) -> foreign country C;
        C -> Florida (pick up luggage, pass Custom, give back luggage to airline) -> NYC.
    Country A -> Country B (no security check because it is a transfer; no luggage issue) -> Country C.  E.g., NYC -> Tokyo -> HK.


*1: ?female southern Pacific race of White-shouldered Tanager has black eye (iris)? but mine is red (red eye not due to flash because no flash is used.) so mine is more similar to Gray-headed Tanager.  But according to Garrigues & Dean (2007), the distribution of the bird is barely matched.  Fortuna is near to but not within the range map.  And Gray-headed Tanager has bright yellow underparts, creating quite a contrast to its olive green above.  And mine has dark leg, not like Gray-headed Tanager.  So verdict goes to female White-shouldered Tanager.   cf. Gray-headed Tanager-1   Gray-headed Tanager-2   female White-shouldered Tanager-1   female White-shouldered Tanager-2

Gray-headed Tanager White-shouldered Tanager provides many useful links.

Howler Monkey:

The mantled howler (Alouatta palliata), or golden-mantled howling monkey, is a species of howler monkey, a type of New World monkey, from Central and South America. It is one of the monkey species most often seen and heard in the wild in Central America. It takes its "mantled" name from the long guard hairs on its sides. 

Three subspecies are recognized:[3]

more on wiki