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Getting My Doolittle On: La Ensenada, Costa Rica

Saturday, February 27, 2016

 Amazingly, I'm blogging from Costa Rica. I know, never happens. But I was fresh out of one-eyed deer and I have fast Net at Villa Lapas and hey why not. It's what's in front of me, and it's awesome!
I have the loveliest group this year (well, they're all lovely). But ohh these folks, so wonderful to be in the woods together.

A saman tree. Also known as a Raintree, this enormous acacia-like tree (Albizia saman) spreads four times wider than it grows tall. It's native from Mexico to Brasil, but has been widely distributed around the world.  I looked at the ring of cabinas sheltering under its canopy (I was in #2, which must've been the Presidential Cabin because there were three beds!) and wondered who'd had the foresight to plant this thing in the middle of them, and how they knew the way it would define the entire space. And how long ago that might have been. One in Venezuela is a national treasure, and is thought to be more than 500 years old, having been described by Alexander von Humboldt around 1800--and it was old then!!

The view from beneath, out my cabin door. I had to set my phone to Panorama to capture it.

You could lead an entire trip to Costa Rica just focusing on its
amazing trees. Any one of the hundreds of trees we've seen here could be a tourist attraction in the US. Mario says it's called Raintree because cicadas live in it and piss down liquid. He says sometimes it's still green beneath a raintree when everything else has dried completely up. Good to know, about the cicada pee, I'd think. Or maybe not. Maybe better to think it makes its own weather, no?

So La Ensenada has an open-air dining room as do most eco-lodges we frequent, and there are white-throated magpie jays freely stealing stuff off plates and out of bread baskets. It's very amusing, at least to American tourists; less so to the staff I'm sure.  See jay, second plate from front.

Blue jays on steroids...crows in leisure suits. WTMJ's are pretty darned cool birds, smart and bold and opportunistic to a fault.  Big as a magpie and twice as purty. I believe this to be an immature.

It posed prettily for me when I imitated its scraping chuckles. Here, we're talking up a blue and white storm. Rawwk! Oop! dok dok dok! I'm getting my Doolittle on on this trip.

Ol Mr. Bluejay, in them baseball clothes of his
Struttin' 'round the premesis...

Gotta love the head doo-dads. What a bird!

Meanwhile, down by the pool, SIX black-headed trogons were feasting on figs.
Here, a female gags one down whole. She'll choke up the pit somewhere else, maybe plant another tree. 

I was just trying to get a photo of one black-headed trogon eating a fig when five more swooped in.

File under: Costa Rica problems. Durn trogons! Gotta swat 'em away!

And then there are the mantled howlers, waking me up at 3:28 AM. It's OK. I love the sound, like thunder in the treetops. 

I think this is an adult male. Just a hunch.  I made a video of one walking and howling at the same time. So amazing and so funny. I just love observing howlers. 

There are horses on this dude ranch. I made friends with a shy gelding at sunset, scratching his withers and jawbars and brisket. 

Lucy and Jenny M. took pictures of the whole thing. I took one back, of tiny Lucy and big horse.

But my favorite shot from La Ensenada was the theft of a whole slice of soft white farmer cheese by a young magpie jay and its parent. Well, the adult was loading up on scrams. That interface of wildlife and people... I find it irresistible. 


The interface of wildlife and people...irresistible, yes. But also in your recounting magical.
Thank you.

Oh my gosh that is the BEST!

Amazing trees, fascinating birds. Wonderful!

Sounds like nature overload in the best possible way. Thanks for sharing. I love all corvids and these seem pretty special.

Oh this was so interesting! The birds are so different there, I hope you continue on with more! I can't wait to see what is next! cheers.

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