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Kim

Corcovado

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Kim

Yes, more leafcutter ants. These endless parades of industrious ants were everywhere in Costa Rica, but this assembly line seemed particularly productive. We could see the tree from where they brought the leaves and we could follow them all the way to their nest in the ground. The immediate area all around the nest was noticeably defoliated compared to trees a distance away. I think ants rule Costa Rica, they are just very quiet about it...

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Kim

After following the trails through dense forest for maybe 2 hours, we emerged at the ranger station on the beach for a short break. A collection of found objects was on display:

Whale skull

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Dolphin and tapir skulls

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Kim

The ranger station:

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Kim

The view from the ranger station:

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Kim

Urs in his wellies admiring the coconuts sprouting on the beach:

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Kim

They're everywhere, like weeds:

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In the next installment I will continue with exciting coverage of our hike up a crocodile-infested creek. Don't miss it!

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BS Man about Palms

Yay! Kim saw Monkeys!!! :bemused: Send pics to Linda... ?

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gcyao

I guess this is a good time to pitch in with a few pictures. To give credence to Kim, this is my monkey shot.

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Kim, it's not true that it takes skill. With the limited camera equipment we have, a good shot of a monkey is a lucky shot. You just keep on shooting and hope you get one with a monkey in the right position.

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gcyao

And here is a shot of a land crab, with my finger for scale.

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It is the clearest shot I got. With the lack of contrast and low light, it was hard to focus! And I couldn't get closer, because it would scurry away.

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gcyao

Now, this guy didn't run away.

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Neither, did this guy.

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Clinging innocuously to a tree, it is almost invisible.

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gcyao

This shot gives an idea of how long the parade of leaf-cutter ants was.

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The parade extended beyond the bottom of the photo.

About a third from the top of the photo, a fallen tree trunk can be seen laying across their path. And, what did they do? Climb over like nobody's business. And the parade extended deep into the dark area which the camera flash was unable to illuminate.

We noticed one ant carrying an extra heavy load, going more slowly than the others, approaching the tree trunk, so we stood there, bent over, watching to see if she could carry her load over it. She dropped her load a couple of times but heroically persisted and was able to finally make it after superhuman, errr... super-ant effort, accompanied by a chorus of "Made it!".

Alberto then saw a soldier ant, characterized by extra large biting jaws, and proceeded to demonstrate how they could bite by putting his fingernail into her jaws. Her jaws clamped onto the fingernail tightly as if locked into place, giving us opportunities to take pictures of the stunt one by one. I was last in line, and as I was about to raise my camera, Alberto got startled. The soldier ant had bitten off a chunk of His fingernail! That must've been a first because Alberto looked totally shocked. And that left me with no photo to post. Sorry...

By the way, you can see Dan and Dawn? fully equipped with hiking boots, walking stick, and backpack, all provided by the lodge.

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Jeff Searle

Kim,

I'm glad to hear that you finally saw some monkeys. You can't go to CR and come home to tell your friends you never saw a monkey.....they would think your some kind of newby. But, I had to laugh when you mentioned your guide pointing his little red laser on animals and plants. Our guide(different one) used one also. They must get one each after they graduate from "guide school". But great pictures.

George,

I'm glad to hear you got the chance to go down there as well. It sounds like you had an awesome time. And great pictures also.

Jeff

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JakeK

Kim,

I feel your frustration trying to take pictures of wildlife in the rainforest, especially monkeys. They are everywhere in Corcovado, but like you said the won't sit still. I had a troop of spider monkeys outside my cabina and still couldn't get clean shots of them.

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Kim

Thanks, guys, so it's not just me having trouble nailing those monkeys on digital. :mrlooney: Grant Stephenson and Garvin Yao had some pretty good lenses with them, I hope they will post some of their photos as well, maybe they got some better shots of the capucins or the howlers.

And a correction: looking at these photos on larger screen, it's quite obvious in post #39 that is not George Yao walking with Grant on the jungle trail; it's the second guide from the lodge who joined us.

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KONADANTOM

Aloha and Mahalo again to Kim and George for the additional photo posts and interesting comments.

Regarding post #39: The second guide who led the other half of the hiking group that day had the same name as me, Daniel – the Tico nick name for Daniel is “Danni”, which is what Alberto called him as they kept in touch using walkie-talkies

Regarding post #40: I live on Big Island where there are choke (plenty) geckos, and I daily see the geckos stalking / catching / eating insects. So as I watched Alberto play with the lizard using his red laser pointer it seemed to me that the lizard was being fooled into thinking the moving red point of light was actually a tasty red insect – the lizard kept pouncing at the point of light and then each time Alberto would move the light a little bit farther away…

Regarding post #51: I was watching as the soldier ant clamped its biting jaws onto Alberto’s fingernail, and was amazed by the thick chunk of fingernail the ant had quickly chewed off – it looked like someone had used a razor-sharp Exacto-knife or scalpel to cleanly slice out a chunk of fingernail

Dan on Big Island

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Kim

We resumed our hike, going up the river canyon again. It wasn't long before we spotted a croc on the bank of the creek, but with our small group disturbing his nap, he quickly launched himself into the water and out of sight.

Crossing the creek:

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Kim

We had to climb over this freshly fallen tree. The heart of the wood, newly exposed and bright, had a purplish cast to it.

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Kim

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Kim

A blue-tailed lizard along the trail:

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Kim

It wasn't long before we reached the crashing waterfall:

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Kim

When I first reviewed this photo, I almost deleted it because there was "nothing" in it:

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Kim

Did you notice that young crocodile napping in the center of the pic? A very short distance downstream from this croc, the water cascades over a bank of rocks into a large, beautiful pool. The guide said we could all swim there if we wished. Dan Ashley was the only one to take up the offer to swim downstream from the crocodile! As the water was muddy from the previous night's rains, I decided I would just lounge on the banks and maybe stick my feet in. But it wasn't long before the ever-present ants asserted their dominance of the forest, swarming ever so discreetly over backpacks and shoes, so I picked up my gear and retraced our steps to the ocean.

Several of us bodysurfed for awhile in the small waves. Thoroughly refreshed, we had a pleasant picnic by the sea:

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There was plenty of entertainment here, with a coati foraging for fruit in a tree and scarlet macaws flittering in the treetops.

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Kim

I wandered around the grounds later that afternoon and came across this flowering shrub:

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Kim

This butterfly garden and observation bench were situated off the beaten path:

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bgl

Kim,

What an incredible shot! (Post #61) Not to mention the excellent camouflage! :)

Bo-Göran

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Kim

The Sunset Bar naturally drew everyone for views of the sunset.

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Kim

One of the unforeseen pleasures of the trip extension was the camraderie of the other travelers. We heard several good fishing stories as we gathered in the bar before dinner.

l to r: Dawn from the UK, Bunni and Stephen Collins from Barbados, Susanne and Urs Germann of Switzerland

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l to r: Garvin, George, and Aurora Yao from the Philippines; Dan Ashley, Kona, Hawaii, USA; Dawn again.

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Kim

Early morning dawned, and the boat would be waiting after breakfast. The time passed too quickly!

We piled into the trailer behind the tractor "limo" and slowly bumped down to the water's edge. The sea was bluer than blue. The boats backed into shore for boarding.

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Kim

When the boats were loaded and up to speed, we skimmed along the ocean surface, as smooth as a silken scarf laid on a table, the mirrored surface reflecting the sky and the coconut palms along the shore.

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BS Man about Palms

KIM I LOVE the first pic in post #68. It make me feel like I'm right there! I want to walk and wade right into that Lagoon! It doesn't look to hot nor too cold, just right.

Thus its now my Desktop photo. It took a long time to unseat Gary Levines Bismarkias in Madagascar.....

Thanx!

Bill

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Kim

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iAdiós Corcovado!

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Kim

Thanks Bo -- you really would have enjoyed this trip.

Thanks Bill, I'm very flattered, enjoy the photo. And yes, the water was just right...

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bgl

I know I would! I'm blue with envy (influenced by those last few, amazing, photos) :lol:

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Lefty

What a great story. Thanks for your narrative. I don't know if you mentioned it, but I noticed the ubiquitous "blue flashlights". LOL! They look like Star Trek communicators or Phasers. What a great time you had.

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gcyao

Hello Kim and all,

I finally got around to finishing my postings in this thread, thanks to others' encouragement and compliments of my new Mac. :lol: It took some learning, but the Mac handles images so much faster! :)

Here is my first resumption image, a coning female Zamia, probably fairchildiana.

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We saw this when we got back on the trail from the ranger's station.

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gcyao

Here is a double-headed Zamia fairchildiana (I think) with trunk almost horizontal and the crowns trying to make 90 degrees turns upward.

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We saw many Zamias and Cyclanths (probably Carludovica palmata) as seen in this picture of the opposite bank of the stream we were following to go to the waterfall.

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gcyao

When Kim mentioned in Post #39 that "The jungle... seems drenched all the time", I was reminded of what our guide told us in Braulio Carillo National Park that the palms we were looking at had developed drip-tips to drain away excess water that can become harmful. I had to take this picture there.

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Here in Corcovado, the cycads have done the same thing.

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gcyao

Drip-tips for palms and cycads, I understand, but who would have thought that ferns, the quintessential rainforest habitue would get into the act.

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gcyao

After an interesting trek, we finally got to the waterfall. We were supposed to take a swim there, but the heavy rain of the previous night made the water muddy and deterred us to do so, except maybe Dan (as mentioned by Kim).

Here is a picture of the waterfall by itself.

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And here is one with people for scale.

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That is my son, Garvin, and to the left of his head, a figure smaller than his head, you can barely see Grant (I think).

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gcyao

On the way back to the beach, I was told that there was a croc on the stream bank which I wasn't aware of earlier. It was hard to take a good picture from the trail so I went down closer. I was ready to run anytime it moved, but it didn't move at all. :lol:

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Our guide Alberto pointed out this tiny poisonous tree frog to my wife and me. It was so tiny that you had to get real close to get a good picture. But everytime you got close, it moved away a little. Finally, it got cornered in this small gap between the trail and the tree roots. But it became too dark to focus well. Should've brought a flashlight!

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