Today you would have arrived to San Jose, Costa Rica. Most of the flights arrive just before noon. Right after clearing customs, we would go to pick up our vehicles to start our commute to our first destination. San Jose is located at 3,000 feet in a valley between two mountain ranges formed by active volcanoes. On our way to cross the Continental Divide, we would stop for lunch at one of our favorite restaurants. Many of you would be excited to see the first forms of life as Talamanca hummingbirds, Red-billed Pigeons and Blue-gray Tanagers as we enjoy our first of many Costa Rican meals. Back in our vans, we would travel over some gorgeous scenery reminiscent of the Bavarian mountain scene from The Sound of Music. As we start our descent, we would stop at one of our favorite stops, La Paz waterfall – a good place to relax and give the bus some time to cool off the brakes. Everybody stops here for an iconic picture of the famous waterfall or to sample fruits or buy crafts from the vendors lined up on the side of the road. By then we would have passed the worst of the winding roads leading to the Caribbean side of the country. A few minutes later we would stop for a distant look to a waterfall similar to that of Jurassic Park. San Fernando waterfall can rarely be seen because of cloud covering, but we’ll make a stop at an overlook to see some birds and shoot the waterfall. An hour later we would arrive to our lodge in Chilamate, our home for the next two days. By then, most of the birds would be gathering their last meal of the day and some of them would come to the lodge’s feeders to stuff themselves with bananas and papayas. After the check-in, we would talk about the options for the rest of the day including the pool, exploring the grounds and shooting frogs after dinner. Dinner is a typical combination of Costa Rican treats with beef, chicken or fish with delicious rice, vegetables and fruits. Some of you may be in the mood to get in the jungle at night. After some quick instructions on safety and how to use the flash, we would head out to capture some iconic frogs like the Red-eyed Treefrog. But the forest is alive at night with more than just frogs. Bats, Opossums, Kinkajous and snakes are frequently found during our hikes. Below I will leave you with some images from day one.
Here are some participants shooting as soon as we stop for lunch.
La Paz Waterfall taken with a drone. It's a different perspective for sure.
A Prong-billed Barbet (Semnornis frantzii) a no-so-common bird of the middle elevations.
San Fernando waterfall from the Cinchona overlook.
A Chesnut Mandible Toucan (Ramphastos ambiguus swainsonii) on the gardens of La Quinta lodge.
A Cloudy Snail-eating Snake (Sibon nebulatus) found while looking for amphibians.
Tent-making Bats on one of the palm trees at the lodge.
Here's one of my favorite frogs: the Red-eyed Treefrog Agalychnis callidryas).
I spend most of my first night surveying the amphibian life, so we can get some nice shots the following night.