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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

Punta Leone Nature Reserve and the Pacific

April 21st, 2013 · 1 Comment

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On our second day in Costa Rica we left the city and began to explore the country. We drove about 70 miles southwest to the Punta Leone Nature Reserve on the Pacific Ocean where we stayed three nights at the Hotel Punta Leone. Our driver Marco, whom everyone calls Niño, drove his new Toyota bus for the entire trip. Niño is an excellent driver and a knowledgeable birder who spotted many birds for us, augmenting Glenn’s great knowledge.

En route to Punta Leone we stopped at the town of Orotina to go birding in its park. High in one of the park’s trees Glenn located a species of one of my favorite order of birds, the owls. These are a pair of Black-and-white Owls, which I had never seen before. The smaller one is the male.

A Pair of Black-and-white Owls (Strix nigrolineata); the Male is the Smaller One

A Pair of Black-and-white Owls (Strix nigrolineata); the Male is the Smaller One

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Our next stop was so we could walk across the long bridge over the Tárcoles River, where we boated later and which forms the northern boundary of the Carara National Park, where we hiked later. We could have driven over the bridge, but it was more fun to walk across it so we could view the wildlife below. The major attraction there is a large congregation of American Crocodiles.

American Crocodiles (Crocodylus acutus) Vie for a Piece of Meat that Someone Threw from the Bridge

American Crocodiles (Crocodylus acutus) Vie for a Piece of Meat that Someone Threw from the Bridge

Click on the picture above to enlarge

When we arrived at the hotel in the early afternoon, the reptiles and mammals there were much less dangerous. One of them ran away from us when we approached. People call this basilisk lizard, endemic to Central and South America, the Jesus Christ lizard for its unique ability to walk on water.

This Pacific Basilisk (Basiliscus basiliscus) Can Run on Land or Water

This Pacific Basilisk (Basiliscus basiliscus) Can Run on Land or Water

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Most other reptiles and mammals we encountered had no fear of us.

This Green Iguana (Iguana iguana) Posed Nicely for its Photo

This Green Iguana (Iguana iguana) Posed Nicely for its Photo

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I had heard of but had never seen a coati before. This one came to almost every meal that we ate at Punta Leone’s outdoor restaurant.

The White-Nosed Coati (Nasua narica) is a Member of the Raccoon Family Living in Central America

The White-Nosed Coati (Nasua narica) is a Member of the Raccoon Family Living in Central America

Click on the picture above to enlarge

I had previously seen Capuchin Monkeys, the most intelligent of the New World monkeys. But I had never got as close to them as I did in the restaurant.

A Family of White-headed Capuchins (Cebus capucinus) Waits on the Roof of the Restaurant

A Family of White-headed Capuchins (Cebus capucinus) Waits on the Roof of the Restaurant

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On one of our hikes through the forest a few miles from this restaurant we not only heard (easy) but also found another monkey mother and child.

A Mantled Howler Monkey (Alouatta palliata) Baby Gets a Ride in the Forest

A Mantled Howler Monkey (Alouatta palliata) Baby Gets a Ride in the Forest

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New to me, however, was an animal that quickly crossed the trail in front of us on another forest hike.

A Central American Agouti (Dasyprocta punctata) in the Forest Near Punta Leone

A Central American Agouti (Dasyprocta punctata) in the Forest Near Punta Leone

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On the same forest hike we found an animal that flies but is not a bird. This was the rarest animal we found in Costa Rica.

A Northern Ghost Bat (Diclidurus albus) Roosting on Palm Leaves

A Northern Ghost Bat (Diclidurus albus) Roosting on Palm Leaves

Click on the picture above to enlarge

Of course, we also saw a few birds during our three-day visit to Punta Leone. But I am saving my photos of them for the next photo essay.

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Posted in: Costa Rica

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Stephen // May 2, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Thank you so much, David, for posting these beautiful photos! You truly are a wonderful photographer. It’s always a pleasure and true joy to see anything you’ve snapped.

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