Sunday, February 14, 2010

Eco-Benin visit to Costa Rica (Day 5)

The Anhinga was again in the Yollilo Palm when I woke up. The next bird I saw was the Bat Falcon. That was a good sign.

Today our party, which is now 3, said farewell to Viki and Pedro and Maquenque Eco-lodge, crossed the San Carlos river with their visitor ferry and began our trip back south to the mountains. After two steamy days in the northern lowlands, we were off to Albergue el Soccorro which sits at 1000 m above sea level. (Im not going to bother to convert meters into feet because everyone in the world except us stub born gringos use the metric system. So if you have not yet began to learn metric I will let you figure out what 1000 m in feet is on your own)

On the way we had an idea of taking a detour and quick run over to La Fortuna to see Volcan Areal, one of the most active volcanoes on the planet. However, when we got to the turn to go Areal there were many clouds to the west, and I decided it was not worth going two hours out of way. So we skipped that idea.

As we headed from Agua Zarcas to San Miguel and then on to Socorro, I thought I heard an Eastern Meadowlark in a field. I pulled the car over to have a look. It was a great idea that I did. Not only was there a Meadowlark which I had not had on this trip yet, but I pulled out a life bird; the Red-breasted Blackbird. I also noted the sign that said Toro River Waterfall. I ask Maxim and Nadine if they had interest in going and they said sure. Great decision. We discovered a great place. The Catarata del Toro Lodge. Here we encounterd Will, the very funny Dutch man, who was co-owner of the lodge, as well as one of the most beautiful waterfalls I have ever seen in my life. It was awesome! They are three guest rooms here and great birding. This is another hidden jewel of Costa Rica and we will soon be running trips that will include a visit to this site for sure.

After this unexpected adventure we arrived at Albergue el Socorro about 2 hours late. Don Jose was his happy go lucky self as always and no problem with our late arrival. We ate then took a short walk on one of the trails. The place is very birdy but I didn’t have enough time to stop and identify each one. A good 2 – 3 days here would be fantastic. I look forward to my hour or two of birding tomorrow morning.

After one of my favorite dinners in the world (chicken, vegetables, home made cheese and hand made tortillas with avocado, black beans and rice) Max showed us a film from Benin and the Benin Tourism Board. Man I am excited to go. He thinks I should come to Benin by the first of April at the latest, rather than in May as I had thought, as this is the beginning of the rainy season and still many wild animals such as hippos, lions, elephants and baboons can easily be seen April. Did I mention how incredibly excited to go. Even if it means I don’t get to go to South Africa for the world cup. But I suppose I can watch the World Cup in Costa Rica. That is always a blast. If April is when I get to go to Benin, Africa, April is when I will go!

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