Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Eco-Benin visits Costa Rica (Day 2)
Max was already out of the room when I awoke at 6 am. It turns out his internal clock was still on Benin time and he ended up waking up at 3 am! I headed out to get some quick birding in but was quickly stopped by Maximin in the lobby when he told me Nadine our other participant from Benin was stuck in Paris. A large snow storm in Paris, and an airport crippling storm along the east coast led to a canceled flight to Newark. Her internet connection died apparently and we were left to wonder what might happen.
A windy morning in Santo Domingo de Heredia held back bird observations. The only thing fun to note was Tennessee Warbler and White-eared Ground Sparrow so we ate a nice long breakfast of croissants (as a shout out to the France - Benin connection), Gallo Pinto (the spotted rooster that wakes you up in Costa Rica), fruit (Papaya, Melon, and watermelon, but no pineapple. I still am protesting Pineapple) and Costa Rican coffee.
Our rent a car was late of course, so the rest of the day was pushed back a bit. We cruised over the mountains stopping to snap nice shots of the large untouched virgin forest of Braullio Carrillio National Park. We decided to stop at Quebrada Gonzalez the newest site to be added to the Costa Rican Bird Route for 2010. We were very glad we stopped. We had a chance to drop off some map and guides, but more importantly we were able to meet with Ivan a guide for the Guapiles guide association called AGUTI. It turns out that the latest developments at Quebrada Gonzalez were very similar to some of the developments in the Lama Forest in Benin (www.ecotourismelama.org). Max and Ivan hit it off very well and much was taken from this short meeting. I also talked Ivan into taking a short walk with us into the National Park. Quebrada Gonzalez never disappoints and in my book is a top 5 birding site in all of Costa Rica. We had a great mixed flock come through and had really nice looks at the very elusive Brownbilled Sythebill a type of Woodcreeper (google it!), the very large Spotted Woodcreeper, the Streak-crowned Antvireo, as well as Dusky faced Tanager and the really cool White-throated Shrike Tanager!
We were late to visit the Sarapiqui Conservation Learning so we had to quick leave the National Park. We ate lunch and were joined by Gerardo Vega the CECOS Director, Kattia Craddock the Tourism Coordinator and Kaity Fitzgerald the Volunteer Coordinator. After a tour and long conversations about all the programs Max came away with ideas as well as content feeling of so many similarities between the RBG / CECOS projects and his projects in Benin.
About 4 pm we received word the Nadine would be arriving at 4 pm on the 11th. A day late. Luckily we are not a dollar short and will bus her up to Maquenque Eco-lodge to meet us there. I am not sure if I will have internet connection in the next few days as Boca Tapada is pretty remote. Ill let you know the results of the days in the lowlands of northern CostaRica where the last Great Green Macaws nest in Costa Rica.
Tonight we visit Chilamate Jungle and share stories with the Davis and Meghan.