Costa Rica Trip Report and Photos - Part 3

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Costa Rica Trip Report and Photos - Part 3

Postby MikeW » Thu Apr 21, 2016 11:23 pm

Finally got back to looking through the trip photos and am almost done with the first cut...only a day and a half to go now. Thought I would post a few more and talk a bit about the third lodge we stayed at, the Arenal Lodge. This one was Northeast of San Jose and was at an elevation of about 2270 feet above sea level. This was probably my favorite and that is saying something because I really liked the first two lodges. I think it may have been because the lodge sits pretty much just off the base of the Arenal Volcano and above Arenal Lake which supplies about 30-40% of the fresh water for that area of Costa Rica...the views were nothing short of awesome! The rooms were top notch and each had a semi private patio that looked right out on the jungle and the volcano. The trails here were well groomed and marked. There were native flowering plants everywhere which meant you could not walk more than 50 yards without running into hummingbirds of some kind. I learned something important on this trip and it was really apparent at this last lodge...find the food, find the birds (and more in some cases). There were a lot of different food sources here and some of the berry trees were just loaded with all different species of birds. There was one tree that must have brought in over 20 different birds and all you had to do was find a good position and enjoy the show through the viewfinder. I mean everything from small Red-legged Honeycreepers and Dacnis to large Guans and Toucans. We spent 3 nights and the better part of 4 days at this lodge. The weather was perfect with the daytime high temps around the mid to upper 70's and the nights in the 60's. You could walk any of the trails and never be more than 20-30 minutes from your room. The food was excellent and the fresh fruit juice was so good I almost OD'ed on the stuff. Anyway, here are a few more photos. I have not had much time in the last week to work on any so I will add to this post over the weekend.

This is a Bananaquit
Bananaquit-4302.jpg
Only saw a couple of these little guys during the whole trip, so I felt pretty lucky to get a decent shot of one. They move from flower to flower very quick and even hit the hummingbird feeders at times.
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Golden-hooded Tanager
Golden-hooded Tanager-4922.jpg
There was a pair of these guys building a nest that our guide Steve Gettle found. They would leave for about 5 to 10 minutes and then come back to the same branch with nesting materials.
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Scarlet-thighed Dacnis
Scarlet-thighed Dacnis-4678.jpg
This was one of my favorite small birds from the trip. Their upper thigh is covered in red feathers but due to the way they sit it is very hard to get a photo of it. Some of the red shows in this shot, but not much.
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Yellow-throated Euphonia
Yellow-throated Euphonia-5038.jpg
Another nicely colored bird in the same berry tree. This guy came in a lot but rarely in a position for a shot without a lot of branches or leaves in from of him.
Yellow-throated Euphonia-5038.jpg (221.65 KiB) Viewed 706 times


Everyone have a nice weekend,
Mike
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Re: Costa Rica Trip Report and Photos - Part 3

Postby MikeW » Thu Apr 21, 2016 11:55 pm

Here are the last two for tonight

This Howler Monkey was spotted along the road on the way to the last lodge if I remember right. they were up high with a bright sky behind them, so not much of a background but you have to take what you can get sometimes. By the way, this was just a yawn, they were not disturbed in any way and could have cared less that we were taking photos.

Howler Monkey-6098.jpg
Howler Monkey-6098.jpg (182.33 KiB) Viewed 705 times


I posted a Fiery-throated Hummingbird already, but ran across this one where he is showing the gorget colors a bit better in this photo. I'm not sure I got one where it is at full intensity, which is pretty amazing.

Fiery-throated Hummingbird-7927.jpg
Fiery-throated Hummingbird-7927.jpg (162.03 KiB) Viewed 705 times


I hope you enjoy the photos,
Mike
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Re: Costa Rica Trip Report and Photos - Part 3

Postby Cindee » Fri Apr 22, 2016 4:08 pm

Fantastic Mike. Can't wait to visit in October.

I assume you flew down there, what airline and what city did you fly from? How long does it take to get there? I'm not looking forward to the flight after our ordeal getting to Hawaii but I do know that it's the only way to get there.
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Re: Costa Rica Trip Report and Photos - Part 3

Postby MikeW » Sat Apr 23, 2016 4:20 pm

Cindee,

I took Delta and went from Detroit through Atlanta then on to San Jose. The Detroit/Atlanta leg is about 2 hours and the Atlanta/San Jose leg was just about 4 hours or a little less if I remember right. They are only 1 hour behind us there too, actually might be 2 hours now with DST if they don't do that. The flight was not bad at all and a large enough plane for the overhead space to fit my photo backpack with all the camera bodies and lenses. I had a large pelican case and a duffle bag that I checked on the plane and had some of the other sensitive stuff like filters, flash, etc. rolled up in my clothes inside the hard pelican case. It worked out well but I packed too much as usual and will probably only need the one check bag (pelican case) next time. You will love it there...so many birds and wildlife to photograph! I wanted to do some landscape stuff too, but to be honest, I just could not put down the big lens for fear of missing something.

Where are you flying into, or are you still in the planning stages? Have you been there before? If not you will love it. I am planning to go back in 2018...I'd go next year again but going to do Yellowstone/Tetons this October then the Galapagos Islands/Ecuador in July of 2017.

Mike
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Re: Costa Rica Trip Report and Photos - Part 3

Postby Cindee » Mon Apr 25, 2016 7:51 am

Mike,

We are going in October. This will be the first time going there. We will also fly Delta, probably from Flint (to Atlanta) to San Jose. I think San Jose is the only airport in Costa Rica. 6 hours of flying sure beats the almost 24 (with airport changes) in going to Hawaii last year. I don't think we are taking the big lens. I think we are going with the 100-400 and hope that is enough. We are spending most of the time in the Savegre Mountains but are looking at spending another day or two in San Jose for some different birds.

Thanks for all of the info.
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Re: Costa Rica Trip Report and Photos - Part 3

Postby MikeW » Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:38 pm

Cindee, my largest lens is the 200-400 f4 with the built in 1.4x extender. I have another 1.4x I can add but never did on that trip. I do use a crop factor camera so max focal length with that set up is 896mm. I think your 100-400 will be fine and if you have an extender I would suggest bringing it for when you do need one. The zoom really comes in handy there because sometimes the birds get too close for a 500 or 600 lens...being able to zoom out is a definite advantage. The area you are going to in the mountains should be great as are other Eco lodges, but from what I heard some of the cities can be pretty crime filled, so be sure to check that out. Looking forward to seeing your photos.
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