Sunday, 9 September 2012

San Jose, Costa Rica - 4th August

We had arrived the previous afternoon, and spent the evening, trying to stay awake for as long as possible.  In the end we gave up at 21.00 local time seven hours behind the UK.  As a result we were awake early in the morning, and I went for a walk around the grounds as the sun came up.  The plan today was to spend time by the pool as we recuperate after a long day's travelling. 

The grounds of the Marriott Hotel were substantial, and early morning and through the day they provided a taster to the wild life of Costa Rica.  The sky was clear, and I was greeted with the moon setting behind the palms


A Variegated Squirrel was the first animal I encountered as it made it's way across the tennis court fence.  The sides and underneath the tail were a rich rufous colour ahile the back and tail was a combination of greys and black.


Under the eaves of the hotel many Blue and White Swallows were resting as they prepared for their day.  The Black Vultures were waking up, and circling low around the grounds, and over on the golf range Kiskadees and Tropical Kingbirds could be seen perched in prominent places, and flying up every so often to catch passing flies or bees.

I found a beautiful Cracker butterfly, it is a sub species Hamadryas amphinome mexicana and was warming up in the morning sun.  They are apparently common as a genus across central America, and are called Cracker because they make their wings "crack" as they bring them up.  This one's common name is Red Cracker, as it has red on the underwing.  Unfortunately it wouldn't show it!


Calls from a nearby tree alerted me to a Rufous-naped Wren, which had a nest about halfway up the tree, and I watched the adults going in an out with both food and more nesting material.  For a wren it is quite a large bird, about the size of a song thrush.


Parakeets would call loudly as they flew across from the trees, these were Crimson-fronted Parakeets and they could be heard throughout the day calling as they flew back and forth across the hotel buildings 


Every bird I found presented an identification challenge.  I photographed this bird in the tree, but was not able to identify it until I got home, it is a Greyish Saltator, and is a member of the finch family.


While sitting by the pool we were entertained by the antics of the Blue and White Swallows as they swooped over the pool to grab a quick drink.  They seemed to prefer it once the water had ripples, and were quite content to fly around me as I swam in the pool.


In the afternoon the clouds built up and it threatened rain, with this came flocks of swallows and swifts.  The largest birds were the White Collared Swifts, almost the size of a falcon they would fly back and forth over the tree tops.  As the threat of rain subsided the swifts seemed to disperse.


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