Home from Costa Rica: Thoughts and a whole lot of wildlife photos

My blog has been mighty quiet this past week or so because I’ve been in Costa Rica, researching one (and possibly two!) future books set in part in the rain forest.  This is an ecosystem that’s fascinated me since I was in third grade, so getting the chance to spend a few days in the Sarapiqui River area of Costa Rica was just amazing.  I spent most of my days hiking in the forest and staring either up into the trees or down at the ground. Here’s some of what came into focus through the camera lens…

We spotted two kinds of poison dart frogs (and heard them, too! They make a loud chick-chick-chick! sound in the rain.) 

Here’s a blue jean poison dart frog, so named for his denim-colored legs.

Giant iguanas were draped over limbs above our heads, sometimes sharing trees with sloths or monkeys.

A two-toed sloth in a tree near the swimming pool…

A white-faced monkey eats breakfast.

There were also lots and lots of bats, swooping in and out of the restaurant when we ate dinner and hanging around in and on trees during the day.

Long-nosed bats on a tree along the Sarapiqui River.

There were caimans all along the river, too — they’re like crocodiles only a bit smaller.

Until this trip, I thought a basilisk was just a mythical Harry Potter snake that could turn you to stone.  But this is a basilisk, too.

It’s an emerald basilisk – Sometimes, they’re also called Jesus Christ lizards because they can run across the water.  I loved the colors in these creatures.

Some of my favorite wildlife sightings happened on our longer hikes, after we’d crossed a hanging bridge over the river to go deeper into the primary rain forest. At one point, our guide, Alex, motioned for us to follow him off the trail and into a stream, where he turned over leaves until he found this.

It’s a glass frog – Isn’t it incredible the way he blends in with both the foliage and the eggs?

There were also leaf-cutter ants, marching in huge armies through the forest and up and down trees.

And there were some rain forest residents that we needed a zoom lens to photograph, like this one…

We actually just hiked around this hognose viper at the edge of the trail.  Alex marked the spot with some sticks so other hikers wouldn’t step on it by accident, since it blends in with the leaf cover. 

This snake, though, was a different story. 

Alex stopped us several yards back and warned us that it was a Fer-de-lance…more venomous, more aggressive, and right in the middle of the trail.  After we snapped a few pictures (this is the only clear one I have….my hands were shaking, so the rest are all blurry), he coaxed it off the trail with a long stick.  We watched as it slithered up onto a tree limb, and then passed by, giving it plenty of space.

After our hike, the rains came as they did each day, and I spent the rest of the afternoon in the hammock outside our lodge room, writing and outlining.  But there was one last visitor from the forest…

This slender anole sat quietly next to me on the hammock for over an hour.  I’ve decided that he must be my muse for this new book.

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