Costa Rica Day Seven: My Last Afternoon At The Arenal Volcano Observatory Lodge

Costa Rica Day Seven: My Last Afternoon At The Arenal Volcano Observatory Lodge

Costa Rica Day Seven Arenal Observatory Lodge farn hike (27 of 32)
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It was my last full day at the Arenal  Observatory Lodge  in Costa Rica.  I had wanted to do some hiking in the nearby Arenal Volcano National Park during my  seven day stay. The closest trails were  about a twenty minutes drive from the lodge, but because of the almost  daily rains, I didn’t get to hike there. It rained again on Thursday morning and I had cancelled my planned excursion to the Arenal Volcano National Park  earlier in the morning. I know it us a rainforest and I have no problem hiking in the rain but I wanted top photograph the birds and wildlife and this is hard to do in the roan.  I did get  in a two mile hike near the lodge. in the morning   After breakfast, the skies remained cloudy and threatened rain. However, when the skies looked like they were clearing late in the morning, I decided to again hike on one of the many trails in the gardens, fields and rainforests that surround the lodge.   

As  I walked in the gardens the clouds cleared  and some blue skies appeared.   I decided to hike on  the Waterfall Trail again.  It was now early afternoon and there was not much bird activity along the trail.    

I walked through the lush woods of the rainforest and past the steep steps to the waterfall.   I enjoyed hearing the  rushing waters of the Dante River below the trail.  It was about a mile hike to the Dante River Bridge.

The bridge spans the swift flowing waters of the Dante River. I crossed the bridge and left the rainforest. I was now in the fields of the active cattle  ranch operated by the lodge.  The skies clouded up again,  but they looked like they may  clear  so I continued on the Yellow Farm Road Trail.  I learned during my stay that the weather can change very quickly in a rainforest.

Here, on the fences  and in the fields  I saw a lot of the birds  that feed on seeds and flying insects, including  this variable seedeater,and

this, I  believe this is a  Morlet’s  seedeater.

a yellow-faced grassquit,

an emerald tanager,

and this house wren. I am not an  expert birder so I hope I got the identifications right, please let me know if I haven’t.

I continued walking  on the trail even though the skies clouded up again.

A light rain began to fall and I walked quickly to try and make it to one of the shelters along the trail. I  was now  thinking that it  was a mistake not bringing my poncho. However the rain stopped as I approached the farm houses and  maintenance building that operate the ranch. ,I crossed a bridge  over  the  Dante  River.

Nearby was a small pond. I walked to the pond  hoping to see some frogs, snakes or water birds but there was no wildlife activity around the pond `early  afternoon.

I next followed the Red Farm Road under the tall Caribbean pine and rainbow eucalyptus trees. 

Here I saw a small  herd of cattle and a flock of eastern great egrets,

the egrets follow the cattle feeding on the grasshoppers and other insects disturbed by the movement of the cattle.

The cloud shrouded Arenal volcano could now  be seen in the distance, as I walked  along the trail  

I always kept an eye on the trail map for the location of a rain shelter but so far the rain held off.

I hiked to the Pink or Rosada Farm Trail which, I knew from previous hikes, would take me along the edge of the rainforest. I liked this trail since on one side were the large trees and lush vegetation of the rainforest,

and on the other some remote cattle fields. It seemed like a good location to locate some birds, and it was.

In the fields I saw a few flycatchers including this one I believe a dusty capped flycatcher,

this, I believe,   yellow bellied flycatcher,

this female summer tanager, 

and a pair of very loud band-backed wrens.

Nearby, on  the rainforest side of the trail, I saw this, again I am not sure of my identification , but I think it’s a mistletoe  tyrannulet,

and a bird I am familiar with from it’s visits to Northeastern Pennsylvania in the Spring and Summer, a chestnut sided warbler,

I also saw  this beautiful and exotic bird. a long tailed tyrant. I wish I could have got better photos but it  was perched high in a tree top

I spent some time here taking these photos and the skies began to clear again. I continued on the Pink Farm Road  which left the edge of the rainforest and took me  up a ridge through the fields.  Once  again the cloud shrouded volcano could be seen in the distance. `

Here in the distance I was very lucky to see this bird perched on a tree branch, a laughing falcon. It was far away so this was the best photo I could get but it was still a great experience to see this  exotic raptor.

The trail continued up to the ridge overlooking the private villa with a great view of the volcano in the clearing skies. 

I now made my way back to the main paved Farm Road and followed it back to the lodge. 

As I neared the lodge I saw a few the very common great kiskadees and

northern rough winged swallows perched on the utility wires along the road.

As I neared  the entrance to  the Waterfall Trail, where I began this five mile hike, I saw  small flock of exotic tropical birds feeding on some fruiting trees including this white-collared manakins ,

lesser greenlets.

and orange-bellied  euphonias. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with more photos of the birds I saw on my afternoon  hike, Costa Rica Day Seven Arenal Observatory Lodge afternoon  birds January 11 2024

As I was finishing my hike I saw a few insects in the gardens near the lodge, including what I believe is a warrior wasp 

and  this butterfly I haven’t been able to identify. There was  so much  life at the lodge and the surrounding fields and forests. mammals, birds, reptiles , amphibians and insects. Every hike is an adventure where you almost always will find something new and beautiful.  And, when it’s not raining, with the beautiful Arenal volcano in the distance.  Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with more photos of the birds I saw on my afternoon  hike, Costa Rica Day Seven Arenal Observatory Lodge afternoon  January 11 2024 

It was now  mid afternoon. I relaxed and edited photos before dinner.  As usual my reservation was for 6 pm. It would be my last dinner at the lodge. I said farewell to the pleasant  hostess ,  waiters and waitresses  who served me all week.  For my last meal I had an arugula salad,

and seafood pasta. It was very good and filling.  I retired to my room for the evening wishing  I had more time to not only explore the many trails of the lodge but also the nearby Arenal Volcano  National Park. I still had one more morning at the lodge.   I fell sleep looking forward to my last hike in the fields, gardens and rainforest and the beauty of the flora and fauna I would find there.

“I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anybody could ever want.” Andy Warhol 

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