Costa Rica: Day Three. Arenal Volcano Observatory Lodge. More Rain In The Rainforest

Costa Rica: Day Three. Arenal Volcano Observatory Lodge. More Rain In The Rainforest

Costa Rica Day Three Arenal Observatory Lodge mFarnm House (9 of 50)
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My alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. It didn’t take me long to remember I was in Costa Rica and in a rainforest. It was raining again. And this time it was a torrential downpour. Even though I was staying at a lodge on the lower slope of the Arenal volcano it was again shrouded in clouds and not  visible.  I was here three days now  and still didn’t see it’s  summit.  I had planned  to hike in the rainforest on the Los Cangrejos Trail. Instead,  I made some coffee in my room and listened to the rain waiting  to hear human voices. I knew when I heard voices on the observation deck below the balcony in  my room the rain would have ended or eased up.

It rained steady and hard until about 8 a.m. I watched the rain from my room. My front door was right next to the rainforest and I would occasionally look for some bird or wildlife activity in the thick and lush vegetation. .

The rains let up a bit and I heard , then  saw people on the observation deck so I put on the poncho  I purchased for the trip. It was a light and cheap one. I never wore a poncho before. I  loved it. I walked down to the deck  where I saw this rain soaked white nosed coati. These raccoon like animals are very common in the rainforest.

There were the usual Montezuma oropendolas sitting in the trees near the deck waiting for a free meal  of melons provided by the lodge guides.

A female scarlet rumped tanager was also perched on a branch in the light rain.

The weather conditions weren’t the best for photography but I had to get my walking in so I ventured into the gardens near the lodge. 

A light rain fell but my poncho kept me dry. I walked through the  wet gardens,

enjoying the many varieties of flowers,

planted to attract birds and butterflies, 

The only one I could positively identify were these shell gingers flowers.

Many tropical plants and ferns could also be seen in the gardens.

And there were a few birds active in the light rain. This thick billed seed finch scurried on the wet grass,

and this brilliant summer tanager found a berry on one of the many fruit bearing plants in the garden.

A chestnut sided warbler, a bird I know from my hikes in the woods of Pennsylvania,

and a common bird in the tropics a bananaquit were also seen.

As were these two larger bird a male great curassow and

a crested guan, both impressive birds.

And of course many of the very common rufous tailed hummingbirds hovered and darted through above the plants and flowers.

The rains became heavy again so I headed back to the lodge and had a traditional Costa Rican breakfast of beans and rice , a tortilla, a piece of cheese,  eggs and a baked plantain. It was good. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with more photos from my morning walk. Costa Rica Day Arenal Observatory Lodge  Three morning walk  January 7 2024.

It rained off and on the rest of the morning so I sat in my room, edited photos and listened to the many tropical birds still singing in the rain.  The rains ended  late morning, and although it was still cloudy and threatened rain, I  decided to hike  to the Los Cangrejos. Trail. It is located at the edge of the rainforest and about a 1/1/2 from the lodge. I walked out the Green Gate and under the tall pine trees.  These trees are not native to Costa Rica. I learned they are Caribbean pines and were imported from Honduras.

Along the fences on the road I saw a few similar looking birds,  both large flycatchers, a  great kiskadee,

and a tropical  kingbird. These insect eaters are often found on fences and utility lines in the tropics. I would see many more of these birds on my hike.

Another insect eating bird,  a northern rough-winged swallow, was also perched on a utility line. 

I followed the Red Farm Road toward the Los Cangrejos Trail . However when it clouded up again and looked like rain approached. I decided to stay close to the lodge and took the un-named  trail into the farm fields I visited the day before. A light rain began to fall.

I didn’t see any birds on this trail. When the rain stopped  and the skies cleared ,   I decided to continue on to the Los Cangrejos trail. I followed the  Red Farm road to the Blue Farm road.

Here many  of the pretty rainbow eucalyptus trees grew along the road, These trees are not native either but were imported from Australia.

The road was surrounded by fields  were cattle grazed.

I met this friendly bull, he didn’t when I approached but I was glad there was a barbed wire fence between us.

And,  where there are cattle in the tropics there are cattle egrets and I saw this one partially  hidden in the tall grass.

The trail led me to the Los Cangrejos Trail. This trail follows the bottom of a ridge  on  edge of the rainforest and actually enters the rainforest. . It is  the lower slopes of another extinct volcano. the Chato volcano. Here large native trees tower over and shade the trail.

Many vines hung down from the trees, and ferns and other exotic tropical plants grew along the trail.

Every tree,  and even the  rocks,  along the trail  were covered with some type of plant or moss.

I saw some sort of bracket mushroom growing on a tree. It reminded me of similar  shelf mushrooms I find back home in Pennsylvania. 

Fast flowing stream flowed down from the ridge along the trail. I heard many birds , frogs and insects in the  forests and the canopy over the trail.  However the birds  were hard to see in dim light and thick foliage and very difficult to photograph.

In fact, the only wildlife I was able to photograph on the trail  was this pretty, exotic glasswing butterfly. I was disappointed but it was mid-day and most birds are active early in the morning.

I had hoped to see and photograph more birds or other wildlife but I also was watching the weather and so didn’t want to stay to long in case the rains came. However when I left the trail . after about a 1/2 mile there were some breaks in the clouds.  The  Arenal volcano was still  shrouded in clouds in the distance.

After leaving the rainforest I started to follow the Red Farm Road back toward  the lodge. However, since it looked like it was clearing up  I decided to go out of the way a bit and hike on the Pink Farm road trail that followed the edge of the rainforest.

Tall tropical trees grew along the trail.

However, the only birds I saw were more tropical kingbirds,cand great kiskadees  perched on trees and  fences along the fields,

and a few chestnut sided warblers in the trees in the forest.

The trail took me back up a steep hill where I  had a good view of the Arenal volcano. .

Most of  the volcano could be seen but the summit was still shrouded in clouds.  It was an impressive sight

I was able to see the lava flows that streamed from the   volcano when it erupted in 1968. There are trails leading to the cone of the volcano but it is illegal for anyone but researchers to hike up there

The breaks in the clouds allowed the mid day tropical sun to shine through and it got very warm very quickly. I had now walked about 4 miles and was  I was getting very hot. Of course, I took no water with me and I also forgot to put sun screen on. The weather changes quickly in the tropics.  It was still about a mile walk back to the lodge and it was an exhausting mile.

However, when I got to the lodge, since it wasn’t raining I decided to walk around the gardens hoping to see some new species of bird or insect or maybe even another anteater.

I did see this pretty butterfly banded peacock butterfly,

and a lot of birds, but only ones I had already seen and photographed.  I took some more photos of some of them anyway, including this blue gray tanager,

this rufus tailed hummingbird,

and this clay colored thrush.

After roaming the gardens for about a 1/2  hour I was exhausted and finally headed to my room . But, first I  had to stop at the observation deck and join the many other birders and wildlife photographers and see what birds were feeding on the melons. As usual there were a lot of them, and the usual, the noisy Montezuma oropendolas,

this green honeycreeper,

this great curassow that somehow managed to fly up to the feeder and awkwardly feed on the melons.

I also saw two  new species of bird a brown jay,

and a few gray headed chachalacas. I had seen these chicken like birds on my recent visit to Panama. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with some more photos of the birds I saw on my hike. Costa Rica Arenal Observatory Lodge Day Three afternoon hike birds January 7 2024.

It was now mid afternoon and I was exhausted from my 6 mile walk . I returned to my room where I edited photos and waited for  dinner,  which is served at 6 p.m. Reservations are required and I always made mine for 6 p.m. I had walked over 8 miles and I was hungry. I also was following my Philadelphia Eagles football game on the internet.  Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with some more photos from  my six mile  hike. Costa Rica Day Arenal Observatory Lodge Three afternoon hike birds January 7 2024.

  At 6 p.m. I was one of the first to be served at the restaurant. I started with pumpkin soup again.,

and tried the eggplant parmigiana for my main course. It was different then the way it is served in my hometown, were it is a staple in our many great Italian restaurants. The eggplant was steamed or boiled and not breaded and fried or baked like it is prepared back home. It was different but good. And I had room for dessert, apple pie and ice cream.

I learned my Eagles football team lost, but the disappointment of  the loss wasn’t too great here in Costa Rica surrounded by the beauty of the volcano and rainforest. I retired early again  excited to get up early and explore more of the trail and look for wildlife in the wonderful lodge.


“The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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