Costa Rica Day Two: Arenal Observatory Lodge: An Afternoon Walk With An Anteater After the Rain.

Costa Rica Day Two: Arenal Observatory Lodge: An Afternoon Walk With An Anteater After the Rain.

Costa Rica Day Two lodge afternoon (17 of 31)
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After my morning walks  at  the Arenal Observatory Lodge in Costa Rica on Saturday I was going to spend some time on the observation deck watching  the  many species of  birds attracted to the fruit that is put out by the guides.   However the skies clouded and rains came  and continued  into the afternoon. The forecast called for mostly sunny skies but I was in a rainforest so I guess rain is expected.

I spent a few hours editing photos  and learning about the lodge and it’s  many miles of trails. The rain slowed up mid-afternoon and I saw a few birder folks gathering at the observation deck.  A light rain was still falling  but I decided to head  out and see if any birds were active in the rain. And there were.

I first saw  a pair of male great curassows strutting below the observation deck feeding on fallen pieces of fruit.

Feeding on some fruit was a male green honeycreeper,

and in a nearby  tree was a closely related species, a male red- legged honeycreeper.  Honeycreepers are related to tanagers, and  I would see many species of tanagers during my stay at the lodge.

A beautiful golden hooded tanager also sat in a tree waiting it’s turn to feed on the fruit. 

It joined one of it’s relative, an equally pretty  emerald tanager near the feeders.

And, of course, there were the always present, noisy, Montezuma oropendolas. These birds have  a loud  call and are the first birds to arrive when new fruit and melons are put out. They eat first, with the smaller birds  grabbing what they can, or waiting until these birds had their fill.

I chose to stay at the Arenal Observatory Lodge since, in my old age, I am becoming a birder of sorts. There  have been over 500 species of birds sighted here, I love to look for and photograph all wild critters on my weekly hikes and travels,  from insects and snakes to bears and bobcats.  However, these past few years I have become more fascinated with the many species of birds that lived near my home and which I never noticed. I have come to love to try and see and photo these relatives of the dinosaurs. This lodge has many trails I can access   without having to drive far. I love this freedom to explore on my own and  search for birds and other wildlife. . And the  proximity to  the still active  Arenal volcano also made me decide to visit here . There have been no eruptions since 2010 but there is always a chance  it could smolder or erupt again. That would be cool

It started raining again so I decided to visit the nearby museum. I was ordering a coffee when I met an interesting retired dean from a college in Philadelphia and I had a more engaging chat with him and his  girlfriend. He was 80 years old and a very active traveler. After our talk I was going to the museum when I saw the rain had stopped.

I drank my coffee and decided to now explore some more of the lodge and look for wildlife while I had the chance. I walked through the lush wet gardens,

enjoying the many beautiful flowers  covered with the warm tropical rain, there were species of orchids,

tropical ginger,


tropical geranium,

and these crown of thorn flowers. I had one of these flowers for years  in my attic room when I was a child.  My grandmother and father also had these easy to grow plants. Many wonderful memories seeing these flowers  were evoked.

While walking through the gardens I had an unexpected and  delightful encounter with this cool critter, a northern tamandua or collared anteater.   It did not seem to mind my presence as I followed it across a road,

and watched as it started to dig for ants.

When it had eaten enough ants it walked away, with me along side, into it picked up the pace and ran into the forest. It was a unique and wonderful experience.

I kept an eye on the thick clouds and decided to venture out a bit. I walked to the path that led to the waterfall,

where I found some  air plants on the ground that the strong winds and rains must have caused them to fall from the tree tops where they grow.

The rains started again so I headed back to my room, and  on the way I saw a yellow throated toucan

a few yellow faced grassquits and

this beautiful bird, a gartered trogon. 

The rain let up and so I  walked back to the observation deck. Arenal volcano was again covered in clouds but  there was a  crowd of birders from all over our planet.  And I saw  a few  more birds including a blue gray tanager,

a chestnut sided warbler,

a buff throated saltator,

and this beautiful bird,  a small  toucan,

a collared aracari. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos of the birds I saw on my afternoon hike. Costa Rica Arenal   Observatory Lodge afternoon birds January 6 2024.

 It was now getting dark and I was getting hungry, the sun sets at 5;30 p.m. here and they start serving dinner at 6 p.m.. I like to eat early  since my hikes always work up a big appetite and I am in bed early. .  I headed to my room to shower,  changed and was soon at the lodge’s restaurant. ( And the only one for about twenty miles)  . Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos of  my rainy hike at the lodge. Costa Rica Arenal   Observatory Lodge afternoon  January 6 2024.

I enjoyed another great meal while I checked my Facebook and other social media posts. I shared photos of my meal,  as I always do, with my friends  back home. I started with hearty pumpkin soup,

and had the Mafuriseca sea bass , prepared in the traditional Maleku style  and a cassava croquette. It was very good.

Of course I had to have dessert, I walked over 8 miles. I had the lava cake. It was delicious and very filling.   I fell asleep listening to the sounds of the frogs and insects outside my room. A warm rain also began to fall again. It was a great way to end a great my  first day in Costa Rica. . Pura Vida!


“I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it.” William Shakespeare


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