My Best Pictures and Movies from Costa Rica
Costa Rica Ecology, Photo Images, and Movies: Tropical Ecosystems of Costa Rica COSTA RICA COURSE SYLLABUS
Interested in Tropical Ecology? There are
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R. Hays Cummins
R. Hays Cummins
| Western Program| Miami University
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Tropical Field Courses
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Here, you will find a vast array of tropical ecosystem images, photos, and movies taken while teaching my Tropical Ecosystems of Costa Rica course. You find many images and movies of volcanoes, cloud and lowland forests,
mangroves, bats, birds, snakes, insects, primates, and indigenous peoples, to name a few. It's all here!
Tropical Ecosystems of Costa Rica serves as an intensive introduction to Neotropical ecosystems--how they were
formed, how they are changing. The goal of this course is to introduce students
to the structure and function of Neotropical ecosystems, as well as to geological,
biological, cultural, and economic forces affecting the biodiversity of Costa
Rica. An intensive lecture schedule is combined with firsthand field experiences,
individual and group investigations, emphasizing research methods in tropical
systems. Topics to be covered in depth include the geology of Costa Rica,
tropical ecology, Pre-Columbian to modern patterns of land use in lowland,
premontane, montane, and mangrove ecosystems, experimental design, and the
statistical analysis of data. The course is interdisciplinary. Dr. Cummins
is a paleobiologist and oceanographer; Dr. McCollum is a stream ecologist. Both conduct field research in the tropics. Prerequisites: Two
courses in natural sciences and permission of instructor. Limited scholarships
available. Maximum enrollment: 18. First come, first served.
Be Sure to Visit:
Tropical Marine Ecology of the Bahamas Imagery
Compliments of Graphic Maps
These tropical ecosystem images, pictures and movies were taken primarily by Hays Cummins! Many photos
are very large and are best viewed using an
Configure your browser to have your external viewer open the
images. Then you're all set! External Viewer such as Graphic Converter.
Special: The Darien
Gap is a unique oasis of biological diversity in Panama. This ecosystem
is being threatened by road construction of the Pan American Highway. The
only missing link is a 54-mile stretch through two national parks -- one
in Panama, the other in Colombia -- that contain the Darien Gap's more than
3 million acres of unspoiled wilderness. (Quicktime movie from CNN)
Rincon de la Vieja, Irazu, and Poas Volcanoes
The entire landscape of Costa Rica has been shaped by plate tectonics and much
of the overall ecologic diversity of the country is due to highly variable geography.
For instance, this coastal rock along the SW Pacific coast, once part of the
sea floor, has been uplifted,
Folded and Twisted
( TREC 99) by movements of the earth's crust ( another
fantastic perspective in Corcovado).And, Faults
are common (TREC 00). Costa Rica has over 600
extinct and active volcanoes. Volcano
World compiles the latest information on volcanic eruptions in Costa Rica
and also specific volcanoes such as Rincon
de la Vieja.
The Great Earthquake of 1991
In April, 1991, a major earthquake, magnitude 7.4, struck Costa Rica. The epicenter
was near Limon on the Caribbean coast. Damage was extensive to buildings, streets
and bridges. Later, after heavy rains, tree falls from the quake were washed
into rivers and eventually created dams which soon broke and caused further
destruction of bridges. Today, geologic evidence of the quake consists of a
general 1.5 meter uplift of the land along the CR southeast coast. Fringing
reef is now emergent even at high tide. In the pictures below, note the bio-erosive
notch now over a meter above sea level. The upper notch was once the former
sea level location before the quake.
Have you ever seen Arenal at night? Well,...Arenal is
absolutely stunning after dark! Here is a QUICKTIME MPEG4
of some of the evening fireworks! Awesome! ( TREC 03)
Here are a few amazing still images of Arenal Volcano taken at night with a Canon 1Ds Mark II. The moon was waxing. WOW!
Clouds would every now and then roll in on the flanks of Arenal.
Here is a darker, less exposed version of a spectacular Arenal Volcano at night! ( TREC 05)
A MPEG-4 video of some of the absolutely AMAZING sounds produced by Arenal Volcano. It was humbling to be so close to something so powerful!
The afternoon was a prelude to a fabulous evening of
Night Viewing! ( TREC 03)
A daytime Arenal eruption sends columns of steam 3-4X
higher than the volcano peak itself! ( TREC 03)
Hays Cummins stands in front of
an ancient lava flow (~30 meters thick!) at the La Fortuna Waterfall near Arenal volcano. ( TREC 03)
A remarkable QUICKTIME MOVIE of the La Fortuna waterfalls near Arenal Volcano NW of San Jose, Costa Rica.
Hot steam was "gushing" from the flanks and peak of Arenal Volcano ( TREC 03)
flank as viewed from the bus. (TREC 99)
is a beautiful shot Hugo, our guide ,
explains volcanology to our group. Before we walk across the lava field, (TREC 99)
points the way A Memorial Cross for some of
the victims of the 1968 eruption. Another perspective
of Hugo and the memorial(TREC 99)
The class walked the lava fields produced in the 1968
eruption. Here, Gail,
Shondricka and Ellen tentatively make their way .
shows just how steep and rocky the climb is .
some pictures of flowers while (TREC 99)
Theresa and Andrea have fun. Some played basketball (game 2000!)
while others at fruit and relaxed in
Tileran near Lake Arenal. Dan exchanged
e-mail with the local girls! (TREC 99) & (TREC 00)
A view of Arenal from the road
once the clouds broke. (TREC 99)
A few of us pose with a clouded Arenal
in the background.(TREC 99)
Graduate Students at sunset at Arenal . Another
Arenal in the background On our walk through secondary
forest to reach Arenal, students were spooked about snakes! (TREC 99)
Several views of Arenal were taken in
short succession when a Gas
eruption took place. In sequence:
B, C and D.
Other Arenal Views
showing unique cloud
formations along the Eastern Flank. Cloud Changes: B,
E , F,
G (TREC 00) The
rugged landscape surrounding
Arenal supports the Spectacular La Fortuna Waterfall. We swam
in the "pool" underneath the 38 meter waterfall. The
class had a blast! (TREC 00) We hiked up the
along an Active Boulder Field after a wonderful
breakfast at the La Catarata. The class
was excited and ready to go! (TREC 00)
Corcovado National Park--Crustal Folds
A Quicktime Video of Corcovado National Park at Sirena.
Double Click on the image above to view quicktime.
Includes squirrel monkeys, tapirs, etc.
Crocs, Lizards and Skinks
A freshwater American Crocodile 2 m long, Sierpe River, SW Costa Rica. Our guide said he has
seen crocs 6 m long.
acutus), A remarkable QUICKTIME MOVIE of an American Crocodile ( in SW Costa Rica near the Pacific coast.
Crocodylus acutus) along the banks of the Sierpe River Male Lizard (Corcovado Nat'l Park)
(Norops sp.)Strutting his
Stuff In the Monteverde Cloud Forest, we spotted a Giant
Anole . ('97). (Norops sp) Another
Self Conscious Pose. These anoles were about 8 inches long!
A ctenosaur, NW Costa Rica, Dry Forest,
Another juvenile Ctenosaur (Ctenosaurus similis), this time a Greenie
on a Rock While the adults are dark colored, the juveniles are green.
A Skink who has found refuge beneath
a "Field of Cactus Spines."
At first, I thought this lizard was an Adult Jesus
Christ Lizard but it is most definetely a Casque-headed lizard (Corytophanes
cristatus) It was remarkably cooperative!
(Caribbean side, TREC 98)
This large Basiliscus along the shoreline of the upper Sierpe River near the SW Costa Rica coast. ( (Basiliscus
poised to make a run for it TREC 05)
Jesus Christ lizards are renowned for their ability to"Walk across Water."
These juveniles entertained us on Cano Island. Note the large crest on this
vittatus) Adult Male.(TREC'97)
Ctenosaurs ( Ctenosaurus
similis) were extremely abundant in Palo Verde National Park. (TREC 00)
We counted over 50 American crocodiles
in Palo Verde National
Park. (Crocodylus acutus) in the Tempisque River Most were this size but
some were 3-4 meters long. (TREC 00)
Iguanas for food and conservation
purposes. Young lizards are initially caged and protected from predators.
Most iguanas are released to the wild but some are eaten for their meat. A
young Bri Bri swings on a hammock. (TREC 99)
(Iguana iguana) are raised by the Bri Bri Quicktime Movie!! Hot
Gecko Sex in SW Costa Rica (TREC 99)
In 2005, we went north along the coastal highway to reach San Jose. Along the way, we stopped on the bridge over the Tarcoles River which forms the Northern border of Carara Biological Reserve. We
observed several 5 meter plus American Crocodiles ( Crocodylus acutus)! It was amazing-- these are the biggest crocs I have ever seen! ( TREC 05)
A large spider and wasp Waltz the "Dance of Death." Who do you think won? ( TREC 03)
This large spider was guarding her impressive egg case! SE Caribbean lowland forest ( TREC 03)
This Larger Spider is Ready and Able
to capture prey.
This spider carapace reminded me
of a crab. A red flower is in the background. (Caribbean side, TREC 98)
Another Spider This large female seems
suspended in the dark of night.
Rodeo Spider with a "Rope" awaits in ambush. (It is
most likely an orgre-faced spider, dinopidea. They hang upside down and cast an expandable web over
their prey: Monteverde Preserve.
Another spider Hanging Upside Down.
It is not the same species as above.
This huge spider had a diameter of
5cm, SE Costa Rica, Manzanillo Refuge. A sideview
of this monster! (TREC 98)
Female Spider (Protecting her young:Night
walk, lower elevation, Monteverde Preserve)
A Spider on the prowl at night on
a leaf surface:Monteverde Preserve.
Some spiders, instead of being solitary except to mate, spend their entire
lives in large cooperative groups. Here is a Whole
Family of social spiders working together on a web. Here is a
Quicktime STREAMING video for slower connections!
A very large Female Orb Weaver Spider and a much smaller male
getting ready to mate--a leap of faith!
Argiope aurantia The thicker patterned central area
of the web is thought to be present as a visual warning for birds. That
way, if the bird sees the web and avoids hitting it, the Argiope aurantia
orb-weaver doesn't have to build another web so quickly. (TREC 99)
We found a wonderful and beautiful
funnel web spider on a Monteverde Night Hike along the El Camino trail.
This spider is Camouflaged against the
Lichen Covered Tree Bark of a Tropical Tree.
This huge spider molted along
the Caribbean coast. (TREC 99)
A tarantula hides in the center
of a hollow Garlic Tree at Corcovado. Here, I
get a little closer! (TREC 00)
Quicktime to view these movies.
We found a Quicktime Movies!! very large tarantula ( near the
entrance to Monteverde Preserve on a night hike. Megaphobema mesomelas (O.P. Cambridge, 1892), female) We lured it out of it's burrow with a stick.
We were not disappointed! (TREC 01)
A MPEG-4 Quicktime video of a spectacular interaction between a large Spider and a Tarantula Wasp in Cahuita National Park.
It was only a matter of time before the ??? was victorious! ( TREC 03)
This huge tarantula was found
in the bathroom of the one of the accommodations along the SE
Caribbean coast. Wow!! Note the spiders defensive position (TREC
While not found in Costa Rica, my lab has two pet Brazilian Bird eating tarantulas (
Lasiodora parahybana). Pollux (from the constellation Gemini) is the one shown in this quicktime movie. It is about
10 cm in diameter now. Later, Pollux and Castor feast on about 18 crickets each.
Note how Pollux wraps-up her recently
killed crickets with silk. She then picks up the package and sips the potpourri down! On 9/2/00, the spiders
had another "Mass Feeding." This 17 mb QUICKTIME Movie
shows all of the details--web spinning, fang action, etc.
This large female spider
catches a termite for a late afternoon meal. (TREC 99)
This at Almonds
& Corals in SE Costa Rica. (TREC 99)
Nephila sp. orb
weaver rebuilds her web after a night of heavy rains Quicktime Movies!! A
wonderful potpourri of animal life from Jean Lafitte National Park,
9/99. See a frog eating spider (Nephila sp.) Here is
STREAMING Video for slower connections!
Sociality is quite common and highly developed among arthropods
such as bees, termites and ants. In spiders, social communities
and cooperation are quite rare. But,....Here are two movies of Social
Spider communities. There were hundreds
of individuals that were working on a somewhat disorganized
web in SE Costa Rica! Here is a
Quicktime STREAMING video for slower connections! (TREC 99)
A very small, but
brave Salticid (sp.) Spider, pauses and charges the camera at
Palo Verde National Park. AMAZING! (TREC 00)
large funnel web charges
me after having put up with me for a little too long on our night
hike. What a beauty! (Monteverde Preserve, (TREC 00)
Other Unusual Arthropod Critters
Mysterious slimy, silky threads
hanging underneath a log. Our guide said that they were made from the larva
of an insect that catches its prey in the webs!
Weevil Insect Sex (Amazing sexual coupling:
Millipedes are quite common in the
lowland rainforests of CR. This guy was about 10 cm long! If you hassle them,
they emit cyanide gas which has a distinct almond smell.
This Poisonous Centipede came out
at night to hunt (TREC 97)
Insect Nymphs on Cactus
We found several Tailless
Whip scorpions in the Hollow Garlic Tree in Corcovado. These Amblypygidos
Arthropods are AMAZING! (TREC 00)
We found a mating pair of scorpions on our night hike along the SE Caribbean coast at Almonds and Corals. Slides are: A gentle "Handshake,"
SLide B- the "handshake" close-up and
Slide C- a head-shot. ( TREC 03)
Caterpillar (Guanacaste dry forest,
NW Costa Rica)
An unusual Quicktime Movies!! Ichneumonid wasp along the
El Camino trail in Monteverde Preserve. (TREC 01)
While on the way to Costa
Rica, we stopped and visited Jean Lafitte National Park. Here, we came across
the tree that was loaded with Ichneumonid Wasps that were laying eggs in the
tree. Quicktime Movies!! My, what long ovipositors you have.
Absolutely Amazing!! Here is another Perspective!
I had to add one more movie--these insects
are amazing. (TREC 99)
Quicktime Movies!! A
wonderful potpourri of animal life from Jean Lafitte National Park, 9/99.
See a frog eating spider! Here is a
Quicktime STREAMING Video for slower connections!
Quicktime Movies!! A
wonderful potpourri of animal life, swamps and other scenes from Jean Lafitte National Park, spring, 2002.--
a Quicktime STREAMING Video for slower connections!
Jean Lafitte National Park Swamp 2002
A Fashionable Walking Stick (Green
Thighs!/Brown Body) on a night walk! (Monteverde Preserve)
found more amazing walking
sticks in Monteverde Preserve These
are amazing creatures. Here is a close-up
of a "greenie." Can you see its eyes?(TREC 00) A Bioluminescent Chrysalis on the underside
of a fern (Night walk, Monteverde Preserve)
A grazing nocturnal insect (Night
Transparent Insect! This insect
is only a few millimeters long (Monteverde high elevation)
A beautiful fly shows off it's unique
wing structure at Monteverde (TREC 00)
Leaf Miner (Note: As the larva eats
& grows, the "Grazing Path" gets wider. Insect emerged at the
yellow circle, Corcovado National Park)
An infamous "Bullet Ant" walks the forest floor along the Caribbean coast. Manytimes, the
Bullet Ants ( but, occasionally, we did find them in large numbers! ( Paraponera clavata) were solitary, TREC 03)
An interesting QUICKTIME MOVIE of Bullet Ants ( What amazing creatures!
Paraponera clavata) near La Selva, Costa Rica. Army Ant soldiers have incredibly large mandibles! ( TREC 03)
Army Ants on the March in Corcovado.
The picture is out of focus, but I still think it's interesting. The ants
were carrying beetle larvae from a palm tree to locations unknown. (TREC 97)
Bullet Ants ( This bullet
ant was found, not far from her colony, on the Bri Bri iguana farm. I knocked
it off our guides neck!! The ant was released unharmed. (TREC 99)
Paraponera clavata) (Paraponera sp.)have a nasty reputation. Quicktime Movie!! Hornets
make some pretty elaborate and active nests. These wasps were found in
SW Costa Rica. (TREC 99)
Some Pretty Horny Scarab Rhinoceros
Beetles, at Least the Male is! (Monteverde Preserve)
This FUZZY Thing had legs and walked around!
(TREC 97) We found another one
on the Caribbean side. (TREC 98)
Quicktime Movie!! An
Amazing Blue Crawfish near the San Pedrillo entrance, Corcovado National
Park. (TREC 99)
Sloths, Cecropias and the Banded Anteater Tamandua mexicana
Cecropia trees are a common site in disturbed areas such as along trails, bordering
roadways and agricultural fields, and in recent "light gaps" created
by tree falls in the rainforest. Sometimes, if you're real lucky,
you can spot Sloths near the crown of Cecropia trees! Here is another Distant Sloth at Almonds & Corals, SE Costa Rica.
And Another One!
Check out this spectacular Sloth Taking Shelter under a roof!
At La Sirena, in the heart of Corcovado National Park, we spotted across a Banded Anteater high in the canopy.
Note the Tamandua mexicana prehensile tail of the Anteater!. We watched for quite a while, mesmerized by the sight, as
the Anteater ripped apart a termite carton. WOW! It was amazing! after the hard work, the Anteater proceeded to crawl to a lower limb and fall asleep! ( TREC 05)
This summer, we spotted another Banded Anteater foraging on the ground and in the trees at La Sirena in Corcovado National Park. What an impressive animal! ( Tamandua mexicana Summer 2007)
Cruising the Tortuguero Canals in NE Costa Rica, we frequently run into Two-toed sloths ( Look closely. Can you see the Sloth-Moths? Click on the image for a hi-resolution photo!
Here is another "perspective." Choloepus hoffmanni). Here is an amazing photo of a beautiful
Two-toed sloth (two claws per forelimb, three claws per hindlimb). Look near the "Sloth Rear" on the right!
Have you ever seen Sloth Moths (?
Well, here they are! This Bradipodicola hahneli) on/in the fur of a Three-toed Sloth ( Bradypus variegatus) Three-toed Sloth, with Moths in tow, was found in the early evening along the SE Costa Rica Caribbean coast. ( TREC 05)
A remarkable Quicktime Movie of a Two-toed sloth This is what can happen to animals faced with disappearing habitat.
(Choloepus hoffmanni) as it makes its way along utility lines on
our way to Monteverde Preserve. We encountered this beautiful three-toed sloth ( in SW Costa Rica! (TREC 01)
Bradypus variegatus) in
the mangroves along the Sierpe River A three-toed sloth ( Bradypus variegatus) does amazing acrobatics in a Cecropia tree along the Caribbean coast.
Here he is a few moments later giving himself a scratch! (TREC 01)
A Three-toed sloth ( along the Caribbean
coast near Cahuita National Park ( Bradypus variegatus) takes up a classic pose in a Cecropia tree TREC 03)
A Two-Toed sloth along the SE Caribbean coast near Cahuita National Park. Here is (Choloepus hoffmanni)
browses in an Almond Tree a second photo! ( TREC 03)
An Extreme Close-up of a Two-Toed
Sloth (Nighttime, Monteverde Preserve, '97)
(Choloepus hoffmanni)Heading for the Ground to Handle "Personal
Hygiene" A Leap of Faith: The Sloth Reaches
the Ground! (Nighttime, Monteverde Preserve, '97)
Tell me. Have you ever seen such a fantastic sloth? (Arenal National Park) (TREC 99)
Taking photos of primates near the tops of the canopy requires luck and persistence. This year, we saw all four Costa Rican
Primate species--Howler, Spider, Squirrel,
and White-face Capuchins. Photos from Corcovado National Park and Manzanillo Refuge in SE Costa Rica. Sometimes you get lucky!
Primate Quicktime Movies
Symbiotic Relationships: Ants & Plants
Tropical rainforests are famous for the many fascinating symbiotic relationships
that have evolved over millions of years.
Acacia sp. trees have developed
an intimate relationship with a a small 6 mm long ant (Pseudomyrmex ferruginea).The
trees provide the ants with a place to live and eat while the ants enthusiastically
protect the trees from herbivores and vines.
Leaf Cutter (Atta cephalotes),
Acacia Pseudomyrmex, and Bullet Ant ( Paraponera clavata) Quicktime Movies
Beautiful Amphibian Pictures
--Check out this beautiful Quicktime Movie (~700k) " A
Costa Rica Frog Potpourri"
Panama Poison Dart Frogs
Other Frog and Amphibian Wonders
Press Browser RELOAD after each dart frog
Dendrobates auratus image request! ( TREC 03)
An amazing close-up of an cluster of Red-eyed Tree Frog (. Note the amazing tadpole development. These Agalychnis calidryas) eggs on a leaf
tadpoles were about ready to drop into the water below!< La Selva Field Station, Caribbean Slopes. ( TREC 05)
A fantastic close-up of a poison dart frog ( from Corcovado National Park.
This male was calling Phylobates vittatus ) for a mate when I took this shot. Here is
a above the background noise of the adjacent San Pedrillo river in Corcovado! (TREC 01)
of a calling male ( QUICKTIME movie Phylobates vittatus ). If
you listen closely, you can hear the call A spectacular Strawberry Dendrobates pumillio male "calling," a D. pumilio "Blue Jean Morph," and
Dendrobates auratus tadpole on its back! ( TREC 03)
A close-up of a Dendrobates auratus carrying a tadpole on its back! SLIDE A
and, from a different angle, SLIDE B. ( TREC 03)
A QUICKTIME MPEG-4 video of Poison Dart Frogs() along the SE Caribbean coast. The video begins with eaxmples of Dendrobates sp Dendrobates pumilio.
Listen closely for the mating call of this beautiful frog!
A wonderful closeup of a Here is another,
but this time this dendrobates pumilio Individual. strawberry male is calling! Wow!
The video ends with Dendrobates auratus. What makes it special is the single tadpole on its back! ( TREC 03)
AMAZING!! Here is spectacular
gaudy tree frog ( my very first in ten years of looking!
Agalychnis callidryas), Another amazing angle.The male mating call is a single
"cluck-like" noise. Wow! (TREC 01)
A Smoki Jungle Frog ( His stomach sure looks full! Night hike, SE
Caribbean coast. These interesting frogs excrete toxic skin secretions when handled. Here is another Leptodactylus pentadactylus--known to be voracious carnivores) sits and waits for his prey, which often includes other frogs! Smoki Jungle frog closeup without the camera flash artifacts. WOW!
A Beautiful Caribbean Tree Frog,
very large and bold. (TREC 98)
A close-up of a beautiful unidentified tree frog
at Almonds and Corals, SE Costa Rica. (TREC 01)
Frog in a Leaf (Caribbean side of CR)
This spectacular male calls from the relative
safety of the interior of a plant.
This Dink Frog was making a Get-a-Way
through a hole in the leaf. Check it out!
Male Tree Frog in a Pond ( Drake
Bay: One breeding pond can contain many frog species all trying their
best. This pond had at least five species calling at once.)
Have you ever lost your grip? Well, keep hanging
on! You never know what might happen.
The pond was loaded with frogs in various states of "Calling
Night Walk: Tink Frog1 ((Eye level, Monteverde
Eleutherodactylus sp) We found a red-eyed (horizontal pupils) tree frog
on a night walk in Monteverde (TREC 99)
(Litoria chloris ?) Night Walk: Tink Frog2 ((Eye level,
Eleutherodactylus sp) Quicktime Movies!! A
wonderful potpourri of animal life from Jean Lafitte National Park, 9/99.
See a frog eating orb-weaver spider! (Nephila clavipes) Here is a
Quicktime STREAMING Video for slower connections!
Night Walk: Beautiful Unknown Frog
(Eleutherodactylus sp.?) Poison Dart Frog-(Corcovado Nat'l Park). The green and black variety is pretty common.
Every now and then, we come across a Dendrobates auratus
and Black Variety, (.
Phylobates vittatus ) Leaf Rolled and Sealed with ??? (Corcovado
Nat'l Park: Over a stream)
Quicktime Movies!! Extreme
Close-up. (TREC 00)
A tree frog grips
the bathroom wall at the OTS Field Station in Palo Verde. Frog Eggs (?) UNWRAPPED in the above
Male Frog Trying to Get Lucky(Drake
Bay Wilderness Camp, breeding pool in the center of a cluster
A beautiful Frog getting ready to split.
A Clinging Tree Frog
on the side of, you guessed it, a tree.
Salamander & Her Eggs--probably (Under a
rock 3300 m above sea level, Cerro de la Muerte)
A spectacular view of aerial prop roots along the Sierpe River ( TREC 03)
This beautiful crab was found
in the mangroves along the Sierpe River.Note the hairy legs! Another perspective
of this hairy crustacean! (TREC 98)
In 1998, we stayed for part of the course at the Mangrove
Inn in Bocas del Torro, Panama. Our dwellings were in the mangroves and
adjacent to pristine coral reefs and seagrass ecosystems.
The Sierpe River is a beautiful estuary.
Towards the river mouth, many distributaries branch away from the main channel.
There are thousands of hectares of mangroves
that line the banks of the Sierpe River's
A Remarkable Close-Up of
a (Note the Leaf Edge--Salt Extraction Organs??).
There is a small crab as well! (TREC 00)
Pellicera Leaf Red Mangrove Root Matrix
(Low tide, Sierpe River, SW Costa River) When we were there in late May,
many of the Red Mangroves were Flowering!
Mangroves (The mangroves
with the flanged buttresses, Pellicera rhizophorae, are endemic to
CR and Panama on the Pacific coast. Students at work: Biological Survey, Sierpe
River. Note the high concentration of Lenticels
on this Pellicera rhizophorae buttress. (TREC 98)
Dan, Stephanie and Jill contemplate
the identity of organisms in the intertidal area along the Sierpe River. No
one knew the ID of this gastropod.
Shondricka stands among the Red
Mangrove Prop Roots along the Sierpe River. (TREC 99)
Becky was in pretty deep as
she explored the mangroves along the Sierpe River. (TREC 99)
Eve, Tom, Eric and Sarah Hard at Work
in the dense mangrove forest.
These gastropods (periwinkles) cluster
just above the high tide mark on a mangrove buttress.(TREC 98)
Some mangroves generate unusual fruits maximized for survival in a harsh
environment. Here is a Pellicera rhizophorae Fruit1,
Fruit2, and a Seedling
(the little guy!) trying to get established. The red mangrove Fruit
gets a "head start" while still attached to the parent plant.
Our boat snaked through the mangrove
channels along the Sierpe River. (TREC 98)
At High Tide, the mangrove buttresses
are quickly covered with water. Tidal range was over 1 meter. The High
and Low Tide Mangrove Habitats are as different as night & day.(TREC'97)
At Low Tide, a March into the
Mangroves can be Challenging. It's hot & the mud is deep! (TME 96)
More Mangroves (Some reach heights
of 15 m, Sierpe River near the Pacific Ocean) Another
Sharper Picture (106 K)
Students busy at work in the Red Mangrove
Root Matrix at low tide on the Sierpe River.
Students wade through the mangroves
looking for organisms. (TREC 98)
A Low Tide Perspective of the
mangroves along the Sierpe River. One Instructor standing near the base of
at low tide. Pellicera rhizophorae Our Studies Extended
Into and Beyond the Upper Intertidal Zone ('97)
These gals became known as the "Mangrove
Babes." They were looking for "Critters
in the Trees." (At least Liz isn't listening to her walkman!) Occasionally,
Troops of Spider Monkeys visit the mangroves to rest. Our guide moves the boat (Ateles
the shore for a closer look. ('97)
The Beautiful Sierpe River
on a sunny day. Pause and reflect! A
Reflective Pose of the Mangrove Shoreline ('97)
Scott Taking Notes regarding the Mangrove
Challenge. (TREC 98)
Fiddler crabs are the "earthworms" of the mangroves. Note the reworked sediment. (TREC 01)
The lungs of many mangroves are structures called lenticels. Here is a closeup.(TREC 01)
Mangrove challenges are an annual tradition. Chrissy leads this group at low tide in the red mangroves while Joe, Mike and Trevor discuss the nature of mangrove systems. Jay, Deb, Daniel and Catherine are closer to the river's edge surrounded by Pellicera roots. But, the most fun was in the muck. Jen even lost her shoes (only for a moment). (TREC 01)
Well, what do you know! A three-toed sloth ( eating leaves, a first for me. (TREC 01)
Bradypus variegatus) in the red mangroves The pacific mangroves are a magical system along the Sierpe River. The are Pellicera buttresses particularly beautiful. One more time! (TREC 01)
Tidal flushing help structure these Pacific mangroves. Tidal ranges can approach 3 meters during new and full moon.(TREC 01)
At our visit to the National Museum in San Jose, one museum display showed human burials recovered from mangrove estuaries along the Pacific coast. The remains were bundled into
convenient sized packages (small enough to fit into a backpack) and then buried in the mangroves. Very interesting! ( TREC 03)
Caribbean Mangroves, Bocas del Toro Province, Panama
Caribbean Corals, Bocas del Toro Province, Panama
Some Other Interesting Plant Photographs
Cecropia are often the first pioneers to establish themselves in disturbed environments. At the banana plantations near Sierpe, the plantations have been shut down.
After only two short years,
The changeover is Cecropia dominate where bananas used to be! nothing
short of amazing! ( TREC 03)
are common plants
in light gaps and in other disturbed areas, Corcovado Natl Park. (TREC 98)
Cecropia A spectacular close-up of a bromeliad
in bloom at 2800 meters above sea level along Hwy 1. The whole
flowering stalk. Compare with the Spanish
Moss Flower --they are both in the same family!(TREC 98)
Lianas dominate the lowland rainforests of Corcovado. Note the Monkey
Puzzle Liana! (TREC 97)
Strangler Figs Are
amazing trees. What an amazing life cycle. They are also important sources
of food for birds and monkeys. And, they are huge! (Corcovado, TREC 97)
(Ficus sp.) There were numerous Tree Falls
this past year (TREC 97) probably from the heavy rains generated by Hurricane
Cesar(96). Light gaps seemed to be everywhere. (Corcovado National Park)
Todd stands next to a "walking
palm" in Corcovado National Park. He is holding a young prop root.
Orchids are a dominant epiphyte in tropical
Two beautiful surrealistic
views of the garlic tree trail at San Pedrillo, Corcovado National Park
It is a beautiful place!
Because their are seasonal changes in the tropics (Wet and Dry Seasons),
many trees have Tree Rings. Does this
surprise you? (Monteverde Cloud Forest)
Wild Pineapples are common in
Corcovado (TREC 00)
Heliconias are a very important Neotropical plant. Here
is a Fantastic array of Heliconia Flowers near Arenal Volcano. (TREC 99)
Beautiful Floral Stalk
Lichen Fruiting Bodies, Monteverde
Tropical Lilies (Corcovado Nat'l Park:The
pollen tubes were over 25 cm long in the female flowers)
Many plants are armed to the teeth!
with thorns. Corcovado (TREC 00)
Fish-tail Palms dominate the understory of the Forest near the San Pedrillo entrance in Corcovado National park ( TREC 03)
Bromeliad in Bloom (Monteverde Preserve:
Lower elevation~800 m)
A typical understory view
of secondary growth in Corcovado(TREC 00)
A beautiful Ginger Flower. Ginger
root is used for medicinal purposes. (Manzanillio Preserve, SW Costa Rica)
Beautiful Cloud Forest views from Monteverde: One
and Two (TREC 00)
Fish-Tail palms are common understory
plants in Corcovado. Here they are in flower! They
make an impressive site on the forest floor. (TREC 00)
Unknown flowers populated
the region surrounding Arenal Volcano. Here
is another beautiful example. And, one
more! (TREC 99)
Vines and Lianas are common in the
lowland rainforests of Corcovado The trails
are fantastic. It gets pretty
dark under the canopy (TREC 00)
This Floral Stalk has sequential
flowering, just what the hummingbirds ordered. The flowers on the right have
already bloomed and moved out of the way for the next set! (Monteverde Cloud
The dense green forest is often Punctuated
by Trees in Bloom. Our guide called this a May Tree because it always
blooms in May. (Violin Island, SW Costa Ri
Colorful Palm fruit from Monteverde
Above the tree line at 3300 meters, Thistles
Become Common. At lower elevations (2500 meters), we explored a unique
vegetation zone along Hwy 1. The soil was wet, Sphagnum moss was common,
and the area was open. Cycads and Yuca-like
Bromeliads were everywhere. (TREC 97)
Some researches say that Evapotranspiration
accounts for more than 50% of the moisture return to the atmosphere after
a heavy rain. What do you think?
Tree Ferns are Common in Monteverde
Selaginella is Quite Common
at 3300 meters above Sea Level Views towards the canopy are always
interesting in Corcovado. Sometimes
the epiphytes extend upwards towards the crown. (TREC 00)
Fliers: Bats & Birds
Costa Rica Birds: A Field Guide,
On the road to Arenal Volcano, we stopped at The Toad Hall along the shores of Lake Arenal. We saw some amazing birds! ( Spring break 2008)
Here are a few birds from La Selva!( Spring break 2008)
Here are a few avian creatures from Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve--Unsorted Resplendent Quetzal Photos can be found HERE ( Spring break 2008)
On the road from Monteverde to the lowlands of the Pacific coast, we came across three Turquoise-browed Motmots ( in a variety of poses. ( Eumomota superciliosa) Summer 2007)
In the higher elevations near Monteverde, we did see one Blue-crowned Motmot ( ( Momotus momata). Summer 2007)
A life-first for me. Inca Doves ( in the lower elevations after leaving Monteverde on the road to the the Pacific coast. ( Columbina inca) Summer 2007)
Another photo life-first! A Striped-headed Sparrow ( after leaving Monteverde on the road to the the Pacific coast. ( Aimophila ruficauda) in the lower elevations Summer 2007)
Is this a Male Rose-throated Becard ( I think so--Here is the Pachyramphus aglaiae)? female Rose-throated Becard tending to her nest.
Pacific slope leaving Monteverde Preserve, lower elevations. ( Summer 2007)
In the Arenal Volcano region, I was able to photograph a Gray-capped Flycathcer ( ( Myiozetetes granadensis). Summer 2007)
This Blue-gray Tanager ( Arenal region near Lake Arenal. ( Thraupis apiscopus) was getting a bite to eat at the Cecropia flower deli! Summer 2007)
The Gray-capped Flycatcher ( A life-first for me. ( Myiozetetes granadensis) is a beautiful bird! Summer 2007)
At La Selva Tropical Research Center along the Caribbean slope, we spotted a Cinnamon Becard ( ( Pachyramphus cinnamomeus)! Summer 2007)
Along the Caribbean coast at Manzanillo at Almonds and Corals, we saw a Male Slaty Antshrike (
Thamnophilus bridgesi) in the lowland, humid forest. At the Cahuita National park on the SE Caribbean coast, we spotted what looks to be a NESTING female Slaty Antshrike ( Here is a sideview of the
Thamnophilus bridgesi). Nesting Slaty Antshrike. ( Summer 2007)
Near Gandoca along the SE Caribbean coast, we spotted a fantastic Groove-billed Ani ( What a Bill they have! Crotophaga sulcirostris). Looks like Jimmy Durante! Cool! ( Summer 2007)
In the Sierpe River region of SW Costa Rica north of the OSA peninsula, we spotted what I believe to be a Piratic Flycatcher ( Here is
another perspective of the Legatus leucophaius), a life-first for me. Piratic Flycatcher as it directly at me. ( Summer 2007)
A beautiful Roadside Hawk (of all places near the Sierpe River in SW Costa Rica. ( Buteo magnirostris) found alongside the road Summer 2007)
Wouldn't you know it? We saw a beautiful Blue-crowned Motmot ( These birds have a wide range of habitats! ( Momotus momata) in Corcovado National Park at Sirena. Summer 2007)
Here's another perspective of the Corcovado Blue-crowned Motmot ( ( Momotus momata)! Summer 2007)
In Corcovado National Park, we spotted a Double-toothed Kite ( A Life First for me. ( Harpagus bidentatus) shadowing a large troop of Squirrel Monkeys. Summer 2007)
I had difficulty first identifying these birds--Thanks to Normand Richard and Bill Heck for your assistance!!
Here are some of the birds I photographed on a spring 2007 trip to Costa Rica to Arenal and Monteverde ( Spring 2007).
At Monteverde, we saw two birds of note that I did not have photographs of--a Mottled Owl and a Gray-throated Leaftosser. There were also a few other notable species as well ( Spring 2007).
We saw quite a few wonderful birds as part of the Earth Expeditions 2006 trip. Here are the birds of note from Monteverde Preserve.
A fantastic Spangled-Cheeked Tanager ( We encountered a flock of these spectacular Tanagers along the Sky Trek walking trails in
Santa Elena near Monteverde. Wow! ( Tangara dowii), a life first for me. Earth Expeditions 06) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo
On the road to the Sky Trek walk in Santa Elena, we encountered a pair of Hoffmann's Woodpeckers ( This bird is a female.
If the ID is correct, it's another life first for me. ( Melanerpes hoffmannii). Earth Expeditions 06) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo
And of course, no visit to Monteverde is complete without spotting a Resplendent Quetzals () or two.
Here is a beautiful male caught in the early morning light at the entrance to the Monteverde Preserve. ( Pharomachrus mocinno Earth Expeditions 06) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo
I know that I've seen these guys before at Monteverde Preserve, but, even so, I've never taken a picture of a Dusky-capped Flycatcher (
I was lucky to get another Myiarchus tuberculifer) before! sideview perspective of the Dusky-capped Flycatcher
( Earth Expeditions 06) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo
Here, a Silver-thoated Tanager (
( Tangara icterocephala) looks for food in ther Monteverde Preserve Canopy. Earth Expeditions 06) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo
A spectacular Black Guan ( Wow!( Chamaepetes unicolor) flew just above us on the El Camino trail in Monteverde Preserve. Earth Expeditions 06) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo
A Slate-throated Redstart ( And, here is
a Myioborus torquatus) perches before me on the El Camino trail in Monteverde Preserve. sideview of the Slate-throated Redstart!. ( Earth Expeditions 06) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo
A Three-striped Warbler ( sits still just long enough for me to take a photo in the Monteverde Preserve
( Basileuterus tristriatus) Earth Expeditions 06) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo
After leaving Monteverde, on the Pacifc downslope before reaching the Pan American Highway, we encountered a beautiful
Rufous-naped Wren (, a photo life-first for me. ( Campylorhynchus rufinucha) Earth Expeditions 06) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo
At the same location as the Rufous-naped Wren, there was also a pair of Orange-chinned Parakeets (
Another photo-first for me! ( Brotogeris jugularis) foraging in a termite carton! Earth Expeditions 06) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo
Here are the birds of note we saw in the Arenal Volcano region from the Earth Expeditions 2006 Costa Rica course. ( Earth Expeditions 06) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo
Here are the birds of note we saw in the La Selva Tropical Research Center area from the Earth Expeditions 2006 Costa Rica course. ( Earth Expeditions 06) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo
One of the most spectacular estuaries in SW Costa Rica can be found along the Sierpe River. Here are a few photos of birds we encountered in the adjacent banana plantations and along the Sierpe River. Amazing!
( TREC 06) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
Ah, the OSA Peninsula along the SW Costa Rican coast! What a terrific place! ( TREC 06) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
Corvovado National Park in the Osa Peninsula--San Pedrillo trail ( TREC 06) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
Corvovado National Park in the Osa Peninsula--Sirena Field Station ( TREC 06) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
SE Costa Rica near the Panama Border along the Caribbean coast ( TREC 06) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve ( TREC 06) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
In Tortuguero along the NE Costa Rica coast, I hoped to find male and female Northern Jacanas Jacana spinosa) along with their chicks.
I was not disappointed! ( Earth Expeditions 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo
A life first for me! A Great Pooto ( Nyctibius grandis)! The Great Pooto was very
difficult to see high in the canopy! Here is a close-up of the Great Pooto. Located on Tortuguero ( Earth Expeditions 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo
Another life first for me! A Male Purple-throated Fruitcrow ( Tortuguero. ( Querula purpurata) Earth Expeditions 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo
In Tortuguero, we also encountered many Groove-billed Anis
( ( Crotophaga sulcirostris) along the canal. Earth Expeditions 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo
There were also numerous Keel-billed Toucans ( ( Ramphastos sulfuratus)
along the Tortuguero Canals. Earth Expeditions 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo
Along the Tortuguero Canals, we also saw Adult Common Black Hawks ( and
Buteogallus anthracinus) Juvenile Common Black Hawks!
( Earth Expeditions 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo
I have always been amazed by the complex calls and social
behavior of Manakins (. In Tortuguero, we spotted numerous Manacus candei)
White-collared Manakin Males doing their thing! I love these birds!
( Earth Expeditions 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo
At La Selva Tropical Field Station, we encountered many beautiful birds. ( Earth Expeditions 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo
In Monteverde, the "must see" bird is the Resplendent Quetzal ( We were not disappointed! Our guide Bobby located
a nesting pair adjacent to the trail. We got excellent views of the Pharomachrus mocinno). female Resplendent Quetzal and
Male Resplendent Quetzal. Here, the male Resplendent Quetzal has an avocado in its mouth!
I can't resist another "Avocado Perspective" of the
male Resplendent Quetzal!
( TREC 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
In Monteverde, we came across a few Prong-billed Barbets ( WOW!
Semnornis frantzii) near the El Camino trail. On the road to Hitoy Cerere Reserve in extreme SE Cosat Rica near the Panama border, we spotted several
Black-cheeked Woodpeckers ( The male woodpecker Melanerpes pucherani)--this ia a male. tolerated one more photo before it flew away. There was a nest
nearby with a chick in a telephone pole along the road. ( TREC 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
Near Gandoca in extreme SW Costa Rica, we spotted several Northern Jacanas
( in the fields adjacent to the road in a variety of poses. besides having an unusual family life with male/female role reversals,
Jacana spinosa) Jacanas are beautiful birds! ( TREC 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
Near Arenal Volcano, we found a beautiful Laughing Falcon ( The Laughing Falcon let me snap away,
but, the Herpetotheres cachinnans) perched in a Cecropia tree overlooking a lake. Falcon was too far away to get an excellent photo ( TREC 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
After leaving Arenal Volcano, on our way (by bus) to Monteverde just before we reached Tileran, we spotted several Magpie Jays ( Calocitta formosa). These are absolutely fantastic birds! Here
is a sideview of a beautiful Magpie Jay.
And, finally, check out the beautiful crest of this Magpie Jay! And, I think this Magpie Jay pose is even better!
( TREC 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
Just outside of Tilearn along the shores of Lake Arenal near Tileran, we also spotted a
beautiful Brown Jay (. Brown Jays are the closest phylogenetic relative of the Magpie Jays. ( Psilorhinus morio) TREC 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
Right after spotting the Brown Jay, we were treated to some great views of some Squirrel
Cuckoos (. What a beautiful bird! Here are some more Piaya cayana) Squirrel Cuckoo photos as we got closer to Monteverde! I love
the long and graceful tail feathers! Here is
another view as the Cuckoo looked away from me. WOW! ( TREC 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
At La Selva Tropical Field Station, we spotted three King Vultures ( Sarcoramphus papa)--an adult male, female and juvenile. I went crazy snapping photos! So,..... a King Vulture sideview.
Here is another sideview perspective including some King Vulture eye glint! ( TREC 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
I really get a kick out of watching MONTEZUMA OROPENDULA males ( Psarocolius montezuma) calling from the community nest areas near La Selva. Here is an
outstanding photo of a Montezuma Oropendula male.
WOW! ( TREC 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
Near La Selva, we encountered a group of Gray-necked Wood-rails (.
These were a life-first bird for me! Here is a photo of a Aramides cajanea) at sunrise as they were feeding juvenile and adult Gray-necked Wood-rail . Here, I catch an
adult Gray-necked Wood-rail
looking quizically at me. And finally, an adult Wood-rail in the act of feeding! ( TREC 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
While these phots are not the best, the Green Ibis ( is a life first for me! Here
is Mesembrinibis cayennensis) another prespective of a Green Ibis! Near La Selva.
( TREC 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
A female Scarlet-rumped Tanager (
( Ramphocelus passerinii) -now called the Passerini's Tanager- near La Selva. TREC 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
A Variable Seedeater ( near La Selva, Costa Rica. ( Sporophila aurita) TREC 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
A spectacular Green Heron ( on the Sierpe River in SW Costa Rica. This
Butorides virescens) Green Heron was hiding in the grass along the shoreline of the Sierpe River.
These are some fantastic Green Heron photographs!
WOW! ( TREC 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
A wonderful Amazon Kingfisher ( along the bank of the beautiful Sierpe River. Check out the size of its enormous Kingfisher bill!
( Chloroceryle amazona)
in the trees TREC 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
A fantastic juvenile Little Blue Heron
( along the banks of the Sierpe River in SW Costa Rica. Note the Egretta caerulea) mottled color of its feathers.
The white color will eventually disappear as the Little Blue Heron matures into adult hood.
( TREC 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
A Bare-throated Tiger-heron ( in the trees along the Sierpe River in SW Costa Rica.
( Tigrisoma mexicanum)on its nest high TREC 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
A Yellow-headed Caracara ( along the banks of the beautiful Sierpe River in SW Costa Rica.
Here is Milvago chimachima), Family Falconidae,
sideview another Yellow-headed Caracara perspective
( TREC 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
Some wonderful, but small, aerial photos of the
Black-shouldered Kite ( spotted on the long bus ride to the Pacifc Coast just south of San Isidro on Hwy 1.
Here are some other Elanus Caeruleus) photos of the Black-shouldered Kite!
Here, I have a photo of the Black-shoulderd Kite hovering!
I can't resist showing you another "Black-shouldered Kite hovering shot." And, here, the bird is
"getting ready to hover."
A life-first for me! ( TREC 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
A flock of Scarlet Macaws (landed in and near an
Almond tree at Drake Bay along the SW coast of Costa Rica near Corcovado National Park. Wow! ( Ara macao) TREC 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
On the road adjacent to Lake Arenal, we spotted numerous Gray-headed
Chachalacas ( I took many photos of these Ortalis cinereiceps) in Cecropia trees. large and
beautiful birds! This individual Gray-headed
Chachalaca eventually looked at me face-on. Wow! And, finally, here is a nice view of a
Chachalaca looking away from me. ( TREC 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
At La Sirena in Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica, we spotted a flock of Mealy Parrots ( high in
the canopy above us. ( Amazona farinosa) TREC 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
Please confirm ID! A female Black-throated Trogon ( looks away from me near the Sirena River in Corcovado National Park.
Then this Trogon rufus) Black-throated Trogon female looked over her shoulder toward me!
Another sideview perspective of a Black-throated Trogon.
Here is a male Black-throated Trogon Another
perspective of the male Black-throated Trogon And, a
longer distance perspective of the Black-throated Trogon Male. ( TREC 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
At Sirena, Corcovado National Park, another life-first for me, a Rufous-tailed Jacomar (. I only got
to look at this Galbula ruficauda) Male Rufous-tailed Jacomar for a short time before he flew away! Wow! ( TREC 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
A fantastic photo of a beautiful Female Pale-billed Woodpecker ( Here she is again-
Campephilus guatemalensis). note the black crest
of the female Pale-billed Woodpecker. Here is a photo that gives you a perspective of her back and head regions.
We surprised a Great Tinamou ( near the Sirena River in Corcovado National Park. ( Tinamus major) TREC 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
A beautiful Crested Guan (.
What a Penelope purpurascens) fantastic bird! This time, the Crested Guan is looking right at me!
( TREC 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
One of my favorite birds is the White-wiskered Puffbird ( La Sirena, Corcovado National Park.
( Malacoptila lanceolata), TREC 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
Deeper in the woods at La Sirena, we found another Crested Guan ( I was able to take many photos Penelope purpurascens). Wow! What a beauty! while the Crested Guan
posed for me in a tree! ( TREC 05) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
A wonderful QUICKTIME MOVIE of Northern Jacanas ( doing there thing! Near La Selva, Costa Rica.
Jacana spinosa), Social Flycatcher Chicks ( Myiozetetes similis) and
Oropendola Males ( Psarocolius sp.) A Quicktime Movie of our encounter with Black Vultures having an intense "disagreement" in Corcovado National Park at Sirena Station. Amazing!
For the first time in my life, I spotted TWO King Vultures ( Sarcoramphus papa). One
was spotted on the SE Caribbean coast near Manzanillo while the other was spotted in
Corcovado National Park at the Sirena Field Station. WOW! Here is another fantastic King Vulture
perspective! ( TREC 04)
We also found a beautiful Crested Guan ( of Corcovado National Park near Sirena Field Station. ( Penelope purpurascens) in the Pacific
Lowland forests TREC 04)
Here is a Black Hooded Antshrike Male ( Drake Bay Wilderness Camp near Corcovado National Park. Here is Thamnophilus anabatinus) with a
cricket in its mouth.
another perspective of the Male Antshrike. ( TREC 04)
I was blown away by this spectacular Riverside Wren ( in the lowland Pacifc forests near the Sirena field station in
Corcovado Nationla Park! Wow! Here is Thryothorus semibadius) another special image of the Riverside Wren ( ( Thryothorus semibadius) TREC 04)
I got a brief glimpse (and photo) of a Blue Crowned Manakin Female ( in Corcovado National Park near Sirena Field Station. A first for me! ( Pipra coronata) TREC 04)
Being from Louisiana, I have a special affinity for Brown Pelicans ( These individuals were spotted near the San Pedrillo Field Station in Corcovado National Park. ( Pelecanus occidentalis)! TREC 04)
I really like Puff Birds --they have such huge heads relative to their body size. These White-whiskered
Puffbirds ( were found in
Corcovado National Park at the Sirena Field Station. Here is Malacoptila panamensis) another Puffbird perspective! ( TREC 04)
I had a blast following a pair of Pale-billed Woodpeckers ( while they skipped
from tree to tree in Corcovado National Park. Take a look at some other Pale-billed Woodpecker photos ( Campephilus guatemalensis) a Dorsal View, a feeding Pair, and
a spectacular Pale-billed Woodpecker profile) ( TREC 04)
We had the privilege of helping Dr. Kathy Wynette-Murray with mist netting in Monteverde Preserve. It was an amazing experience. Some of the birds were a first for me. These include
the Chestnut-capped Brush Finch ( and
the Atlapetes atricapillus) Streaked-breasted Tree Hunter (.
I really admired this bird as it was really spunky. Here, Thripadectes rufobrunneus) I release the Streaked-breasted Tree Hunter
after taking our measurements! ( TREC 04)
In Tortuguero, we spotted several Collared Aracari (. They can be Pteroglossus torquatus) spectacularly beautiful!
Every now and then, one gets lucky. Here, I caught a Keel-billed Toucan (, Tortuguero region in NE Costa Rica.
Ramphastos sulfuratus) in flight A Male Ringed Kingfisher ( on one of the many canals in the Tortuguero region of NE Costa Rica. What a beautiful bird!
Ceryle torquata) perches It's not everyday that one gets to see Roseate Spoonbills (
In fact, they are so beautiful that I thought I'd give you another look at these Ajaia ajaja)! Roseate Spoonbills (Tortuguero region in NE Costa Rica).
Numerous Roseate Spoonbills ( were spotted along the Tortuguero Canal banks! These guys were feeding! Ajaia ajaja) NOTE: Just "Click" on the IMAGE to view the largest photo!
A Northern jacana and Roseate Spoonbill ( in the mud. My first photo of the underside of a Spoonbill bill!
Ajaia ajaja) HIGHSTEPPING Bat Impaled on Thorns! (How did this
We came across what looks to be a Great Tinamou ( at the base of a large tree near the San Pedrillo staion in Corcovado National Park. ( Tinamus major) nest
with two torquoise-blue eggs TREC 04)
I think that the Bare-throated heron
( Here the
Tigrosoma fasciatum) is a spectacular bird! Tiger Heron is wading in the San Pedrillo river in Corcovado National Park. In the next photo,
the Tiger Heron seems startled by birds flying above us. I'll close with a spectacular
side view of this wonderful Bare-throated Tiger Heron. WOW! ( TREC 04)
This Tiger Heron (
Tigrosoma fasciatum) was spotted along the canals in Tortuguero. I'm never quite satisfied with the Tiger Heron
photos, but, it sure is a beautiful bird! A Black Vulture ( near the Sirena Field Station
in Corcovado National Park. Here, a Coragyps atratus) and King Vulture ( Sarcoramphus papa) soar above us Black Vulture is stretching its wings as it gets ready for the days activities.( TREC 04)
Trogons (Family Trogonidae) are one of my favorite bird families. We came
across several Black-headed Trogons ( This Trogon melanocephalus) near the San Pedrillo Station in Corcovado National Park.
Black-headed Trogon male allowed me to take several photos ( TREC 04)
We came across a large community of Tent Making Bats ( in Corcovado
National Park. Here is a Uroderma bilobatum) near the San Pedrillo Station close-up of , a species
common throughout Latin America. This tent making bat species Uroderma bilobatum makes a roost by chewing along
the rib of a large leaf--the sides then fold down to conceal the animal. ( TREC 04)
I am not certain of this Hummingbird Species! I have tentatively identified it as a Crowned Woodnymph ( Corcovado
National Park near Sirena Field Station. ( Thalurania colombica), TREC 04)
I absolutely love Boat-billed Herons ( Check out the
huge bill! Cochlearius cochlearius). Several individuals
were found in trees along the banks of the San Pedrillo River in Corcovado National Park. ( TREC 04)
Near the San Pedrillo Field Station in Corcovado, we came across a beautiful male Red-capped Manakin ( ( Pipra mentalis). TREC 04)
Along the flanks of Arenal Volcano, we encountered several pair of Red-legged Honeycreepers ( The females are green
while the males are an amazing blue! These are spectacularly beautiful birds!
This male Cyanerpes cyaneus). Red-legged Honeycreeper presented a wonderful side view. WOW! ( TREC 04)
I got some pretty good views of the Chestnut-mandibled Toucan ( near the flanks of Arenal Volcano.
Here is a slightly different perspective of the Ramphastos swainsonii) beautiful Chestnut-mandibled Toucan. ( TREC 04)
A White Hawk ( along the shoreline of Lake Arenal. ( Leucopternis albicollis) was spotted in the trees TREC 04)
A pair of Crested Guans ( exchange food items in a Penelope purpurascens) Cecropia tree along the banks of Lake Arenal. Here
is a side view of one of the Crested Guans. ( TREC 04)
The Hummingbird Gallery in Monteverde is a popular place for hummers! Here, a Male Violet Sabrewing ( near a feeder! I was able Camlylopterus hemileucurus)
hovers to catch this Violet Sabrewing in a classic hovering pose! ( TREC 04)
Check out these Green Crowned Brilliants ( at the Hummingbird Gallery. Here is a
front view of a Heliothryx barroti) perched female Green Crowned Brilliant Hummingbird. And, last but not least, a handsome male Green Crowned Brilliant. ( TREC 04)
We saw several Northern Jacanas ( just inland from Gandoca. Note the Jacana spinosa)
in the wetlands extremely large, and interesting, feet! ( TREC 04)
A Rufous-tailed Hummingbird ( near La Selva! WOW! ( Amazilia tzacatl) stands before me TREC 04)
A Blue-crowned Motmot ( in the higher elevations above the Central Valley. ( Momotus momota) "strikes a pose" TREC 04)
Here is a beautiful Clay-colored Robin ( in the higher elevations
above the San Jose Central Valley. ( Turdus nigrescens) TREC 04)
A Blue-gray Tanager ( was spotted on the way to the La Selva area. ( Thraupis episcopus) TREC 04)
A Long-tailed Tyrant ( sits on barb wire on a farm on the Caribbean Slopes. A difficult shot shooting into the sun. ( Colonia colonus) TREC 04)
A Montezuma Oropendula male ( calls from his perch along the Caribbean slopes near La Selva.
These Psarocolius montezuma) birds really put themselves into their territorial call! The male "swings down" almost 180 degrees as it makes the Oropendula classic call!
The calling male is frequenly near the unique, colonial sac-like nests( TREC 04)
A Purple-crowned Fairy Hummingbird ( is "captured" while visiting a flower near La Selva. Wow! ( Heliothryx barroti) TREC 04)
A male Olive-backed Euphonia (
at Almonds and Corals along the Caribean coast. ( Euphonia gouldi) surveys its kingdom TREC 04)
A Black-cheeked Woodpecker ( at the Bri Bri iguana farm.
Here is another view of the Melanerpes pucherani) browses a "flower deli" Black-cheeked Woodpecker. ( TREC 04)
A Boat-billed Flycatcher ( sits on a branch near La Selva. ( Megarhynchus pitangua) TREC 04)
This bird was spotted in Gandoca along the Caribbean coast. I'm pretty certain that it's a Yellowthroat ( I'd like to see more of the bird though. Any ideas? ( Geothylpsis sp.)
warbler. TREC 04)
A spectacular male Scarlet-rumped Tanager ( near the Sierpe River System in SW Costa Rica. ( Ramphocelus passerinii) TREC 04)
White Ibis ( Eudocimus albus) were common along the upper reaches of the Sierpe River. Here
is another Adult White Ibis follwed by a Juvenile White Ibis. ( TREC 04)
We even spotted a neautiful Scarlet Macaw ( of the Sierpe River! ( Ara macao) along the banks TREC 04)
Bat Asleep in a Leaf Shelter (Corcovado
Bats "Hanging Out"(Corcovado:
A typical roosting area for long-nosed bats (Rhynchonycteris naso)at
San Pedrillo Station in Corcovado National Park) Hear is another Close-up
Perspective of the bats.
Some more close-ups (high-quality) of the long-nosed bats perched in the same tree this year.
A striking contrast against the blue sky and finally,
more head-on views of the community perch(TREC 01)
Three Tent bats roost
beneath an impressive leaf shelter in Monteverde Preserve. This low elevation bat species had never
been seen in Monteverde before--hmm, climate change perhaps? Tenatively identified as ( Vampyress thyone), but it could also be a small Artibeus, like A. toltecus or A. phaeotis. (TREC 03)
In Monteverde Preserve,a male Golden-browned Chlorphonia ( Beautiful!
Chlorophonia callophrys) feeds his chicks along the canopy walk! A beautiful Black-faced Solitaire (
A pair was guarding their nest! Myadestes melanops) along the El Camino trail in Monteverde Preserve. Here is another fabulous view of the Black-faced Solitaire! And, one more
wonderful Black-faced Solitaire view of this beautiful bird! Wow!
A Yellow-headed Caracara near Sierpe in the
abandoned banana plantation zone. ( Milvago chimachima perches on an Oil Palm TREC 03)
This impressive Common Black Hawk lived on Cano Island in SW Costa Rica. This (Buteogallus
has been known to literally steal sandwiches out of unsuspecting students
In the Caribbean forests at Manzanillio, we found a beautiful Semiplumbeous Hawk ( It was a beauty!
Leucopternis semiplumbea). In the same area we found the Semiplumbeous Hawk at almonds and Corals, a Cinnamon Woodpecker ( Here are a few more angles-- Celeus loricatus) was making its
nest. looking into the nest,
and being aware of our presence. Wow!
An Orange-billed Sparrow ( along the Caribbean coast. A real beauty!
Arremon aurantiirostris) works over the forest floor A Slate-throated Redstart ( to enter
her nest Myioborus miniatus) waits with an insect for
its three patient chicks! Finally, one
chick gets a mouthfull! ( TREC 03)
This Emerald Toucanet had a nest just to the left of this perch in the Manzanillo
Refuge along the Caribbean coast. (TREC 98)
prasinus) Along the El Camino trail in Monteverde, we encountered a Gray-throated Leaftosser ( (Sclerurus albigularis)
in a "hole" in the side of an elevated bank along the trail. TREC 03)
This Emerald Toucanet (Aulacorhynchus prasinus) was near the entrance to Monteverde Preserve. Here is another view! A nest was nearby. ( TREC 03)
Check out this beautiful Keel Billed Toucan (
near Cahuita National Park
along the Caribbean coast. Ramphastos sulfuratus) Here is another angle! WOW! ( TREC 03)
A Three-Wattled Bell Bird Male ( BONK!!! Wow! ( Procnias
tricarunculata) makes his presence known on a perch
in Monteverde Preserve! TREC 03)
The Black Guan . Here, I caught a glimpse of a nesting female's head.
unicolor)was very abundant this year at Monteverde At Sirena, in the heart of Corcovado National Park, we came across a Fiery-Billed Aracari (
in a cecropia tree. (TREC 01)
Pteroglossus frantzii) A Pale-billed Woodpecker ( A large and beautiful bird! Campephilus guatemalensis) banged away
on a tree in Corcovado. Here is
another perspective (TREC 01)
An orange-bellied trogon early
one morning in Monteverde. (Trogon aurantiiventris) "fluffs his chest" Here is a wonderful orange-bellied trogon on a branch. Fantastic!( TREC 03)
In Corcovado, we came across a Nesting
Pair of Beautiful Orange-bellied Trogons The
male is on the left, the female on the right. A (Trogon aurantiiventris). Closer
View! Here, only the male is visible. (TREC 98)
At Sirena, we came across this beautiful male Black-throated trogon
Here is (Trogon rufus). another closeup perpsective Here is another beautiful Black-headed trogon in 2002! (TREC 01 and TREC 02)
Help! Here is another Black-throated Trogon ( Found in Corcovado National Park near Sirena!
Trogon rufus)? I need a little "Help from my Friends." Could this be a Black-throated Trogon ( Found in Corcovado National Park near Sirena!
Trogon rufus)? I need a little "Help from my Friends." Could this be a White-whiskered Puffbird (
The Malacoptila panamensis)? bill seems straighter to me than found in my Birds of Costa Rica field guide, Plate 28. Found in Corcovado National Park near Sirena!
A Amazon Kingfisher (
along the SW Costa Rica coast ( Chloroceryle amazona) along the banks of the Sierpe River TREC 03)
A White Ibis
along the SW Costa Rica coast ( Eudocimus albus along the banks of the Sierpe River TREC 03)
Another beautiful Trogon
this time at Almonds & Corals, SE Costa Rica! (TREC 01)
(Trogon masenna) with a red chest, Black Vultures hanging
out at one of the Corcovado Nat'l Park trail entrances.
(Coragyps atratus) A long distant photo of a Scarlet Macaw (Drake Bay, TREC 98)
macao) A pair of Scarlet Macaws at the Sirena Ranger Station
in the heart of Corcovado National park. (Ara
macao) roost Here
is another perpsective And, if you look closely, this "blow-up"
gets us even closer still! (TREC 01)
This Collared Redstart was spotted along the Continental Divide in the Monteverde
torquatus) Another Angle! (TREC'97)
A Juvenile Keel-billed Toucan
(Ramphastos sulfuratus) A Juvenile Keel-billed Toucan
(Ramphastos sulfuratus) close-up! An Adult Hummingbird getting ready
to fly--the Green-crowned Brilliant ( Heliodoxa jacula). Another Hummer at Rest. Costa
Rica can have as many as 800 species of resident and migratory birds present
during certain times of the year.
Hummingbird Eggs Each the Size of
a Dime (Corcovado Nat'l Park)
Oropendola (Psarocolius sp.)Are pretty common on the Caribbean Side.
Their Nests "Hang like Testicles"
on Branches. (TREC 97)
Oropendola as well. Here is (Psarocolius
sp.)Are pretty common near Arenal a
close-up of a few nests. (TREC 00) A Large Spectacled Owl Chick Just out of Reach but close enough for pictures! (Guanacaste
Province, NW Costa Rica, TREC 95)
perspicillata) A Spectacular QUICKTIME MOVIE of Barred Owl Chicks ( in the swamps of
southern Louisiana, Jean Lafitte National Park. AMAZING!!
Strix varia)being fed Crawfish An offshore island houses magnificent
frigates, pelicans and boobies near Corcovado National Park. (TREC 00)
Brown Pelicans cruise the coastline in Corcovado National Park. Awesome! (TREC03)
In SE Louisisana on the north shore of Lake Ponchartrain, we visited the Big Branch Preserve in December, 2005. We came across hundreds of American White Pelicans ( Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) and a few Brown Pelicans ( Pelecanus occidentalis).
At Jean Lafitte National Park, Hurricane Katrina Damage was everywhere as shown in these slides and
Jean Lafitte Quicktime Video. And, there where lots of birds to be seen in the winter landscape.
Leatherback Turtles of Gandoca, SE Costa Rica
One turtle species on the verge of extinction is the
leatherback turtle, Dermochelys coriacea. Efforts on the conservation of these remarkable reptiles is taking place worldwide. On the Gandoca beach in the Gandoca/Manzanillo
National Wildlife Refuge, 300-1000 females nest between the months
of March and July. We had the pleasure of visiting this beach
and saw many remarkable things. Topping the list was our first
nesting female, and, the next day, witnessing the hatching, and
assisting in the release, of 40 baby leatherbacks. Special thanks
to Karen, Lalo, and Gabe.
Other Marine Creatures
People, Places and Other Neat Stuff
Of course, many plants and animals are thrown into the mix!
Monteverde Cloud Forest
Be sure to "refresh" your browser after each image selection!
Monteverde Cloud Forest(On a typical
cloudy, misty, summer day). Here's
another perspective of the secondary forest. (TREC 00)
This year, we came across several Bioluminscent Fungi in the Monteverde Preserve! They were amazing. Here is a photo of one large bioluminescent mushroom taken at night! WOW!! ( TREC 04)
Three views near the Continental Divide in Monteverde: Looking toward the lower
preserve; a view from within the forest to the wooded lower elevations and a striking view of the extreme deforestation
on the Pacific side. (TREC 01)
Monteverde Quicktime STREAMING Video~250k/sec An Overview of the Monteverde experience
This photo does a lot to capture the "Mystery of experiencing the Cloud Forest" for the first time! Thanks Amy! ( TREC 05)
Epiphytes are the "word of the
day" at Monteverde. Here is an
close-up of an amazingly diverse epiphytic community. (TREC 00)
Views from the Monteverde Skywalk
illustrate the epiphytic load
in this cloud forest. (TREC 00)
Bromeliads are extremely diverse
and important. This bromeliad
is blooming! Here is a close-up
of an AMAZING Flower (TREC 00) A beautiful Gray Fox? . Here is (Uroyon cinereoargenteus)made
the scene near the entrance to Monteverde Preserve a
Quicktime STREAMING Video for slower connections!(TREC 99)
A wide-angle view (very wide!) of the Santa
Elena Sky Walk and the Monteverde
forest from the ground up.(TREC 99)
Volcanic boulders are evident
in the soils. This is a constant reminder of the how plate tectonics has
shaped the land. (TREC 99)
A view of the Monteverde Cloud
Forest from the Skywalk. (TREC 99)
James poses on the Santa Elena Sky
Walk just outside of the Monteverde Preserve. It is an amazing place!
A Surrealistic Cloud Forest Scene
in Monteverde (Note the tremendous epiphyte load on the tree trunks)
Monteverde Walk around the main loop
trail. Yes, it really is this green!
On portions of the Monteverde
Loop Trail, an elevated walkway keeps one's feet dry in the wet, swampy
Gail stands next to a large Monteverde
Tree. (TREC 99)
We stayed at the "La Casona"
at the Monteverde Park Entrance. (TREC 00)
The Elusive & Resplendent Quetzal
(A female "Avocado Eater." Look
closely. Being mostly green, she is very difficult to see. (Pharomachrus mocinno) Here
she is from another angle!)
A Female Quetzal for nesting possibilities. ( (Pharomachrus mocinno) prepares to investigate an old tree TREC 03)
Ferns are quite common in the CR
rainforests. Some Tree Ferns reach heights of 10 meters! (TREC 00)
We found an emerging cicada
on our first night hike. (TREC 99)
But, even better than that, we
found a red-eyed (horizontal pupil) tree frog !(TREC 99)
(Litoria chloris ?) Our guide Toby leads the way on a hike
around the loop. (TREC 00)
Gastropod on a Night Walk I know, you
don't really think it is really that large. So, I placed my lens cap on the
ground for proper scale when I came across another one the next day. WOW!
A Real, Real Close-up of its
A gastropod cruises a leaf.
Some of the acquired land in the Monteverde Preserve was once farm land
and is only now slowly regenerating. Poor
Man's Umbrella Plants are opportunists and tend to be found in many of
these disturbed habitats. Here is a cross-section of a Poor
Man's Umbrella Plant Stem showing the nitrogen fixing nodules of cyanobacteria
We found a large, beautiful and
fearsome spider on our Night Hike.(TREC 00) Sunset just below Monteverde Preserve.
There are many species
of . This Cecropia tree
was in flower. (TREC 99)
A beautiful fly shows off it's unique
wing structure. (TREC 00)
On the Monteverde Loop -on the Swamp Trail, we came across the this cross-section
of a Flanged Buttress Root. They
really are hollow inside! ('97)
Bamboo are common in the cloud
forests surrounding Monteverde. (TREC 99)
Views from the Santa Elena Sky Walk
just outside of the Monteverde Preserve were FANTASTIC! (TREC 99)
Heliconia flowers line the
El Camino trail (TREC 00) We did the Santa Elena "Sky Trek"! I enthusiastically recommend
Here is a picture of some
of us getting ready to "trek" 1400 feet. The maximum height
above the valley floor is 400 feet! Stephanie
and Lisa are ready to go! (TREC 00)
Bocas del Toro, Panama: Island
Archipelago. (TREC 98 )
These pictures include the flight from Sierpe in SW Costa Rica
to the Panama-Costa Rica border, the border crossing and miscellaneous
pictures from the general area near the town of Bocas.
Sierpe River: SW Costa Rica River, Estuarine System and Pacific
Caribbean Side: Limon, Manzanillo Refuge and Other Environments
Beautiful Drake Bay Wilderness Camp near Corcovado National Park on an Amazing
Sunny Day! In contrast, the ITCZ can cause some Ferocious
Thunderstorms in late May and early June! This puppy produced about 2.5
inches of rain in one hour.
Meet Pedro and Fernando,
our wonderful guides at Corcovado National Park and Cano Island. These guys
are terrific! (TREC 98)
An amazing picture of the intertidal
zone at Drake Bay. These students were studying the effects of disturbance
on diversity. (TREC 99)
Sunrise and a beautiful
Sunset at Drake Bay Wilderness Camp. Check this sunset
out at Fatality Rock! It's almost as beautiful as this
spectacular sunrise over Drake Bay(TREC 99)
A wonderful sunrise at Drake bay Wilderness Camp! ( TREC 03)
Some AMAZING Sunset Pictures at Drake Bay! (
L) (TREC 00) Some of our crew during a beach-boat
landing at Corcovado National Park--a happy bunch of people! A rugged, beautiful shoreline! (TREC 01)
A typical eastward looking morning
view across Drake Bay (TREC 00)
A view of Drake Bay looking
east from the mouth of the Drake River. Low tide perspective. Beautiful!
A Waterfall at the same spot
where we found the tropical lilies.
Squirrel Monkey (Drake
Bay Wilderness Camp resident monkey).
(Saimiri oerstedii) A Spider Monkey in
the canopy of Corcovado National Park. Note the youngster on her back.
(Ateles geoffroyi) Large trees in Corcovado tend
to have huge buttresses for support. Todd and Hays
are shown for scale.(TREC 00)
Alex is the lead boat captain
at Drake Bay Wilderness camp. We had just unloaded at San Pedrillo in Corcovado(TREC 00)
Our group prepares to snorkel off
Cano Island (TREC 99)
Mountainous Shoreline: Boat Transport
to Corcovado Nat'l Park
"Epiphyte Loading" is
typical at Cano Island. Corcovado does not have this trait. (TREC 00)
A spectacular view of Cano
Island from the Overlook on the garlic tree trail at San Pedrillo, Corcovado
Shrimping is Big Business along the
beautiful SW Pacific coast of Costa Rica
Mushroom Fruiting Bodies (The
importance and abundance of fungi cannot be overstated)
We took turns entering the
amazing hollow Garlic tree in Corcovado National Park. A Quicktime
streaming Garlic tree video (much smaller!)(TREC 99)
Tides were extremely low--exposing
contorted ancient seafloor-- along the shoreline of Corcovado National
Park. (TREC 99)
A beautiful "boat view"
of the San Pedrillo Field Station from the Pacific Ocean, Corcovado. Here,
our group lands on the beach
at Low Tide. (TREC 00)
A beautiful Coati indulges
himself in coconut juice. (TREC 98)
(Nasau narica) This year we saw a Huge Manta Ray with a Wingspan of 4 meters near Cano Island. (TREC 98)
birostris) I wonder what Becky and Fernando
are talking about along the Garlic Tree trail in Corcovado(TREC 00)
Melissa, Tara and our guide William
discuss the merits of butterfly farming at Drake Bay. (TREC 98)
A germinating seed emerges from
it's "seed base" in Corcovado (TREC 00)
A close-up view of the San
Pedrillo Waterfall at Corcovado (TREC 00)
! Quicktime Movie The
San Pedrillo Waterfall at Corcovado near the San Pedrillo entrance is amazing.
Many of us climbed underneath the falls--what a trip! (TREC 99)
! Tidal Ranges varied
about 2 meters between high and low tide. Quicktime Movie Here
is the coastline at Low Tide in Corcovado National Park. Cano Island lies
offshore. (TREC 99)
! Quicktime Movie Pedro
was our main guide at Drake Wilderness Camp. I added a lizard and a walking
palm to the "mix."(TREC 99)
! Quicktime Movie
After a long hike in Corcovado National Park, many of us went swimming
in a stream on the Pacific shoreline. (TREC 99)
! Quicktime Movie A
typical trail in Corcovado National Park. We spotted a troop of white-faced
capuchin monkeys (Cebus capucinus)here. (TREC 99)
Quicktime Movies!! Devin
and Gail discuss the mysteries of the Garlic Tree!! They were excited.
The Quicktime Streaming Movie!! Garlic
Tree COMBO Quicktime STREAMING Video!
Cano Island, SW Pacific Region
Palo Verde National Park, NW Costa Rica
Shots: People, Lowland Rainforest & Other Locations
Marco and Hays in the Banana Plantation region near Sierpe River in SW Costa Rica. Gotta love those stone spheres!
Here, we fit as many folks as possible onto the top of an in-place stone sphere
( TREC 05)
A few students relax and "feel the force" of the stone spheres! ( TREC 05)
Joseph Dorsey looks right at home in the tropics! ( TREC 05)
Marco and Hays stand next to a Walking Palm in Corcovado National Park, San Pedrillo entrance. ( TREC 05)
Our 2005 class poses for a group photo at the San Pedrillo Waterfall, Corcovado National Park They are making fun of their
instructor! ( TREC 05)
Hays Cummins is "in his element" in the mangroves along the Sierpe River! ( TREC 03)
Becky and Chrissy took many photos, from Monteverde to
the Caribbean, of the course trip. Here is a of their alblum! (TREC 01)
Quicktime movie NEW The Complete Digital Image Collection from the Tropical Ecosystems of Costa Rica Class, 2001.
Thousands of pictures!
Tom Rottler peers into the depths of a mangrove prop root along the Sierpe River ( TREC 03)
In Corcovado, we went swimming at a beautiful waterfall after a long hike.
Devin is shown here in his skivies! (TREC
A Class Picture at Poas Volcano
A Class Picture after the Arenal
Volcano Hike. This one provides
a different perspective(TREC 99)
In 2003, we visited one "Wind Field" energy station near Tileran.
I was totally impressed! Another prespective of three windmills against a blue sky background! ( TREC 03)
The first of many days spent on the bus!
Hays, Donna and Marco pose in front of the large Garlic Tree at San Pedrillo
in Corcovado. ( TREC 03)
Rebecca and Ryan paly soccer
in the pouring rain while Kristin stays dry (at least for a moment!), Sirena Station, Corcovado ( TREC 03)
Elizabeth "hams-it-up" at the Sirena Station, Corcovado ( TREC 03)
A few of us at the Santa Elena
Sky Walk near Monteverde. (TREC 99)
The Corcovado Understory(TREC 00)
Many small Costa Rican towns have a central
square surrounded by churches, schools, and homes. For the last several
years, we stayed in the Hotel Amarillo in Palmar Sur in SW Costa Rica. We
played soccer and basketball with CRicans. Lets just say we didn't always
Most of the Close-up Pictures were taken by HaysC
with This Camera! [Canon A2, 100 firstname.lastname@example.org, a ring flash] Corcovado, TREC'97
The first day on the road-- Lunch at a
diner, elevation 2500 meters. (TREC 98)
A course first: Tapir footprints
in Corcovado! Here i s a hand for
Our Picnic Lunches at Corcovado
were always gustatory delights! (TREC 00)
Your Friendly Instructors (A huge strangler
fig (Ficus sp.)is in the background)
The "Climate Group" studied
micro-climates within habitat and among the various preserves we visited.
A few of our classmates rest
in the Sierpe River Mangroves. (TREC 99)
Exploring the Bri Bri iguana farm
and plant pharmacopoeia was amazing! (TREC 99)
The Boat Speeds to Corcovado!
The 2000 class gets ready for
their first hike in Corcovado! (TREC 00)
Loading up the boats at Drake
Bay Wilderness Camp We had a terrific course! Astrid
seems pretty happy. (TREC 00))
Andrea and Julie enjoy some of
Fidel Castro's finest!(TREC 99)
Strange "Student Stacking"
at Almonds and Corals, SE Costa Rica. (TREC 99)
A spectacular view of the Pacific
Ocean (looking west) from Corcovado. The shoreline
was rugged indeed! ( (TREC 00))
Is it a Dung Ball? Or, a Stone Sphere?
Envious students attempt to show their strength! (Brian and Kemp,'97)
Chico Corrales, head of Anthropology
and Archeology at the National Museum of Costa Rica, accompanies us and shares
his knowledge for part of the trip. One of Chico's fellow archeologists shows
us a new dig in the forest near the mouth of the Sierpe River.
Our guides were Fernando and
Manuel at Corcovado. They were terrific! Fernando
with a few students and Hays.
Fernando was a good teacher!
The Hollow Garlic Tree and a few of
our class, Corcovado(TREC 00) A Lunch Break at the Continental Divide,
A Parrot and pet cat roam the trees
adjacent to the lodge (Rincon de la Vieja, TREC'95)
Primates (humans) pose along the Corcovado
Trail! (TREC 00)
Rio General River Valley This is a
major river system that eventually flows into the Pacific Ocean.(View from
the bus on the way to Sierpe, SW Costa Rica) Another Rio
General View (A Larger Image)
Landslides are common on the major
road in the country, Hwy 1, particularly during the rainy season. Check out
this Major Road Washout from the rains
of Hurricane Cesar(1996) Note the truck for scale! The original road is
to the right of the photo; the new road is being built where the truck is.
We only saw one major repair effort on
Hwy 1 in 1998. WOW! (TREC 97)
Landslides often result in Traffic
Slowdowns (TREC 98)
Students discuss being left
behind on the beach at San Pedrillo, Corcovado(TREC 00)
The Border Crossing into Panama along the Sixola River is a Combination
Road and Railroad Bridge.
San Jose is one bustling place! Avenue
Central has a Very Nice Pedestrian Walk through the Heart of the City.
Saber, Mark and Hays pose for
a picture at the Poas volcano ('97)
Sunlight, Clouds, River &
Rainforest Reflections ('97)
Waterfalls seem to be everywhere!
Route 1, Pacific Downslope (TREC 98)
The Annual Soccer Game at Corcovado
was a success! (TREC 00)
Our Costa Rica hosts,
Marco, had us over to dinner on
our last night in San Jose, Costa Rica. Thanks for everything! (TREC 00)
Chad and Scott survey a massive
tree fall--note the extensive root system. Near Monteverde (TREC 99)
The Costa Rica "class females"
posed for a picture outside of the Parque de Lago in San Jose. This was
followed by the School of Interdisciplinary
Studies contingent! (TREC 00)
An American Crocodile of the Sierpe River.
itself along the banks A remarkable QUICKTIME MOVIE of an American Crocodile ( in SW Costa Rica near the Pacific coast.
Crocodylus acutus)along the banks of the Sierpe River This large crocodile looks pretty dam full (if you ask me!), Sierpe River ( TREC 03)
The road to San Jose from the Caribbean
coast goes through some of the steepest mountains in Costa Rica. (TREC
Highway 1 traverses the central mountain range at an elevation of over 3200
meters! Melissa hiked and breathed hard above
the tree line. (TREC 98)
Quicktime Movies!! The
walk to Arenal Volcano goes through pasture land, secondary and primary forest.
Oropendula (Psarocolius sp.)nests are common in pasture trees and mosquitoes
are abundant in the secondary
forest. (TREC 99)
The deserted streets of San Jose very
early in the morning--during the day, the streets are packed with people.(TREC
We stopped and ate at many fine
restaurants in towns across Costa Rica.This was after our hike to Arenal.
A "fuzzy'"class picture
at Almonds and Corals along the SE Caribbean coast. (TREC 99)
Astrid and Chris relax on the ride
back from Cano island.(TREC 00)
Human Land Use Balancing the Needs of Nature and People
We had the pleasure of listening to one of Costa Rica's prominent archeologists
Chico lecture on the archeological significance
of stone spheres in the banana fields
near Sierpe (TREC 98)
Quicktime Movies!! Chico
discusses the significance of the stone spheres in the banana fields near
Sierpe. (TREC 99)
Quicktime Movies!! A
video of Cano Island, 20 km offshore of Drake Bay near Corcovado National
Park. We look at light gaps, Strangler Figs, and Chico examines several stone
spheres! (TREC 99)
The instructor hugs a stone sphere.
It was quite comforting. (TREC 99)
Banana Plantation Mountain Perspective(SW
Costa Rica near Sierpe). Thousands of acres of lowland rainforest are destroyed
to make habitat for cash crops such as bananas, pineapples & cacao.) Another
Overview Photo of the landscape
perspective of the plantation. Banana Plantations are examples of "Green
The banana plantation has many archeological sites. Here, a student
squats upon one of the many Stone Spheres
common in SW Costa Rica. Some reach diameters of 2 meters!
The Trop Eco Sys class of '95 in
new, recently cleared banana fields.
The class walks to the stone sphere
archaeological site in the Sierpe Banana Plantation. The instructor
stops and talks about banana phylogeny. (TREC 99)
Banana Warriors tend to the selection
and maintenance of the banana fields. (TREC 99)
What we see here (TREC'97) is a paucity of diversity. It may be green, but
in reality, it is a Monospecific Green
The TREC 98 Class (Melissa, Tara and Susan)
takes their first walk in the
Banana Plantation, SW Costa Rica.
Chiquita--All of the bananas leave Costa
Rica from Limon on the Caribbean Coast. (TREC 99)
Plastic bags are an Eyesore and an Environmental
Problem. Usually you don't see many lying around.(TREC 98)
Helicopters are often used to treat the
banana crop with insecticides at the banana plantation near Sierpe. Here is the fuel
and insecticide truck up close. (TREC 01)
: Quicktime Movie A helicopter RELOADs toxic
insecticides, then takes off to spray bananas,
Sierpe, Costa Rica. (TREC 01)
Evan, a graduate student in botany
at Miami, explains the life cycle of the domesticated banana.
Banana Plantation Drainage Canals
(The canal network is loaded with insecticide runoff.)
Banana Plantation Insecticide Spraying
(Helicopters work every hour during daylight spraying their crops.) As
we listen to Roberto Corrales discuss recent archeological findings at the
plantation, helicopters take to the
air to spray the fields.
Bananas in an Insecticide Bag (The
cultivation of bananas is extremely labor intensive. Each banana fruiting
stalk, and there are literally tens of thousands of them, must be bagged like
this one. Many of the trees must also be "roped and staked" to prevent
them from falling over from wind and heavy rains.)
A splendid example of one floral stalk
loaded with bananas. The banana
trees keep getting bigger each year. Hays and Becky illustrate this. (TREC 00)
Many of the bananas are harvested
using a cable system and gravity to speed the delivery of bananas to the
Here, a worker is busy trimming the bananas
from a floral stalk.
The Bananas are removed
from the floral stalk, rinsed and bagged in huge processing sheds. These bananas
were boxed under the "Imperial" label and shipped to Japan. Many
factory workers--male and female;young and old--work long days during the
The "Banana Line" in
full swing! These bananas were being prepared for shipment to Japan under
the Imperial label.
Banana Field Worker (These fellows
work hard and long days for low wages. It's hot. The smell of insecticide
fills the air. There are poisonous snakes.)
Even though the plantations are in the humid tropics, bananas require Lots
of Water Using Extensive Irrigation Systems and Pumps. (TREC 98)
Plantations along the Costa Rica & Panama border often bring the Bananas
by Boat and then Load their Trucks in the Sixola River ('97) Kemp got
a more colorful photo of the Banana
Trucks Loading Up in the Sixola River ('97)
Local National Guardsman Surveys a wrecked
Banana Truck along the CR and Panama border. Even the Sole
Local Policeman Got in on the Act. The small bridge collapsed underneath
the Weighted Truck. Three workers
were critically injured.
A new trend in Some Banana Plantations
is to reduce the use of insecticides and herbicides. Generally, the banana
plants are not nearly as tall or productive, but Europeans pay a premium for
the fruit. These plantations get the"Eco OK" certification. They
are in " Harmony with Nature."While
it is a step in the right direction, forest was still destroyed to plant these
Workers pack about 3000 boxes of bananas each day the plant is operating.
Here is the accounting of every workers
salary based on each person's performance. Salaries are low, about $10/day.(TREC
Banana Plantation Artwork (SW Costa Rica Banana Processing Plant)
The United Fruit Company dominated the banana plantations in the
early 1900s. Workers at this processing plant near Sierpe painted
beautiful art on the sheet metal wall panels that depicted much
of the history of the hard work, pride and humanity of the workers
in the early 1900s. I learned more from these fantastic paintings
than from my past six visits combined. This artwork belongs in
the National Museum of Costa Rica!
Senior Roberto Cabellero, the plant foreman, was very patient with us. He answered any
and all questions. Thank you very much! (TREC 98)
To set the scene, here are a few spectacular views of the plantation from the roof! Check out the Mountains in the Background! Chris climbs up the ladder. Our gracious hosts. The Plant Foreman is on the right! (TREC 98)
These modern day processing plant workers are probably much like--in attitude, pride and preserverence--the
laborers of the early 20th century. (TREC 98)
These bananas are the product of the hard work of workers of democratic Costa Rica. Note the link to the United States, (TREC 98)
This worker in the fields is trimming the banana plants with his machete. (TREC 98)
Banana Boats bring the product to market!
There is always room for humor! Bugs Bunny makes his pitch. (A modern piece!) (TREC 98)
A Chiquita Banana and Cutting Blade (TREC 98)
Modern workers spray insecticides just as workers did long ago! (TREC 98)
Workers are often shown "Larger than Life" when they trim banana bunches. (TREC 98)
Workers Carrying Bananas to
the Processing Plant. (TREC 98)
How are bananas brought to the processing plants? Then,
as now, highways of Pulley Systems, (mostly powered by people, not tractors!)
funnel the harvest for trimming, washing and boxing. (TREC 98)
Recent Banana Plantation Artwork (SW Costa Rica Banana Processing
More recent artwork was on the Building Supports of the processing plant. Artwork
included numerous "labels" of the popular exports.
Banana labels that end up on shipped bananas!
Other Human Land Use
Tropical Ecosystems of Costa Rica has been taught for the last 18 years.
Check out the SYLLABUS. For more info, contact Hays Cummins or Chris Myers.
Visit two wonderful Costa Rica web sites. One focuses on
Rincon de la Vieja Volcano in NW Costa Rica while the Tico Times provides a weekly update of Costa Rica happenings.
Don't Forget to Visit Tropical Marine Ecology Imagery!
Summer 2003 Video and Slideshow Collection
The entire 2003 collection of slides can be found on the
Costa Rica 2003 Slide Collection web page.
Summer 2003 Video and Slideshow Collection
Use "Pop-Ups" below to select other Costa Rica 2003 Slideshows and Videos!
Summer 2002 Video and Slideshow Collection
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