The Cloud Forest: Hummingbird Central

Trip Start Mar 29, 2013
Trip End Jun 20, 2013

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Puntarenas,
Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Its not called the cloud forest for nothing - we discovered that pretty early on yesterday morning when we arrived at the "Reserva Biológica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde". This is the most visited of the cloud forest reserves so the trails are all well maintained and easy to follow - except when I missed the turn off but it was all good as we came across a couple who showed us a female Quetzal. Yes another bird - there are a lot of birds here!  Jan has fostered (brainwashed?) an interest in birds by the boys to the point that Jack is collecting species to tick off in the CR bird book in the same way my brother and I collected Top Trump cards in the '70s. 

Anyway back to the reserve - another short but bone jarring trip takes you to the reserve where they have hummingbird feeders at the entrance. Technically I suppose any photos taken are classified as cheating due to the feeders (even if they were part of a research project?) but the challenge is getting something in focus. Hummingbirds are fast little buggers, by the time you've managed to focus and press the shutter - phffst, they've gone. That said of the 500 odd photos we took between the 4 of us we got a few good ones.  Apart form the humming birds we didn't see a huge amount - a few birds, a coati (I was behind waiting for Jack and we missed it) but there was definitely a lot of cloud.

Today we went to the Santa Elena reserve which was quieter, no feeders this time and we had a guide today. It seems that almost all the guides in this country (based on my 3 days of experience) are either biologists or are university trained in eco-biology/tourism - something Malaysia could learn a thing or two from.  There, the guides we have had have been fantastic at spotting things but really don't know a thing about what they've found.   Ah but I digress, so today we saw lots more cloud and more birds, got a lesson in the difference between primary and secondary rain forest and the reproductive requirements of fig-trees. Orlando, our guide, lost the boys attention until there were birds to be spotted but I was content.  Basically the cloud forest looks like a giant garden centre with all the indoor pot plants you could possibly want but in giant sizes.

As an added bonus we got to see another coati close up in the car park.  It didn't give a stuff that we were there - we've been told that they are extremely aggressive, but seeing as its a vegetarian we're beginning to think its something that the nightwalk guide made up to keep us in line...

Tomorrow is our last full day in Santa Elena, the boys are booked onto a zipline trip - 70m tarzan swing, a 40m rappel &12 zip-lines one of which is done facing down - ergh!  I'm doing the total tourist (read grandma) coffee, cacao and sugar cane trip where basically I get to drink and eat at heights of no more than 50cm. Perfect!

We're off to Playa Hermosa on Friday for a couple of days at a surfie beach.  Whilst organising transport we discovered that there are several Playa Hermosas on the Pacific coast and the hotel we were booked into was not the right one! A quick phone call was made to cancel the booking - luckily without cost and now we are trying to find something else in the right place - so far, we are open to suggestions - the first couple of places we found in the Lonely Planet and Trip Advisor are already booked out as its the weekend.  Fun times! 
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