Toucans to tarantulas

Trip Start Apr 08, 2012
Trip End Apr 13, 2012

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Heredia Province,
Wednesday, April 11, 2012

We were quite pleased to enjoy the movements of all three types of local monkeys during our rambles through the forest: white-faced capuchins, spiders, and howlers. It is not the noise of monkey voices that helps you discover them, but instead the noises of their crashing through the tree-tops, breaking and dropping branches as they go. We'd strain our necks to watch them resting and scratching or pulling leaves on branches closer to eat. We managed to see a baby squirrel monkey on mamas back, as well as a very young howler who kept slipping and dropping a notch lower in the tree before grabbing hold while falling. I laughed out loud. The squirrel monkeys were eating directly overhead, and practically hit us with a berried twig they dropped. Monkey tails, wrapped, curled, dangling or reaching, are endlessly fascinating to me.
One of my favorite things is the glimpse of canopy plants you get by coming across Litter from above on the trail -bright yellow petals, a leafed-twig, or blossoms that are not from any plants within sight.
A highlight of our hike with William, an earnest 18 year old Tico guide, was hearing, then seeing a laughing falcon flying through the trees above. We learned more about termites, lianas, strangler figs, and spiders. One particularly notable spider has yellow on its leg joints, is 3 inches in diameter (legs included) and spins an orb web. The web becomes yellow when the spider has been there for a while, and is very, very strong. The sight of a dew covered series of orb webs, sparkling, backlit by the early morning sun is one I couln't capture on film, but will hold in my mind for a very long time.
Our night hike guide was charming, funny, and extremely knowledgable about the forest at chilemate, which is where he and his father hunted when he was a boy. He knew the science as well as the practical uses of rainforest plants and Animals, as well as some superstitions about various creatures. I could only think of his knowledge of the medicinal uses of rainforest plants when we were in the central market looking at stalls filled with dried herbs.
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