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Part 2:  Selva Verde Lodge

All photographs ©2018


Our main target for this area was La Selva Biological Station, but we spent many delightful hours here at the lodge looking for odes and birds, and for me it was fun to revisit the place!(Click here to read about that visit in 2016...) This time several of us got to stay in the Bungalows across the street from where I stayed last time, but our group was too big for everyone to stay there, so some had to stay in the "riverside" rooms, which was a challenge at the time as lots of happy, excited teenagers were staying on that side as well!  Having now stayed in both types of accommodations, there are pros and cons to both:  two years ago the pros of staying in the standard rooms was that you were relatively close to the restaurant and reception, with covered walkways everywhere you went.  The cons were no A/C and no coffee makers!  Conversely, the bungalows had both, which was a big plus to me, and the area is much more quiet, being away from the congested "people" areas and the busy highway (and you're in the middle of great bird/butter/ode habitat to boot), but it was a hike to the restaurant, which would be a hardship if you were here on your own without a vehicle (I wouldn't relish the idea of hiking up that entrance road in the dark by myself after dinner...).  Thankfully we had trusty Ramon and his bus to take us back to the bungalows, although some of the gang would opt to hike up in the dark anyway to see what critters they could find...

Karen and Steve start down the entrance road from the bungalows

Meals, like last time, were to die for!  Every meal was spent on the "Bird Bar", where we'd watch the feeders and enjoy Palm, Passerini's, Red-throated Ant, and Blue-gray Tanagers; Clay-colored Thrushes feeding their grown babies, and Black-cheeked Woodpeckers coming in for a bite of banana.  At night (when it was too dark to watch the feeders) we'd shanghai the big table downstairs, do our lists (when Nancy, Stick, and Marla weren't showing off the nymphs they caught J), and enjoy our dinner there.  On one occasion when Steve announced that he was gonna look for the iconic Red-eyed Tree Frog, a bunch of us trailed after him and got fabulous looks at this colorful little guy (which was fun as I hadn't seen any the last time)!

The "bar" from which we'd eat our meals and enjoy the birds eating their own meals down below!

Nancy shows off some nymphs that were gathered during the day

I did have to introduce Dennis to the Magic Butter Plant on the other side of the bridge that I was so enamored with, and while every time we visited it this time it was in the shade (and therefore no butters), he did put a name to it: Warzewiczia coccinea (a real mouthful), and in horticultural circles it’s known as “Macaw’s Tail”.  While we never went into the primary forest, we had some nice birds from the bridge such as Bare-throated Tiger Heron, Anhinga, Green Kingfisher, and Black Phoebe, and picked up some different butters such as Esmeraldas Longtail and Little Banner.  We didn't spend much time on that side of the property (although Tom found a Rufous Motmot for the group there), as most of the ode action was in that fabulous dragonfly pond I had discovered last time up by the bungalows, so we pretty much hung around there (the exception was a ton of Amelia's Threadtails by the canal close to reception).  Interestingly, with the exception of Carmine Skimmers and that big red darner I saw last time (which turned out to be a Fiery Darner), I didn't see any of the odes I saw last time - everything was new!  Some of the more exciting ones for me were Marsh Firetail, Scaly-bellied Dryad, Tiny Forktail (looks a lot like a Rambur's), Lowland Knobtail, and the best ode, a huge Blue-winged Helicopter Damsel that wheeled in!  Butters weren't too shabby, either:  Elena found an exquisite little Pale-rayed Greatstreak, and (as is often the case) when I perused the pictures after getting home I discovered I had bagged a cool Blue-gray Big-eyed Satyr (thinking it was just a Double-white)!  When it would cloud over Tom would take some of us birding, and down at the lower garden (where I had the Uranus Moth last time) we found nest-building Squirrel Cuckoos, and a Yellow-throated Toucan that seemed intent on raiding someone's nest (if the reaction of the Boat-billed Flycatchers was any indication)!  It was on this same excursion that someone found a Green-and-black Poison Dart Frog!

The gang mingles in an open area near the river (you can see the covered walkways in the background)

Netta holds up a tiny eel in a container (caught by Marla) so Dennis can photograph it!

Lora, Karen, and Ann check for odes at the famous Dragonfly Pond

More folks join the hunt...

Down near the Botanical Garden, someone finds a Green-and-black Poison Dart Frog in the grass!

The Botanical Garden

Every morning I would poke along the entrance road before anyone else was up, enjoying the morning chorus that always consisted of Chestnut-backed Antbirds, White-breasted Wood Wrens, both Black-throated and Slaty-tailed Trogons, and any number of parrots making noise.  Pre-dawn it wasn't unusual to hear Great Tinamous and Broad-billed Motmots (Tom actually found us one by the pond), and one evening I even heard a Crested Owl!  Orange-billed Sparrows were all over, and the one time I made it to the garden a pair of Pale-billed Woodpeckers was making a racket, and a Shining Honeycreeper was very cooperative!  The iconic Great Green Macaws were at least heard regularly, but Ramon reported seeing Scarlets in the parking lot!

  Part 1: Hotel Buena Vista & Braulio Carrillo NP

  Part 3: La Selva Biological Station

  Part 4: Laguna del Lagarto Lodge

  Part 5: Arenal Observatory Lodge

  Part 6: Return to Hotel Buena Vista

Illustrated and Audio Bird Lists Index Page

Butterflies and Moths

Dragonflies and Damselflies

Herps, Mammals, and Other Critters

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