Author Topic: Resplendent Rainforests of Costa Rica  (Read 4715 times)

tommiejeep

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Re: Resplendent Rainforests of Costa Rica
« Reply #60 on: April 03, 2018, 09:41:56 »
Ann , I second Mongo's comment way up the thread.   Like taking an Exotic trip without leaving home.  Many thanks,
Tom
Tom Hardin, Goa, India

Ann

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Re: Resplendent Rainforests of Costa Rica
« Reply #61 on: April 08, 2018, 08:36:30 »
Tom and Frank:

Thank you for commenting.
Costa Rica really was an amazing adventure and it is hard to realise that I saw and was able to photograph so many different creatures in only a couple of weeks

Ann

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Re: Resplendent Rainforests of Costa Rica: Foraging Coati
« Reply #62 on: April 08, 2018, 08:38:19 »
Foraging White-nosed Coati

The White-nosed Coatis are members of the Raccoon family; have a hearty appetite for ripe fruit; and seem to be totally unworried by human presence.



I was photographing some Flycatchers one evening when I suddenly noticed activity across the valley: two White-nosed Coatis were coming down the hillside obviously bent on a mission. It soon became apparent that they were foraging for supper and the Papyas (which were ripening in the orchard in the valley were in their sights.

Coatis are very agile climbers and quickly scaled the stems of the Papaya plants:





These fruits looked promising:



But an experienced sniff indicates that this bunch needed a bit more ripening . . .



. . . so better leave them for tomorrow . . .



These look better



Hmmm . . . this one is nice and golden and it smells delicious



Harvest it and head for home!



I later found a whole family, including this youngster, foraging for breakfast under some banana trees:



Another baby Coati:











Frank Fremerey

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Re: Resplendent Rainforests of Costa Rica
« Reply #63 on: April 08, 2018, 10:13:02 »
heels over head. totally love this!!!
You are out there. You and your camera. You can shoot or not shoot as you please. Discover the world, Your world. Show it to us. Or we might never see it.

Ann

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Re: Resplendent Rainforests of Costa Rica: Giant Guinea Pigs
« Reply #64 on: April 13, 2018, 06:46:50 »
Giant Guinea Pigs and some pretty Squirrels

We had just arrived at a private nature preserve in the forest when I saw a very pretty bright chestnut-coloured creature which looked like a giant Guinea Pig. I immediately shot a few quick frames which was very fortunate because no-one else had noticed the creature in the shadows and someone talked which sent my "Guinea Pig" running.

Unfortunately, I hadn't even taken time to check my camera settings in my haste to grab some preliminary images as a record.

The camera had last been used in very bright light and I was now under heavily-leafed trees in dense shade on a dismally rainy afternoon. When I checked the rear LCD, the images were totally black — under-exposed by more than four stops. Thoroughly disappointed, I went off into the bushes to search for my "Guinea Pigs" (no-one else having seen them, I still had no idea what species they might be) but they had vanished.

I later learned that they were probably Agoutis (Dasyprocta punctata)  which are large 26-inch long tail-less rodents that are indeed very closely related to Guinea Pigs.

Fortunately, I did not delete my solidly-black images and, to my amazement, I was later able to recover these photographs of these extremely shy animals — albeit with some distinctly noisy shadows.







Later in my trip, we came across some more Agoutis foraging besides a muddy brook outside the town of Manuel Antonio on the Pacific Coast. These were more brindled in colouring than the ones I had seen earlier and were a bit far away from me too. The animals eat a diet of fruits and seeds but, unfortunately for them, may themselves appear on the dinner-plates of humans.
Perhaps that explains why they are so shy and wary?








This rear-view shot shows the lack of tail

I also came across two different species of Squirrels both of which were new to me.

The first two photographs show a little Red Tailed Squirrel (Sciurus granatensis) — a creature of the Cloud Forests.





And the next pictures show the very elegant and much larger Variegated Squirrel (Sciurus variegatoides)








Ann

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Re: Resplendent Rainforests of Costa Rica: Painted Frogs
« Reply #65 on: April 16, 2018, 06:47:35 »
Painted Frogs



The brightly-coloured Red-eyed Tree Frog (Agalychnis callidryas) is iconic to Costa Rica and seems to appears on every advertisement, book-cover and poster for Costa Rica.

Juan caught one of these very small (they are only about 2-inches long) tree frogs for us to photograph under controlled conditions and these are a few of my results. Juan usually likes to catch several frogs if he can (because you don't want to stress them out so its necessary to give them frequent rest-breaks in some damp moss). We only had one frog to work with that morning so we took it slowly and gave the frog plenty of time to rest.



Handsome with orange hands and feet, blue legs, striped flanks and brilliant scarlet-red eyes.



Long-legs enable an instant leap from danger:



We released her back into the wild beside a stream where she climbed this reed before leaping back into the forest:



Juan and I later went on a night-time prowl in a coastal forest where we found several different frogs including this sleeping Red-eyed Tree Frog:



These frogs have a nictitating third eye-lid with a golden see-through mesh which is thought to provide them with enough vision to see advancing predators even while they are sleeping.



While we were staying at Laguna del Lagarto, we had the opportunity to photograph another brightly-coloured frog: the minute (they are only one-inch long!) Strawberry Poison Dart Frog (Oophaga pumilio).



The skin of this variety is mildly toxic but the Golden Poison Dart Frog (Phylobates terribilis) from Brazil is a very different matter.

An interesting fact is that newly hatched Strawberry Darts are not toxic: the toxicity only develops as they feast on mites and ants.



The Poison Dart Frogs got their name from the fact that a concentration made from their skin-oil was used to poison the tips of the blow-pipe darts which were used by the indigenous hunters. The poison was deadly!



During our night-time frog hunt we also found this handsome Masked Tree Frog (Smilisca baudinii):



and two more species whose identities I have not yet been able to discover:





and this one which, because of his dry warty skin, I believe to be Toad:



Red-eye Tree Frog perched in a Heliconia:


Akira

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Re: Resplendent Rainforests of Costa Rica
« Reply #66 on: April 16, 2018, 09:29:23 »
The artistry of the mother nature often (mostly?) transcends that of human beings, which is marvelously reassured by your frog images.
"The eye is blind if the mind is absent." - Confucius

"Limitation is inspiration." - Akira

Ann

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Re: Resplendent Rainforests of Costa Rica
« Reply #67 on: April 17, 2018, 07:02:27 »
Akira:

I am so pleased that you enjoyed the gorgeous colours of these enchanting little tree frogs.

I had seen many photographs of tropical frogs before I went to Costa Rica but had never realised how extremely tiny they actually are in real life.

Ann

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Re: Resplendent Rainforests of Costa Rica: Owls
« Reply #68 on: April 22, 2018, 08:05:59 »
Owls

One of Juan's friends works on a magnificent mango-growing estate near Orotina west of San Jose. Juan calls his friend "the Owl Whisperer" because he nearly always knows exactly where all the Owls on the estate are to be found.

These first photographs show a very small owl which is appropriately named the Ferruginous Pygmy Owl. She was hiding in a thicket when we first saw here but was persuaded to fly up into this orchid-encrusted tree.







Just along the trail from the Pygmy Owl, we spotted another night-hunter: the Common Nighthawk. It was dozing in the shade lying flat on a thick branch just over our heads where she was perfectly camouflaged.



We found this Striped Owl in an open field. He was out in the open but standing close to a tree-trunk with which he blended so well as to be almost invisible — until he was pointed out to me.



This splendid Barn Owl was sleeping high-up under the rafters inside a large and  dark barn. I took some photographs of her and then The Owl Whisperer asked her to fly; which she did; but out of the wrong side of the barn (and not to her usual roosting tree either) but far away across the valley instead. I therefore have no photographs of that Barn Owl in flight.



We walked through a beautiful woodland of immense deciduous trees in search of a Spectacled Owl. A pair of them were located well hidden under some heavily-leafed branches but our Owl Whisperer was then able to persuade one of them to fly onto a more exposed branch.





A Black and White Owl should have also have been on the premises but that WOL had very disobediently gone AWOL that morning.

Akira

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Re: Resplendent Rainforests of Costa Rica
« Reply #69 on: April 22, 2018, 19:53:58 »
Browsing through these "environmental" portraits of the wild owls is a treat.

I wonder if the (rather loud) shutter sound of D5 would surprise them?
"The eye is blind if the mind is absent." - Confucius

"Limitation is inspiration." - Akira

Ann

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Re: Resplendent Rainforests of Costa Rica: Owls
« Reply #70 on: April 22, 2018, 22:10:31 »
The shutter sound might actually have helped to capture open eyes in the case of these sleeping (or trying to sleep?) Owls.

Interestingly I have seldom, if ever, had any problems with the sound of my shutter scaring any creature away; but any sudden movement by the photographer, or the sound of a human voice, will immediately scare many wild birds and animals away.
The secret seems to be to approach them slowly, and in stages, when you are on foot; while shooting a few frames (insurance shots!) at each stage.

Akira

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Re: Resplendent Rainforests of Costa Rica
« Reply #71 on: April 23, 2018, 09:01:05 »
Thank you for sharing your unique experience with regard to the affect of the shutter sound.  That is a little unexpected, but it is well understandable that the human movements and voices scare the animals away.
"The eye is blind if the mind is absent." - Confucius

"Limitation is inspiration." - Akira

timh

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Re: Resplendent Rainforests of Costa Rica
« Reply #72 on: April 23, 2018, 10:34:37 »
Ann, the owls are really beautiful.
Timothy Hodgkinson

Ann

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Re: Resplendent Rainforests of Costa Rica
« Reply #73 on: April 30, 2018, 08:11:45 »
Tim and Akira:

Thank you so much for your kind comments about the Owls.

It was great to spend a morning on that beautiful estate and to see so many owls as well as several other species of birds and even a white-lipped mud turtle too.

Ann

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Re: Resplendent Rainforests of Costa Rica: Quetzals resplendent indeed
« Reply #74 on: April 30, 2018, 08:43:59 »
Resplendent Quetzals




When I flew off to Costa Rica, I was really hoping (but in reality not expecting) to catch a glimpse of the rare, and almost mythical, Resplendent Quetzal. Not only did I get a glimpse of one but Juan actually got me close enough to photograph them.



Resplendent Quetzals may never have existed in large numbers but their numbers are declining due to logging of the special forests in which they live; and killing them for their magnificent emerald-green feathers in earlier years; which have put them on the Endangered List.



Adult male Quetzals have gorgeous blue and green feathers on their backs, turquoise tail feathers which are nearly a meter long and brilliant crimson breasts; the females also have bright green backs but lack the crimson breast and the long tail feathers.



They are only to be found in Cloud Forests at high altitudes of between about 4,000 and 10,000 feet where they live on a diet of wild avocados, figs and small lizards.







They make their nests in holes in trees but, because their beaks are not built for excavation, they need old trees with soft slightly rotten wood or pre-existing holes. The females lay only two eggs (which is another reason for the low population).

The next three photographs show the female who is very pretty but not quite as striking as the male.
This one refused to turn round and show me her front but they have crimson near the base of their tails and very attractive markings on the underside of their tails.







The Costa Rican Resplendent Quetzals (Pharomachrus mocinno costaricensis) are a subspecies of the Mexican ones and are only found in a very few areas. We found these ones high in the Talamanca Mountains above San Gerardo de Dota at altitudes between 9,000 and 10,000 feet.



Having been released from the Intensive Care Unit only four weeks previously, I did question my sanity when I found myself slightly breathless after hill- (and even cliff-) climbing at those altitudes and was exceedingly grateful for the help that I received from Juan and Olman to pull both myself and my equipment up there. It was wonderful to be rewarded for the effort by the sight of these truly resplendent birds.