Costa Rica 2013
Fifteen Years Later

January 17, 2013 - Esquinas Lodge and the Ocelot Trail Death March

We spent the whole day at Esquinas. We did the usual early morning 6 AM walk on flat trails. After breakfast, we undertook a killer walk on Ocelot Trail, which climbs and winds up one of the limestone domes here on the valley floor.

Geology in Costa Rica is famously complex. It's at the junction of numerous tectonic plates, and the interplay is difficult. Speculating freely, I'll guess that the Cocos Plate is or was subducting under the North American and Caribbean Plates in this immediate area. As it descends, some of the limestone-covered ocean bottom is jacked up and some is scraped off, creating a karst topography along this part of the country. A clue would be the numerous limestone quarries and cement manufactories along the highway. The steep-sided domes are areas that resisted chemical erosion by tropical rain, usually as a result of a cap of some more insoluble rock. So the topography is flat, with very steep limestone domes, some linked by ridges, to a height of maybe 1,500 feet above the valley floor.

The Ocelot Trail, according to Nick, was laid out by researchers, and climbs up and down for doubtlessly valid research reasons, but it is brutal to walk with temperatures in upper 80s and 99% humidity. Some good birds, including the endemic Black-faced Ant-Tanager. But we worked for them. It was especially hard on Mary Teel, who is still recovering from surgery. I went through a big bottle of water, after water, juice and coffee at breakfast, and never once peed. I was able to wring sweat out of my shirt afterwards, like a soaked dish rag. Nancy and I swam in the pool and took a long, cold shower to try to cool off. We napped under the room fan after lunch.

In the afternoon, we walked a couple of miles along a blessedly flat road to twilight, with excellent birds. Among them terrific views of the reclusive Great Curassow, a lifer.

Just after we got back to our rooms it started to rain and is coming down now in trademark tropical torrents. Some roof leaks, but none where it matters. Already some minor flooding. Hard work today, but a terrific day of birding.

Gray-headed Chachalaca
Crested Guan
Great Curassow
Great Egret
Cattle Egret
Green Heron
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Double-toothed Kite
Roadside Hawk
Gray-necked Wood-Rail
Southern Lapwing
Short-billed Pigeon
White-tipped Dove
White-collared Swift
Costa Rican Swift
White-necked Jacobin
Long-billed Hermit
Purple-crowned Fairy
Violet-crowned Woodnymph
Charming Hummingbird
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird
Blue-throated Goldentail
Slaty-tailed Trogon
Baird's Trogon
Black-throated Trogon
Blue-crowned Motmot
White-whiskered Puffbird
Rufous-tailed Jacamar
Black-mandibled Toucan
Red-crowned Woodpecker
Rufous-winged Woodpecker
Lineated Woodpecker
Yellow-headed Caracara
Orange-chinned Parakeet
Blue-headed Parrot
White-crowned Parrot
Red-lored Parrot
Black-hooded Antshrike
Black-faced Antthrush
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper
Cocoa Woodcreeper
Black-striped Woodcreeper
Streak-headed Woodcreeper
Plain Xenops
Striped Woodhaunter
Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner
Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet
Yellow Tyrannulet
Yellow-bellied Elaenia
Ochre-bellied Flycatcher
Eye-ringed Flatbill
Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Great Kiskadee
Social Flycatcher
Gray-capped Flycatcher
Tropical Kingbird
Rufous Piha
Red-capped Manakin
Masked Tityra
Rose-throated Becard
House Wren
Black-bellied Wren
Riverside Wren
Clay-colored Thrush
Tennessee Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Buff-rumped Warbler
White-throated Shrike-Tanager
Cherrie's Tanager
Blue-gray Tanager
Palm Tanager
Golden-hooded Tanager
Scarlet-thighed Dacnis
Shining Honeycreeper
Red-legged Honeycreeper
Green Honeycreeper
Blue-black Grassquit
Variable Seedeater
Buff-throated Saltator
Orange-billed Sparrow
Black-striped Sparrow
Summer Tanager
Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Blue-black Grosbeak
Baltimore Oriole
Thick-billed Euphonia
Spot-crowned Euphonia
White-vented Euphonia

Rufous Piha

Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager

Great Curassow Female
All content © 2013 Frozen Feather Images