|We woke to pretty high winds and intermittent rain. So we bailed on local the trails and headed down to Cañon Negro for dry forest birding and a boat ride. It's a long drive, over two hours, with the last hour on 26 kilometers of the bumpiest gravel road yet in Costa Rica. But the birding was terrific with three real rarities: Sungrebe, Green Ibis and Nicaraguan Grackle. Great views of four different species of Kingfishers, nine species of herons, and three species of Ibis. Plus Caiman, Crocodiles and Turtles. The river must carry a staggering number of fish to support the throngs of fish eaters we saw.
Decent photos, too. The refuge is formally Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Mixto Caño Negro. The boat concessionaire was Pantanal Tours. Recommended. I especially appreciated the difficult maneuvers of the boat to get good views of the Sungrebe, a species that famously sulks back in the mangrove roots.
The geology was interesting. Heliconias is perched on a volcanic cone at about 2,200 feet. The cone appears to be dormant, at least in comparison to the adjoining Vulcan Tenorio. But there are lahars and the post-eruption erosion shows big boulders mixed in the ash and cinders. By the time we were down to Upala, the nearest town, it was cinders and ash. By the time we we out of the foothills in the Rio Frio valley, just layers and layers of ash laid over what appeared to be uplifted limestone. I'd guess it's karst formations with volcanic ash overlay. The tropical rains have turned the ash layers brick red.
Weather this evening back at Heliconias is still quite windy. Hope it breaks over night. We start home tomorrow afternoon. Bummer.