Saturday, 14 March 2015


Our second accommodation was at Tortuga Lodge on the very edge of Tortuguera National Park. There are no roads to the lodge so our arrival was by a small boat. The rooms are bordered by rainforest to the back and the Tortuguera river to the front. Across the river there is a small airstrip and past that is the Caribbean Sea. An idyllic location, apart from the mosquitoes in the rainforest which were a particularly unwelcome, welcoming party!
We knew there was a good chance of seeing Poison Dart Frogs here and I was very pleased and excited to find some at our first attempt. The picture above is deceiving, they are not much bigger than my thumbnail. Luckily they stand out nicely in their strawberry red livery, a clear warning to predators to think before they eat!

 The Howler Monkey above (it's a male I think)!!!! was one of many whose job is to act as an alarm clock. The only trouble is you can't alter the alarm time, they go off en mass at about 05:00 every morning, right outside the room. We didn't mind, it's a great sound, more of a guttural roar than a howl really which travels a long way and is repeated by other groups of Howlers in other areas of the forest.

 From noisy monkeys to noisy birds. These are the wonderfully named Montezuma Oropendola's. They had adopted a particular palm tree just outside the restaurant where they spent most of their time building their amazing hanging woven nests, sometimes two or three feet long.

 Because of the location, most of our wildlife watching was done from a boat on the river and its narrower channels. These Iguanas were a pretty common sight as they lay on branches sunning themselves. Any sign of danger and their escape strategy is to drop straight into the river and swim to safety.

 On our first full day here the heavens opened just as we were waiting for our guide. It was pretty torrential for most of the morning, forcing us to huddle under ponchos and making photography even more difficult than I usually find it. The very impressive Tiger Heron above and below were taking it in their stride. the top one appears to be sheltering under a more natural poncho.

Given its watery location Herons and Kingfishers are common. We saw Tiger Herons, Green Herons, Little Blue Herons, Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, Cattle Egrets and Snowy Egrets,

Ringed Kingfishers, Belted Kingfishers, and Green and Rufous Kingfishers all made appearances. But probably my favourite was the Green Kingfisher above. Not least because he posed so nicely for me.

When the rain finally stopped, the rainforest inhabitants started to dry off. The bird above is an Anhinga, similar in habits and appearance to Cormorants. They are often seen swimming with just their head and neck above the water........

.......This one was taking advantage of some warm sun to dry out in the style of said Cormorants.

Our excellent guide took the boat down a narrow channel to see a Great Potoo which had been found earlier. No chance of a picture of this cryptically plumaged high in a tree, but while we were watching that, this juvenile Boat-billed Heron turned up and treated us to a few poses. What a great bird.

And now for something completely different. These are Basilisk Lizards, sometimes called Jesus Christ Lizards because of their ability to run on water. We saw a few of these but unfortunately never saw one in action.

Probably number one on our 'hit' list was the Sloth. Costa Rica is home to the Two Toed and the Three Toed. After the rain stopped on our first day in Tortuguero we saw the Two Toed version above, he's a bit soggy and wasn't inclined to move (hence the name)! Which was a bit disappointing. Luckily, a bit later on we found a Three Toed, below, who decided to hang out to dry for us. What a strange creature and even stranger is the fact that these two creatures, bizarrely, are not even related.

We really enjoyed our stay in Tortuga Lodge and wished we could have stayed longer. However, The Osa Peninsula was calling, so that's where we headed.


Wilma said...

Aren't the roars of the howler monkey's amazing! Like nothing else. If the wind and waves aren't too loud, we wake to them every day. Two years and 4 months of it and I still love it and feel fortunate to have that as an alarm clock. The parrots are the snooze alarm when they fly over later. ;-) Great photos, Phil. Haven't had the pleasure of seeing a boat billed heron yet, although they do live around here.

Greenie said...

Phil ,
Another great episode , and even though there are more to come , if you and Carol need help with the bags next time .......
Most enjoyable , look forward to the Osa Peninsula .

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Great!!!.. Beautiful pictures.. :-)))

Marianne said...

More wonderful photos. The frog is magnificent despite its tiny size, though I have to question the logic of looking like a strawberry as a way of NOT getting eaten :)

Ken. said...

It certainly is a great place for wildlife. I always love looking at bird pics, and you saw some wonderful lookers, but I have to admit it your little froggy friend takes terrific photo, what a smart looking creature, top shot.

Mike Attwood said...

Your post has only just arrived,I didn't know you had left the country, looks as though you are enjoying yourselves.