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Wildlife II

September 4, 2012

     As our time at Las Tangaras draws to an end, we continue to enjoy the abundant wildlife that surrounds us. Our most frequent visitors are the variety of hummingbird species that drink from the cabin´s feeders everyday. In the last month we´ve witnessed an increase in both the number of species and the amount of daily activity. Food and the need to reproduce lead to combative fighting and colorful displays of territoriality.      

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Hummingbird wars!

     Another fleet footed resident of the reserve is the basilisk. These lizards are so quick that we´d only caught brief glimpses of them scurrying out of sight, until a recent warm morning along the river, when we came across one sunning itself on a rock. As soon as it caught sight of us, we were rewarded with it´s trademark run over water as it headed for cover. It performed the feat twice more before coming to rest on a log, when we were finally able to snap a photo.

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The Basilisk is in the center of the photo, above the heart shaped leaf.

     One day, while clearing Sendero Bonito and checking on the new steps we´d built, Shyama let out a yell when he nearly bisected a masked trogan that came flying out of a hollow tree stump and only avoided his machete´s momentum by a few inches. These birds are known to nest in cavities of dead trees, fairly low to the ground. Our suspicion that this bird was guarding or building a nest was confirmed later that week, when we returned for a closer look.

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Masked Trogan guarding the nest.

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     Our next sighting actually occurred in Mindo, but we feel that it was unique enough to warrant it´s inclusion here. Amanda spotted this anolis fraseri in the grass of Mindo´s central park, on our way to find some almuerzo. She tried to catch this colorful, foot long lizard, but it quickly escaped up a tree and out of reach. Luckily we were able to get some good pictures.

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     Well, we´ve saved the best for last.Our most jaw dropping (and heart-rate elevating) sighting has surely been the fer de lance. We´ve known that these highly venomous snakes inhabit this area, yet, though they are diurnal, they are rarely seen. We returned to the cabin one afternoon, after a day of erosion control at the Gallo de la Peña lek, to find this one coiled beside the front steps. We´ve seen several snakes over the months, but this fer de lance, at 1 meter long and thick in it´s midsection, was definitely the largest. As lethal as these snakes are, this one was content to rest in it´s coils while Amanda enthusiastically snapped photos and Shyama stood well back pondering his mortality. After an hour or so, we watched it make it´s was slowly off into the forest, and were able to appreciate it´s full size and beauty. 

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