Monday, January 17, 2011

Costa Rica Day Two: La Fortuna

La Fortuna Falls

After returning from the hanging bridges, my wife and I headed out to La Fortuna Falls, a breath-taking nature preserve not far from La Fortuna. Absolutely spectacular, and undersold, in our opinion, in the tourism literature. Expect to see back-packing college students swimming in the pool at the bottom of the falls...

On the drive back, pretty good looks (in the sun!) of some common but colorful local birds.
Here's Passerini's Tanager (see the red rump)

He was feeding with a group of black-cowled orioles

We walked around La Fortuna--our favorite of the small tourist towns we visited in Costa Rica--and ate lunch at the "Costa Rican" themed restaurant, La Choza De Laurel. They have banana feeders placed along the perimeter of the restaurant. This keeps the fruit flies contained and attracts a number of colorful (and somewhat noisy) bird species, including:
Orange-chinned Parakeets

(We enjoyed watching this couple on the wires outside the restaurant)

(And this guy INSIDE the restaurant)

Blue-gray tanagers

and the spectacular red-legged honeycreeper, which perched on a banana bunch right next to our table (see movie below).

After lunch we walked around the town. I looked for suburban nature while my wife searched for souvenirs.
Here's some of what I discovered.

Big brown squirrel (I haven't been able to track down the species--maybe gray-tailed)

Jesus Lizard (brown basilisk) on a tree right outside the town church

The ubiquitous great kiskadee

And the social flycatcher (I've been told Costa Rican's will often lump all these birds, along with the tropical kingbird, as pechos amarillos--"yellow chests")

Finally, a video version of the above, beginning with a common but surprising sight: a red-winged blackbird with a song I've never heard before. Also, a better look at the red-legged honeycreeper and footage of parakeet grooming.

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