Costa Rica herping report, Osa

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Christopher
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Costa Rica herping report, Osa

Post by Christopher » June 1st, 2014, 11:42 am

In furthering my effort of "catching up" after my FHF absence, here is a report from a trip to the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica back in 2011. After this I have to do Costa Rica 2012 and 2013!
On this trip I was with my good friend Mario, we have been friends for years and have worked together on quite a few crocodilian endeavors. We also met up with Mario's friend Gareth. Since this was back in 2011 and it is currently 2014, a lot of the details are a little fuzzy but I will do my best to share a little about each photo. We travelled around a little bit and some of the photos are out of order, but you'll get the idea ;) I'm also running off my IDs from 2011, which may not all be correct, so let me know if I miss anything
Here is a gorgeous view from the flight in...Looking at this gets the blood pumping!
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We landed and went to an eco lodge near the border of the national park, setup camp and started herping. At the first place we stayed they had this poster up, it got us pretty excited and hopful! Left to right, myself, Mario, and Gareth
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The first find was the ubiquitous Gonatodes albigularis
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I'm not sure of the species here, but a beautiful hawk
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The rainforest was beautiful, very lush with a few waterfalls
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We found our first snake along the drop of this waterfall, a cute little Ninia maculata
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Within a few meters of the snake was a welcome find, the endemic Gulfo Del Dulce dart frog, Phyllobates vittatus
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Some flora that generated inappropriate jokes
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Another gorgeous little dart frog, Dendrobates granuliferus
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A photo of me, on the hunt for dart frogs. They love the edges of streams in this secondary forest
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After nightfall we found a few masked treefrogs
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We found the area around the waterfall to also be a great location for eyelash vipers Bothriechis schlegelii, our first one was an adorable little youngster
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A bold little critter, the snake was ready to defend him/herself
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The snake became annoyed by our presence and tried to take off, dropping into the leaf litter below. With its small size I was able to wrangle it with a stick and return it back into the branches for safety.
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We found some frog eggs waiting to develop
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A particularly attractive little mushroom
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More vegetation, this was the fruiting body of a plant, beautiful contrast of colors and textures
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A very interesting and unusal arachnid
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And a few more typical spiders
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And their prey
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While trudging back to camp after a long night I spotted this fer-de-lance in ambush position about thirty feet the trail edge, in-situ
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Once the snake realized it had been discovered it hunkered down into its coils
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Then quickly exploded out to try to escape
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Such an interesting scale "texture"
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We moved the venomous snake a little farther away from the trail, the birders back at camp might not have enjoyed this encounter as much as we did
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Speaking of birders, there were hummingbirds everywhere
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A hummingbird nest I found
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The contents of the nest, and you thought the adults were small!!
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Some more habitat shots
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And another Dendrobates granuliferus
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A handsome toad, I never did look up the species...
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Hiking most of the night, this was life back at camp during the heat of the day
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But as the sun began to set, we packed up our camera gear, strapped on the boots, and headed out into the darkening jungle. My favorite landscape shot of the trip
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The first find this night was a scorpion waiting in ambush out on a leaf, not the kind of thing you want to bump your bag into
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Next was another young eyelash in the same area as the last one, this one had more pattern down the back
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Then my favorite snake of the trip, an absolutely stunning adult eyelash viper. Here is this beautiful snake in-situ, just an amazing animal. I find this more appealing than the famed oropel phase
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The view from below, this was my computer background for a while ;)
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We continued searching and turned up the amazing emerald glass frog, Centrolenella prosoblepon
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While scanning the trees for more eyelash vipers we discovered this two toed sloth sleeping, sorry to wake you up buddy!
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Another amazing amphibian, a species of arboreal salamander, Bolitoglossa lignicolor
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We saw several helmeted iguanas, Corytophanes cristatus. Here is a close-up of the face
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This young Mastigodryas melanolomus was found sleeping on a fern
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A light gap within the forest
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One of the more maintained trails
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I found this really interesting little insect
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On this trip I found my first Dendrobates auratus, a species I had been wanting to see in the wild since I was a child
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More waterfalls...hey I'm from Florida we dont have these!!
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And larger Dendrophidion vinitor
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Things you might not want to bump into
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Every trip to the tropics I find web-casting spiders, and I can never pass one up without photographing it! Definitely one of my favorite arachnids
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Another neat arachnid, looked like a Phoneutria to me but I wasnt sure
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Another sleeping Mastigodryas melanolomus
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A sleeping anole, not sure the species--Thanks Don for the update, Anolis capito
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Not happy to be woken up
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A very neat insect
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Leptodeira septentrionalis out on the hunt
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Another Corytophanes cristatus
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Some close-ups
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Full threat display
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An interesting freshwater crab dining on some fruit. It always makes me laugh when I find a crab in the middle of a rain forest
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Violaceous trogon
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We also found a few Imantodes cenchoa
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We came back on another night to the same location we had discovered the large and beautiful Bothriechis to find the snake in almost the exact same spot
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Such an amazing snake
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A close-up of that beautiful face
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We also found another arboreal salamander, Bolitoglossa lignicolor
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We then moved to a new location along the coast to check out a crocodile report near a resort. We went from the jungle and sleeping on cots to an incredibly luxurious resort along the beach, thanks to Gareth's connections. I could not believe how this area was full of scarlet macaws! I mean everywhere, they were like pigeons! I easily saw over 50 of them in this location, they became commonplace and not even worth acknowledgement after the first day.
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They were also obviously fed by locals, allowing close photos, even though this was a completely wild bird that landed on a soccer field's goal post. I couldnt believe it
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We also came upon three fine dogs along the beach that began to follow us and we became fast friends, running and playing in the surf. We were amazed such nice, healthy, well kept dogs were just wandering the beach, but they were very friendly and followed us for a few hours, running and playing
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We walked a ways down the beach until we found an area where a river connected in, and stopped to take a few photos...
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Now you had to guess by now that I wouldnt be wasting your time gabbing on about dogs and cute puppies playing for so long on a forum about herps...so here is where things got "interesting". One of the dogs chased another into this lagoon area, splashing and barking, and immediately a large croc surfaced and made a bee-line right for our new canine friends in the water. We tried yelling and screaming at the dogs, who just stared back at us in confusion, the croc quickly approaching from behind. I ran into the water to try to intercept and scare off the croc, which ironically scared the dogs since they thought I was angrily coming to attack them. Thankfully my plan worked, we got the dogs onshore, and saved our new furry friends from what was certain death. Two crocs watched the dogs from a little further out in the water, and got into a brief fight, possibly an altercation over who shouldve had access to hunt the canines
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A little bloody on the nose from the fight, but still interested in some doggy dinner. Not the croc's fault at all though, they were just doing what came naturally. A domestic dog's place is not wandering the wilds of the Costa Rican rainforest
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We walked back to where we were staying, a gorgeous sunset above
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At night we hiked down the other end of the beach to checkout a croc that had been coming in close to a local resort. We captured the little guy and tagged the croc as part of Gareth's research, letting it go on its way. I wish we had the equipment and clearance for the larger ones from earlier.
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On the way back we found these masked treefrogs in amplexus
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We were fortunate enough to also see this terrific King Vulture one day while driving to a new location. You can see how this massive bird dwarfs the surrounding black vultures.
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Time for some mammals- we encountered a troop of spider monkeys
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And a coatimundi on a roadside
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And several howler monkeys
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And a few squirrel monkeys
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And capuchins
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While along the coast I spotted this tree boa, a gorgeous and docile Corallus ruschenbergerii
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And another Leptodeira septentrionalis
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A Halloween crab
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Another interesting crab
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Check out those eye stalks!
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A spider mom
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And millipede
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And everyone's favorite frog Agalychnis callidryas
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A close-up of those amazing eyes
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People are not the only ones who enjoy papaya, a few aracari were going to town
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A beautiful anole that literally dropped out of the sky next to me
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I found this vivid parrot snake, Leptophis ahaetulla
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Gaping threat display, with rear fangs visible
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Head on shot of the gape, fangs quite apparent
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Well folks, I hope you enjoyed my 2011 trip! That wraps it up, not I need to organize my Costa Rica trips from 2012 and 2013! I hope had fun, and happy herping!

Chris
http://www.ChrisGillette.com
EDIT-Big thanks to Don Filipiak for identification help!

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LouB747
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Re: Costa Rica herping report, Osa

Post by LouB747 » June 1st, 2014, 12:11 pm

Wow. Awesome post. Great photos. Makes me want to move down there.

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Mike Rochford
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Re: Costa Rica herping report, Osa

Post by Mike Rochford » June 1st, 2014, 12:12 pm

Looks like a good trip with good people. Gotta love all those Bothriechis! And the king vulture!

Mike

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Christopher
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Re: Costa Rica herping report, Osa

Post by Christopher » June 1st, 2014, 3:02 pm

LouB747 wrote:Wow. Awesome post. Great photos. Makes me want to move down there.
I've been thinking about that since I first visited!


Thanks Mike!

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Re: Costa Rica herping report, Osa

Post by gretzkyrh4 » June 1st, 2014, 4:20 pm

Awesome set of photos! Could your Liophis sp. be a Ninia sp. though? I may be incorrect, but that's what popped into my head when I saw the image. Thanks for sharing.

Chris

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Jeff
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Re: Costa Rica herping report, Osa

Post by Jeff » June 1st, 2014, 5:55 pm

I agree with Chris -- the Liophis is Ninia maculata,

and the juvenile Dendrophidion is a Mastigodryas melanolomus

These are noted for purposes of records only --- the photography and variety are spectacular.

Jeff

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Christopher
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Re: Costa Rica herping report, Osa

Post by Christopher » June 1st, 2014, 6:31 pm

Jeff wrote:I agree with Chris -- the Liophis is Ninia maculata,

and the juvenile Dendrophidion is a Mastigodryas melanolomus

These are noted for purposes of records only --- the photography and variety are spectacular.

Jeff
Both noted, thanks!

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Re: Costa Rica herping report, Osa

Post by peterknuteberg » June 2nd, 2014, 4:24 am

Chris, thanks for sharing your trip. I loved the little story about the dogs and the crocs and moving the Fer de Lance away from the trail was thoughtful. This makes we want to take another trip to CR. Thanks, Peter.

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Roki
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Re: Costa Rica herping report, Osa

Post by Roki » June 2nd, 2014, 8:18 am

Congrats on an uber successful trip to the Osa. I love that place down there. The Corcovado and Piedras Blancas parks are incredible. Great photos too. Love the shots of the eyelash pit vipers and the Golfo dulce poison dart frogs.

It looks like you have quite the awesome job from your other posts. Catching the Nile Croc in Florida was pretty amazing. anyway, looking forward to your other posts.
Cheers,
Roki

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Re: Costa Rica herping report, Osa

Post by Markus Oulehla » June 2nd, 2014, 12:36 pm

Really nice pictures, I love them!!!

The first spider, you think it's phoneutria is Cupiennius coccineus, but the spider mom is Phoneutria (not sure about the species) ;)
I also like the web-casting spiders, their faces, with the huge eyes, are sooo cool :D


cheers
Markus

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Re: Costa Rica herping report, Osa

Post by cbernz » June 2nd, 2014, 3:50 pm

Very nice stuff. Especially like the Bolitoglossa, and nice job on the granuliferus - we heard lots on my last trip but could not manage to find one.

I think your dark toad might be I. melanochlorus.

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PrimitiveTim
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Re: Costa Rica herping report, Osa

Post by PrimitiveTim » June 2nd, 2014, 7:10 pm

WOW this is some insane stuff! Been looking at the golfo dulce area to visit. I was hoping that you had gotten into the gulf to find some yellow belly sea snakes.

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Christopher
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Re: Costa Rica herping report, Osa

Post by Christopher » June 2nd, 2014, 7:51 pm

PrimitiveTim wrote:WOW this is some insane stuff! Been looking at the golfo dulce area to visit. I was hoping that you had gotten into the gulf to find some yellow belly sea snakes.
We tried!! We thought it'd be as easy as heading down and just renting a boat on the last day, no luck! We tried walking the shores/tidal areas day and night too, just couldnt get anyone out on the water that wouldnt cost like 500bucks to rent a fishing charter and divert it just for snakes. I REALLY want to see one and hear they can be common at times. Hopefully next time....
cbernz-Thanks! We heard a few other frogs we weren't able to track down, I feel your pain haha. And thanks for the ID
Markus Oulehla-Thank you, and yep that is definitely the right spider! Pretty awesome looking critters!
Roki-Yeah I do love my job! An dit is an amazing area I hope to revisit soon
peterknuteberg-Thank bud, I appreciate it!

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cbernz
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Re: Costa Rica herping report, Osa

Post by cbernz » June 3rd, 2014, 4:18 am

Oh yeah, and the hawk is a White Hawk.

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Re: Costa Rica herping report, Osa

Post by Green Snake Man » June 3rd, 2014, 1:37 pm

.

Craig
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Re: Costa Rica herping report, Osa

Post by Craig » June 3rd, 2014, 5:06 pm

Excellent photos. I would've let nature take her course with the croc and the dogs though. Dogs loose on the run is never a good thing anywhere as they'll attack and eat not just birds and mammels but herps as well.

Craig

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Kevin Price
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Re: Costa Rica herping report, Osa

Post by Kevin Price » June 4th, 2014, 9:23 am

What a great post! Awesome images, especially of the eyelash vipers, a snake I've always wanted to see in the wild. Costa Rica and East Africa are the two places I want to see and herp the most. Hopefully I'll be able to get down there soon, as it's the more likely of the two locations. Thanks for sharing. Look forward to your more recent trips there.

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Christopher
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Re: Costa Rica herping report, Osa

Post by Christopher » June 6th, 2014, 7:34 am

Craig wrote:Excellent photos. I would've let nature take her course with the croc and the dogs though. Dogs loose on the run is never a good thing anywhere as they'll attack and eat not just birds and mammels but herps as well.

Craig
Green Snake Man wrote:And that's funny about the wild dogs, I was in Ecuador on a surf trip a while back and they were everywhere. All over the streets and even on the beaches, all friendly as can be. Its just not something I'm used to seeing back in Florida.
I forgot to mention! The dogs were owned by the lodge owner where we were staying! I cant believe I left that part out, brings it full circle haha. He was really mad that the dogs were even on the beach and getting dirty...we didnt tell him the croc part haha.

Kevin, it is an amazing place to herp, you should definitely try to get out there at some point. Africa is very high on my list as well.

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moloch
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Re: Costa Rica herping report, Osa

Post by moloch » June 7th, 2014, 6:03 pm

Fantastic again, Christopher! Love White Hawks and King Vultures. The Osa is just such a fantastic place. I spent 5 weeks there way back in 1980 but it still remains one of my most memorable experiences.

You probably know this already but those aracari were Fiery-billed, an endemic of the peninsula.

Regards,
David

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moloch
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Re: Costa Rica herping report, Osa

Post by moloch » June 7th, 2014, 6:07 pm

By the way, the weird looking homopterans sure look like Derbidae to me. I see something similar in Malaysia except the Malaysian species carry "tusks".

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Christopher
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Re: Costa Rica herping report, Osa

Post by Christopher » June 7th, 2014, 7:36 pm

moloch wrote:By the way, the weird looking homopterans sure look like Derbidae to me. I see something similar in Malaysia except the Malaysian species carry "tusks".
moloch wrote:Fantastic again, Christopher! Love White Hawks and King Vultures. The Osa is just such a fantastic place. I spent 5 weeks there way back in 1980 but it still remains one of my most memorable experiences.

You probably know this already but those aracari were Fiery-billed, an endemic of the peninsula.

Regards,
David
Thank you David, I would have loved to have seen it back in the 80s, it must have been great! And I think you are correct on Derbidae. I know nothing of them, but a quick search turns up very similar photos, you sure are an encyclopedia of knowledge!

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Re: Costa Rica herping report, Osa

Post by crotalushorridus » August 31st, 2014, 1:06 pm

Great post. That Anolis capito is actually a Norops capito.

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Re: Costa Rica herping report, Osa

Post by ClosetHerper » September 10th, 2014, 9:26 pm

Great finds and beautiful photos. I need to get back down there! I still want to find a helmeted iguana.

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Re: Costa Rica herping report, Osa

Post by justinm » September 11th, 2014, 6:07 am

There's too much to give a thoughtful comment on here. This looks like you had a great time. Are you taking special precautions with your camera gear? BTW you are just killing it with the closeups. The King Vulture, wow I have wanted to see one for so long. The herpetofauna was great I am going to label this post completely EPIC. Great stuff thank you for sharing it with us.

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Christopher
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Re: Costa Rica herping report, Osa

Post by Christopher » September 16th, 2014, 6:17 am

justinm wrote:There's too much to give a thoughtful comment on here. This looks like you had a great time. Are you taking special precautions with your camera gear? BTW you are just killing it with the closeups. The King Vulture, wow I have wanted to see one for so long. The herpetofauna was great I am going to label this post completely EPIC. Great stuff thank you for sharing it with us.
Thanks! It was a lot of fun and I really want to go back to this area again! I try to be careful with my gear, but no out of the ordinary precautions, just trying not to drop it or get it wet/eaten by anything. The King Vulture was totally unexpected and kinda out of the blue, I was very happy to see it.

jimoo742
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Re: Costa Rica herping report, Osa

Post by jimoo742 » September 16th, 2014, 9:13 am

Great photos. I want to go back for sure, but I was told that the rangers suspended night hiking in the park (where I saw most of the herps). Is that still the case?

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Re: Costa Rica herping report, Osa

Post by RenoBart » September 16th, 2014, 10:14 am

Costa Rica is a very interesting place. If only I could tolerate the weather. I've never been anywhere more miserably humid in my life. But it is awesome down there. Nice report.

Bart

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Re: Costa Rica herping report, Osa

Post by Biker Dave » September 27th, 2014, 2:37 pm

AS like most people, I too will make it down there some day. Great pics Christopher... this makes me only want to get there sooner than later!

Thanks!

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