End-of-year post from Costa Rica

Dedicated exclusively to field herping.

Moderator: Scott Waters

Post Reply
User avatar
robbielab
Posts: 80
Joined: June 17th, 2010, 3:23 am
Location: England
Contact:

End-of-year post from Costa Rica

Post by robbielab »

Well, another year almost over and several more herps added to the lifer-list. Been living in Costa Rica for the last 7 months now with my "Tica" girlfriend (and occasional herping partner!), Dani, and have found a few little beauties in the last couple of months I haven't posted yet, so I thought I'd share some of the highlights now. I've also included a few pics that I have posted before where they fit in nicely.

I'll begin with a couple of shots of the local area in the Puerto Viejo region (pretty much just beach and lowland rainforest!)
Image

Image

And now some wildlife!
A few non-herps to begin...

Keel-billed toucan
Image

Collared aracari
Image

Vulture migration... there were thousands of them stretching across the sky! Very ominous.
Image

Image

Both local sloth species are very common in the area, I usually see at least one every few days.
Three-toed...
Image

... and two-toed (unfortunately quite often seen wandering along the electricity wires like this - doesn't always end well!)
Image

Nope, not a jaguar skull... actually a two-toed sloth! Found this guy "fresh" in a nearby forest patch and came back a week later and the vultures and insects had stripped it down to this! Not quite as "cute" as you may first think!
Image

Kinkajou (I hear these strange, large-cat-sized critters running across my roof most nights! This pic taken from my balcony)
Image

Butterfly having just emerging from its chrysalis
Image

Sleeping malachite butterfly
Image

Something out of "Alien"
Image

Spiny orb-weaver spider
Image

And now, some herps...
Starting with the iconic Costa Rican herp, the red-eyed tree frog (Agalychnis callidryas)
Image

Frogs in love
Image

Image

... the result
Image

And some more, equally beautiful frogs...
Scarlet-webbed tree frog (Hyla rufitela)
Image

Image

Hour-glass tree frog (Dendropsophus ebraccatus), which I've found in shades of yellow...
Image

Image

... and white
Image

Image

Masked tree frog (Smilisca phaeota)
Image

I think this is one too!?
Image

Huge gliding tree frog (Agalychnis spurrelli)
Image

Image

Juvenile splendid tree frog (Cruziohyla calcarifer)
Image

Image

And the tree frog's worst enemy - the green parrot snake (Leptophis ahaetulla)
Image

Image

The compulsory "open-mouth shot"... the last view of many a frog!
Image

Image

Image

Blunt-nosed vine snake (Imantodes cenchoa)
Image

Image

Bicolour snail-eater (Dipsas bicolor)
Image

Image

Grumpy cane toad (Bufo marinus)
Image

Smokey jungle frog (Leptodactylus pentadactylus)
Image

Pug-nosed anole (Norops capito) being eaten by mosquitos
Image

Neotropical green anole (Anolis biporcatus), also being munched on by a mosquito... nothing is safe from those little *^&%^&$%s!!!
Image

Image

Casque-headed lizards (Corytophanes cristatus)
Image

Image

A few eyelash vipers (Bothriechis schlegelii)
Image

Image

The yellow form is very often seen in Cahuita National Park, on the path right next to the beach
Image

Most ridiculous frog I've ever found... in situ (Mexican treefrog (Smilisca baudinii) I think!)
Image

Image

Black wood turtle (Rhinoclemmys funerea), found wandering through the forest at night
Image

Image

Brown wood turtle (Rhinoclemmys annulata) found crossing the road
Image

Image

Central American coral snake, curled up right in the middle of a forest path at night (almost got stepped on!)
Image

Image

A few weeks ago I did my "visa run" across the border into Panama to get another 3-month stamp in my passport. This requires you spending 72 hours out of Costa Rica before you can re-enter, so I thought I'd head down to the islands of Bocas del Toro, famed (in the herp world) for its assortment of strawberry poison frog variants on its different islands. I spent a few hours searching on the small island I stayed on, but these little frogs eluded me. In fact, other than geckos and the odd cane toad, I found no herps to speak of while in Bocas. It didn't help that it rained (hard!) almost non stop the entire three days I was there.
Plenty of birds though!

The Panamanian mainland, from the boat to Bocas del Toro
Image

Image

One of the many islands that make up Bocas
Image

Brown pelican
Image

Image

Spent a while watching pelicans dive into the huge shoals of tiny fish and experimented with the "burst mode" on my camera to capture a dive sequence. Superimposed to create a single image, showing the stall, mid-dive, folding-back the wings just before impact, and the splash created after the pelican had disappeared under the water.
Image

Swampy forest
Image

Juvenile common black hawk (I think!)
Image


Had better luck with poison-dart frogs back in Costa Rica. There are three local species in my area...
The largest and commonest, the green-and-black "pdf"
Image

Image

Strawberry pdf. Here on CR's southern Caribbean coast they are uniform red, without the famous "blue jeans"... naked, if you will!
Image

Sharing a leaf with a cricket
Image

And the rarest of the three, the striped pdf. This thumbnail-sized little guy was carrying five tiny tadpoles on its back.
Image

"Piggy-backs" all round! Giant forest-floor millipede with the above frog hitching a ride
Image

Very small (+- 50cm) Boa contrictor imperator with gorgeous iridescence
Image

Image

'Juvie' terciopelo (Bothrops asper)
Image

Image

And trying his best to mimic the above species, a neonate false terciopelo (Xenodon rabdocephalus)... not a bad effort!
Image

Image

Any theories about the black-and-white striped tongue?
Image

And to finish, the largest snake I have yet found here in Costa Rica, a gorgeous tiger rat snake (Spilotes pullatus).
He was crossing the forest floor between two trees and I would have loved to get some in-situ shots, but as soon as he realised I'd spotted him, he dashed across the floor. He was a bit "strikey" when I first got hold of his tail, puffing out his throat and laterally flattening his neck, but he actually settled down very quickly as soon as he decided I wasn't trying to eat him. I reckon he must have been around the 8-foot mark.
Image

Image

Image


Wishing you all a great Christmas,

Cheers!
Robbie

User avatar
Lizardman1988
Posts: 235
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:38 am
Location: Hays, KS
Contact:

Re: End-of-year post from Costa Rica

Post by Lizardman1988 »

Great post! Its these types of posts that make me unable to wait for my own trip in March! Your unknown frog is Cruziohyla (Agalychnis) calcarifer, which is an awesome find!

User avatar
Correcamino
Posts: 444
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 11:50 am

Re: End-of-year post from Costa Rica

Post by Correcamino »

Killer post Robbie!

No Crotalus simus yet? :P

Cheers,

Rich

User avatar
reptilist
Posts: 653
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 8:30 am
Location: Clifton, Arizona

Re: End-of-year post from Costa Rica

Post by reptilist »

really great!

User avatar
Dr. Dark
Posts: 380
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 3:39 pm
Location: Concord TWP, Ohio

Re: End-of-year post from Costa Rica

Post by Dr. Dark »

Great post Robbie! Looks like you are having a blast there. Love that huge Spilotes! Also, the pelican sequence is really cool. I'll be down in June; maybe we can hook up for some herping? Happy Holidays!

User avatar
Rags
Posts: 384
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 11:30 am
Location: U.K.

Re: End-of-year post from Costa Rica

Post by Rags »

Great post, thanks for taking the time to put it together.

Loved the pelican shots.

Rags.

User avatar
Natalie McNear
Posts: 1147
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 4:54 pm
Location: Northern coast of California
Contact:

Re: End-of-year post from Costa Rica

Post by Natalie McNear »

Awesome stuff! Thanks for sharing, Robbie. I miss Costa Rica so bad. :( I love the headshot of the boa in particular, that iridescence is rad.

User avatar
Rags
Posts: 384
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 11:30 am
Location: U.K.

Re: End-of-year post from Costa Rica

Post by Rags »

I agree with your Mexican Treefrog (Smilisca baudinii) ID. Did you find it on the wire?

Image
This one from Cahuita.

User avatar
kcmatt
Posts: 372
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:38 am
Contact:

Re: End-of-year post from Costa Rica

Post by kcmatt »

Awesome stuff. Loved the treefrogs, esp. the calcarifer and spurrelli. Also loved that Xenodon. All things I hope to see in that area in a few months. I'm curious how you found the calcarifer. Have you had much luck walking Gandoca trails?

Thanks for the post.

User avatar
Jeff Lemm
Posts: 411
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 7:08 pm

Re: End-of-year post from Costa Rica

Post by Jeff Lemm »

Great post Robbie, that last pelican shot is a ripper!

mikemike
Posts: 1207
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 12:37 pm
Location: Ft. Smith, Arkansas
Contact:

Re: End-of-year post from Costa Rica

Post by mikemike »

Awesome post, Robbie! Looks like you're finding some pretty damn good stuff down there.

Kfen
Posts: 405
Joined: June 17th, 2010, 4:51 am
Location: CT

Re: End-of-year post from Costa Rica

Post by Kfen »

Excellent post! you have some really great herp shots but I like what you did with the pelican picture!

User avatar
robbielab
Posts: 80
Joined: June 17th, 2010, 3:23 am
Location: England
Contact:

Re: End-of-year post from Costa Rica

Post by robbielab »

Lizardman1988 wrote:Great post! Its these types of posts that make me unable to wait for my own trip in March! Your unknown frog is Cruziohyla (Agalychnis) calcarifer, which is an awesome find!
Thanks for the ID! Found another two of them today around the same pond, so hopefully more to come!
Correcamino wrote:Killer post Robbie! No Crotalus simus yet? :P
Cheers, Rich
Thanks Rich. Nope, no simus - not native to the Caribbean Coast, only Guanacaste I think (much drier up there). We have a pair of them at the local wildlife rescue centre (kept illegally beforehand and confiscated), and their rattles don't seem to work in the humidity of the Caribbean side of the country!
Dr. Dark wrote:Great post Robbie! Looks like you are having a blast there. Love that huge Spilotes! Also, the pelican sequence is really cool. I'll be down in June; maybe we can hook up for some herping? Happy Holidays!
Sounds great! Unfortunately I'll be back in dismal England by next June :cry: Hope you have a great one though! I'll expect another of your epic CR posts!
Natalie McNear wrote:Awesome stuff! Thanks for sharing, Robbie. I miss Costa Rica so bad. :( I love the headshot of the boa in particular, that iridescence is rad.
He was the most iridescent boa I've ever seen! ;)
Rags wrote:I agree with your Mexican Treefrog (Smilisca baudinii) ID. Did you find it on the wire?
Yep! That photo is "as-found". Made me laugh when I spotted him!
kcmatt wrote: I'm curious how you found the calcarifer. Have you had much luck walking Gandoca trails?
The calcarifer was found sleeping on a leaf at the edge of my local "frogging pond". Regularly visit Manzanillo (haven't got as far as Gandoca yet!), but there are some cool trails there I like to walk at night. Usually find some interesting stuff there.
Jeff Lemm wrote:Great post Robbie, that last pelican shot is a ripper!
Kfen wrote:Excellent post! you have some really great herp shots but I like what you did with the pelican picture!
Cheers guys!

Mathieu
Posts: 19
Joined: August 24th, 2011, 5:51 pm
Location: Québec

Re: End-of-year post from Costa Rica

Post by Mathieu »

Very nice pictures and great diversity! Looks like you had a wonderful trip! On a side note, the small R. annulata looks in fact to be a young R. funerea. The lines under the nostrils and the blotch pattern are consistent with R. funerea. Those two species are sometimes hard to distinguish (a Google image search will show a lot of R. funerea that were identified as R. annulata).

Mathieu

Asnyder
Posts: 91
Joined: February 26th, 2011, 10:48 am
Location: Oxford, Mississippi/ Owings Mills, MD
Contact:

Re: End-of-year post from Costa Rica

Post by Asnyder »

Fantastic post Robbie! So hard to pick a favorite photo I can't even imagine how many you must have taken. I think I accrued 100gb of photos from a two month trip to Guyana this summer.

User avatar
Dell Despain
Posts: 542
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:08 pm
Location: Montana

Re: End-of-year post from Costa Rica

Post by Dell Despain »

How did I miss this post? But I'm glad to see it now, excellent photography. Really liked the sloth shots, and Blunt-nosed vine snake close up is great, and the coral snake is...oh okay, I liked the whole post, nice job, and thanks for taking the time to post I really enjoyed it.

Oh, wait- The Poison Dart Frog w/ the tadpoles on its back riding a millipede is a crazy photo. NICE!

-Dell

User avatar
CCarille
Posts: 380
Joined: January 8th, 2011, 5:51 am
Location: NY

Re: End-of-year post from Costa Rica

Post by CCarille »

Great photography and some really amazing finds! I love the white hourglass frog and C. calcarifer is a nice find. I cannot get enough of the snail-eaters - the Dipsas is awesome! The photo of the lovely poison arrow frog riding the millipede is pretty special and that boa has some amazing coloration!

Really a fantastic post and the shots of the anoles and casque-headed lizards are spectacular!

User avatar
Hans Breuer (twoton)
Posts: 3223
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Contact:

Re: End-of-year post from Costa Rica

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) »

I've had a link to this post on my desktop since December, since I wanted to wait until I had more time to look at it with the proper respect and attention. Today I finally did. And...wow! Wowowowow!! Every photo is a winner .... especially the piggybacking frog and the pelican Stukas. But the last one takes the entire bakery. The big, almost kitschy tropical cliche flower in the lady's hair is in such stark contrast to the huge serpent she's handling - I can't get enough of that photo, it's a total hoot!

Thanks very much for posting these!

PS: Are you still down there?
PPS: What's a Tica?

User avatar
Berkeley Boone
Posts: 878
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 3:02 am

Re: End-of-year post from Costa Rica

Post by Berkeley Boone »

I'm with Dell. How did I miss this one?

Very nice Robbie. The multi shot of the pelican dive and the vulture migration were awesome, as was the piggyback ride on the piggyback ride.... Shoot, I liked the whole thing.

--Berkeley

Reptiluvr
Posts: 258
Joined: April 23rd, 2011, 6:49 pm

Re: End-of-year post from Costa Rica

Post by Reptiluvr »

Great post. I like the overlapped images of the pelican. Pretty cool to see in one photo. I hope to be your neighbor some day. How are things going with the visa runs? I heard this year they made a new rule. 30 days in, 3 days out, 30 days in, 6 months out. Are th ey enforcing it?

User avatar
CCarille
Posts: 380
Joined: January 8th, 2011, 5:51 am
Location: NY

Re: End-of-year post from Costa Rica

Post by CCarille »

Hans Breuer (twoton) wrote: PS: Are you still down there?
PPS: What's a Tica?
Well I can't answer the first question for Robbie, haha, but the second one I think I can.

"Tica" is a term used for the locals of Costa Rica. "Tica time" would be the term used for how laid back everyone is - no rushing to be somewhere (which is nice) ;)

User avatar
Natalie McNear
Posts: 1147
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 4:54 pm
Location: Northern coast of California
Contact:

Re: End-of-year post from Costa Rica

Post by Natalie McNear »

"Tica" is specifically the feminine form of the word, that is, a Costa Rican woman. Don't call a Costa Rican man a Tica.

User avatar
CCarille
Posts: 380
Joined: January 8th, 2011, 5:51 am
Location: NY

Re: End-of-year post from Costa Rica

Post by CCarille »

Natalie McNear wrote:"Tica" is specifically the feminine form of the word, that is, a Costa Rican woman. Don't call a Costa Rican man a Tica.
Good point! :lol:

User avatar
Viridovipera
Posts: 339
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:40 pm

Re: End-of-year post from Costa Rica

Post by Viridovipera »

Absolutely, without a doubt, stunning. Awesome images of awesome animals. Thanks for sharing!

-Alex

User avatar
MaartenSFS
Posts: 466
Joined: February 6th, 2011, 9:09 pm
Location: Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China

Re: End-of-year post from Costa Rica

Post by MaartenSFS »

Very cool images, especially the pelican. Did you use a tripod for that shot? May I ask what camera you are using? Looks like a superzoom?

It looks to me like your best find was that Homo sapien! :beer: The snake she's holding reminds me of an Australian tiger snake for some reason.

User avatar
Hans Breuer (twoton)
Posts: 3223
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Contact:

Re: End-of-year post from Costa Rica

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) »

Thanks!!

Post Reply