Thursday, February 3, 2011

Corcovado National Park

We are all excited visiting the park this morning. There are only few places left in Central America that still has relative pristine nature with little human impact. The unique location of this park in Osa Peninsula as a stopping point between North and South American birds, provides bird watchers with ample opportunities to spot many bird species.

We opted for the Sirena Ranger Station entrance, which is further away and less crowded and requires boat landing on to the beach. Our departure from Bahia Drake beach and landing near the station had rough sea waves, so it was an experience in itself. We arrived near the station during low tide at around 8:20AM. As we were treading our way to the shore, we saw a small flounder stranded at shallow water and trying to find its way back out to sea.

People from the boats were divided into multiple groups and we ended up in the "slow" group that included Ineke, (Hervé wanted to visit mostly primary forest, so he got his own guide) and an older New Yorker and his teenage nephew. Our guide didn't even have spotting scope like other guides. We just have a pair of binocular. Our group started along the beach then head into the secondary forest (with little primary forest). Near a river entrance, we encountered a sleeping tapir. It must be its home as there was yellow tape around the entrance to its "den" of thick and thorny brush which keeps it safe from predators. I think I could have spotted the well-marked entrance myself. For the rest of our first half of walk, we also saw some birds. We also heard the very loud and distinct sound of howler monkeys but can't get close enough to see it. But we did see some spider monkeys high up the trees.

Then about half way through our 5 hours hike, we arrived at the Sirena Ranger station. It has a small grass airstrip (a plane landed while we were here) and some lodging available. It also has a kitchen. It certainly worth staying here for couple nights I think. After a short lunch and restroom break, we are off to see more wildlife.

We started with good fortune of spotting not so common gray-headed kit. Then we ran into a troop of all so cute squirrel monkeys! Couple of them came down and just right above our heads, so very good close up photos. And we don’t have strain our neck or eyes to try spot it! However after the squirrel monkey encounter, we saw couple more birds and then pretty much nothing after that, probably too hot for the wildlife :)

We arrived back at our landing point and meetup with rest of the group and got on our boats and headed back to Bahia Drake.

All in all it was a good day. It would be nice to stay at least one night in the park to see wildlife in the evening and early morning.

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