When kids come back to school after summer vacation the teacher often gives them a writing assignment. It has become almost cliché. It’s called “What I did on my summer vacation”.
As a take-off on that, I’m going to do a “What I saw on my winter vacation”.
As many of you know I went to Costa Rica for my vacation. It was a short trip. It was our first time there. Wow, pretty much sums it up.
For such a small country there is an immense amount to see. I did my best to catch a glimpse of as much as I could. Did you know there are more species of animals and birds in Costa Rica than any other country in the world? And plants. Oh my!
From my guide book: Costa Rica’s forests hold an array of flora and fauna so vast and diverse that scientists haven’t even named thousands of the species found there. The country covers less than 0.03 percent of the Earth’s surface, yet it contains nearly 5 percent of the planet’s plant and animal species. Costa Rica has at least 9,000 plant species, including more than 1,200 types of orchids, some 2,000 kinds of butterflies and 876 bird species.
When we were in the rain forest we zipped past a group of black howler monkeys. (Yes, I did go zip-lining. That’s probably worth its own column!).
The howler monkeys were just hanging around the trees, minding their own business. We were the intruders in their home, acting like crazy people flying by, hooked onto wires and hanging about 300 feet above the floor of the rain forest.
You can wake up and hear howler monkeys while you lay in your bed in Costa Rica. Their voices are so strong they can be heard up to three miles away. One woman at the airport told a story of about 40 howler monkeys who ran through the lobby of her hotel the day before. I wish I had stayed at that hotel!
While we were in the rain forest, we took a guided bird watching tour. My husband thought bird watching was going to be a big bore but we bought new binoculars for the event anyway. Our guide had great binoculars too and a spotting scope that was amazing. In under an hour we saw over a dozen bird species including this guy. Trogons are a rare sighting. We were very lucky to capture one in the spotting scope and he was polite enough to just hang on the branch for quite a while so we could we admire him. Check out those tail feathers!
Trogons are a cousin to this bird. The quetzal. A trogon is about a foot long. A quetzal is over two feet long. We didn’t get a glimpse of a quetzal as hard as we tried. Our guide said he’s been a serious bird watcher for over five years now and has only seen five of them in all his days in the rain forest. He said we were quite lucky to spend such a nice amount of time with the trogon. I wanted to bring him home. My cats would have loved him.