A River Runs Through It   1 comment

Felipe del Bosque Blog Sept 29 2010

Temp High 80°F  Low 73°F          Precipitation 1.29 ins

It was another day of heavy showers.  The sky was continually overcast except for one or two moments were we enjoyed a sunny interlude of all but a few minutes.  I had registered with the Tropical Storm Risk Centre in order to receive notification of any serious weather that may be heading our way and today I was the recipient of such a message telling me that a new tropical storm had developed in the Caribbean.  I have been watching the animated satellite sequences and thankfully, at least for us, not so much those poor souls in Cuba, tropical storm Nicole is heading east.  At the minute though, that doesn’t matter, heavy rain is heavy rain.  Today we had 1.29 inches but it did not seem any different to last Saturday when we suffered 4.0 inches.

Natural Swimming Pool

I did make it out on the trails today.  There was not much by way of animal sightings to report.  In several places around the “Zapatero Trail” the path was just running with water, not unlike a small stream.  These rivulets spill down into the valley and feed the creek.  We have one creek here at Bosque del Cabo, it starts its journey after issuing from a spring higher in the hills.  It then winds its way through the property and you cross it several times on the “Zapatero Trail”.  It runs someway off behind the restaurant and then under the suspension bridge.  If you go down the “Creek Trail” you will cross its watery path again as it tumbles over some small rapids, then spills gurgling into a deep ravine and then one more time into a deep pool.  From this point you can walk in the stream bed which is flat and meandering until it reaches the waterfall where the creek finally plunges over a hundred foot drop, down the rapids and exits to complete its journey by entering into the Golfo Dulce.

Walking even this small water way is an entrancing experience.  Now, having received so much rain over recent months the creek is running fast and hard.  The water, as it cascades over the various drops in elevation, does so with some force.  There are several points along its course where the rapids feed into plunge pools.  These provide a place in which to take an exhilarating dip, especially for the more adventurous of our visitors.  The water may seem cold but that is more a consequence of the higher ambient air temperatures.

As I was out tonight, a Nine-banded Armadillo shuffled past my feet, continually sticking its nose into the soft, sticky earth searching for grubs.  Armadillos are strangely engaging creatures with a somewhat strange life history.  The fertilized egg always splits into four, so female armadillos always give birth to identical quads.  Also, apart from humans, the armadillo is the only other mammal that suffers from leprosy, so a lot of research regarding that particular disease was carried out on armadillos.

Philip is a biologist, writer and photographer as well as the onsite naturalist guide at Bosque del Cabo Rainforest lodge on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica.


Photo Feature

As it has been so wet that I have not been able to get out and take the volume of photographs that I had hoped to while things were a little quiet.  So following on from today’s aqueous theme I thought I might take a look at a lizard that people may see around the ponds but only fleetingly as the creature will normally makes itself scarce very quickly and in a somewhat unusual manner.

Juvenile Basilisk

As you approach the pond, the basilisks which may be commonly found soaking up the sun at the ponds edge, will sprint, up on their hind legs, arms to the side, across the surface of the water.  They are capable of doing this because the long toes on the rear feet are long and have fringed edges which spread the weight of the lizard over a larger area.  This coupled with the speed of the basilisk result in the surface tension of the water not being broken.  Their ability to move across the surface of the water in this fashion has engendered them with another title, “Jesus Christ Lizards”.

It will generally be the juveniles you will see, the adults are simply too shy.  Large males have an impressive crest on the back of the head and a large sail running down the back and tail.  Basilisks eat fruit, flowers and insects.

Back in August, a family staying at the lodge found two small leathery eggs by the pond edge in the tropical garden. I took them and put them in a small plastic container intending to keep them until they hatched.  I did not need to wait for long as that night, the eggs split and by the morning two small juvenile basilisks, eager for their freedom, were taken over to the pond to savor their first water walking experience.  I am pretty sure it is the same pair I see basking there on a daily basis.

Text and Photographs are taken from the forthcoming book:

The Natural History of Bosque del Cabo by Philip Davison

Species List for the Day


Howler Monkey

Spider Monkey


Nine-banded Armadillo

Red-tailed Squirrel


Red-lored Amazon

Scarlet Macaws

Western Wood Pewee

Chestnut-backed Antbird

Black-hooded Antshrike

Chestnut-mandibled Toucan

Blue-crowned Manakin

Green Honeycreeper

Cherrie’s Tanager

Bay-headed Tanager

Yellow-headed Caracara

Roadside Hawk

Black Vulture



Mediterranean House Gecko

Golfo Dulce Anolis Lizard

Northern Cat-eyed Snake


Marine Toad

Red-eyed Green Treefrog

Banana Frog

Tink Frog

Fitzinger’s Rainfrog

Black and Green Poison Arrow Frog


Caligo eurilochus

Heliconius erato

Heliconius hecale

Heliconius sapho

Heraclides cresphontes


Posted September 30, 2010 by felipedelbosque in Philip's Nature Diary

One response to “A River Runs Through It

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  1. Love my swimming holes they are looking great, can’t wait to get there and dive in!


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