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Felipe del Bosque Blog November 19th 2012

Coming to the End

The rainy season is not quite over.  This week has started overcast with some rain, occasionally heavy rain.  At the start of the week we had one night with a precipitation of nearly 4.5 inches, (110mm).  That was followed two nights later with over 2 inches.  But these rainy periods continue to be interspersed with sunny days.  There is still ample opportunity to get out and explore.

All Present and Correct

The mammal sightings are as normal with the monkeys, coatis and Agoutis being found within a short walk of the restaurant.  Red-tailed Squirrels, (Sciurus granatensis), are not too shy to bring palm nuts and sit on the rails around the dining area while gnawing into their meal while we eat ours..  At night the Nine-banded Armadillos, (Dasypus novemcinctus), come out and can be heard noisily snuffling around on the ground for grubs search for grubs to dig up.

The new driver for the lodge who recently moved down to the Osa Peninsula from San Jose was lucky enough to see a Puma, (Puma concolor), crossing the road in the early evening near the entrance to the Titi Trail.  The next day near the main area of the lodge, the Spider Monkeys, (Ateles geoffroyi), started to bark out the unmistakable alarm call which warns of a Puma present in the vicinity.

A few more birds have been seen this week.  I had a Broad-winged Hawk, (Buteo platypterus), perch on a branch outside my cabin for a short while.  The Roadside Hawks, (Buteo magnirostris), Yellow-headed Caracaras, (Milvago chimachina), and Crested Caracaras, (Caracara cheriway), can be seen in front of the restaurant generally all day every day.  One day two Crested Caracaras were involved in a serious tug of war over the head and bill of a decapitated Chestnut-mandibled Toucan, (Ramphastos swainsoni).

Underneath the forest canopy the curassows and tinamous have been seen and heard this week.  There has been a group of several female Great Curassows, (Crax rubra), walking through the forest transected by the Zapatero Trail.

Along with the migrants seen in the grounds, there are several tyrant flycatcher species.  Great Kiskadees, (Pitangus sulphuratus), Tropical Kingbirds, (Tyrannus melancholicus), and Dusky-capped Flycatchers, (Myiarchus tuberculifer), can generally be found in the area of the pond.  Although it is not seen so often, the Bright-rumped Atilla, (Atilla spadiceus), can be heard everywhere, especially just after sunrise.

Slow Build Up

The number of butterfly species is gradually increasing.  The owl butterflies and blue morphos are a common site in the open areas.  Some of the satyrs such as Pierella luna and Taygetis andromeda can be seen flying close to the forest floor.  There are more species of longwings to be found at the lantana, the numbers increasing as does the temperature.

Deadly Bands

I had a Boa, (Boa constrictor), brought to me by one of the workers at the beginning of the week.  I took it and let it loose in the roof of my cabin to hopefully deal with some nesting rodents.  It stayed for several days but then disappeared, probably back into the forest.  One night as I made my way over to take some guests out on the night tour I had a beautifully marked Central American Coral Snake, (Micrurus nigrocinctus), cross the path in front of me.  Unfortunately the camera was not to hand so I didn’t get any photos.  Not so long ago the workers brought me a very large Coral Snake, (Micrurus alleni).  Superficially they look like the Central American Coral Snake except that the black band on the top of the head extends like an arrow pointing down the neck.

Both of these are deadly venomous species with 50% of bites resulting in death.  They are elapids and as such belong in the same family as cobras and kraits.  Whereas species in the latter two groups are inclined to bite, the Coral Snakes generally do not.  In fact it is very hard to get them to bite but I would not suggest you find out how far they can be pushed.

The venom is a neurotoxin which affects the heart and lungs, stopping them from working, which is a terminal situation.  The bites can be treated and the success rate is very high.  Despite its venomous bite, rather than risk injury in a confrontation with a potential predator, the coral snake exhibits aposomatic coloration.  The very bright bands of black, yellow and red are a very visible signal advertising that the snake should be left alone.

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.

www.bosquedelcabo.com

 Photo Feature

 Mini Flags

There are several species of small lizard commonly found around the grounds of Bosque del Cabo.  Some of them live on the ground, the ameivas and some of the live in the trees, the anoles.  This something of a generalization but for the most part it holds true.  There are some larger lizards to be seen too.

Anolis polylepis

Of the small ground dwelling ameivas there are 3 species that can regularly be seen during the course of a walk through along any of the trails; the Four-lined Ameiva, the Barred Ameiva and the Central American Whiptail.  It is not difficult to spot them as they quite often just lie in the middle of the paths soaking up the sun.  If they are disturbed they run into the dead leaf litter where they sound like a herd of foraging pigs.

Golfo Dulce Anolis

A little more subtle are the anoles which live on the tree trunks or low lying vegetation.  They are colored to match their surroundings but their short runs and hops reveal their presence.  There are 7 species of anole inhabiting the Osa Peninsula and 5 of those species are found at Bosque.

By far the commonest species and the reptile most likely to be encountered by all of the guests is the Golfo Dulce Anole, (Norops polylepis).  It is overall mottled brown but with a distinctive bright white stripe along the flanks.  The males have a loose flap of skin beneath the throat known as the dewlap.  This has a small piece of cartilage attached over which the anole has muscular control.  The dewlap will be extended if the male sees another male in his territory or is courting a female.  Each different species of anole has a different colored dewlap and in the case of the Golfo Dulce Anole it is a bright flame orange.  The female is the same size and has the same overall brown coloration but has a distinctive checkerboard pattern or a pale single stripe down her back.

The Golfo Dulce Anolis is a sit and wait predator of the forests lowest vegetative layers.  They sit atop a leaf maintaining a watchful eye on the area around them.  Should a suitably sized food item pass by, the jump down and grab it before returning to their vantage point.  The males are pugnacious too, and spend up to half their day in territorial disputes with their neighbors.

Text and Photographs are taken from the forthcoming book:

The Natural History of Bosque del Cabo by Philip Davison

Temperature and Rainfall

Average Daily Rainfall 1.04 ins.  Total Weekly Rainfall 7.29ins

Average Daily Rainfall 1.04 mm.  Total Weekly Rainfall 7.29 mm

Highest Daily Temp 86°F.  Lowest Daily Temp 74°F.

Highest Daily Temp 30.0°C.  Lowest Daily Temp 23.2°C.

Species List for the Week

Mammals

  • Howler Monkey
  • Spider Monkey
  • White-faced Monkey
  • Nine-banded Armadillo
  • White-nosed Coati
  • Agouti
  • Red-tailed Squirrel
  • Vesper Rat

Birds

  • Mealy Amazon
  • Red-lored Amazon
  • Scarlet Macaw
  • Great Curassow
  • Broad-winged Hawk
  • Crested Caracara
  • Roadside Hawk
  • Yellow-headed Caracara
  • Pale-billed Woodpecker
  • Red-crowned Woodpecker
  • Streak-headed Woodcreeper
  • Dusky-capped Flycatcher
  • Chestnut-backed Antbird
  • Black-hooded Antshrike
  • Rufus Piha
  • Short-billed Pigeon
  • White-tipped Dove
  • Long-billed Hermit
  • Purple-crowned Fairy
  • Stripe-throated Hermit
  • Red-capped Manakin
  • Chestnut-mandibled Toucan
  • Buff-rumped Warbler
  • Cherrie’s Tanager
  • Summer Tanager
  • Bright-rumped Atilla
  • Great Kiskadee
  • Tropical Kingbird
  • Great Tinamou
  • Masked Tityra
  • House Wren
  • Black-throated Trogon
  • Black Vulture
  • Turkey Vulture

Reptiles

  • Boa Constrictor
  • Cat-eyed Snake
  • Central American Coral Snake
  • Central American Smooth Gecko
  • Clawless Gecko
  • Common Basilisk
  • Four-lined Ameiva
  • Golfo Dulce Anolis
  • Litter Skink
  • Mediterranean House Gecko

 Amphibians

  • Banana Frog
  • Black and Green Poison Arrow Frog
  • Fitzinger’s Rain Frog
  • Golfo Dulce Poison Arrow Frog
  • Marine Toad
  • Masked Smilisca
  • Milky Frog
  • Red-eyed Green Tree Frog
  • Rough-skinned Dirt Frog
  • Savage’s Thin-fingered Jungle Frog
  • Stejneger’s Dirt Frog

Butterflies

  • Anartia Fatima
  • Anartia jatrophae
  • Caligo eurilochus
  • Dryas iulia
  • Eurema albula
  • Glutophrissa Drusilla
  • Heliconius erato
  • Heliconius hecale
  • Heliconius ismenius
  • Heliconius sapho
  • Hermeuptychia hermes
  • Heraclides cresphontes
  • Metacharis victrix
  • Morpho helenor
  • Morpho Menelaus
  • Parides erithalion
  • Philaethria dido
  • Pierella luna
  • Pyrgus oileus
  • Pyrrhogyra crameri
  • Taygetis Andromeda
  • Urbanus simplicius

 Plants

  • Alamandra  cathartica Flowering
  • Alpinia purpurata Flowering
  • Apeiba tibourbou Flowering
  • Arachis pintoi Flowering
  • Arundina graminifolia Flowering
  • Bauhinia variegata Flowering
  • Cascabella thevetia Flowering and Fruiting
  • Citrus spp  Fruiting
  • Clusia rosea Flowering andFruiting
  • Clusia vallerii Flowering and Fruiting
  • Cocos nucifera Flowering andFruiting
  • Crestentia alata flowering and Fruiting
  • Costus speciosus Flowering
  • Couroupita guianensis Flowering and Fruiting
  • Dypsis lutescens Flowering and Fruiting
  • Etlingera elatior Flowering
  • Ficus insipida Fruiting
  • Heliconia chartacea Flowering
  • Heliconia latispatha Flowering
  • Heliconia pogonantha Flowering
  • Heliconia psittacorum Flowering
  • Heliconia rostrata Flowering
  • Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Flowering
  • Hymenaea coubaril Fruiting
  • Hymenocallis littoralis Flowering
  • Ixora coccinea Flowering
  • Lantana camara Flowering andFlowering
  • Lagerstroemia speciosa Fruiting
  • Morinda citrifolia Fruiting
  • Musa acuminate Flowering andFruiting
  • Nephelium lappaceum Fruiting
  • Piper auritum Flowering and Fruiting
  • Piper nigrum Fruiting
  • Piper umbellatum Flowering and Fruiting
  • Pleiostachya pruinosa Flowering
  • Plumeria rubra Flowering
  • Psychotria sp Fruiting
  • Stachytarpheta frantzii Flowering
  • Thunbergia grandiflora Flowering
  • Virola sebifera Fruiting
  • Zammia sp Flowering

 

 

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