Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Last days in Peru, first days in Costa Rica

Our last few days in Lima, camera aside, were enjoyable. We stayed with Narda and Alexis’s family again, saw Chris of FFT and met his family, and had a few great outings. Narda and Alexis took us to Pantanos de Villa, the only reserve within Lima, and we had an awesome time birdwatching with them. We searched in vain for burrowing owls—found a nest, but owls were hidden—but did find the hilarious Peruvian thick-knee, one of the silliest-looking birds we’ve ever seen.

Chris helped us set up an outing with his friend Guillermo, a guide in Lima, to the Lomas de Lachay, about 100 km outside central Lima. It’s full of rolling hills that are apparently cloud-forest-like in the wet season, but were more desert-like when we went. We still saw a bunch of neat birds, including two pairs of burrowing owls and the elusive Andean tinamou. Apparently, the entire countryside in the area outside the reserve used to be similar habitat before ranchers and loggers pretty much turned it into the desert it is now. Even in the reserve, in a less-used entrance, there was a squatter illegally grazing his goats. The park service must be either powerless or turning a blind eye. However, they are trying to reforest the area inside the reserve, collecting seed pods for planting, which was neat to see.

Kekoldi research station
When we arrived in San Jose, we stayed the first day at Hotel Kekoldi (same name, no relation to the indigenous reserve where we are now). Lots of errands including doctor visit (Emily: just finished the resulting course of anti-parasitics and anti-bacterials…stomach in slightly better shape), haircut (Mike), bus ticket purchase, and eating. We both agreed that San Jose has really grown on us since our first visit in 2004. It’s walkable, pretty safe, and has some attractive parks.

Emily and
white-whiskered puffbird
The Kekoldi Indigineous Reserve, where we’ll be doing bird research for a while, has a nice research center run by the incredibly hospitable Sebastian, Maritza, and their Bribri family. They cook tasty food and are eager for us to have a good time. We need to revise our thoughts that Peru would be hotter than Costa Rica, though: it’s been a lot sunnier and more scorching some days here. Mosquitoes are still a problem, and there are leishmaniasis-carrying sandflies, too. Hoping we’ll stay healthy!

The place is super-hilly, too, and makes us feel out of shape and sweaty. Hopefully we’ll get used to it!

Birds from the first few days of mist-netting and banding were very cool: a tiny hawk (that’s really what it’s called), white-whiskered puffbird, tanagers, woodcreepers, and tons of hummingbirds, which thankfully have all flown off okay.

We're actually pretty worn out...this trip is no relaxing vacation! But we're doing well, and looking forward to the next few months.

Three-toed sloth
Bronze-tailed plumeleteer
Mike measuring hummingbird
Sunset from observation tower
Tiny hawk
View from observation tower
Sleeping tree frog (points to whoever can tell us which kind)


  1. i like the tiny hawk! and of course, the sloth. i mean, who doesn't like a three-toed sloth!? be well, you guys!

  2. Syd says thats a 'red eyed tree frog' she followed it up with "ribbit RIBBIT" and hopped like a frog around the room. -Don

  3. Thanks, Alli! We're still seeing lots of nice sloths. :) And Don, Syd is brilliant! She's right; the weird zebra-eye look is apparently a membrane that covers the eyes when its sleeping. We're psyched that she's so into nature. You guys should bring her to Costa Rica ASAP.