Thursday, April 28, 2016

Toucans and Tapirs, Costa Rica

Black-mandibled Toucan, Costa Rica
Costa Rica is renowned for its birds and wildlife.  In March, we undertook a research trip to explore some of the exceptional wildlife viewing opportunities.  We were not disappointed!!  For example, we had an amazing time in the tropical rainforest managed as a wildlife refuge and eco-resort by Jack Ewing at Hacienda Baru, near Dominical.  (BTW, I can highly recommend Jack's book Monkeys are Made of Chocolate!!)  This wildlife refuge is an important link in the Mesoamerican biological corridor.  The aim is to provide sufficient interconnected natural habitat for wildlife such as the native Baird's tapir and, ultimately, the "top of the foodchain" in these rainforests - the jaguar.   This fascinating creature (check out that snout!!) can reach up to 400 kg or over 800 lbs.

Watch a great little video of a female and her youngster on YouTube.  Females with young can be dangerous, as discovered by the Costa Rican Minister of Environment (luckily he was OK... and it's a great story!!).

Here's a short video clip of our explorations in search of a mystery caller!!

 I will incorporate many of these photos and stories in my upcoming lecture series on the Maasdam Panama Canal cruise May 3 - 25, from Ft Lauderdale to Seattle. 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

What the Coot...!?? or - Coot de Grace!

American Coots seem almost ubiquitous in our travels throughout North & Central America... but I didn't expect to see them in Death Valley!  Sure enough, they've discovered the golf course pond by Furnace Creek.  And the coyotes have discovered the coots!!  Here's what we witnessed on two consecutive days while watching birds at the Audubon viewing platform (location 36°27'43.4"N 116°52'28.1"W)