As a few of you recognize, I virtually made it to the Birdwatching Bliss 2021 fam trip to Costa Rica, however received sick a day or two forward of the journey and needed to cancel my participation. But, the organisers, Futuropa and ProImagen Costa Rica, kindly stored my ticket legitimate and this October I revisited Costa Rica. Not simply to fowl, however equally to relaxation, reset and restart. And likewise, to fowl.
Worldwide surveys frequently place Costa Rica at or close to the highest of tropical ecotourism locations, and a typical textual content on ecotourism famous that “the nation was perceived internationally because the world’s prime ecotourist vacation spot,” forward of such forerunners as Kenya, Nepal, and the Galapagos Islands (Inman, “Tourism in Costa Rica,” 110; Honey, Ecotourism, 160).
Three years in the past I requested American birders which foreign countries they dream of birding, and with multiple fifth of all solutions, Costa Rica turned to carry a really sturdy first place. Apparently, the respondents felt no have to additional elaborate why, presuming that everybody is aware of why they need to fowl Costa Rica.
Costa Rica is synonymous with many issues, and birding is clearly one in all them. Few locations boast so many alternative fowl species in such a small space — over 900 species (greater than Europe, or all the United States and Canada mixed), together with 75 completely different households, like 51 species of hummingbirds, 48 warblers, and 45 tanagers. However it’s not simply birds that present for nice birding, it’s also (maybe much more importantly) an excellent infrastructure to service the quite a few visiting birders.
I used to be heading to the jap, Caribbean middle-elevation slopes of the nation’s mountainous spine, and afterwards to the somewhat-chilly highlands, to search for such childhood desires because the Nice Inexperienced Macaw and a wild bunch of brightly colored tanagers, toucans, hummingbirds, and plenty of endemic and near-endemic species.
After 14 hours of flight / 20 h spent travelling to succeed in Costa Rica from Japanese Europe, I landed in San Jose within the rain. It was shut to five a.m., the most effective time for metropolis site visitors to eat me alive. I naively trusted Google Maps’ declare that it takes slightly over two hours to drive the subsequent 100 km. Discovering myself within the rush hour, two hours simply turn out to be 4! However, I used to be overjoyed to be in Costa Rica. Ecstatic. Or was that pura vida overtaking me?
Odd sights within the metropolis included a flashy roadster with spoilers and underside lights, wanting like a teenage pick-up line, and pushed by a granny, it appeared to me. “An odd alternative of a automobile for a lady of her age”, I commented to Serge, who answered: “I don’t suppose it’s a lady”. The motive force parked his automobile and left, a person of 60+ with longish, uncommon, dyed hair, a type of males who age wanting evermore like your grandmother did.
My exhilaration didn’t final, I used to be too drained and, as I’d quickly uncover, hit by the worst jet lag ever. Travelling from Japanese Europe to Central America was additionally an 8 hours again in time journey. And all the things felt unsuitable: I used to be sleepy within the afternoon, and awake any time after midnight. I used to be actually awake at 3 a.m., even 1 a.m., and that was it, no extra sleep and nothing else to do until dawn.
Anyway, my plan was to go straightforward and fowl slowly, permitting myself time to get pleasure from every location in an unrushed vogue (after just a few years of pandemic, I actually wanted a relaxed tempo of birding). I wanted just a few dozen species to cross my first large threshold: a thousand species. Some 8 years in the past my record was round 650 after which I made a 1000 my purpose. It did go a bit slower than I hoped for, nevertheless, I got here to Costa Rica with 957, and began to gather my birds like an Acorn Woodpecker collects its nuts.
Extra about it within the weeks to return.
Cowl picture: C.A.T.I.E. – the Tropical Agricultural Analysis and Increased Training Centre in Turrialba