Tuesday, April 09, 2013

The road to La Ensenada

We'd actually decided to try and stay at La Ensenada Lodge if we could and had planned to visit the Barra Honda National Park, some wetlands to the south of Palo Verde National Park and some salt ponds on the coast, so a full day.  We left Diria and headed to Barra Honda.  On arrival it became apparent this park was set aside for 'adventure' that is zip rope zooming or clambering around in caves.  Having the attendant demand money before we'd even decided to enter was off-putting and having spoken with a local worker (while in parallel the attendant was in Spanish trying to get him to hustle us to go into the park, it helps having a relatively poor but undeclared ability to speak Spanish sometimes!) we decided to skip it and head on.  We stopped at the cafe we'd passed just before the entrance to the gate (the Cafe Kura), which served coffee and good vegetarian food (delicious homemade empanadas - they did non-veggie too).  

Having refreshed and fuelled we then headed on an orienteering trip trying to find some wetlands/ponds, that are unmarked on unmarked rough roads.  We did, though they were mostly dry.  I did however spot something.  So parking up I scrambled under some barbed wire, walked through a woodland with a large herd of cattle and then part-climbed a tree, to see Jabiru!

The cattle part followed me and then headed en masse around the water.  As well as the Jabiru there were a number of Egrets, Herons and lots of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks in the distance.

On the dirt road (replete with no hunting signs, good old Costa Rica!) we found a Double-striped Thick-knee sheltering from the sun:

A Brown-crested Flycatcher was close by:

Next stop then was Colorado, and in particular the docks.  Laughing Gulls were loafing:

Joined by more active waders including Whimbrel:

And soaring Magnificent Frigatebirds:

They are almost vulture-like in their behaviours.

Add Greater Yellowlegs:

From the docks we then drove first to the Southern salt ponds, gaining permission to access these to look for birds.  Roseate Spoonbill always stands out:

Lots of waders were using the pools including Semipalmated Sandpiper:

Short-billed Dowitchers and White-rumped Sandpiper:


And more Heron, including the Little Blue Heron and Snowy Egret:

The ponds were very productive but a large thunderstorm was bearing down on us and the day was moving on so we had to go and find somewhere to stay, starting with La Ensenada.  They were able to accommodate us, though it was pricey, the rooms looked pleasant and the food was gong to include something we could eat so we settled in.  Dinner was fine, the night however was not.  The temperature barely dropped, we could hear our neighbours every move and comment, the fan was too noisy and 'mobile' to use and it proved a really uncomfortable night's sleep, one of the worst in fact we had in Costa Rica.



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