Check out more from the #ecocostarica trip on Twitter, FB and G+

By the time I climbed back into the van for the drive back to San Jose my clothes were drenched, my glasses fogged up and my camera worn out. Located right at the confluence to two croc-filled rivers, the air in the forest is so humid that every little step results in a torrent of sweat.  If you’re not drinking water, you’re not going to make it! If you didn’t bring extra camera batteries you camera isnt going to make it either!

I’m sitting in the airport in San Juan writing this post this morning and lusting for another cup of coffee.  I’m exhausted and emotional, not ready to face the cold of home but missing my kids to a ridiculous degree.  There is Christmas music blasting through the Lavazza cafe and a bunch of young American men are talking about guns.  The lady behind the counter is surly and her co-worked bored. The way home goes through Houston, then Denver and then a two-hour drive to my mom’s house where I can rest.  Finally.

As I fly home today I offer up just a sample…a taste…of what I saw yesterday at La Selva Biological Station in the wet tropical rain forest lowlands of northeastern Costa Rica. The station, at about 1,600 hectares (3,900 acres), offers up a stunning array of Costa Rican wildlife.

La Selva was originally established in 1954 by Dr. Leslie Holdridge, as a farm dedicated to experimentation on mixed plantations for the improvement of natural resources management. It was purchased in 1968 by the Organization for Tropical Studies and declared a private biological reserve and station. Since then, it has become one of the most important sites in the world for research on tropical rain forest. Over 240 scientific papers are published yearly from research conducted at the site……….

 

costa rican wildlife

Brown-throated sloth (Bradypus variegatus)
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costa rican wildlife

Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus)
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Central American Whiptail (Ameiva festiva)
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Blue Jeans Dart Frog (Oophaga pumilo)
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Keel-billed Toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus)
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costa rican wildlife

Green Iguana (Iguana iguana)
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Lineated Woodpecker (Dryocopus lineatus)
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Salmon-bellied Racer (Mastigodryas malenolomus)
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Keel-billed Toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus)
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Broad-billed Motmot (Electron platyrhynchum)
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costa rican wildlife

Parrot Snake (Leptophis ahaetulla)

I’m not sure the species of frog he is eating but it was a pretty stunning site to see him chasing the frog right across our path and onto a patch of grass where he grabbed the doomed little brown dude in mid-jump. I’ve never seen anything like that. What really stunned me was how fast the snake downed the frog and then moved on.

I’ll be posting more shots and stories in the coming two months.  Sign up on the  home page for email notifications of new posts.

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You might also like:

Sugar Cane Fields in Central Costa Rica

Volcan Turriabla, Costa Rica

San Jose, Costa Rica at Night

The Incredible Quetzal of Costa Rica

45 comments

  1. Comment by Marc d'Entremont

    Marc d'Entremont Reply December 7, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    A "taste" – look good enough to cook….only kidding.

  2. Comment by Marc d'Entremont

    Marc d'Entremont Reply December 7, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    This is one of Jim O'Donnell's great posts. (Didn't realize this was going to show up here).

  3. Comment by Marsha Kellogg

    Marsha Kellogg Reply December 7, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Beautiful Jim! La Selva is one of my favorite places on earth. Have taken family and friends there at every opportunity.

  4. Comment by Karen Hoppes

    Karen Hoppes Reply December 7, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    Beautiful shots

  5. Comment by Dudley Danielson

    Dudley Danielson Reply December 7, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    Excellent shots with lots of feelings.

  6. Comment by Laura Shields

    Laura Shields Reply December 7, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    Wow! This is terrific! Thank you for the micro-vacation. . .safe and easy travels back. Yes, it's frickin' COLD!

  7. Comment by Sheila

    Sheila Reply December 7, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    The colors of the parrot snake were so exquisite. You captured them beautifully. Costs Rica is a place I would like to see. I am always taken back by the differences in lifestyles in these countries when we go. I look forward to the future posts & pics.

  8. Comment by Charli | Wanderlusters

    Charli | Wanderlusters Reply December 7, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    Fantastic shots Jim and superb article, I’ve loved following your #ecocostarica adventure. Love the definition in the colors of the brown throated sloth.

  9. Comment by Jim O'Donnell

    Jim O'Donnell Reply December 8, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    Thank you Karen. The animals were just incredible. And everywhere. It was so great to be right in there with them.

  10. Comment by Jim O'Donnell

    Jim O'Donnell Reply December 8, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    I hear iguana tastes like chicken marc…. :-)

  11. Comment by Jim O'Donnell

    Jim O'Donnell Reply December 8, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    Cold indeed! I'm stuck up in CO for the time being. Colder here but NM is getting the snow. I hope you're enjoying it!

  12. Comment by Jim O'Donnell

    Jim O'Donnell Reply December 8, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Ya. That was a special experience. I'd like to go back and do the 6 day trek from the top of the volcano down to the research station. Just imagine!

  13. Comment by Jim O'Donnell

    Jim O'Donnell Reply December 8, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Thanks Dudley! Yes. I pretty blown away.

  14. Comment by Marc d'Entremont

    Marc d'Entremont Reply December 8, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    Jim O'Donnell actually, it does. I had iguana years ago when I lived in Puerto Rico.

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  16. Comment by John Mata

    John Mata Reply December 9, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Nice writing, and great shots!

    #Wildlife #Photography #Travel #CostaRica #TravelLogue #travellog

  17. Comment by Jim O'Donnell

    Jim O'Donnell Reply December 9, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    Marc d'Entremont seriously? Well…I shouldnt sound so surprised. I've had rattlesnake several times and people always think that is odd.

  18. Comment by Gaelyn

    Gaelyn Reply December 9, 2013 at 10:49 am

    These marvelous images just make me wish I was there, right now. Instead I’m bundled in layers with frozen pipes in central AZ. Look forward to reading more about this #ecocostarica adventure.

    • Comment by Jim O'Donnell

      Jim O'Donnell Reply December 11, 2013 at 9:31 am

      Thanks Gaelyn! It was such a short trip and now I’m bundled up and trying to stay warm here in the mountains of northern NM. Good God. It was quite a hit to get off the plane in Denver to this weather!

  19. Comment by David Behrstock

    David Behrstock Reply December 16, 2013 at 1:28 am

    Really beautiful pictures!!! Inspiring. although it also makes me want to be there and not here in this frozen landscape! Thanks

  20. Comment by Jim O'Donnell

    Jim O'Donnell Reply December 16, 2013 at 1:28 am

    I could not agree more. 8 days was not enough. I needed one more week.

  21. Comment by Matthew Karsten

    Matthew Karsten Reply December 15, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    Amazing photos. I love the woodpecker peeking out of the tree. And the parrot snake of course!

    • Comment by Jim O'Donnell

      Jim O'Donnell Reply December 16, 2013 at 5:59 pm

      Thanks Matt! I loved your viper and frog shots too. So fun. I LIVE in a place with alot of great wildlife and yet Costa Rica blew it all away.

  22. Comment by Worldtravelfamily

    Worldtravelfamily Reply December 16, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Beautiful beautiful photos. Just gorgeous. Thanks, I shared them with the kids.

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  24. Comment by Jim O'Donnell

    Jim O'Donnell Reply December 17, 2013 at 12:56 am

    I really appreciate the kind words you said about these photos on the phone today. I am touched!

  25. Comment by Jim O'Donnell

    Jim O'Donnell Reply December 17, 2013 at 12:57 am

    Cool! My kids loved them! What did yours think? My boy loved the toucan checking me out upside down. That was a fun one.

  26. Comment by Heidi Wagoner

    Heidi Wagoner Reply December 17, 2013 at 10:23 am

    The photos are to die for. I remember being on a bus in Costa Rica and we had to pull over to the side of the road as a sloth took its sweet time to cross. It was incredible. I just love Costa Rica and the amazing wildlife.

    • Comment by Jim O'Donnell

      Jim O'Donnell Reply December 17, 2013 at 8:59 am

      Thank you Heidi. I said to someone else how even tho I live in a place with some astounding wildlife I was nonetheless stunned by it all down in Costa Rica. I was blown away!

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  30. Comment by Andrew Wyatt

    Andrew Wyatt Reply December 19, 2013 at 6:29 am

    These pictures are amazing, I love these kind of pictures, only wish I could take some like yours! :)

  31. Comment by Jim O'Donnell

    Jim O'Donnell Reply December 20, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Andrew. Thank you for the kind words. The only advice I can offer is practice, practice, practice! And….I guess…get out in the forest. Thats where all the action is!

  32. Comment by Jim O'Donnell

    Jim O'Donnell Reply December 20, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Thank you Heidi. I said to someone else how even tho I live in a place with some astounding wildlife I was nonetheless stunned by it all down in Costa Rica. I was blown away!

  33. Comment by Ananta Spa & Resorts

    Ananta Spa & Resorts Reply January 7, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Great photos. They are really beautiful.

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