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Hooded Mergansers

Friday, February 28, 2014

Just Gotta Say....

We had a great day today...  started at 6:30 am...  took a boat trip...  got home around 3:30 or so.  I took 249 photos...  you KNOW I can hardly wait to report back on that...

But....  

I had this e-mail waiting for me when we got back this evening...

Sharon,
It appears that your picture of the two moose in the fog has yet again become a sensation on the internet.
I am told that the picture has received over 10,000 hits in a single week. I did make sure that you received credit for the picture. You can go to the link at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwsnortheast/12637633223/

PS- It is starting to warm up here, this morning it was -17F

See you soon.
Steve

Steve is the manager of Aroostook NWR...  way up in Maine...  where we'll be heading for the summer.  The photo he's writing about is one I took several years ago.  I'm by no means a professional photographer...  but...  sometimes I get lucky.  

If you do click on that above address, you'll know why I love Aroostook NWR so much...  I could even write a little essay about our years of volunteering there...  and how each time we return we see more and more critters...  moose, bear, otters.....  so much.  And how our first years there were spent taking down chain link fence (this place once housed nuclear bombs during the cold war)...  and the more fences that came down, the more wildlife returned.

So...  I got lucky....  that photo caught a mama moose and her calf in the marsh very early in the morning.  Geese were flying over...  the marsh was coming alive.  

It's the only refuge we've returned to again and again.  Things change...  now the refuge is out of the demolition stage into the "public" stage.  I understand...  you need public support in order to get funding...  but in a way it makes me sad to think that the very wildness that "we" (Kirk especially) worked so hard to bring back might be so attractive to humans that their very presence might change the dynamics again.

In a couple of months we'll be heading back.  We never know if "this" year will be the last.  But...  I am happy to see my Moose in the Mist photo is still around...  capturing the very essence of a very special place.

Guess my 249 photos of the boat trip can wait until tomorrow.

That's All For Today!


Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Little Less Talk...

But not much action....

I'm beginning to feel like a stuck record...
Wait a minute...  is there such a thing as a "record" these days?  Do CDs or whatever folks play get stuck in a groove and just repeat something over and over again?  I don't know...  but since many of our days are somewhat repetitive, I'll just post some photos with a brief (for me) narrative...

The fires across the valley are a nightly occurrence.  
When it gets dark you can see the flames as they work their way up the hillsides.  

My field guide doesn't show any differences between the male and female Cinnamon Hummingbird.
I'm wondering if this is a juvenile?  or maybe a female?  It's not nearly colored the rich brown that the little King of the Feeder is.  Still...  it's attractive.

I walked out onto our upstairs deck this morning...  saw this group of pelicans winging their way across the sky....  waaaaay.... up in the distance.  The first time I realized that pelicans formed a "V" formation when they fly was years ago when we were volunteering at Santa Ana NWR, along the Rio Grande River in Texas.  

While I was out on the deck, I got another good view of the Streaked-back Oriole...
Such a beautiful bird....  

And...  one of the ugliest birds...
When we walked to town, we saw about 8 black vultures along the beach...
They were having a great breakfast....  when we got there only these remains of that fish were left....
Thanks goodness we have these birds to clean up roadkills... or in this case, washed ashore...  dead critters.

We were walking down a tiny dirt road...  heading towards the beach, and I could hear some "grunts"..
Tethered to a wall, this huge pig had made kind a "wallow" in the soft dirt.  Now... keep in mind those are big block in that wall...  just look how big this guy is!
I suppose someone is raising him for future dinners....  but for now, he's as happy as a pig in ......  

Tomorrow we're going on another adventure, so maybe I'll have something a little more exciting to write about soon.

That's All For Today!


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Just Another Day.....

We've slowed down...
Well, we still walk to town everyday.  In fact, I wear my pedometer and since we arrived here in mid-December, we've walked 345 miles...  averaging 5 miles a day.
That's a lot of trips to town and back!
So.. slowing down?  Well, maybe I should word that differently.
We still get up around 5:30 or 6:00 a.m., but we plan our walk earlier.  Most days that we're walking to town, we leave early and are home by 11:00.  Today we were heading towards the beach by 7:00 and home again by 10:30.  The afternoon sun is brutal!  Clothes dry on the line really fast.  The water moat in my hummingbird feeder (to deter ants) needs replenished several times a day.  We keep our AC at 85 degrees, and that feels quite cool when coming in from outside.

Speaking of the hummingbirds....
The Cinnamon Hummingbird has taken possession of the feeder.  I do see another species of hummers around at times, but there's no doubt this little guy is King of the Feeder.  As is so common with hummers, he just dive bombs anything else that comes near...  even though there's plenty for everyone.  Well, he's quite attractive and I enjoy seeing him....  guess he might as well enjoy it while we're here.

I've really neglected "reporting" on the dove varieties here.  Guess I sound like a bird-snob when I admit this, but we all have our opinions of pigeons that crap on everything... or take over city parks...  you know.  Well, there are at least 26 different species of pigeons and doves in all of Costa Rica....  and 11 species right here in the area where we're living.  So, yeah, I see them...  I hear them....  and sometimes, when I think about it, I take a photo of them...
White-winged Dove
This is the one we see the most.  And also hear the most...  it calls "Who Cooks For You"...  sometimes incessantly.  Of course you'd never confuse it with the Barred Owl, who also calls "who cooks for you", it's just the same sequence of calls.  Isn't the blue around its eye gorgeous?
You know, I should investigate the dove species a little more.

And, speaking of gorgeous...
We've been seeing the Green Heron down near the Rickety Bridge again.  One day the tri-colored heron, the Great Egret and the green heron were all hanging out within a few feet of each other.  Outstanding!

We were within maybe a tenth of a mile of home today as we were walking back from town....  
Heard the howler monkeys...  real close!
We walked about 100' up a dirt road and saw at least 8 monkeys hanging out in the treetop...

There was this big male just sitting on a big branch...
And all the others had to leap over him in order to get past.  The little guy on the left was just a baby....  at first I thought it was a Mama protecting her little one, but after watching all of them...  maybe 5 or 6 here in this group, leap over the big male, I wonder if he is the alpha male...  and was making sure his whole troupe was in the next tree before moving on.  I don't know....  but they did all move to another tree.

I haven't even tried to ID this box turtle...
First one I've seen here.  He was big...  probably 6" or so in length... and quite big around.  Truth is, I haven't even checked into those kind of critters yet.....  guess there's just so much to see.

And, as a parting shot....
A view of Coco Beach....  and Coco Bay.
I'm standing maybe 100' from the water..... the tide was going out at this time of day.  There's a dirt road that runs alongside the beach, only it's high enough that the changing tides don't flood it.  Sometimes we walk along the road instead of the beach.

Doesn't make any difference.....   the view is grand wherever you're at!

And...  yes, it was Smelt I was trying to think of.  Thanks to all of you who came up with the answer.  Now, you've made me hungry for some....

That's All For Today!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Mango, you say?

I grew up in a small coal-mining town in southeast Ohio.  My Dad always put in a big garden and my Mom canned fruits and vegetables...  she even canned beef from a cow that Daddy had butchered.  My Dad also butchered a hog and cured the meat on the back porch.  

We ate all the usual things...  cabbage, corn, peas, green beans, and in the summer we had lettuce, onions, radishes, carrots and....  mangoes.

Mangoes, you ask?  In Southeastern Ohio?  Come'on...  that's a tropical fruit!

Well, in my part of the world, these were called "Mango"s
Most of these green peppers have already started to turn from green to orange and red, but there is no doubt that they are green peppers.

Now just across the aisle are the fruits available here...
Not quite the blushing reddish color you might expect, but...  these are Mangoes.

I was probably a teenager before I ever saw a "real" mango....  and to her dying day, my Mom called a green pepper a mango.  

I got to wondering how in the world that crisp salad vegetable got called a mango, and, of course, had to Google it.  Wikapedia had an answer that seemed reasonable to me:

The “mango,” the real one, is a tropical fruit indigenous to Southeast Asia and India, now grown all around the world, and known for its sweetness and unique flavor.  The name “mango” comes from the Tamil word “mankay,” and “mango” first appeared in English in the late 16th century.
The first mangoes imported into the American colonies were from the East Indies, and, since this was long before either high-speed transport or refrigeration, they arrived not as fresh fruit, but in pickled form.  This fact turns out to be the key to the mango-pepper mystery.  At some point, early on, there was a popular misunderstanding of the word “mango” in America, and people began to use “mango” as a general synonym for “pickled dish,” no matter what the dish  was made from.  Thus, in 1699, we find references in a cookbook to “a mango of cucumbers” and “mango of walnuts.”  Pretty soon almost anything that could be pickled was called a “mango.”   Apples, peaches, apricots, plums, even bunches of grapes, once pickled, became “mangoes,” usually in the form “mango of peach,” etc.  “Mango” even became a verb in the early 18th century meaning “to pickle.”

I read further and found that it's common in the mid-west states for folks to call green peppers "mangoes"....  especially in Ohio and Pennsylvania.  It went on to say:
The older generation in this area also referred to the green pepper as a mango, but as people became more educated and knowledgeable and of course more familiar with real mangoes this has diminished and really only heard by the older generation and even many of them have stopped once they became aware...  and I'm sure in some cases not to give away their age.

I can't remember how long ago I started calling green peppers by their correct name, but as many years ago as that's been....
I think of my Mom and her mangoes...  and I'll admit a big smile comes to my face just looking at them and remembering.

That's All For Today!


Monday, February 24, 2014

A Life Ends.... and Yet Goes On.....

No photos today, and you'll soon see why....

As usual, I headed into Coco this morning for 10:00 mass at the catholic church that's across from the soccer field.  I think it's The Church of the Virgin Mary, but I'm not sure of this....  I just kind of peeked over at the bulletin the person next to me was holding.  But, I'm getting ahead of myself....

Bill always walks into town with me...  he goes to the park, or goes to the grocery...  or just wanders around while I'm at mass.  As we're walking up to the church, we notice that a hearse is backed into the church entrance gate.  Hmmmm....  interesting....  something different.....

I'm always early....  sometimes the choir practices before services and I like to hear that.  Now...  keep in mind here that my Spanish is VERY limited.  Sure, I have a missal that has the English on one side and Spanish on the other side, so I can pretty much follow the readings.  As for the rest of the service, anyone who's gone to church in the past 60+ years already knows the Latin mass...  and knows the English...  so no matter what language it's being said in, it's not hard to follow along.  

Of course the sermon is something else....  and I'll admit right now I seldom know what's being said.

All that aside...  here I am, seated, as usual in the very last row....  and looking up the aisle towards the altar is a casket....  Right in the aisle....  on one of those scissor-like contraptions that I suppose collapse to fit in the hearse.  The casket is closed and here is a large bouquet of flowers on top....  

I try to look into the first rows...  is there a family all dressed in black?  Not that I can see.  Is anyone weeping and sobbing?  Not that I can see.

The mass starts...  same as always.  If there is any mention of the deceased, I've totally missed it.  The mass continues...  on through the readings...  and the gospel...  and the liturgy.  Now, I'm thinking here there'll be a eulogy or something....  not that I can tell.  

I'm beginning to wonder if there really is a body in that casket.  It doesn't look really big....  I might fit in it, but I don't think Bill would...  I quickly shake my head of these dumb thoughts....

Mass continues...  and ends.  Now it's time for the final blessing...

And, I guess it really is time for the FINAL blessing.  The altar boy brings the thing (looks like an ice cream scoop if you're not familiar with it) of holy water to the priest and he walks around the casket, giving the deceased a blessing.  Then the altar boy brings the scepter of incense...  and the priest walks around with more prayers.  

Now we all get the blessing at the end of mass and are "dismissed".....  I'm at the back of the church so am one of the first to leave.  It feels kind of odd to just walk out....  you know... leaving that casket up there...  shouldn't there be pallbearers carrying it to the hearse?  I did kind of pick up the priest's words...  either the interment will be after the 4pm evening mass...  or maybe it will be manana......  I'm not sure.

I meet Bill outside and we hang out a few minutes waiting to talk to Ann, who also attends this church.  We see the hearse parked at the entrance... several people are carrying flowers.  Ann tells us that the person she sat beside told her the deceased was an 83 year old man who had been ill for a while.  And, by the way, 83 is sounding younger and younger to me every year.

This has been a new experience for me....  and I can only say a prayer that the man will rest in peace and go with God.  I hope he had a happy life full of joy and love.

That's All For Today!


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Saturday... Birds and the Beach

The beaches get crowded on the weekends....  and the park that runs alongside the sea is full of picnickers, campers, food vendors and the like.  So we headed into Coco before 8am for our morning walk.

The swallows were back today...  hundreds of them...
Looks like more than one species to me....  
They are so darned fast when they fly over that it's hard to get an "action" shot.  Of course we can only imagine how many insects they are devouring.  We've had mosquitoes in our bedroom the past few nights....
Wonder if I could capture a few of these birds and turn them loose there?  Oh, but then I suppose we'd have a different problem.

I must look up "gecko"....  we have a couple that live in our condo.  If they eat mosquitoes they aren't doing a real good job right now.  These little guys are only about 3" or 4" in length, but you ought to hear them talk to each other around 3 or 4:00 in the morning!

And, we had a pair (well, at least 2... not sure of the sex) of Turquoise-browed Motmots again today...
Beautiful, isn't it?

Oh yeah...  our walk to town....
We like walking down to the beach...  there's always something interesting going on there.  Yesterday we met the young man who was building the sand sculptures...  I didn't get a picture of him beside his work, but as we talked, we learned his name is Edwin.  He's from a place in southern Costa Rica, and plans to go to college soon.  His English was quite good...  and when I complimented him, he told us he's having problems with using the right tense and things like that.  He thought maybe we could work together for his English and our Spanish...  but believe me, his English is FAR better than my Spanish!
His tent was gone today....  his sand sculpture looks to be in disrepair.  Guess we'll see what it all looks like tomorrow.

We decided to stay on the beach and not walk through town.  There is a tiny restaurant about a quarter of a mile up the beach that makes delicious smoothies.  Seemed like a good destination for an early Saturday morning.


I saw several of these fish laying dead on the beach.  Hmmmm....  not quite big enough to fix for dinner....
They made me think of sardines....
Or those little fishes they serve in bars sometimes...  you know... they are deep fried and you eat the bones and all????  I'll think of the name maybe around 2am in the morning...  or, I bet someone out there knows.

Anyway...  I had a Verde ? smoothie....  green mango, pineapple, orange juice, mint, honey and maybe something else.  Bill had a Gringo ?....  banana, pineapple...  heck, I don't know what all.  I only know that after we ordered and paid we waited outside at a table for at least a half hour before we were served.

Not all bad...  Steve and Ann bicycled by and we caught up on our lives.....

We walked the beach back and didn't even bother to walk into Coco....  sometimes the rush of the tide coming in... or going out...  and the sight of the seabirds...  and the boats in the harbor...  sometimes that's just enough.

That's All For Today!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Small Town Life.....

Not much going on here....  we had water problems again this morning....  not sure if our new neighbors took long showers while the water was turned off...  for that matter, we don't even know when the water was turned off...  our new holding tanks and pump are supposed to handle all that...  but... as we expected, those little 55 gallon drums just can't handle 4 people taking showers, doing dishes, flushing the toilet etc.  

Whatever....  we'll survive....

The washer started doing some crazy things.  And it's one of those top loaders that the lid locks when the water starts...  if you manually make it unlock, then the cycle starts all over again.  Bill reported the problem to Robert....  the washer apparently is new and still under warranty.  The repairmen just left a few minutes ago... said it's fixed.  Now....  wonder if I have enough water to do a load of laundry ;-)

On to the daily sightseeing tour....
We heard the howler monkeys as we were walking to Coco...  didn't expect to see any as the howling came from the other side of the hill.  But as we got to "the corner", this lone female was working on finding a meal up in that tree.  Usually the monkeys are in a group....  but twice now we've seen a loner right here.

And...  the biggest surprise!
Someone has done massive work on the Rickety Bridge!
There wasn't any tip-toeing or high-stepping today....
WhooooHoooo!  Bet it's good for another few weeks!

Just on the left of the above photo, we saw....
This cormorant was fishing in the creek.
There are tons of fish, from minnow up to about 6" (inches!!!!) in this creek.  We see cormorants hanging out on tree branches over the banks of the sea, but this was the first we've seen one our little creek.
(I stand corrected...  this is an anhinga..... that's what I get for being in a hurry)

Our daughter Michelle's birthday is today.  Happy Birthday Michelle...  hope you enjoy it as much (or even more) than you did your last one.  Now...  scroll past real fast, because we saw a snake on the beach today, and I just have to show it.






This is a "Yellow-bellied Sea Snake"
It was alive...  and apparently had gotten washed up with the tide.
I read up on them when we got home...  sounds like they are poisonous...  but there is an anti-venom serum and so no fatalities have been recorded.
Hmmmm..... comforting, isn't it?
He was maybe 18"-20" long (INCHES!), and had a neat pattern.  But... we left him alone and moved on past.

On into town...
Remember me writing that Guadalupe picked up our recyclables yesterday?  Well, I also wrote that he had a bicycle with a trailer attached....

WRONG!
He's quite modern....  has a motorcycle (small engine...  maybe a 125 or less?) with his trailer behind.  We saw him in town again today...  looks like he has a regular route as this was around 9am this morning and his trailer is nearly full.

One funny thing about walking into Coco...  we've "lived" here 2 months...  we often see folks we've come to know.  Today we saw Ann and Steve bicycling down the main street...  flagged them down and talked for a while.  We speak to Nelson at the Jardin Tropical...  saw Elvis walking into town and talked with him a few minutes.  Often we'll see Robert, our landlord....  or maybe Francine and Greg walking.  There are folks we always speak to but don't know their names....  
There's a lot to be said for living in a small town.  It's kinda nice!

That's All For Today!





Friday, February 21, 2014

Legal Stuff etc....

It's easy to fly into Costa Rica....  but everyone who leaves must pay a "tax" upon departure.  If you've ever crossed that bridge into Prince Edward Island, you know what I'm talking about...  doesn't cost a thing to get in, however, the toll to cross the bridge out costs about $30.  Well, here , it's about $30 a person to leave...

You can get this done at the airport, put there is a bank just on the east end of Coco where you can do it and avoid one more line at the airport....

We walked there today...
Yeah, it's another 4 weeks before we leave, but Bill & I are both folks who like to have our ducks in a row ahead of time.  So....  we walked our bods up there...  had passports in hand....  took a number and waited in line until it was our turn...
I took this photo through the window...  from the outside looking in.
Costa Rican banks are a little (!) different from the USA...  we had to go through security, including showing our passports, taking off our hats and sunglasses....  looking up into the security camera...  before being allowed to enter.  No problem....  all we want is to pay our exit tax, we don't want to rob the place.

After taking our number (#347) and waiting for maybe 20 minutes, we were summoned to one of the kiosks.....  
We paid our $31 (US dollars) each, got our exit forms to take to the airport....  and headed back down the road.

As we were walking up our hill..... and I've mentioned before that it's one heck of a BIG hill, we saw a guy who'd parked his bicycle...  one of those he'd attached a cart-like affair to the back.  We've seen him before, and were fairly certain he's one of the guys who collect recyclables to .... well recycle.  So we stopped and asked him if he'd take plastico......  he said, yes, he did....  we told him we live at the top of the hill.

We really don't have much aluminum to recycle...  most of what we buy is 2 litre bottles of Canada Dry or Green tea...  and we sure have a lot of those...
These bags are all filled with empty 2 liter bottles that can/should be recycled.

We trudged up the hill...  Bill got everything in order...  and eventually, Guadalupe, (yeah, that's his name) came up to see what we had.  He didn't push his big tricycle up the hill....  

But his eyes lit up when he saw our stash....
He carefully knotted all those bags together....
And headed back to his bike.
Bill gave him some "extra" colones for carting off our stuff...
Last we saw Guadalupe, he had a big grin on his face....  made him and us both happy today.

Later today we met our new neighbor...  Robin, who is a State Trooper in Michigan.  She and her cousin will be around for the next day or so.....  I almost put away my glass of wine when we were introduced, but instead decided to offer her a glass....

All Right!  She took a glass of red, and we sat around and talked for a half hour or so...

Hey, folks!  What more can a person ask for?

That's All For Today!


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Back on the Hill... and, of course, A Walk to Town....

It's a quiet day, up here on the hill.  Yeah, Bill & I walked into Coco this morning...  after our boat excursion yesterday we both felt the need to do some walking today.  And, of course, we always see something...

Today, as we were walking along the beach we saw this cord or rope...  all stretched out for a long way along the sand...
Finally saw where it led to...
A HUGE mess of tangled cord...  kind of looked like a heavy weight filament fishing line....  and those guys were trying to untangle it all.   A lot of the yarn I buy is just a hank of yarn... I have to wind it into a ball.  This mess kind of reminded me of my own messes that happen with my yarn sometime.  I really wanted to run up there and help find the end...  to start winding up a loose end...  What is it that's called?  Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?  Well, truth is, I kind of "subscribe" to that to some degree.....

This was another beach observance.....  only we happened on this scene last Sunday...
We're fairly certain that some people were being baptized....
See the 2 folks leading the guy in the middle?  There were some folks waiting out in the water to receive them.  We didn't want to intrude so didn't stay around to see it all....  

The group of people at the ocean's edge were singing.  We were too far off to tell what they sang, but, I couldn't help but start singing "We Shall Gather At the River".......   
Yeah, I know it's the ocean, but...  

Another sight we often see as we walk along this route...

This goose is tethered....  most of the time.....  at some bar along the ocean front.  He gets loose every now and then and we watch his owner herd him back home.   When we lived on our farm, our goose, Buford, would take off up the road every time it rained.  Bill finally solved that problem by building Buford (and his lady friend Lucy.... or Loosey) a small pond.  We lived about 1/3 mile off the County Road, and I could always tell when Bill was on his way home...  Buford would start honking all his goose-bellows about the time Bill's truck turned off the country road onto our township road.  I don't know how Buford knew the sound of Bills truck....  but I think of Buford when I see this guy along the beach.

Sometimes we stop for a fruit smoothie when we're in Coco....  Today I had the "Tropical"...  a blend of mango, papaya, pineapple fruits and orange juice.  Bill has one called "Dulce"...  which means "sweet"...  it's fruits as well, but also has banana and carob and cinnamon...  and I think something like yogurt.  Anyway...  we sit in front of the smoothie shop and watch the people...

We're never disappointed....


One of the more colorful tourists we've seen lately.....

Actually, she was even more impressive from the front...  but I won't go into that ;-)
I don't suppose she'll ever apply for some job that requires "no tattoos.... no ink"....  but if she did, she'd have to wear a complete cover-up to pass.

I got a chuckle out of Judy, the Bird Lady of Bloglands, comment about my last post.  Seems I turned that heron into a thirty foot critter instead of its 30 inches.  Well, heck, I've been known to exaggerate some, but, even my wild imagination has trouble conjuring up a bird that size...  hmmm...  maybe one of those crocodiles.....

We'll be leaving here 4 weeks from today.  I know...  seems like we just got here, but we've met folks who come here for a ONE WEEK vacation!!!!  How the heck do they do it?  
Today, at the grocery, I bought a 4 pack of toilet paper...  yeah, I try to calculate just how much of each thing we'll need for the rest of our stay here.
Don't laugh...
Would you want to run out of TP a day before you leave?

That's All For Today!




Palo Verde National Park

Bill & I had talked about things we wanted to see in our last month here and taking a boat trip on the Rio Tempisque in the Palo Verde National Park was high on the list.  As it happened, Steve and Ann, our long-time friends also were interested in that tour.  We all signed up for today's tour....

The travel agency we're both dealing with has had some turnover in personnel, and to make a long story short, Ann and Steve had to flag down another Plus Tourist Bus...  then direct them over to where we live...  or we'd never made that trip today.  

So, our 7:20 am pickup was at 8:00....  and that bus transferred us to another up the road just past Communidad.  Despite all that, someone had radioed ahead and the Palo Verde bus was waiting for us.

It's kind of a harsh drive to get to the Park...
We went through Filadelfia....  we might even want to take the bus back there sometime just to hang out in the city park for a while.  The roads are rough...  there's even some construction along the way.  It's mostly rural...  lots of sugar cane fields...  some cattle....  but it definitely has a beauty of its own.

We got to the area where the tourist boats are docked...  just as we arrived, our group immediately boarded our excursion boat...
 Looking out the front....  
The Rio Tempisque is a river that is affected by the tides.  It's so close to the ocean that it has brackish water...  a mix of salt water and fresh water.  Twice a day the elevation of the water changes as much a 6'-8'.  
Looking out the back...
As we were on it, the water was about 4' below the high stage.  

There's a lot of wildlife to be seen along the banks of this river and all day long the tourist boats chug up and down... pointing out whatever is to be seen at that time.....

Most folks want to see the crocodiles...
This tour boat was just ahead of us.......  and, you can see a fairly large croc...  about 4' from the boat.

We saw maybe 7 or 8 crocodiles altogether...  one was sunning himself on the river bank...  he was a 2 year old, measuring about 6' in length.  Since Bill & I saw so many crocs...  and such huge ones...  when we were in Costa Rica a couple of years ago, I'll admit I wasn't really impressed with the crocodiles we saw today.

One more shot of a croc...
Just a head shot....  ugly, isn't he?


Of course it was the birds we were interested in....

This Wood stork looks like it's headless....  not to worry...  just a bad photo.  

Bare-throated Tiger-Heron
A big bird...  30' in height......  he hung around long enough for everyone to take a shot of him...

The Green Kingfisher....
Only 7" in length...  it's the tiny, but oh! so colorful, little guy we see also see at the Rickety Bridge.

There were other birds.... kiskadees, social flycatchers, mangrove swallows, a few others....  but none that were new to our life lists.

Most people were more interested in the monkeys...
We saw several Howler Monkeys...
Doesn't this little guy look like he's disturbing Mama's nap?  

And we saw the White-faced or Capuchin Monkeys...
Totally different species...  and different in nature and habits.  The Howlers are vegetarians, the Capuchin are omnivorous.  Lots of other differences as well...

How about the "Jesus Christ" lizards?
 Honest! The locals really do call them by this name because they walk on water.


We saw many, many iguanas...
In fact, our bus driver made a special stop in the town of Filadelfia so we could all get out and see them in the city plaza.  I counted 6 in this tree.....  this was the biggest guy.  Seems it's mating season now and the males are quite protective of their turf.  If I remember correctly, they might have 5 or 6 females in their group (harem?) and are quite aggressive if they feel threatened.

Of course there's more than the birds, monkeys and crocodiles to look at.....
This Spider Lily just stood out and wanted us all to look...
Last time I saw one of these was in a wetlands area in Louisiana, so of course it was a welcome sight.

After our river boat tour, our bus took us to a restaurant that was waiting for us...
We were all served "family style"...  a delicious salad, red beans and rice, chicken, beef, some kind of squash, tortillas, and the best fried plantain I've ever had.  There was even ice cream for desert.

After lunch we boarded the bus and headed back to Coco, where we arrived somewhere around 2:30 or so.  The poor bus driver wasn't the same who'd picked us all up this morning, so he had quite a time figuring out where we all needed to be dropped off.

Bill & I got home around 3 pm....  quite tired, but so happy to have had such a great day.

That's All For Today!