Dead set on getting started on the right foot and getting this trip turned around, Brian and I awoke at our impromptu hotel early and hit the road. We would not waste another day. We spotted a DOR boa on the side of the road, grabbed some quick voucher pics and moved on. We arrived at one of our destinations an hour or so later, and we set out to hike with the day in front of us.
Right off the bat, I turned up the ubiquitous cane toad, Chaunas marinus.
We would be exploring a drier part of the country for the next couple of days. The habitat looked very different from the rest of the trip.
We explored for a few hours but weren't about to turn up too much.
We found a number of Leptodactylus poecilichilus clustered around areas with water.
As well as Incilius valliceps.
Unfortunately, about this time, early afternoon, clouds rolled in the heavens opened over us. We made the few km hike back to the car in the rain without turning up anything else. We decided to take advantage of the rain to get situated with our lodging for the night. We were going to stay at the Palo Verde research station, but the nice hosts at the first bed and breakfast recommended a couple that owned a farm, had some cottages and reported they had rattlesnakes on the farm! Being one of our primary targets, we decided to check it out. We pulled into the farm mid afternoon, and it was nice and sunny here. We were able to get a nice clean room for $45 a night, extra for meals. The meals were home cooked, and were by far the best food we had all trip. The farm was situated on a river, with its own native crocodiles, and the owner even had a couple of the rattlesnakes he had caught on his property the last few years. Herper heaven...
We checked in and quickly hit the trails. Within a few minutes, we noticed projectiles being thrown our way. Looking up in the large trees over the property, we spotted large numbers of howler monkeys and spider monkeys.
Basilicus vittatus from the farm.
A much darker Incilius valliceps
Boatbilled Herons along the river.
Unfortunately, the river water was high and we never did lay eyes on one of the resident crocs.
We were enjoying one of the trails over the farm, basically through floodplain, then farm pasture and secondary growth forest when the trail ran into a barbed wire fence. We could see the sign posts on the other side of the fence, but all the fences so far had a form of gate. Not this one. We were complaining about having to go under through the mud, or try to climb over, when Brian spotted a turtle right at our feet. I am sure we would have missed it had there been a gate...
Otherwise, we enjoyed nice vistas and the local troupe of spider monkeys prior to a delicious dinner.
We enjoyed our meal greatly and quickly headed out for some road cruising. This was a tough night. Snakes were moving, but we were destined to only find them flattened.
Leptodactylus labialis that I stupidly opted not to photograph better...?
And the heartbreaker, still squirming Micrurus nigrocinctus
Things slowed down, and we continued to cruise for a few more hours. Another DOR porthidium, and a DOR boa and I started to work my way home. Brian was dead asleep in the passenger seat when right by the turn off to the motel, I noticed a very alive coral booking it across the road. I straddled the snake, yelled coral, and Brian was surprisingly out the door with tongs lickity split. It was a large one, and refused to be corralled on the road. We tried the tongs as a last resort, as well as forceps. It was almost too big for forceps and too small for tongs. You can see where this is going... As Brian was booking it to the car, he made the mistake of taking the route near the edge of the road. The snake squirmed loose and vanished in seconds off the road. There was a very heated and furious exchange of words as our first live snake in 3 days, and one of our main targets was lost quickly, and all the pent up emotion and frustration of the past few days quickly boiled over. To make matters worse, I noticed this pancake on the walk back to the car...
With a third or fourth wind now caught, we cruised a few more hours near the hotel, where a recent drizzle had wet the road. While not super productive, we were bummed to find DOR Leptodeira annulata and Gymnopus multiplicata
We finally turned in, feeling good about evidence of animals moving, but still bummed about the lack of live specimens to show for it. Luckily, tomorrow is always another day...
Check out Costa Rica Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV and Part V.