Sometimes you have to brag a little. This photo of a red-eyed tree frog in Costa Rica was selected by Natural Habitat Adventures in their “Wildlife Photo of the Day” competition. I’ve entered photos in the past, but this is the first time I’ve won.
With a few days remaining before I leave for a blissful two weeks of internet-free snowshoeing in the Canadian Rockies, I’ll add another post or two on my trip to Costa Rica. The big birds are easy to identify; the small stuff will take a lot longer.
The Toucan tribe is almost as colourful as the macaws, and we were fortunate to see several species. The Emerald Toucanet posed regally for us.
There’s nothing regal about the others.
Although “Kill Bill” tried.
But this fellow didn’t.
For a regal-sounding name, nothing beats the Montezuma Oropendola. And he’s handsome enough to carry the name.
And of course, we need a parrot.
The remaining bird almost didn’t make it into this category; I think the red legs saved it.
I’ll give him one more chance to show off.
Sometimes I get lucky. The macaws flew only once before retiring to the trees where it was cooler. I set my Lumix FZ1000 to 400 z00m, aimed skyward, fired a burst, and hoped. When I cropped the specks in the frame, I discovered that the camera had captured their magnificent flight.
Macaws are clowns. It’s impossible to take them seriously, but their beauty is impossible to ignore.
We spent a long time with these birds, which are quite tame because they are raised and fed in this location.
The bird we all hoped to see, of course, was the elusive quetzal. They hide deep in the trees, usually obscured by branches and almost always in a dark place. We were fortunate to see several and follow them until we managed to get some clear shots.
More to come from my trip to Costa Rica. There are big birds, small birds and a lot of creatures that aren’t birds, enough material for quite a few posts.
I promise to finish my blogs on the Firth River as soon as I return from two weeks of snowshoeing in the Canadian Rockies. But I just got back from an eight-day photo tour of Costa Rica and have to share some of the delights. A great many places have learned that by putting out a feeder or even hanging some flowers from a branch will attract hummingbirds and tourists. It would have been nice to capture the birds at random in the bush, but feeders make photography so much easier. Below are my favourites from three locations.
This will be a quick post as I am about to leave for Mexico and Costa Rica. The Firth has many rapids but none as wild as those at Sheep Creek. On my first trip, all guests rode the rafts, but policy has changed. On the second and third trips, we hiked up to a viewpoint while the guides took the rafts through one at a time. What follows in a mix from two trips.
There’s lots more to show about the Canyon Reach, but that’s for a later post (probably not for a few weeks).
An ancient, gentle landscape, untouched by the overpowering forces of glaciation. Since the British Mountains arose in the Tertiary Period, only erosion has shaped the rounded summits and smooth slopes, broad flood plains, and fluvial and bedrock terraces.
Parks describes the Firth in terms of four regions. The first, which we did not visit, is the Aufeis Reach which provides much of the flow in the river in summer. Aufeis is water that trickles up from the ground and freezes in layers. We would see a lot of it further downstream, but we landed in the Mountain Reach where it had all melted.
The terrain throughout the Firth makes for easy hiking, but because the river changes course from year to year, it may not be possible to repeat a hike you did on an earlier trip.
The landscape is perhaps more dramatic in its history than visually. Over the millennia, rain, wind, freeze-thaw, and gravity have weathered the slopes, exposing the bedrock and moving bits of it downhill to form bedrock terraces, just as the river, in cutting through the earth, has left behind fluvial terraces.
Compare a typical scene from the Canadian Rockies.
The Rockies are much older than the British Mountains, but because of recent glaciation, erosion has had little time to wear down the rock. Note also the hanging valleys, some of which still hold glaciers.
Another feature which one does not see in glaciated mountains is tors, which are rocky outcroppings on lower slopes and ridges.
Life on the river can be lazy and comfortable or absolutely miserable, depending on what the weather gods dictate.
Campsites are wherever you want to put in and are generally welcoming and scenic.
Every party camps at Wolf Tors and on each of my trips we have spent two nights there.
Of course, the Firth has moods. On my third trip we were less fortunate.
One day, I may do a post on the travels of my little Hilleberg Jannu tent. It’s been through a lot and has never failed me.
After Wolf Tors, we entered the Canyon Reach and some exciting rapids. That’s for the next post.
I don’t like cities, although I live in one and appreciate the amenities it offers. I don’t pretend to know Yellowknife, but I like it. It’s the capital of the Northwest Territories and its only city.
Four days between rafting trips gave me time to do laundry, plan a couple of hikes (mosquitoes quickly suggested a different itinerary) and visit the old town, which was a pleasant 30 minute walk from my hotel. First Nations, ravens, bedrock, quirky buildings, and Great Slave Lake: those are the images I remember. But even more, I remember how everyone I met while walking smiled and said “Hello.” That doesn’t happen in my city, where people seem afraid to look you in the eye.
From my hotel, I could see the lake in the distance, a generous swatch of the huge northern sky, and one of the brightly coloured buildings that are plentiful in places like Yellowknife, Whitehorse and Inuvik, but sadly lacking in Canadian cities farther to the south. When snow covers the ground for much of the year, what’s wrong with some blue, red, green, purple and yellow to break the monotony?
The historic old part of the city is especially colourful, with new beauty every few steps.
Quirky houses are everywhere.
But the real beauty of Yellowknife is the lake.
I never did the hikes I planned. Just walking around the city, chatting with the friendly locals, including some who were down on their luck but no less friendly, was enough for this visit.
Will I be back? Of course. The North is a magnet that keeps reeling me in. And this trip, which began on the Nahanni, was not at an end. From Yellowknife I flew to Inuvik and a rafting trip on the Firth. That’s for future posts.