March 17th, 2005
Last night we arrived at San Jose and early this morning we flew to Golfilto, at the Golfo Dulce in Southern Costa Rica at the Pacific side. We were picked up by a small van that brought us to the Las Esquinas Lodge, at the border of the National Park Piedras Blancas. A nice lodge, located in a small valley with a beautiful garden full with blossoming plants, heleconia's, orchids etc. When we got out of the van, we saw already our first basiliscus basciliscus. A few minutes later tens of them, they just jumped away in front of our feet. Mainly semi adults and females, a few adult ones. You could get rather close to them. We also saw all kind of birds. After we brought our stuff to our cabin, we roamed straight ahead the large garden with our cameras. You also saw many anole species and geckos. In some large ponds you saw spectacled caimans. After lunched we hiked the Catarata trail. Soon we found our first frog, a rana warschewitschii. We also saw many colosthus talamancae. You saw them everywhere jumping away and you heard them everywhere, during the whole trail. We saw again many basiliscus and anole species, especially the Golfo Dulce anole (norops polylepis). At twilight we returned to our cabin and found 2 large bufo marinus right next to our door.
March 18th, 2005
This morning we went with José, our guide, at excursion. We told him we would love to see poison dart frogs, the dendrobatus auratus and phyllobates vittatus should live in this area. He told us, you indeed can find them, but now it is the driest season of the year and it has not been that dry since over 20 years. But with a little luck we could find them. We started again with the Cataratatrail. Already at the first steep slope José started to search between the leaves, so did we. After 10 minutes he found an auratus, a little later a second one. A complete photo shoot followed. As we continued the trail, we found a very beautiful boa contrictor in a tree, just aside the path. Since 2 days the boa was hanging in that tree told José, so we had missed him yesterday. Again we saw many anole species, new for us was the water anole (norops aquaticus). This one you never will find in the sun, you mostly find him next to little streams at rocks. If you pick him up, he can get into shock through overheat because your hands are too warm. At the 2nd cascade, the larger one, we saw the vittatus. We really had a good guide. He knew there had to be vittatus at the cascade, after half an hour searching, first at the upper course, then at the lower course, he found the first vittatus, a real beauty. But this one would not cooperate, he had not mind to a photo shoot and jumped of the slope. But a few minutes later José found another one, who was willing to cooperate. A little later at the stream at the border of the lodge garden we saw 2 fighting adult basiliscus males, it was a heavy fight, along this stream we found many adult males with tears in their crests, or that parts of the crests were torn away. But a few ones had still perfect intact crests and were really beauties. We also saw several ameivas festivas with their beautiful blue tails. This night we went at a night excursion with José, the Pagarotrail. First we went to the pool, there we found some masked tree frogs (smilisca paeota), one even was swimming in the pool. We also found at the border of the pool a fer-de-lance (bothrops asper), a very poisonous snake. José had brought some rubber boots for us, as we followed the stream for a while. In the stream we found several fer-de-lance and many tree frogs, especially the hyla pseudopuma. As we followed the path again, we saw a gorgeous emerald glass frog (centrolene proseblepon) and an enormous smokey jungle frog (leptodactylus pentadactylus), about 16 cm large. Also an adult fer-de-lance from over 2 meters. The little ones José often picked up, but with a large curve he passed this one. He was quite scared as Han wanted to take a picture of the large fer-de-lance. We also had told José that we would love to see a Gaudy leaf frog (agalychnis callidryas). As they sit in the dry season mostly high in the trees, out of sight, José had climbed some trees before we went at excursion and had caught a real beauty. At the end of the excursion, he released the frog, put him at a papaya tree, where he really was posing for us.
March 19th, 2003
This morning we went by mountain bike, in the full sun with José to the El Chorro cascades. First to the village La Gamba, where José lives, then to the right, to the mountains. There you saw at right a house at the slope. We put up our bikes and followed the little path left of the house to the cascade. First we climbed the steep left side of the cascade, within a few minutes José had found the first granuliferus, but this one jumped straight ahead of the slope. It took a little while before he had found the second one. This time José caught the frog, as it was at such a steep part, so we took a photo shoot at the foot of the cascade and brought him back to the place where we found him. In the afternoon we hiked the Ocelot-La Fila trail by ourselves. Again many rana warschewitschii, colostethus talamancae and anoles. We just saw a few basiliscus, they appear to prefer living close to water. This path was partly at a mountain rigde. At the lodge it was full with basiliscus along the ponds and streams, also when we crossed little streams.