Note: The following is a reproduction of the field journal I kept from my first summer in Costa Rica in June and July 1996, when I was a student at La Suerte Biological Station. This was the first time I’d ever left the United States for a country other than Canada. I’ve typed out the writing and included photos of the drawings when present.
June 21, 1996 8:44 PM
Finally arrived at Finca La Suerte at 4:30 PM. The bus ride to Cariari was beautiful beyond expression, majestic waterfalls tumbling hundreds of feet down the green-clad faces of volcanic mountains. The bus was an Isuzu Superbus with butterflies painted on the side.
Can’t think of sleeping. Mosquitoes not as bad as expected but relentless. Plenty of them in the room. A bat visited us in the room tonight for lunch. Dinner was quite tasty with lasagna, spaghetti, bread, and salad.
Plenty of spiders around my bed and have heard scorpions are a major problem. I need to shake out all my clothing before wearing it.
Birds are phenomenal:
Ruddy Ground Dove
Sunday, June 23, 1996, 9:55 PM
The birding has been phenomenal! I must say the primo sighting was a CRESTED OWL (dark phase) which I called in for astonished observers last night. It makes a low “grrrrrrrRRRR” while puffing out its throat. We saw a light phase tonight. I would like to find a nest as the guide says that the nest is undescribed. The bird was reminiscent of Satan and somewhat evil-looking, with red eyes and large white horns.
We also saw a GREAT POTOO tonight fairly closely. We got good looks in a spotting scope and also saw it fly overhead while listening to WHITE-BREASTED CRAKES. Some of the better birds lately are:
Various woodcreepers including the rare Strong-billed Woodcreeper
The bird of the day yesterday was a LAUGHING FALCON which we watched for upwards of a half hour. Today we saw WHITE-COLLARED MANAKINS on their lekking grounds.
So far, I’m really enjoying this place. The only drawbacks are the relentless biting and stinging invertebrates and the constant sweating. Tonight I’m attempting to heal from a mysterious bite on my leg, which has swollen my left ankle like a balloon and made it almost impossible to walk.
Well, it’s time for bed… good night.
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