Tuesday, September 16, 2014

La Hesperia

I just spent the past weekend in La Hesperia which is a cloud forest I conveniently never blogged about the last time I was there. "Cloud forest" is an odd term and unless you're a biologist or someone who's vacationed in Costa Rica it brings a strange visual to mind.

Artist's rendition.

A more technical name for these places would be "tropical premontane moist forests." I don't know why that name never caught on. While they aren't floating above rainforests on clouds, they are higher than rainforests in elevation along mountains. The name is not completely misleading though; cloud forests are shrouded by... (you guessed it) clouds for at least part of the day. Due to the readily available moisture this is where forests start to look really lush and tropical with plants growing on plants. 
Frogs also like wet places, but surprisingly there weren't many out and about like last time. I guess they didn't like how I violently grabbed them out of their daily routine to take a million pictures of them. Or rather, the last time I was here was during a wetter part of the year when more frogs were reproducing tiny froglets to place on your finger. But there are always insects, so you'll have to entertain yourself with these leaf cutter ants who decided to add some color in their life by bringing flower petals back to the nest. 
But the real reason people come to cloud forests is for the birds. Like actual birds. I did see toucanets, tanagers, and barbets which is English for "colorful tropical flying things," but they're hard to photograph so here is an underwhelming, but humorous bird called an ani.
I could eat it, but I'm watching my figure.
Contemplating dinner. 

While birds are nice (if you're into that) the true jewel of the cloud forests are the lizards. Except, there aren't many lizards in the cloud forest. And they're hard to find. Actually, the cloud forest is a truly horrible place to go lizard hunting, something I found out last year the hard way. But it makes finding them all the more enjoyable or something like that. 
Sweet gemmosus Brown
Gee, what a sappy ending.

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