Jan 29 2017
On a birding trip in Costa Rica:
Today we’ll be birding at Carara National Park on the Pacific Coast where I expect to see monkeys and the park’s most famous bird, the scarlet macaw.
Encountering monkeys in the wild is a new experience for me. Because we humans are the only primates who live outside subtropical zones most of us only see primates in captivity.
At Carara we’re likely to see white-headed capuchins (Cebus capucinus), shown above. These diurnal monkeys are highly intelligent and very social, living in troops of about 16 individuals that are mostly female kin because the males move around. White-headed capuchins love to use tools and are so smart that they can be trained in captivity to assist paraplegics.
If we hear an otherworldly roar like a dinosaur, it’ll be a mantled howler monkey (Alouatta palliata). The howlers roar both day and night but can be hard to find.
Today’s highlight, though, will be the beautiful wild scarlet macaws (Ara macao).
These huge members of the parrot family have a wide range — from Central to South America — but they need a lot of territory that’s remote from humans in order to survive. Carara provides that space.
I hope to see scarlet macaws flying, as in the photo below. I’ve seen green-winged macaws (Ara chloropterus) in free flight at the National Aviary but seeing scarlets — and in the wild — will be a real treat.
(photos from Wikimedia Commons. Click on the images to see the originals)
Day 3: Carara National Park