Monday, 6 August 2012

Ant Plague

Monday August 6
We survived a plague of flying ants in our bedroom last night - by slapping them with a flip flop for a long time before it felt safe enough to go to bed. They seemed to be dropping from a cavity free ceiling.....I sprayed repellant on the mattress behind our beds, that put the b.....s off.
To-night, the same thing happened over dinner, we had to make a dash for the office. Huge clouds of ants formed below each light and then fell on us when the fan was turned on. Memo. Don't turn the fans on !!
The staff seemed bemused by it all. Obviously not a regular occurrence. After a lovely day, we are now sweltering in the dark hole office so, I will leave the account to another occasion. If our bedroom is pest free, I will write to-day's happenings on Word and transfer it to-morrow. Meanwhile Pam is watching a gekko eating up the ants that entered the room with us.
Well, our room is relatively bug free to-night – apart from the splats on the wall, evidence of last night’s invasion.  Double whammy, I mimed fly spray to the night watchman so we are armed, Pam’s sprayed around the door too. It didn’t make for a restful night, I only had about three hours sleep before to-day’s long day, a 45 minute drive to El Chiru and its immense paddy fields, before lunch at a beach house in Playa Santa Clara. I napped most of the way to the first stop, after a 5.30 a.m. breakfast.
Our first walk was along a long, straight road lined with trees where we added Crested Bobwhite Quail, Brown-throated Parakeets, Blue Ground-dove and Pale-eyed Pygmy-tyrant, amongst others.

 Brown-throated Parakeet
After obtaining permission from the boss, we spent the next 3-4 hours driving through and round a massive paddyfield complex with some walking. A plethora of birds too, our idea of bliss, under a cloudless sky for a change. Such a huge area, the paddies in various stages of use. Herons, Egrets Ibis and Wood Stork in some, migrant waders in the wet, muddy harvested stretches.The latter included Solitary, Pectoral Semi-palmated, Least and Spotted Sandpipers. A juvenile Green Heron posed nearby, whilst a few Black-winged Stilts picked their way along as though wearing high heels. Lovely. 

 Juvenile Green Heron - shame about the background!
A Southern Lapwing obliged too (all photos to be added later at home, internet too slow to download my daily newspaper – but I’m getting Olympics results on the Sky Sports app. on my IPad).

Southern Lapwing
The usual posse of Vultures was joined by Yellow-headed Caracara and some Lesser Yellow-headed Vultures. An Aplomado Falcon was too distant to photo.

Yellow-headed Caracara  - O Sole Mio
As we crossed a small stream, a Spectacled Caiman head showed in the shade of a bush.

Some excellent Hummers to-day too including the near endemic Veraguan Mango - recently found in Costa Rica too. I really wanted to see that.

Veraguan Mango - distant and much enlarged BUT a near endemic.
After a stroll in the increasingly oppressive heat, looking for the Hummers etc, we drove to a rather nice Beach House at Santa Clara, part of the Juan Hombron Beach. The house belongs to the founder of the Canopy Family, Raoul. 

Pam and I sat on the back decking enjoying the view of a milky, but bright blue, sea dotted with a few fishing boats, one of which was festooned with Brown Pelicans. The awesome and beautifully streamlined Magnificent Frigatebirds cruised endlessly overhead, Turkey Vultures joined the display – and Eliecer and Fernando prepared our lunch in the kitchen.

Magnificent Frigatebird - one of many I took. How to choose?
Turkey Vulture overhead. I kept my mouth closed and my fingers crossed.

After a blissful hour and a half, time for some more hot-wandering along scrubby lanes in search of small birds, we stroll whilst Eliecer whistles his heart out in search of birds for us.

Fork-tailed Flycatcher
 It was slow going but we saw some good ones including Whooping Motmot.
In at 6, list at 6.30 and then our exclusive dining a deux before the dash to the office.
Two half days to-morrow, our last sessions before starting our way home on Wednesday. That means that we get a 3 hour break in the middle of the day. Phew.

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