Howler monkeys begin their earthy growl just before dawn and, as the sun warms, their sound becomes louder and more urgent. Territory, territory.
Scarlet macaws soon appear, screaming through the sky. As the sun rises and temperature too, an electric buzz of thousands of insects, rubbing their wings and legs reaching a crescendo of sexual invitation.
Dawn at the Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica.
It gets hot and humid quickly on the Osa Peninsula. Take a walk and you will see White-faced monkeys peering down at you and a Lesser Anteater, indifferent to you but not indifferent to a nest of ants. Breakfast.
I stayed at Luna Lodge , a lovely eco-resort on a steeply wooded slope in the forest. It is not inexpensive but if you get a chance to visit, do so. https://lunalodge.com/
A few hours east and at the edge of the Talamanca Mountains, I stayed at the Wilson Botanical Gardens. https://www.lonelyplanet.com/costa-rica/san-vito/attractions/wilson-botanical-garden/a/poi-sig/1198175/358366
The Gardens are a jumping off point to the Talamanca Mountains, home to more species of trees than the United States, and home to the elusive bird, the resplendent quetzal. I joined an old friend, Alan Poole, an ornithologist who is writing a book about the Quetzal.
We spent many hours hiking the forest, seeing many species of plants and evidence but no sightings of the bird. As is not uncommon when birding, we were on the way back to our car when I walked up to a large fig tree with soft orange fruits. There were five quetzal flying from the fig to a small-fruited avocado.
We jumped up and down like young boys, excited by this beautiful bird.
It was as good a day as good days get.
Back at the garden there were more good days, and many good plants.
Framed by a large Cecropia, a view of the Talamanca Mountains.
I have visited Costa Rica many times. I will visit again.