Curi Cancha reserve

It was time to visit our first nature reserve during our Monteverde stay. There are many reserves in the area to choose from, and we were looking for reserves that were a) not too expensive to visit, b) possible to get to without a car, and c) had lots of birds and animals! 🙂

The Curi Cancha reserve had the advantage of being within walking distance of the town area of Monteverde where we were staying, and also had areas of open space as well as forest – which can make it a bit easier to find the animals. The trade off is that the forest is not as ‘exotic’ looking as the higher up cloud forest reserves. It’s also known for being a lot quieter than the more famous reserves such as the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.

As we hate people and like animals then this looked like a good choice 🙂 (We don’t REALLY hate people… 😉 )

The way in to Curi Cancha reserve.

Once inside we found it to be a nice quiet reserve with a mix of field type areas and forest – and we set about tracking down our main target for the day – the three-wattled bellbird.

This is a very famous bird, as it has a very distinct call and a very distinct look. There are less than 20,000 of them in the world, and they are only found in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras. They make a very weird-sounding ‘boing’ noise – but only the males, and only between March and June… luckily for us it was April! 🙂 Without the noise we would have had absolutely no chance of finding this bird.

Even with the noise they are very hard to spot high up in the trees, let alone get a photo of one of them. We spent the first hour or so following the noise and giving ourselves sore necks by trying to find this bird.

How are you supposed to find a bird in there?!
PB looks longingly for the three-wattled bellbird.
So many trees, so few three-wattled bellbirds…

The ‘boing’ noise was everywhere – but even when it seemed to be coming from directly overhead there was never a bird in sight 🙁 Probably you are wondering what this ‘boing’ noise sounds like? Yes, well for some reason we were a bit dumb and didn’t even shoot a small video of the trees when the ‘boing’ was happening so that we could have a recording of it… yes, we are such losers.

However, we are also winners! 🙂 That’s because later on we found an armadillo! YAY! 🙂 Not only that, but we filmed the armadillo and accidentally got the bellbird ‘boing’ noise at the start of the video :-). Yes, so now you are WINNERS too – because not only do you get to see a video of an armadillo, you also get to hear the bellbird ‘boing’ right at the start…

Yes, the ‘boing’ is RIGHT at the very start – don’t be distracted by the beautiful armadillo. If you are REALLY interested in the ‘boing’ then I’m sure you can find more extensive ‘boings’ on YouTube…

So… now you know what the ‘boing’ sounds like, I am sure that you are desperate to know if we found the bird?

YES WE DID! 🙂 Check him out…

The three-wattled bellbird. We had to work VERY hard to get this photo!

After the excitement of the bellbird had subsided, we continued walking the trails – ending up in a nice picnic area for lunch.

It’s hard to get good photos in the dark forest…
Check out all the ‘fake eyes’ on this butterfly’s camouflage.
Emerald toucanet.
The emerald toucanet has caught an insect.
More forest walking.
Resplendent quetzal.
View over lake Arenal.
We’ve arrived at the picnic area!

One of the nice things about the picnic area is that it has an area of hummingbird feeders. Nice! 🙂 So you can watch hummingbirds while you eat your lunch, which is always a bonus! 🙂

Lesser violetear.
A hungry hummingbird at the feeder.
Beautiful hummingbird (It’s unidentified – that’s not the name of the species! :-))

After lunch we hit the trails again – but clearly we had used up all our photography energy on the bellbird, as we didn’t get very many good photos 🙁

PB hits the trail again.
Rufous mourner.
Here is our friend the nine-banded armadillo.

By the end of the day we had seen lots of cool things: a couple of quetzals, a toucanet, THREE armadillos, some coatis, capuchin monkeys, and a fair few birds – no complaints at all – this reserve had exceeded our expectations!

There was just time for one more nice surprise…. as we were walking down the road away from the reserve we spotted a motmot on a tree right next to the road. This motmot was VERY friendly and cooperative, and just sat there while we took lots of photos from close range – if only every bird was like this motmot, then we would have much better photos! (Unfortunately it was very low light, so the birds also need to stay still in a well-lit area… 🙂 )

So here are three pictures of the motmot (yes, he is so beautiful it requires three photos… 🙂 )

Check out the beautiful lesson’s motmot.
The motmot can look in both directions.
Final picture of the motmot with its tail in full glory!

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