Another outstanding photo for “Sightings from the Veranda”…Holy Moly!…Five days and counting…

White cows were grazing in a pasture.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

Tom Lyman, you never cease to amaze me!  What a shot of the classic “Froot Loops” cereal (per Tom) Toucan, technically known as the Rainbow-billed Toucan, aka the Keel-billed Toucan (different than the Toucan in our previous post with the Fiery-billed Aracari Toucan as shown here) taken in our yard in Atenas, Costa Rica. The veranda never disappoints as we wind down our time in this tropical country.

As Tom listened to his favorite podcast while sitting on the veranda in the late afternoon, “safari luck” prevailed once again as a stunning bird stopped by a distant tree. Tom has a good eye and keen vision with his glasses on, often observing a sighting long before me.

We were both pleased and surprised at how steady he was in taking this ideal shot of the colorful species, different from the Fiery-billed Aracari Toucan he’d captured a few weeks ago.

Here’s some information on this stunning bird from this site:

“Anatomy – Best known for its large bill, the keel-billed toucan is a large and colorful bird with black plumage, a bright yellow throat and cheeks, vibrant red feathers under its tail, and a yellow-green face. Its light green, the banana-shaped bill is splashed with orange and tipped with red and blue and can grow to be a third of the size of the toucan’s 20-inch body. Though cumbersome looking, the bill is relatively light because it is made of protein and supported by hollow bones. The toucan’s vast wings, however, are heavy and make flight laborious.
View over the valley as the clouds roll in.
Habitat – These unique birds are found in tropical and sub-tropical rainforests from southern Mexico to Venezuela and Colombia. The keel-billed toucan is crepuscular, meaning that it is most active during dawn and dusk. It lives in groups of six to twelve birds and rarely flies long distances because of its heavy wings — it is, however, quite agile hopping from branch to branch. The monogamous pairs make their nests in natural or wood-pecker created tree holes, taking turns incubating their eggs.
Diet – Keel-billed toucans feed primarily on fruits and eat insects, lizards, tree frogs, and even eggs. They consume their food by grasping it with their bill and quickly flipping it up into the air, and catching it in their mouths. They swallow their fruit whole and regurgitate the larger seeds while the smaller ones pass through their digestive systems. This method means that toucans play an essential role in reproducing the fruit trees they depend on. These beautiful birds are almost always seen feeding on fruits high up in the canopy; however, they will occasionally fly down to feed on the shrubs or catch a lizard from the undergrowth.
Threats – The species is not currently listed as endangered, but it is threatened by human activity. Habitat loss is a constant menace to the species’ populations. They are sometimes still hunted for their meat and ornamental feathers. At one time, they were prevalent in the pet trade, but it has since been revealed that their poor disposition makes them destructive pets. They’re valuable to Belize — where they are the national bird — bringing tourists who hope to catch a glimpse of their stunning plumage.”
Part of the road heading to downtown Atenas is closed due to the re-paving of the road.

This is the first photo we’ve captured in the wild of this particular Toucan. However, we’d seen several at the rescue facility, Zoo Ave, which we visited early in our stay, posting many photos over these past months.

Spotting this beautiful bird on the villa grounds only added to our exquisite experiences of spending most of our days outdoors in the pool area and lounging on the veranda. At the same time, we chatted, continued our continuing online research, and stayed in touch with family and friends.  It’s genuinely been blissful.

With relatively low taxi fares in town, locals and ex-pats often use taxi services to get around with the high cost of cars and trucks in Costa Rica. Each time we went into town, a 10-minute drive, the round trip taxi fare with a tip has been US $7.05 (CRC 4,000). 
We didn’t get out much in Costa Rica, mainly due to a lack of a rental car (costly here) and high costs for chartered tours at distant locations (we’ve “tightened our belts” for upcoming adventures). 

We arrived in Costa Rica during the rainy season, which also made sightseeing tricky when, at times when roads were washed out, and there were landslides and road closings. However, we’ve easily stayed well engaged and entertained during this past three months, reveling in the lush surroundings and vegetation, an ideal haven for birds and wildlife…equivalent to a rainforest in our yard.
We were surprised to find this vacant lot in town without a “for sale” sign (in Spanish, “en vente”).
As the time approaches for departure in five days, we feel a bit nostalgic. Last night, at dark, we sat on the veranda watching the village’s lights below in the valley and listening to the sounds of music and festivities that seem to permeate the air most nights. 

Now, with the weekend upon us, we’ll hear even more music well into the wee hours of the morning, pleasant Spanish dance music, as the little town of Atenas celebrates life.  We’re humbled and grateful to have been a part of it over this extended period while we anticipate what is yet to come…
Happy day!
              Photo from one year ago today, November 17, 2016:
Carlo, Michelle, friends we made on a prior cruise picked us up at the cruise terminal building in Fremantle, Australia, for a day of sightseeing in Perth and Freemantle. It was a memorable day. For more, please click here.