Let me proudly introduce you Mr. Spotter.
Over this one year sabbatical in Costa Rica Frank has developed a super good eye for wildlife spotting. So much that he has started to beat the tour guides.
“Except for the Green Ibis”, he would add. I can almost hear his voice.
I had been noticing for a while. Actually, it started in Monteverde one year ago. We had just arrived in Costa Rica so to say and we had had barely a month of holidays and wildlife watching from the porch (as the lazy birdwatcher). And then we went a couple of days to the mecca of birdwatching: Monteverde.
On the first day, we did a birdwatching tour with the -hitherto- most amazing birwatching guide we have had in Costa Rica. Totally unbeatable. I was mesmerized. Frank was challenged. And he learns fast. Very fast.
On the second day in Monteverde we took a normal tour in the Monteverde Could Forest. The guide would go on and on talking about this tree or the history of the reserve with the group and Frank would go 20 meters behind, with his binos, pointing out to the guide the animals that he had just missed: a forest hawk here, a pair of emerald toucanets making the nest there …and even the mighty quetzal. Mr. Spotter was born.
Over time, Mr Spotter has REALLY got better and better. Sometimes, he only needs a glimpse, not even with the binos, to nail which bird it is. It goes something like that:
Me after seeing a small whitish bird: “I think that it is a gnatcatcher”
Mr Spotter: “I don’t think so”. “It had a orange beak, with some black at the top, and the legs were yellow and not black. And it had a black brow over the eye and an eye ring”.
Me (thinking): And you saw all that in a second? Shit!
One day, we were having breakfast in the terrace, enjoying the birds when Mr Spotter suddenly grabbed his binos, and said. Yes! those are wood storks. I looked around and I, of course, saw NADA. Storks are huuuuuge birds and there was no bird in the air and definitively not a single stork in my eye range.
“And there are many.” He added
“Where?” I asked.
“There. Can you see this tree?” yes- (the tree was at 5-10 meters)
Behind, can you see a very large tree in the horizon? yes (THAT tree was about a couple of kilometers away)
Can you see some white spots on the top?
I could glimpse that there was something indeed. I took the telescope and bingo, there they were indeed. A very large group of migrant wood storks that had slept in the tree on their way to South America. A very rare sight. And one that I would had completely missed hadn’t it been for Mr Spotter.
Mr Spotter has only one gap. He cannot see the ground snakes. That is a bit unhandy, since the most dangerous and lethal snakes are ground snakes (like the fer-de-lance).
But I am certain that he will, if he gets the time.