Friday, February 26, 2010

Tovara Springs

Today we rode a panga along a meandering channel through an enormous wetland, ending at a beautiful spring at the foot of the mountains. Mangroves lined the lower reaches, while towering figs shaded the upper stretches. The trees were filled with bromeliads and other epiphytes. Along the way, our guide Oscar pointed out the many interesting birds and other wildlife.

We saw wood storks, white ibises, nighthawks, anhingas, chachalacas, tropical kingbirds, and a number of "snail-eating eagles" (still haven't identified that species).

We couldn't get a good picture of the boat-billed herons, so thanks to Patrick Coin for sharing this photo via Wikimedia Commons.

There were also large turtles, iguanas, and crocodiles ranging from foot-long juveniles to a couple of 4-meter long beasts.

At Tovara Springs, Vicki and I both went swimming in the crystal-clear water. For some reason, none of the other tourists swam, perhaps fearing the crocs. We weren't worried - the tour operators had posted large "keep out" signs just below the springs, and told us the crocs were both literate and law-abiding.

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