Ok, I admit it, the Montezuma Oropendola courtship worked for me!

Meet a Montezuma Oropendola, they are, quite simply, one of the most impressive and incredible birds that I have had the pleasure of spending time with. Not only are they a joy to look at, they are also incredible to watch. The thing is, you hear them before you tend to spot them. Despite them being quite big birds, it’s not their bulk which attracts your attention in the treetop canopy, it’s their many display sounds which range from the crackling of sheet lightning to the most bizarre gurgling, all of which is designed to attract females.  We were fortunate enough to be in Costa Rica during their breeding season and we spent many a happy hour in our treetop cabin watching their elaborate courtship rituals which involve the male swinging forward on the branch to display his beautiful yellow tail feathers whilst gurgling as loud as he can. Heck – even I was attracted – this is seriously attractive stuff! However, I was not the intended audience, and if the display is not up to scratch, females will choose to mate with a superior performer. The stakes are high! Costa Rica is a truly amazing country, and if you get the chance to visit I urge you to do so.  Photos from our trip are available in

After the day trips…

As the sun sets, an empty river boat returns to dock on the narrow spit of land that is Tortuguero, Costa Rica, closely followed by a barely visible silhouetted bird in flight. Tortuguero National Park is located on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, and covers an area of 77,032 acres (31,174 ha). Tortuguero is bordered on the north by the Barra del Colorado Wildlife Refuge (with habitats and climate similar to Tortuguero), to the south by the mouth of the Parismina River and the Cariari National Wetlands, the town of Tortuguero at the mouth of the Tortuguero River, and the Dr. Archie Carr Wildlife Refuge, which is a biological station to carry out turtle tagging program run by the Caribbean Conservation Corporation (Now known was the Sea Turtle Conservancy). The park has worked with the neighboring village of Tortugueroto help its inhabitants understand that preserving their natural resources is the key to encourage eco-tourism. It’s a stunning place to visit – as a tourist you can watch the sea turtles lay eggs in the evening, take a dawn boat ride to spot Boa Constrictors lazing on tree branches, sloths hanging from branches and monkeys bounding through treetops, then in the afternoon you can take a kayak out by yourself to explore the narrow waterways of this incredible place.

Hi, I’m Geoffroy, please to meet you

A spider monkey splays its body across a fern-like tree, making it difficult to work out which limb is which. Geoffroy’s spider monkey is considered endangered by the IUCN, as it’s primarily distributed amongst the narrow tracts of rainforest in Central America and is susceptible to habitat loss through deforestation.  This is seen from the riverways around Tortuguero, Costa Rica. Additional images from our trip to Costa Rica can be viewed in the Taraji Blue online photo gallery. If you like our images and informative blogs then why not help us spread the word about Taraji Blue. We’d really appreciate any thoughts, comments, shares and likes. You can follow us on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/tarajiblue , on twitter at https://twitter.com/TarajiBlue and connecti with Alistair and myself on Google+.

Hypno-Toad, a Crazy Storm, Johnny Walker and The Milky Way.

Hypno-Toad, a Crazy Storm, Johnny Walker and The Milky Way… not the usual way to celebrate ten years of marriage, but it was certainly memorable and I would not change it for the world. Our ten year wedding anniversary plans changed at the last minute – we were supposed to be watching Atlantis take to the skies in Florida, but the shuttle flight was rescheduled and we were therefore lumbered with a return flight to Florida which we had to take. We therefore took the flight and then connected at last minute to San Jose in Costa Rica – a move which was largely last minute, but became one of the best travel decisions we’ve made. Counting the pennies, we booked ourselves into largely cheap and spartan accommodation – but refused to compromise on views and experience. That’s how we found ourselves in a tiny one bed hut on the hills surrounding Arenal Volcano on the evening of our tenth wedding anniversary. After zip-lining through the rainforest that afternoon we’d settled on a nice steak in the restaurant that evening,  followed by a whisky on the plastic, rickety chairs outside our accommodation. As the sky blackened, we were treated to a welcome cool breeze and the distant sound of thunder. As the temperature  dropped, huge cane toads emerged from the undergrowth and

Tyres and Teeth

I could not celebrate Costa Rica week here on Taraji Blue withour re-sharing this blog post. First written and shared back in May 2011 it’s a tale of pure stupidity, naivety and sheer determination… and it is one of my favourites… Well I never knew there was any such place where one could have their tyres repaired and their teeth whitened in Costa Rica – less so did I ever imagine we’d end up there! This is a tale of jeopardy, bad luck and pure stupidity. Lets start with the stupidity….in one of the most remote places in Costa Rica,  30k from the nearest village, we parked our car for three nights whilst we took a boat to Tortuguero and promptly but accidentally left the lights on. On our return the battery was inevitably dead. Thus followed 2 hours of phone calls and negotiation with local farm workers and coach drivers to procure the necessary battery, spanner and jump leads.  We tried the jump leads first, but the battery was too dead to respond, we so watched as the last tourists departed the car park and drove off into the distance. In very broken Spanish, and using a free Daily Mail Spanish guide, we half explained our predicament to locals with lots