Spotting the Exotic and Rare: Wildlife in the Sierpe Mangrove Reserve
The Osa Peninsula is one of the most protected regions in Costa Rica with an incredible diversity of rare and exotic wildlife. Corcovado National Park and the many reserves in the area including the Sierpe Terrapa Wetland Reserve make it an excellent vacation spot for ecotourism and outdoor activities. 25% of Costa Rica’s land mass is protected either as a park or as a reserve. Founded in 1994, 66, 850 acres of raw nature make up this reserve. It is considered the richest mangrove swamp in the world. With its winding waterways and elaborate network of canals, lagoons, swamps and mangrove forests makes this reserve an excellent place for a boating bird watching tour. It is home to two of Costa Rica’s endemic bird species plus numerous migratory and resident birds. Of course, as I mentioned earlier this week, the Sierpe River mangroves are also great for fishing. The reserve is a wonder of nature teaming with exotic wildlife to be observed and explored.
Sierpe Terraba is one of the most important mangrove reserves in Latin America. It is a woodland ecosystem with systematically flooding swamps, mangrove forest, palm swamp forest, sandy beaches and cliffs. It protects the river mouth of the delta systems estuaries and wetlands between the Sierpe and Terraba rivers and the network of canals, wetlands and mangroves. The eight species of mangroves found here include red, tea, black and grey. The Sierpe forms the border of the mangrove woodland, and the Terraba River is the main source of freshwater into estuarine system. It is a place filled with wildlife from marine to land.
It is considered an essential habitat for many wildlife species including birds, fish, shellfish, mammals and reptiles. These mangroves play an important role in maintaining the healthy fish stock the peninsula is famous for. The estuaries are nurseries for many of the young fish native to the area as well as migratory fish that travel to the warm waters of Costa Rica to have their young. Wetlands shelter birds- herons, egrets and cutingas. These species depend on this ecosystem to complete their life cycle.
With black hawks, tanagers, flycatchers and hundreds of other birds this reserve is favorite pick for birdwatchers. You can either take an ecotour by boat or land and there are many experienced guides who can take you through the mangroves. And while the reserve is not a kid’s museum, it is definitely a family friendly trip that will provide your child with the wonders of touring many exotic species that cannot be found in museums. The Guardian’s this week in pictures column features incredible pictures of wildlife from all over the world, a tour through this reserve will give you the pleasure of taking photographs of your own and the experience of having actually been to one of the most beautiful places in the world. Crocodile Bay has many ecotours available including day trips to some of the most exotic places in the Osa Peninsula.