Do not miss the chance to tour with Randy! A third-generation conservationist, his knowledge of the flora and fauna in this region is incredibly deep. But it’s his enthusiasm and knack for explanation that makes his tours stand out. Dare to call a group of toucans pretty and he just laughs. “Those are the gangsters of the jungle, right there! They’ll eat eggs, chicks, baby squirrels, bats, iguanas.”
He suddenly stops dead in the middle of this toucan lesson, cocking his head to the side. “Did you hear that? That’s the Michael Jackson of the jungle! Let’s find him and you’ll see why.” Sure enough, within seconds he spots the feisty moonwalker strutting his stuff and has the scope set within seconds: a red-capped mannikin. We’re smitten.
But in a rainforest overloaded with iridescent flyers of all shapes and sizes, Randy sees just as much beauty in the non-descript denizens. “Aaah, my day is made,” he whispers a few minutes later, dropping to one knee as a plump, greyish pigeon trundles across the trail. “The olive-backed quail-dove. Rare!”
On a night tour, a coatimundi, a more agile version of the Canadian raccoon, skips across the narrow girders of the bridge over the river and into the jungle. This night there are frogs and fire ants, howler monkeys and hooting owls. His flashlight picks out a lump in a tree. A sloth. “Don’t worry,” says Randy. “The only thing lazier than a sloth is my dog; it’ll be here tomorrow.” He’s right. The next morning, the sloth is still up in the same tree and puts on a surprisingly energetic show, eating and scratching, then scratching and eating for the assembled crowd of birders.
“I’m crazy in love with nature, and nature teaches me,” says Randy. Each day at Selva Verde is a lesson in wonder.