This morning at 5:15 I head out with my guide Marina in his pickup to where he knows that the Quetzal feeds for breakfast. We get there and sure enough, by the time the sun provides enough light, they’re having breakfast and perching in various trees. At our spot we saw 2 males and 2 females. You can frequently see them at Monteverde but almost always here in San Gerardo de Dota. I waited until this morning because the hotel was full over the weekend and thus I had the guide to myself, solo!
Male Resplendent Quetzal
Female Resplendent Quetzal
NOTE: This is the national bird of Guatemala, but if you want to see one, it easier find in Costa Rica! 🙂
This morning I went to the nearby Batsù Gardens across the road and down a couple of hundred meters with so many bird photos it will be after the trip before I present them all. So for today, just one, the Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher, which I haven’t seen since the last time in San Gerardo de Dota. And funny thing is that after getting back to my room I saw an adult and two juveniles in the tree in front of my room but with bad light and no good photos, thus this one is from Batsù. Tomorrow morning is my Quetzal excursion, so hopefully several good Quetzal photos. 🙂
The hotel is nearly full for the weekend with Costa Ricans getting away from the city for the weekend, more common now with COVID and few tourists here. Thus I postponed my Quetzal hike until Monday morning when not many here. Thus today and tomorrow just hiking around on my own, avoiding people. And getting a relaxation massage this afternoon! 🙂
My morning hike in the forest and then the hotel gardens only gave me 3 birds (and a couple of butterflies for later). All 3 birds are common in this cloud forest and I’ve photographed before. My hike on the “Song Birds” trail gave me lots of singing but most high in trees and tiny, thus only 2 photos from the trail and then another in the garden. One of my knees is hurting, so I’m limiting my walking a little now, expecting special birds both Monday and Tuesday.
My mountain lodge is on this beautiful little mountain stream that grows to a bigger river before it feeds the Pacific Ocean. Savegre Hotel is first class and much bigger, more modern than my last visit here in 2009, literally a 4 Star Hotel back in the wilderness on a dirt road, hours from a city! But not sure about the internet connection yet and may be limited to one photo per post. Pura vida from San Gerardo de Dota & Savegre Hotel!
Just in time! The night before I leave on another trip I finished my photos from the Christmas 2020 trip to Arenal Observatory Lodge with more than 50 species of birds! And 5 are lifers for me! Plus a whole lot of other photos from this favorite lodge. For now the birds are presented alphabetically by their English Common Name. Later I will make time to arrange by species families according to my birding guide book. Overall I’m pleased with this collection of photos and moving on to the next collection! 🙂 To see gallery CLICK above link or the image below:
The several swinging bridges at Arenal Observatory Lodge connecting the many trails are a lot more secure than those rope bridges we made in Boy Scouts, but just as thrilling! 🙂 Here’s some shots of two of the hanging bridges I hiked over during my Arenal Visit Christmas Week. CLICK an image to see larger . . .
“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.”
― Douglas Adams
Tomorrow Begins Another Adventure . . .
I don’t plan or intend to have trips just 3 weeks apart! It takes me longer than that to process the photos! 🙂
But because I had to reschedule this next trip, originally set for a March-April overlap week, just as the Pandemic was taking over . . . Soooo I told them to “reschedule it around the middle of January, not thinking about my Christmas trip – But anyway . . . I’m shifting gears from a rainforest at the base of a volcano to a cooler Cloud Forest in San Gerardo de Dota, starting tomorrow at the Savegre Hotel and Nature Reserve. (NOTE: their website is under reconstruction and only the home page shows for now.
This is one of the lodges I stayed in on my first trip to Costa Rica in 2009. It’s the best place in the world to see and photograph the Resplendent Quetzal bird. And the coldest place I’ve been in Costa Rica with fireplaces used at night. Since no rain in January, it is a little warmer at 13° C or 54° F average low to high of 27°C or 81°F, but hey guys! I freeze to death here in Atenas when it gets down in the 60’s F. 🙂
The new lodge website linked above is under construction, so instead of their photos, you can see my photo galleries of 3 previous visits, all a very long time ago 🙂 . . .
I enjoy photographing all of nature so much that it is difficult to stop or reduce the number of photos I share on this blog and I know that fewer can be better and simpler but here I go again, with only one more blog post on Arenal tomorrow, then I will begin another photo adventure – so get ready for more but different nature! 🙂 And the above feature photo is the morning walk guide explaining the Breadfruit Tree with a close-up of a breadfruit in “Other Nature Shots” below. And yes, it is edible, mostly by monkeys but some humans cook it and use with other more tasty foods. 🙂
Towering above me, ever-present, at Arenal Observatory Lodge – TREES! – – – Just one of so many reasons I love the Observatory! I still haven’t mastered how to photograph the beauty and grandeur of trees, but will keep trying. Here’s a few of my shots and you might be interested also in their own website/blog article The Rainbow Trees of Arenal by my friend & fellow Atenas resident, Shannon Farley. Rainbow Eucalyptus trees (Eucalyptus deglupta) were a part of the award-winning sustainable hotel’s reforestation program along with many more native trees in this natural rainforest area.
Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees at Arenal
Evergreen Forest Surrounding one Villa
And so Many More . . .
“A tree is our most intimate contact with nature.”
Here’s a few views of the big lake below Arenal Volcano. There is a boat taxi that will take you across the lake to a car taxi that will take you up that mountain to Monteverde. The lake is also a favorite for local fishermen. My May 2018 trip here gave me better sunset photos of the lake – time of year does make a difference!