The book is now finished with photos from 3 different trips to Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica and I think it is pretty interesting. You can go to the book online and Preview it electronically free! And of course best seen at fullscreen since it is all photos. Click this link or the book image below for the preview:
This is not all the birds seen but the ones with a halfway decent photo, 28 photos here of 24 species – 2 shots of the Boat-billed Heron since one is mother with chick and other the nest-guarding father, two of the White-crowned Parrot because the images are so different, two of Mealy Parrot front & back, and separate male & female shots of the Grackle. My only “lifer” or first-time-seen bird was the Agami Heron and he was at night meaning not a real good photo. Now that my Costa Rica Birds Gallery is up to 301 species, it is getting harder to find a new species I haven’t already photographed, but thus far every trip in 4 years has had at least one! 🙂 We saw several American Pygmy Kingfishers sleeping on the night tour, but none of my photos are good.
Since my first trip to Tortuguero in 2010 on the Caravan Tour I have liked the rainforest/Amazon atmosphere of living on the water and what I’ve always thought was a lot of birds. Nine years later I have discovered several places with more birds and better food in the lodge, but I still like Tortuguero and will return again someday. I’ll do a lodge post later and compare the two lodges I’ve stayed in here.
I’m sharing the photos in a gallery format rather than the auto-slide show because you can see the image larger when you click on it or at same time start a manual slideshow. Also hover your mouse pointer over an image to see the bird’s name. Photos are being shown in random order.
BIRDS at Tortuguero
Collared Aracari Toucan
Great Green Macaw
Great-tailed Grackle male
Boat-billed Heron on Nest
Great Blue Heron
Great-tailed Grackle female
In order to see birds it is necessary to become part of the silence.
The first boat ride is through the jungle to the lodge in the river and canals of Tortuguero National Park. “Tortuguero, One of Costa Rica’s most popular ecotourism destinations . . . a study of Rainforest, freshwater and marine biology. The park and small town of Tortuguero are accessible by boat or small aircraft. When people think of Rainforest, the first thing that automatically comes to their minds is Tortuguero.” For just the facts, see the Wikipedia Article on Tortuguero Park, there is no “official” website for the park. The previous park link & quote is from one of many tour companies here.
And since most have to pay for entrance to the National Park (my resident old man status gets me in free) the lodge boats stop at the park headquarters first which is at the little village of poor people that all lodges seem to be required to take tourists to and our guide got it over with along with park tickets before we ever got to the lodge. We were given an hour to wander and though with nothing there I needed (food & souvenirs) I used the time to make photos. Yes, I came here for the jungle, birds and other wildlife and that is what I have been doing since leaving this village, but I will still be longer processing and presenting my wildlife photos. This was easier to put together on another busy day with two boat trips and one rainforest hike.
3 Village Birds
Of course there are more birds in this village in the jungle, but these are the only 3 I got photos of! 🙂
I hesitate to rank or say there is only one favorite birding lodge, but this is in the top 3 or 4 best easily based on both the number of birds I photographed (53+) and the new birds I photographed for the first time or “lifers” of which there were these 7:
This is also one of the best or easiest places in Costa Rica (the whole world?) to get close photos of the King Vulture. My previous photos were made through a spotting scope, so I was thrilled to have Sergio pick me up at the lodge and take me to his blind on a nearby bluff where the King Vultures hangout and from his blind that he calls a “hide” I was about 20 to 30 feet from King Vultures.
Plus the lodge guides are excellent birding guides and found birds I would never have found on my own plus on the night hike I got a photo of the rare Red-webbed Tree Frog which is on the cover of my book. The DIY trails are excellent also for birding where I got several birds on my own.
The food is very good with excellent wait staff and by planning ahead nearly a year I got one of the 4 Tree Houses as my Treehouse Room for the week – an unbelievably unique experience which yielded all the Howler Monkey photos in my gallery (by climbing up 55 steps to my room). Or see my entire “Trip Gallery” 2019 Maquenque Ecolodge.
And check out the lodge website: Maquenque Ecolodgea true experience in nature! I highly recommend it for all nature lovers and especially for birders! Just be aware that it is not near anything familiar, a 4-hour drive from my house in Atenas to a river on the Nicaragua border.
And after a week of sharing bird photos I thought I would share another Mary Oliver poem, one about birds! 🙂 And singing birds like my above photo of a Singing Clay-colored Thrush (Yiqüirro) the national bird of Costa Rica known for singing in the rains in late April or early May.
Such Singing in the Wild Branches
It was spring
and I finally heard him
among the first leaves––
then I saw him clutching the limb
in an island of shade
with his red-brown feathers
all trim and neat for the new year.
First, I stood still
and thought of nothing.
Then I began to listen.
Then I was filled with gladness––
and that’s when it happened,
when I seemed to float,
to be, myself, a wing or a tree––
and I began to understand
what the bird was saying,
and the sands in the glass
for a pure white moment
while gravity sprinkled upward
like rain, rising,
and in fact
it became difficult to tell just what it was that was singing––
it was the thrush for sure, but it seemed
not a single thrush, but himself, and all his brothers,
and also the trees around them,
as well as the gliding, long-tailed clouds
in the perfect blue sky–––all of them
And, of course, so it seemed,
so was I.
Such soft and solemn and perfect music doesn’t last
For more than a few moments.
It’s one of those magical places wise people
like to talk about.
One of the things they say about it, that is true,
is that, once you’ve been there,
you’re there forever.
Listen, everyone has a chance.
Is it spring, is it morning?
Are there trees near you,
and does your own soul need comforting?
Quick, then––open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the song
may already be drifting away.
These are the most beautiful little birds and I think this is some of my better shots yet of some of them, especially the Red-legged Honeycreeper & that Blue Dacnis with both shots being made at a cultural stop on our Rio San Carlos boat trip at a small farm which was a joy in addition to these two photos, relating to a simple small farm family. 🙂 Pura vida.
Water birds are impressive and numerous all over Costa Rica with most of these found in all lowland waters on both the Pacific and Caribbean sides. I never tire of river trips or wetland visits because the surroundings are always changing and even though I see some of the same birds every time, they are never the same! At Maquenque I had both a river trip and lived for 5 days on lagoons that attract the same birds in these wetlands (el humedal en español) of the Caribbean Slopes of northern Costa Rica. A birding paradise!