Because it was a special week, I’m doing a second book on Xandari where I celebrated my birthday last week. It was such a colorful week, I titled it “Brilliant!”Follow the link to a free online preview of the book showing 82 of my photos. Or click this smaller image of the book cover below:
This morning I received a WhatsApp Voice Message with the above photo from Rodiber, my guide at Monteverde last month. He was thanking me profusely for the autographed copy of my Monteverde photo book for himself, Costa Rica Expeditions (who service this hotel) and the hotel Monteverde Lodge & Gardens. The girl in photo is one of the several front desk persons who were all very helpful to me during my stay. I sent two copies of book, one for my guide and one for the hotel to use at front desk, in lobby or in their little loaner-library of books for guests.
Since I make a book for most of my trips or the first trip to a lodge, I usually send two books like this. I just concluded my second trip to Selva Verde Lodge and right now not planning a second book. Their two guides on my first visit plus the front desk got copies of my 2016 Selva Verde trip book.
I really enjoy surprising my hosts in thanks for a good experience with the little photo books – not something they expect nor receive from other guests. This is the first one to send me a photo with their thank-you note. A surprise for me now! My response was the typical Costa Rican response to a “Thank You!” which is ¡Con mucho gusto!“With much pleasure!” Ticos are such beautiful people! 🙂
On my way to the dermatologist last Thursday I stopped by a nearby Liberia in Alajuela and bought my first all Spanish bird book, Aves de Costa Rica by the now deceased ecologist Alexander Skutch who worked in the southern province of Pérez Zeledón for many years. The book is incomplete of all the many birds here, but it has the Spanish names and descriptions which makes it the only one I know about in español.
I also recently purchased a new English birding field guide that I learned the guides at Rancho Naturalista and others are using because it is more up-to-date than the older English book The Birds of Costa Rica A Field Guide by Garrigues & Dean that has been my main source of info since moving here. The newer book is bigger and includes all of Central America, published this year: Birds of Central Americaby Valley & Dyer. I’m still getting used to it but like it and it will probably become my new “go-to source” on paper for bird ID here and all of Central America.
It is possible that it could eventually replace the only English birding book for Panama, The Birds of Panama by Angehr and Dean. And the two birding books for Nicaragua that I have: A Guide to the Birds of Nicaragua by Martinez-Sanchez, Chavarria-Durlaux, and Muñoz. It is my only BILINGUAL birding book which I got on my first trip to Nicaragua. Very good! But now on Amazon you can get a newer English-only book Birds of Nicaragua A Field Guide by Chavarría-Duriaux, Hille & Dean.
These could be the last of the paper birding books for Central America with internet and cellphone apps taking over the field with the ability to update daily if needed! eBird and their app Merlin are possibly the best available electronically.
NOTE: If you live in Costa Rica, most of these paper books are cheaper at a local bookstore (Libería) than on Amazon, especially that Spanish book I just got, Aves de Costa Rica.
I finished it last week but was waiting for Blurb to offer one of their discounts before I ordered my copies since I have to buy at least one copy to offer it for sale. That’s business! 🙂 I usually get about 4 copies, sending one to my host lodge/hotel and one to the birding guide I used and I’m saving a copy for some local library here in Atenas but I haven’t found the right one yet. Long story.
By including some photos from my 2016 visit to Monteverde the book has 123 photos on 78 pages with about 45 species of birds plus other animals and nature. I’m pleased with this photo book available in my bookstore at:
I’m not doing a photo book on this trip yet but plan on a book of the area after two more trips there, giving a broader picture of the Jaco-Carara Mid-Pacific Costa Rica. I have trips to that area in both June and July, so a book in August maybe? And it will include my earlier trips to Carara, Tarcoles and Jaco – so maybe a larger-format book. Change is good.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
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:
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.
This week’s death of Nature Poet Mary Oliver (1935-2019), and article about her in Washington Post, plus reviewing her poems led me to her “Journey” which in some ways describes what I was unable to describe in my 2014 “Decision Process” I called it then, of getting away from the depressing world of conservative Middle Tennessee, the clouds of a failed marriage and subsequent loss of family, branches and stones in my path of a vocational “calling” manipulated by power-hungry “rulers” ending unceremoniously first in 1999 and finally by 2002 in unplanned early retirement. In a daze . . .
I’ve always tried to “make lemonade out of lemons” and I turned my retirement into an adventure of nature travel and photography as much as I could afford, including visits to all 54 state parks in Tennessee with a book about that, A Walk in the Woods, along with many other nature/travel books and my growing nature photo gallery. But I was still looking for something else.
Moving from the vibrant life of rowhouse living in downtown Nashville to a suburban “Independent Living Retirement Home” was still not what I was looking for.
It was to commune closer with nature, to travel in natural exotic places that my limited income could not afford, then suddenly it hit me, why not move to one of the nature places in which I love to travel and just live there?
With only 2 family members left and no grandchildren, it was easier for me than some people to make such a life-changing move! And now I see it described in a new way in this poem by Mary Oliver:
Excellent first person account of living in the earlier, wilder Costa Rica as a twenty-something, then adapting and growing older here. Especially good for nature-lovers like me as a “Retired in Costa Rica” senior adult blogging about it at charliedoggett dot net. ¡Pura Vida!