In the post “On the Road” I mentioned that on our way back from Maquenque we stopped for coffee at Cinchona, and even though in the middle of the day, I photographed 6 species of birds while drinking one cup of coffee (10-15 minutes) AND 2 of them were lifers! That’s new birds for me! The new ones were the Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer and the Prong-billed Barbet. Every time I stop there I hope to get a shot of the Red-headed Barbet and after 3 stops, nada! But this time I got his uglier cousin. 🙂 CLICK to enlarge an image.
As common after trips, I’ve been overwhelmed with things to do since I returned from Maquenque Eco-Lodge and with so many bird photos to process (70+ species) it may be awhile before I share those, so here is a small collection of 7 species of butterflies. Every living thing loves Maquenque! 🙂 CLICK an image to enlarge.
It’s very tough for me to focus. I’m like: ‘Look, something shiny! No, focus. Oh, there goes a butterfly!’ ~Gabby Douglas
Walter usually drives me in one of his two vans but today was Monday and both personal cars and tourist vans with tags ending in 1 or 2 are not allowed on the road. Yes, it’s a coronavirus prevention tool, keeping more people off the roads and out of the towns. Well, he has 2 vans and both were disqualified, so he had to use his taxi today (no limit on taxis), meaning his driver Cristian had the day off, like it or not. Only 40 km of the road from south of Boca Tapada to the lodge is gravel, but you notice it more! 🙂
I got lots of attention all day yesterday but the biggie was dinner with a birthday cake and singing of Feliz Cumpleaños. Plus they decorated chair with flowers and gave me a bouquet of flowers to take back to my room in the tree tops! And I will eat more birthday cake today!
They are giving me a lot of attention today for my birthday and I expect more tonight for dinner. Plus, starting last night the lodge went from one customer (me) to 12 over the weekend and they are spreading the word among the other guests, so I’m almost getting too much attention! 🙂
And because of Covid19 I’m wearing my mask when not eating and declining the group activities like the boat wildlife tour today. Playing it safe!
Instead of traditional 4th of July fireworks I am enjoying the colors of parrots and toucans this weekend. I’ve photographed over 65 species of birds so far, so still way behind on presenting them all and decided to show just the two categories most foreigners consider the most colorful here! Enjoy my tropical fireworks show as a slideshow of 10 photos.
Today was my first “bird day” with what looks like will be around 40 species, but still not through processing nearly 2,000 photos! 🙂 So I will have to show the collection later and it looks like I could beat the 53 species I got here last year!
My interim post will be an interesting little oddity in nature. For whatever reason, the Giant Cowbird (a big blackbird) sometimes lay their eggs in the nest of the Montezuma Oropendola and the really good mother Oropendola hatches the egg and raises the child as her own (do the cowbirds know that?). I had heard about this but never seen it until today. At the rather ugly fruit feeder at the dining room I got this photo of a mother Oropendola feeding a juvenile (bigger than a baby) Giant Cowbird she evidently is raising it as her own child. Since the baby is in the blackbird family I somehow thought of the Black Lives Matter movement in the states and thought this might be considered a beautiful example in nature! Hope so! 🙂
Love the world as your own self; then you can truly care for all things.
And for you birders, I know it is a Giant Cowbird juvenile because he has red eyes, not obvious in my photo but in real life it is. No other blackbird has red eyes.
Can you believe that the tree house they assigned me to this year is named “Tarzan?” And I love it! Like they knew the little boy Charlie wanted to be Tarzan! Why it even comes with grape vines (see outside views) though I will not be swinging on them! And I was welcomed to my room by a visiting Keel-billed Toucan! See photo below.
And I doubt that Tarzan had a King sized bed or screens and ceiling fans, but I’m sure glad I do! It is hot and humid here like where I grew up in south Arkansas near the Louisiana line – hotter and more humid than Atenas which is in the hills.
CLICK a photo to enlarge it.
Our 3 hour drive took 4 hours with a lot of trucks on the roads today and the gravel road portion of the drive was in pretty rough condition – what it costs to get to real wilderness! 🙂 And yes, we are all wearing masks here, Costa Rica is smart enough to require it and everyone working here is in the same family – cool! And so nice! I’m the only guest until Friday when there will be 8 to 10 other guests for the weekend.
“Every man can transform the world from one of monotony and drabness to one of excitement and adventure.” – Irving Wallace
This morning I leave at 8 AM with Walter, my local transportation for out-of-Atenas trips, on a 3 hour drive north of here but still in our Alajuela Province. It’s on the San Carlos River near the Nicaragua border as a private nature reserve and eco-lodge that is one of my favorites in Costa Rica, where I’ve photographed more species of birds than any other one place and where I can sleep in a tree house room, watching howler monkeys and spider monkeys from my room. See my 2019 experience there and this short video of the virgen rainforest reserve says it all:
I will be here through next Monday – 6 nights in the tree house to celebrate my 80th birthday on Saturday the 4th of July! And, as long as the WiFi in their main building works, I will be posting blog reports every day! Maybe one tonight.
Because of world-wide increasing Coronavirus, the borders of Costa Rica remain closed to non-residents where we have the lowest infection rate in Latin America! But hotels, lodges like this one, and restaurants can open at 50% capacity to local residents only with required social distancing and masks, making places like this more pleasant (no “Ugly Americans” or “aggressive Japanese”) and less crowded. Two weeks ago they told me that in addition to me they had two couples coming for part of the week with me alone the other days, though that could change with late registrations! 🙂 Many Ticos are just now discovering the great tourism in their own country.
I will wear a mask when not eating and around other people, including my birding guide just to be extra cautious. I will not take their delightful boat trip to a little jungle village with great people that I enjoyed but will avoid this time due to COVID19 possibilities. I will mostly traipse through the jungle solo and stay safe from the virus. There have been NO CASES among the lodge employees (mainly one family) nor in the nearby town of Boca Tapada. But I will still be cautious because it is close to Nicaragua where the virus is more rampant and we are still getting new cases in Costa Rica.
“When you see someone putting on his Big Boots, you can be pretty sure that an Adventure is going to happen.” – A.A. Milne
My BIG BOOTS Adventure . . .
Yep! I’m taking my big boots this trip because I’m going in a car and can! 🙂 Plus they fit me and the lodge loaners don’t always fit . . . and I’ll be in a rainforest during the rainy season so they are needed! And my poncho!
I know . . . the boots are dusty, but why clean when they will get muddy this week! Plus I had to empty out the spiders and spray with that bug spray before I consider putting my hand or foot inside! 🙂
Today I spent some time in the garden trying to be Georgia O’Keeffe with her oversize flowers, curves and colorful shapes in leaves, mountains or whatever she painted. I love her work! Here’s 10 of about 100 photos I made today in the garden.
It was also a “practice” for next week when I will be at Maquenque Lodge, not only photographing lots of birds, but hopefully some “Nature as Art” photos of many other natural creations in that beautiful wilderness setting, partly from my tree-house room! 🙂 Click an image to enlarge it or start manual slideshow.
Art is born of the observation and investigation of nature.