Back to My Garden Birds

Montezuma Oropendola in my garden

Another busy day today with Spanish Class here and minor surgery in Alajuela, but always time to photo a bird in my garden!  🙂   The above photo is of a Montezuma Oropendola sitting in my Guarumo or Cecropia Tree – my favorite place to watch birds, but unfortunately the light (for photos) is not good there, especially in the morning. They nest in our neighborhood visiting occasionally. And the bird below in my Yellow Bell Tree is a Melodious Blackbird.  And I saw a squirrel cuckoo this morning, but didn’t get a shot. 

Minor surgery? My dermatologist just went a little deeper on a growth removal for a biopsy. Only two stitches. If it turns out to be cancer, he will go even deeper next time to make sure he gets it all. An almost routine thing for us older people!  🙂  Otherwise I’m very healthy after a great week in a rainforest.

Tomorrow I have breakfast with the niece of David & Lynne Wells (Nashville friends) and her husband, child & nanny. They’ve rented a gorgeous house with an infinity pool for a week here in Atenas and using my driver, Walter, to take them to a few sights (volcano, waterfalls, beach & fishing) on top of resting here with possibly the best vista in Atenas. A great vacation plan!   🙂

Melodious Blackbird in my garden

 

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. ~Marcus Tullius Cicero

¡Pura Vida!

Home from Maybe Best Birding Trip Yet

I am tempted to declare Esquinas Rainforest Lodge my best birding location yet! In 6 days I photographed 50+ species of birds with 12 of them first timers for me or “lifers” for Costa Rica with two seen before in other Panama.  The Lodge name link above is to their lodge website. Or check out others’ reviews on TripAdvisor.

I highly recommend it! The lodging, food and services were all first class while immersed in a rainforest. You know that I have a lot of places I like all over Costa Rica, but this new one for me just moved near the top of my list! And realize that I was here during the wettest month of the year for them and still had a great experience! And it may have helped that I was the only guest there this week and had a personal birding guide!  Plus a personal chef and maid!   🙂  Hey! This is living! Retired in Costa Rica!

My Trip Gallery is Posted!

See the birds, animals, flowers, lodge and Golfito in my gallery for this trip at   2018 Esquinas Rainforest Lodge Visit.  Photos are the reason I make these trips and this collection is the result of this trip. A photo book will be coming soon! If no one else, the host lodges all love my photo books as I send one to each of them.

My Birds This Trip

Here are the birds I saw and photographed with the “lifers” or ones seen for the first time in boldface type. Presented in the order of the lodge’s bird list which is a little different from the Field Guide:

  • Great Curassow
  • Brown Booby  (1st in CR, got some in Panama in June)
  • Brown Pelican
  • Neotropic Cormorant
  • Magnificent Frigatebird
  • Little Blue Heron
  • Great Egret
  • Cattle Egret
  • Snowy Egret
  • Green Heron
  • Tricolored Heron
  • Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
  • Roseate Spoonbill
  • White Ibis
  • Green Ibis
  • Osprey
  • Gray-cowled Wood-Rail  (formerly Gray-necked Wood-Rail)
  • Willet
  • Spotted Sandpiper
  • Ruddy Turnstone
  • Laughing Gull
  • Short-billed Pigeon
  • White-tipped Dove
  • Gray-chested Dove
  • Squirrel Cuckoo
  • Long-billed Hermit
  • Band-tailed Barbthroat
  • Purple-crowned Fairy
  • Charming Hummingbird
  • Rufous-tailed Hummingbird
  • Violet-headed Hummingbird
  • Ringed Kingfisher
  • Green Kingfisher
  • American Pygmy Kingfisher  (1st in CR, have photo from Panama)
  • Fiery-billed Aracari
  • Wedge-billed Woodcreeper
  • Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet
  • Ochre-bellied Flycatcher
  • Least Flycatcher
  • Great Kiskadee
  • Gray-capped Flycatcher
  • Tropical Kingbird
  • Orange-collared Manakin
  • Gray-breasted Martin
  • Clay-colored Thrush
  • Prothonotary Warbler
  • Bananaquit
  • Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager (endemic to this area)
  • Scarlet-rumped Tanager (formerly Cherrie’s Tanager)
  • Bay-headed Tanager
  • Green Honeycreeper
  • Variable Seedeater
  • Orange-billed Sparrow
  • Scarlet-rumped Cacique
  • Spot-crowned Euphonia

And with many of these I saw both male & female which can be so different it is like another species!  🙂

Spot-crowned Euphonia female eating a berry. Note her tongue.

¡Pura Vida!

 

More Than Birds This Morning!

The slideshow photos are in no particular order, just shots from my walk around the campus this morning with no rain! And almost no birds! There were a lot more birds on the rainy days! And now at about 3 in the afternoon the rain is starting for the first time today, so maybe the birds will return. Ahhhh! I just saw two Euphonias but not where I could photograph. Tonight is my last night here and near the end of the most wonderful food that someone else prepares for me. Its been a great week!

Morning Walk Photo Slideshow

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“The forest is a peculiar organism of unlimited kindness and benevolence that makes no demands for its sustenance and extends generously the products of its life and activity; it affords protection to all beings.”
~Buddhist Sutra

 

And I am just now starting the “trip gallery” for this trip at 2018 Esquinas Rainforest Lodge  —  but soon that will be the place to see all my best photos from this week. I have gotten 10 new “lifers” or first-time seen birds this week! That is incredible! Possibly more than on any other trip at least recently.

Birds today at the Lodge

All of these birds were photographed in front of my cabin or alongside the main building terrace. It is amazing the wide variety of birds living here!

Birds Seen in One Day at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge

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A Beautiful Rainforest Retreat for Birds & People!

Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, Piedras Blancas National Park, Costa Rica

 

It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.

~Robert Louis Stevenson

Boat Trip in Golfito in Rain

Golfito literally  means “little gulf.” It is both the name of a town near here and a little gulf off the humongous Gulf of Dulce (Golfo Dulce). Our plans were to take a boat out of the little gulf into the big gulf and over a ways to the mouth of a river where the mangrove trees grow and attract birds. Wellllll . . . it was like this: We thought we only had to deal with rain but the gulf is the ocean and the white caps were big and powerful plus it was high tide. As we bounced over the rough water we were all literally soaked and the ride was rough and it was foggy. As we got closer he could not see the mouth of the river and said the water was too high and too dangerous to go on, thus we turned around and went back into the little gulf and spent our time going around the islands and shores of it to find a lot of birds as you will see in the slideshow below. In spite of getting very wet, it was a good day of birding! Instead of eating our packed lunch (in an ice chest) on a beach or in the boat, we brought it back to the lodge and ate in the pool rancho while watching birds including euphonias!

Birds of Golfito Bay

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White-faced Capuchin Monkey was part of a large group on one island.

 

Kevin, my birding guide for the week

 

Our Boat Captain, Melvin

Today’s Report will come tomorrow . . .

Accept this red berry gift from a Prothonotary Warbler and expect a lot of cool birds in tomorrow’s post about my wet boat trip today. I’m too tired to do a good report tonight but staying in tomorrow. Hasta mañana.

Today at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge

No rain today – so far at 3pm! I had a wonderful 6am birding hike with birding guide Kevin and returned for breakfast and the morning photographing wildlife from my cabin terrace – amazing!

Below is a slideshow of a few of today’s photos – mostly birds but some other animals. Tomorrow Kevin and I go on a boat trip through the mangroves which always yields a lot of birds rain or shine. Then over the weekend I plan to just enjoy walking the forests that surround me here and the really good food someone else is preparing!  🙂  And oh yeah,  a night hike one of those nights which is always interesting!

And I’m hearing thunder now, so rain tonight which is always the best time and well, it just started at 3:42!  🙂

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Among the scenes which are deeply impressed on my mind, none exceed in sublimity the primeval [tropical] forests, … temples filled with the varied productions of the God of Nature. No one can stand in these solitudes unmoved, and not feel that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body. 

— Charles Darwin

¡Pura Vida!

In a Rainy Rainforest

I left early this morning, like at 4am from my house for a 5:30 flight arriving in Golfito at 6:35 after a brief stop in Puerto Jimenez – I just love flying in these small planes even when it is cloudy like this morning.

Here the bird photographed today in the rain:

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And here are some shots of the grounds of my lodge for the week:

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And other animals seen today:

Agouti
Common Basilisk, adult male
Common Basilisk, juvenile male

Tomorrow in Piedras Blancas NP

Tomorrow I leave early for a short flight to Golfito in the south of Costa Rica for a week at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge in the Piedras Blancas National Park,  one of Costa Rica‘s birding hot-spots. And note that they only have Wifi in their main building, so my posts could be limited or certainly my correspondence will be. Part of being in the jungle!   🙂

I live to the left of San Jose. Nothing is terribly far within Costa Rica! It will be a 30 minute flight and a 25 minute drive from Golfito Airport. Costa Rica is the same square miles as West Virginia in size as a comparison for Americans.

AND ZOOMING IN ON THE AREA:

Notice it is across the big Gulf of Dulce from my favorite Corcovado NP. And my last visit there was to Danta Corcovado Lodge about where the capital P is located in the park name, Corcovado NP. I flew to Puerto Jimenez for that.

 

Main building at night

 

Lobby of main building and dining room

 

My cabin maybe?

 

Above photos all copied from Esquinas Lodge website.

Check it out!

¡Pura Vida!

Breakfast Birds Today

 

The Bronzed Cowbird above fooled me at first because his eyes or irises are not red, but then I read that the juvenile has a dark or black iris. ID is always a challenge but also part of the fun. Both of these birds joined me for breakfast this morning around 6:30 or later, along with a Kiskadee and a Yigüirro.

Below is the Blue-crowned Motmot, one of my favorite birds here. But I have had better shots than this. Here he is in the shadows and a good way off with his magnificent tail partly hidden and it appears broken. Still, this is part of the joy of living in the tropics! And my terrace! Plus this morning is practice for tomorrow’s trip!  🙂  Another post to follow this, introducing my next trip.

Blue-crowned Motmot

 

Blue-crowned Motmot with one tail feather missing

And since the header format cropped off his tail, here is another shot of the Bronzed Cowbird:

Everyone likes birds. What wild creature is more accessible to our eyes and ears, as close to us and everyone in the world, as universal as a bird?

~David Attenborough