Tres Amigos Today

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.

Click an image to see larger:

¡Pura Vida!

December 2020 Arenal Gallery

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:

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Caño Negro BIRDS

Here’s about 20 species from my Christmas week side-trip from Arenal Observatory to the Caño Negro Reserva. We saw more than I photographed of course and about 5 I tried to photograph weren’t good enough to show. This is a bird-rich reserve in northern Costa Rica near the Nicaragua border. CLICK an image to enlarge it:

Two of these were “Lifers” or first-time seen birds for me and unfortunately neither with a very good photo: The Nicaraguan Seed-Finch and the Olive-throated Parakeets. I’ve seen the American Kestrel in Panama but this was the first time in Costa Rica, though not close enough for a decent photo.

And from my 2017 visit to Caño Negro Reserva, two blog posts: Caño Negro Birds Part 1 followed of course by Caño Negro Birds Part 2! Or easier to see them all together in my photo gallery Caño Negro Birds 2017.

See all of my BIRDS Galleries.

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Riverside Pig

On the Caño Negro river trip Saturday we passed this sow or mother pig with one or more babies between her and the tree and her unique Cattle Egret guard! 🙂

And yes, there was probably a farm somewhere nearby and she just wanted “to get away from it all!” – Down by the riverside! 🙂

Mama Pig with Cattle Egret Guard! 🙂

“I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”

~Winston Churchill


¡Pura Vida!

Yesterday’s Birds

When on these National Park trips I always get behind in sharing my photos because I am so busy in these wonderful nature places and have so many photos to process it is difficult to keep up. But here’s photos of 18 of the 24 species photographed with the other 6 photos not worth sharing! 🙂 Actually the Long-billed Gnatwren photo is not worth sharing, but since it is one of 4 “Lifers” yesterday, I feel compelled to “prove” I saw it! 🙂

And I know that yesterday I said that the Bicolored Antbird was my only “Lifer” (first time seen bird) but I still had not gone through all the 700+ photos and discovered that I actually had 4 lifers on this hike (plus I had another Lifer Monday not a part of this count: the Emerald Tanager) plus a “first in Costa Rica,” meaning I have photos of it from some other country. Yesterday’s 4 Lifers are:

  1. Bicolored Antbird
  2. Spotted Antbird
  3. Long-billed Gnatwren
  4. Carmiol’s Tanager

My sighting/photo of the immature Cinnamon Becard was my “first time in Costa Rica,” though I made photos of an adult Cinnamon Becard on one of my Panama trips.

Remember that it was cloudy and raining all day yesterday, making photography very difficult, (interestingly it was sunny all day today and I saw fewer birds!) but here’s one photo of each species except the Rufous-winged Tanager where I include one of both the male and the female since they are so different. CLICK image to enlarge:

And there is always my Costa Rica Birds Gallery!

“What I saw was just one eye
In the dawn as I was going:
A bird can carry all the sky
In that little button glowing

Never in my life I went
So deep into the firmament.”

― Harold Monro

¡Pura Vida!

Bicolored Antbird – Another “Lifer”

For most people it would be a horrible day with almost constant rain, but my all morning birding hike with breakfast break was good for me including this one “Lifer” or first-time seen bird.

I still don’t have a count of how many birds I photographed in the terrible light, but I will report on that tomorrow. Nestor says he saw or heard 82 species and I’m sure I didn’t see half that number, but will tell tomorrow. The selfie here is me with Nestor, my guide.

This Bicolored Antbird is my first to see or photograph and my second Lifer on this trip. Learn more about him at the eBird Description. CLICK below images to enlarge:

See all my birds in my CR Birds Gallery.

“Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience.”

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

¡Pura Vida!

1st 24 Hours of Birds

My birding hikes are not until tomorrow, so these 20 species I got on my own and wanted to get them out before what I hope will be some new or different birds with Guide Nestor whom I’ve had on both of my previous trips here. He is good! They always ask if you have any target birds for the hike and I will tell him the same thing I did last year, “Yes, the Umbrella Bird and the Yellow-eared Toucanet.” These are both fairly rare birds and difficult to find in the thick forest and I want to add them to my collection. 🙂 But I won’t get my hopes up!

I just hope we don’t have rain tomorrow morning like we have had most of today. Here we are on the Caribbean Slope which tends to have more rain than the Pacific slope where I live. But it is still the beginning of the dry season here with less rain than they’ve had the last 6 months. We will bird from 6-8 AM, have breakfast, then the rest of the morning. So I’m hopeful with a half day with a birding guide I will get lots of birds!

Now a slide show of the last 24 hours of birds on my own with two shots of Scarlet-rumped Tanager because the male and female are totally different and two of the Brown Jay with one flying and the other perched; 22 shots of 20 species including my “lifer” I introduced yesterday:

See my Costa Rica Birds Gallery.

“The bird who dares to fall is the bird who learns to fly.”

¡Pura Vida!

A “Lifer” in first afternoon

I arrived at Arenal Observatory Lodge in time for lunch with my driver and my first afternoon of looking for birds with 11 species photographed including the above Emerald Tanager (link to eBird description) which is a “Lifer” or first-time-seen bird for me! And a colorful one found only in Central America plus Columbia & Ecuador.

I did lots of walking including to the top of the 28 meters or 92 ft. tall observation tower with 146 steps on stairs. I’ve gotten lots of birds and monkeys from this tower in the past, but not today with it being overcast and very windy when I went up today, but I got several landscape shots including this one I call “A Sea of Treetops.”

My “Sea of Treetops” shot today from the top of Arenal Observatory’s observation tower.

“For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.”

– Martin Luther King Jr.

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The “Sculptured” INCA DOVE

To me, this second most common dove/pigeon around my house looks sculptured, almost as if he were carved out of wood. Read eBird on Inca Doves for more information or to see more of my many photos, my Inca Dove Gallery with some better photos.

 “Every bird, every tree, every flower reminds me what a blessing and privilege it is just to be alive.”

– Marty Rubin

Costa Rica launches crowdfunding campaign for reforestation ~A Tico Times article

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“The Robin” of Costa Rica

Yigüirro or Clay-colored Thrush (eBird link) in English (at one time called “Clay-colored Robin”) is one of the most common birds in Costa Rica, found everywhere, and is also the National Bird, not because of his/her beauty or color (we have so many more colorful), but because he/she sings so beautifully in late April and early May before the rainy season begins. Tradition is that the Yigüirro sings in the rain every year and thus is loved by farmers and gardeners alike and became the national bird.

This weak photo is of a juvenile or young adult made on that cloudy overcast day. They vary in color from this rich dark brown to a lighter brown with a lighter colored breast, sort of creamy white and more rarely a touch of yellow, but always that same beak! I’m calling it “The Robin of Costa Rica” BECAUSE it is as common here as the American Robin (my gallery) was during my days in the States. 🙂

The top link is to an eBird article on them or you can see many better photos in my Clay-colored Thrush – Yigüirro Gallery. Happy birding! 🙂

 “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?”

— Nature historian David Attenborough

Why plant trees?

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