The Hobbit Re-read

“I’m going on an adventure!”  said Bilbo Baggins

~JRR Tolkien in The Hobbit

Only great books deserve “re-reading” and The Hobbit (Wikipedia link), the 1937 published book by JRR Tolkien, is certainly one of those! I just finished reading it again on my Kindle and of course discovered “new stuff” not in my memory! He pretty much introduces a new character or creature in every chapter and then brings them all back together for the epic “Battle of Five Armies” at the end of the story.

Cover of The Hobbit on Kindle.

I will not write a full or formal review but just share some first impressions and personal feelings on the re-read of a favorite book, which I followed by a re-watch of the 3-movies version of the book . . .

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Because I wasn’t running around on my usual side-trips this past week (in my over-80 slow mode now) 🙂 I got started on and have now finished the “CR TRIP GALLERY” for this 2021 Banana Azul Caribe South week (link is to the gallery).

There’s a lot more to photograph when not leaving a hotel than I thought. Now granted, there are fewer photos of birds and other wildlife and none from national parks, wildlife refuges, waterfalls, indigenous reserves, or wildlife rescue centers (all of which I’ve “toured” from this very hotel in the past). This week became my “quiet mode” focus. I just stayed put and photographed the little things in nature all around me on the hotel grounds, plus some fun shots from the small plane flight there! There are 9 sub-galleries! 🙂 Just click the first page of the gallery below and ENJOY! 🙂

CLICK above image to go to the gallery.

“Photography is an austere and blazing poetry of the real.”

– Ansel Adams

¡Pura Vida!

And if you are interested in some of those great “side-trips” I’ve made from this same hotel, check out the galleries from other trips to South Caribe:

Continue reading “TRIP GALLERY is Ready”

Great-tailed Grackle

Yesterday morning I heard some bird making a racket or singing a not-too-melodious song. I walked out on the terrace and found this young Grackle male moving from limb to limb in my Guarumo (Cecropia) tree chattering away. These two shots show that he is probably a younger male since he is not as large as most male Great-tailed Grackles nor was his tail that “great” like the bigger males. His tail will grow! 🙂

With his smaller size I almost thought he was a Melodious Blackbird, but his song was not “melodious” (which theirs really is) and the yellow eye (instead of black) cinched him as a Great-tailed Grackle, teen or young adult male (perhaps looking for a female which is brown in color). 🙂

Great-tailed Grackle Young Male, Atenas
Great-tailed Grackle Young Male, Atenas

 “Everything in nature is lyrical in its ideal essence, tragic in its fate, and comic in its existence.”

—George Santanaya


¡Pura Vida!

See my Great-tailed Grackle Gallery.

And the eBird description of him.

Orange-chinned Parakeets

I hear these guys flying over my house most afternoons when it’s not raining hard but they seldom stop on their way up the hill to their roosting tree at my friend Dan’s house. Yesterday afternoon, before the rain started, they flew over and stopped for a little rest and grooming in a neighbor’s tree. I got a few shots, though not good with the overcast sky. But as bad as the photos are, they’re my nature shots for today! 🙂

This first shot is of the tree showing several scattered throughout and then I follow with a gallery of 6 individual birds or couples, with one couple cutely snuggling! 🙂

Orange-chinned Parakeets stop over on their way to their roosting tree up the hill.
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And One More Biological Reserve . . .

Costa Rica is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world and already has set aside more than 25% of its total land as either National Parks or Biological Reserves (one at a time). On National Park Day this year (August 24) the park system opened a new reserve in celebration of the nation’s 200 years of independence. Read the whole English article in Tico Times or here’s the summary Introduction:

Reserva Biológica del Bicentenario de la República – Pájaro Campana, a name which invokes the country’s upcoming bicentennial, is located in the canton of Coto Brus, Puntarenas.

The reserve covers an area of 5,075 acres and borders La Amistad International Park, which is shared with Panama, and Las Tablas Protective Zone.

Its forests house biodiversity of scientific and conservational interest, and its rivers supply drinking water to communities in Costa Rica’s Southern Zone.

“These areas become natural laboratories that promote research, for proper management of the protected wild area,” said President Carlos Alvarado.

~Tico Times
Reserva Biológica del Bicentenario de la República – Pájaro Campana

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

—Margaret Mead

¡Pura Vida!

Check out my Flora & Forest Galleries.

My Magical Tree’s Gone

One of the most recognized trees in the tropics of Central and South America is the Cecropia Tree or Guarumo in Central American vernacular. During my first year in this house (2015) I planted one not a lot taller than me. (Photo at right.) As one of the fastest growing trees it is now about twice the height of my house. I called it “magical” because in the early years it attracted so many different kinds of birds including toucans along with the resident squirrels and symbiotic ants.

The Cecropia is the Center tree or left of the big palm. Most limbs now above the house.

But now the tree has grown so much that I’ve lost my magic! 🙁 Most of the limbs, leaves and flowers are now above the house! (Above photo.) That means the birds now land in the tree above my sight-line and I would have to climb up the steep hill above my house to see any birds that perch in it. 🙁 See photos below for the Terrace Views, then and now:

So with this post I’m saying goodbye to the easy magic of my Guarumo or Cecropia tree by sharing photos of birds photographed in it over the past years. Apologies if you remember a similar post back in 2019 on the birds in this tree, but this one is bigger and a sort of finale! 🙂

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Mid-Morning Flutters

After breakfast, Spanish Class, and some reading I decided to walk through my garden with the camera at a little after 9 AM. For a long time the birds have been scarce and the butterflies up and down, but in about 20 minutes this morning I photographed 2 birds and 7 different butterflies all fluttering through my gardens and trying to avoid me and my camera. All nine photos are in a slide show at the bottom of the post with the featured photo at top being a Southern Broken-Dash Skipper and the photo below a Yellow-rimmed Skipper. The garden was alive this morning! 🙂

Yellow-rimmed Skipper
Continue reading “Mid-Morning Flutters”