I wandered around the grounds when I arrived but did not make it to the waterfall today. Had a beautiful, healthy salad for lunch when I met a lovely young couple from Germany who are thinking about moving to Costa Rica. He is a photographer. They are not staying the night in lodge, just day visitors.
I am the only overnight guest here now. It is off season or rainy season and the ride up the mountain from Tarcoles is a rough 45 minutes on a bad road which discourages some, but it is really isolated! That is one thing I love about it! It is also very “wild” with rainforest noises as dark arrives (mostly frogs). It rained much of afternoon so I will explore more tomorrow. Just a few shots for today:
Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter. ~John Muir
Sometimes I think I’m the luckiest guy in the world! Being “Retired in Costa Rica” is simply perfect for me, even if I never left my little casita and garden in Atenas! But on top of that I get to continue exploring one of the most beautiful and ecologically diverse countries in the world! And next week it is to a place that not only have I not seen, but I am yet to meet anyone else who has been there! Even my driver will be going for his first time! 🙂
I urge you to watch their beautifully created introductory nature video to see part of what I will experience next week and also as an expression of why I love Costa Rica so much! Nature! 🙂
Just click the Macaw logo below to see it on YouTube. I’ll give you their website link further down.
This small eco lodge has only eight rooms and is recommended by National Geographic Society. I expect stellar service and food along with my full immersion in the wilderness! The video does not mention birding (I don’t do yoga), but they have birding guides and multiple options for birding with of course many trails I can explore on my own. And they will be my third lodge to visit that has installed Macaw Nesting Boxes, what may save a whole species from extinction!
My current approach to trips is to stay most of a week with birding in the mornings followed by relaxation and photo processing in the afternoon with a great evening meal and early to bed. Some places are more designed for my kind of schedule and I think this is going to be one of those! And may become one of my new favorites! Now explore their website by clicking the link below:
As with most good lodges, there’s a lot to explore on their website as well as on their grounds, like their secret gardens and birding trails, their own waterfall with plunge pool swimming hole, their farm where most food I’ll eat is raised, unlimited birds, insects and other nature to photograph and much more! Six nights there will give me time to explore and discover another great getaway to which I already expect I’ll return! I love new discoveries! 🙂
Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean. ~John Muir
For those who love birds and realize their importance in the future of planet earth, I hope you have already discovered The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
It is from this institution or website that I have my best bird identifier, the free app available from your phone app store called: Merlin
The basic app is for North American birds, but includes for many countries, like Costa Rica, a download for free of your country-specific birds. The quickest, easiest and cheapest way of identifying birds you see or photograph.
And participate in the research and learning about birds plus create your own checklist of birds seen through their online base program eBird (also with a phone app):
I have also starting taking online classes on their website, the first of which is free and introduces you to eBird, your personal online record of birds seen.
One of their latest award-winning documentary videos is is worth seeing just the free 2 minute preview: Bird of Prey about the rarest eagle in the world in the Philippines.
If you love and appreciate birds, I hope you will learn about and connect with
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.
On Saturday, my 3rd day here I chose to do the boat tour of part of the Sarapiqui River and part on the Puerto Viejo River. When I was here before in a December it was one of my best places for a large number of bird, but this time, like everywhere else in May, there were not as many birds. But it was still a good tour and a nice young couple from Austin, TX also in Selva Verde Lodge went on the same tour with me plus about 5 others on the boat. Here’s my photos in three categories:
Birds on the River
Other Wildlife on the River
Boat & River Shots
“Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time?” That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future.”
― Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha
Today, Tuesday, is my last full day at Selva Verde Lodge, (link to their website) so of course I tried to get some more bird photos! Most of these are repeat birds, but different images and two are new for this trip. I just can’t stop photographing that baby Aracari and this morning after breakfast I saw him fly out of his hole to the nearest branch, not far, but he is learning! A treat to experience!
Last Day Birds
I woke up this morning, Smiled at the rising sun, Three little birds, Sat on my doorstep, Singing sweet songs
With the offical morning bird walk and personal walks around the lodge grounds today, I saw several birds not seen yesterday. The two special ones were the babies. The featured photo above is a baby Collared Aracari peeking his head out of the tree hole nest. Also in the slide show below is a baby Great Kiskadee. Both were first-time baby sightings here. It is that time of year, the beginning of the rainy season. Tomorrow I may share the birds we saw on our “Boat Bird Safari” Saturday, then sometime the other wildlife. It is so great to be out in a rainforest like this! Pura vida!
New Birds at Lodge Today
“Pan, who and what art thou?” he cried huskily. “I’m youth, I’m joy,” Peter answered at a venture, “I’m a little bird that has broken out of the egg.”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Tonight I decided to share my first set of birds photographed right here on the lodge grounds and I don’t have the official bird hike until tomorrow morning when maybe I will get a whole new set of birds! 🙂