There are 4 kinds of Kingfishers here at Maquenque and so far I’ve photographed 3 of those species. I’ve seen Green Kingfisher here before but not this week so far. Here’s the three species I’ve got with two shots of the Amazon because he looks different in each shot. CLICK image to enlarge.
There are 4 species of Honeycreepers in Costa Rica and these three are easily seen all over the Maquenque Lodge & Reserve. Note the big difference in male and female of all three! CLICK image to enlarge.
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! 🙂
As noted earlier, one of the things I’m doing more of during the “lock-down” time is trying get all of my old photos culled through and posted in one place.
One of the biggest collections is from my 10 years of volunteer work at Nashville Zoo and my Nashville Zoo Gallery is now completed. It includes one of my biggest collections of bird photos along with so many other animals and a really large number of people photos which was what the Zoo PR Dept. wanted a lot of. It was a nice re-living of many great memories at Nashville Zoo. And as I go through other photo files I expect to find more of Nashville Zoo, like when friends and family visited, I often took them to the zoo but haven’t gotten to those photos yet! 🙂
My favorite time in my house is during breakfast on my terrace when I usually have many visitors and sometimes try to photograph them, whether bird, butterfly or other creature. This morning I managed to grab shots of 4 after trying and failing to get shots of two tiny orange & black butterflies that flew as a pair and never lighted on a flower for me. Shooting them in flight is very difficult and I failed. Both these butterflies and birds are regular repeats for me, but each one is a unique individual! 🙂
Finally – “the big book” – what I’ve been planning for nearly 6 years! Almost all the birds I’ve photographed since moving to Costa Rica in 2014. I haven’t finished photographing birds here, and next month at Maquenque Lodge I could easily get a photo I will regret is not in this book! But why not do it now, with the Coronavirus Down Time providing time to create and the year of my 80th birthday as a celebration excuse! 🙂 If I keep putting it off, there won’t be a book! And this one is so much bigger and better than my recent Roca Verde Birds book which was just birds in my yard!
Here’s the bookstore official description:
About the Book
Eighty-year-old retiree from Tennessee, Charlie Doggett, has lived in and explored the rainforests and cloud forests of Costa Rica for 6 years, sharing photos and experiences in his “Retired in Costa Rica” BLOG. This book has 420 bird photos from his blog – more than 300 species of birds, named in both English and Spanish with a complete English-names INDEX. At 230 photo pages, 10 X 8 inches, it’s a great gift or coffee table book about Costa Rica, printed on 100# Premium Lustre Gloss Photo Paper.
Walking to the supermarket Monday morning I crossed one of these “seasonal streams” or THE NASTY PLACE, a storm sewer creek where unfortunately some locals dump their “gray water” (sink & bath/shower water) which is always whitish from the soap, especially with the hand-washing emphasis these days. 🙂 There is no public sewage in little Atenas with everyone’s toilets going into their private septic tanks that work better without the abundance of “gray water.” Houses like mine have the gray water going into a “root-system-looking” group of pipes deep into the ground where the water goes through holes in the pipes and soaks down through dirt and rock purifying it before it gets to the underground aquifers, from which come our well-water or drinking water. 🙂 TMI?
As I crossed over the “bridge” (street over a concrete culvert or pipe) where the city is bulldozing to widen the road or bridge at that point (extend the concrete pipe), I see a Lesson’s Motmot, THE PRETTY BIRD, fly up from the stream to a tree and I quickly grab my cellphone for a photo at quite a distance and thus the herewith BAD PHOTOS! Yes, I know that I could carry my big camera with me everywhere I go, but just don’t find that very comfortable or convenient (especially in the supermarket) and settle for what I can get with the cellphone camera. And it is okay for buildings, people, or even flowers which let me get closer than the bird will! 🙂
Anyway – that’s my story! And I’m sticking with it! And I apologize if you find the part about “gray water” objectionable! 🙂 ¡Así es la vida! That’s life!