And the Other Birds

From El Silencio, I shared the Trogon & Chlorospingus first and then the Hummingbirds and now here’s the “leftovers!” 🙂 Actually they aren’t all bad photos, but not as interesting as the other earlier-shared 4 birds. Six here, making a total of only 10 birds this trip compared to 23 the previous visit to El Silencio. The number of birds are way down everywhere this year! And no one has a good explanation.

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2 Dazzling Hummingbirds!

In my brief time at El Silencio Lodge this trip (last month) I managed to photograph two of their several mountain hummingbirds either in the rain or in-between rains: The Lesser Violetear, Colibri Cyanotus (linked to eBird) and the Purple-throated Mountain-Gem, Lampornis [castaneoventris] calolaemus (also linked to eBird). And you can see some of my other shots of both of these species in my galleries:

Now find below three shots of each species. Note that the male & female of the Violetear are identical thus not identified while the male & female of the Purple-throated are different and I did get shots of both in the latter! Plus I have here one shot of each species flying/hovering/eating! 🙂

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Common Chlorospingus or . . .

Middle America Bush-Tanager, Chlorospingus flavopectus, which is sporting a new name found only in my new 2023 Princeton Field Guide, Birds of Costa Rica (and online). And that is why I try to always have the latest bird guide because there are always changes in the names. eBird is currently using both names and even “Middle America Chlorospingus” as another option. This particular one is found only in Central America with a slightly different one in South America which I suspect is why the name change. I photographed this one from my porch chair at my cabin in El Silencio Lodge & Reserve last month. I’ve already featured the Collared Trogon and now this one from El Silencio and may do just one more bird post on all the others I photographed to keep from stringing the El Silencio posts out too far. 🙂 Or maybe one on Hummingbirds and one on all the others! 🙂 Here’s 3 of my porch shots of this nice little bird by whatever name! 🙂

Middle America Bush-Tanager, El Silencio Lodge, Bajos del Toro, Costa Rica
Continue reading “Common Chlorospingus or . . .”

Red-tailed Squirrel

Though I tend to see more Variegated Squirrels in Costa Rica, this species is my second “most-seen” of the 4 Squirrels of Costa Rica. And I’ve photographed all 4 species as seen in my CR Mammals Gallery (scroll down to S’s for Squirrels) or you may prefer to go directly to my Red-tailed Squirrel Gallery where I have photos from 6 different locations in Costa Rica counting this new one. And interestingly, I’ve seen them on both slopes (Pacific & Atlantic) and in both lowlands and mountains, so they seem to be almost as universal here as the Variegated Squirrel. 🙂 Here’s two shots of a Red-tailed I found at El Silencio Lodge, Bajos del Toro . . .

Red-tailed Squirrel, El Silencio Lodge, Bajos del Toro, Alajuela, Costa Rica
Red-tailed Squirrel, El Silencio Lodge, Bajos del Toro, Alajuela, Costa Rica

See more photos of these and a lot of other wildlife in my 2023 El Silencio Lodge TRIP GALLERY.

¡Pura Vida!

Mystical Footpath to Waterfalls

I had only one full day (along with two partial days) at El Silencio Lodge last month and on that full day it rained until after 2 pm, so it was nearly 3 pm before I headed out on what the lodge sometimes calls “Mystery Trail” for my 2 km hike mostly uphill to the three beautiful waterfalls that I shared photos of yesterday, then 2 km back to cabin before dinner.

But as is often the case, the journey is as beautiful or life-changing as the destination! And this was no exception! Every hiking trail is a “Mystical Footpath” to me and when I have more time than I did that day, I find exciting insects and lizards along every trail and in some places birds, monkeys, sloths and other wildlife! But this report is more on the trail and many streams along the way found in a photo gallery below this one pix. In the gallery you can click an image to see it larger and full-width or by clicking the first image you can go through all 12 as a manual slide show that you click through my story in pictures! Enjoy views from my Cloud Forest Hike of last month . . .

I take off on my hike!
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3 Waterfalls at Lodge

The three falls on the lodge property rival some of the big commercial falls in and around the little town of Bajos del Toro where there are 31 waterfalls you can visit! But these lodge falls are assuming that you are willing to walk 2km, mostly uphill to get to them and then they are fairly close together once you get to the first, which is Melody Falls. Then hiking back to your cabin is another 2 km, though mostly downhill and a lot easier and faster! 🙂 I was hiking solo, thus I did not wade into the stream for a better view of Melody Falls. Unfortunately I have history of slipping and falling on wet rocks! 🙂 So all of these photos were made from the dry trail or flat land by the three falls. Tomorrow I will share a few pix of the streams and other views along the trail to and from the falls which I think is almost as beautiful or interesting. But here’s one pix of each waterfall with it’s sign to identify it. And it works better if you go to the website to see them, so after the first one in emailed version, a link to the other photos in the blog post online . . .

The Silence Waterfall

El Silencio Waterfall, El Silencio Lodge & Reserve, Bajos del Toro, Costa Rica
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Handsome Collared Trogons


I use the word “handsome” because to me it better describes all Trogons, male and female, than “beautiful,” (though they are beautiful too, especially the Quetzal!) and here I have a photo of a male and a female Collared Trogon (link is to eBird info) which was earlier combined with one called “Orange-bellied Trogon,” another name change keeping us old men birders on our toes! 🙂

I’ve seen this one in six places in Costa Rica, all shown in my CR Collared Trogon GALLERY. And there are more photos of these 2 at El Silencio in my “trip gallery:” 2023 El Silencio Lodge. A tropical bird found only in Central America and northern South America. And this one is always in the mountains or cloud forests while different species of Trogons are seen in the lowland rainforests.

My latest book, Princeton Field Guide to Birds of Costa Rica, lists 9 species of Trogons in Costa Rica including the Resplendent Quetzal. I have photos of 7 of these in my Costa Rica Birds GALLERIES (just 2 more to go!). 🙂 Scroll down past the hummingbirds, water birds, hawks and owls to the Trogons. 🙂

I’m showing the female of the Collared Trogon here first because she is one of the very few distinctively brown birds and I like brown! 🙂

Female Collared Trogon, El Silencio Lodge, Bajos del Toro, Costa Rica
Male Collared Trogon, El Silencio Lodge, Bajos del Toro, Costa Rica

¡Pura Vida!

Sorry for the delayed reports on El Silencio, but I got two weeks ahead on my blog posts during the last trip (Esquinas Rainforest Lodge) and didn’t want to start sending two posts a day! I hope you enjoy the variety of photos I will be sharing from El Silencio and see why it is another one of my “favorite places” here in Costa Rica! 🙂

And after 7 days of El Silencio photos I will be back to pix from my garden and neighborhood here in Atenas! 🙂 Next trip is September 18 to the Caribbean side of Costa Rica which is totally different from the mountains! 🙂 And I’m going to save those dates for “live” reports daily from the Caribe! 🙂

And if you want to learn more about El Silencio, see their website: El Silencio Lodge. It is an upscale lodge that costs more than most I visit, but the owner likes my photo books and gave me a free night this time! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

2023 – Slowing Down on Travel

As much as I love traveling around Costa Rica with my camera, I am slowing down a little this year for multiple reasons, mainly health and money!  🙂  I’ve lived a long and exciting life already, mostly as a high-energy person, ready at all times for the next adventure! But with much less energy after cancer radiation treatments and having three pretty serious falls last year on trips, I must “start acting my age” in some respects.  🙂

Plus, my savings have been cut back a good bit with all the cancer treatments and I’m beginning to feel the tightness of money more, so fewer trips and shorter trips is part of my plan for this year with enough “wiggle room” to add a day trip at the last minute when I feel the need. 🙂  Like the 2-night trip this week just added to nearby Xandari Resort . . .

Sidewalk from one of my past cabins at Xandari Costa Rica, plus the Feature Photo is a Sunset view from one of my earlier rooms at Xandari!

Here’s My 2023 Travel Plans


2 nights – Xandari Costa Rica Resort, Alajuela, my #1 best location for butterflies and one of the best for flowers! It’s this week! And you can see photos from 5 previous visits by browsing through my Costa Rica Trips Galleries,  2022, 2020 (twice), 2019 & 2018.  🙂  I will be giving the resort gifts of two copies of one of my newest photo books, Butterflies!
The Hidden Art of Xandari  for them to add to the only complete library of all Charlie Doggett photo books!


4 nights – Tortuga Lodge & Gardens, Tortuguero National Park. This will be my 4th trip to Tortuguero NP but my first time to this Lodge which is a sister lodge to the Monteverde Lodge and Gardens I visited in  2019 and considered a little nicer than the more rustic lodges I’ve visited here before, Turtle Beach Lodge in 2019 and Laguna Lodge in 2016 and with Caravan Tours in 2010. Tortuguero is often called “The Amazon of Costa Rica” with most nature hikes by boat and an amazing amount of wildlife from an occasional Jaguar to almost every tropical bird!  🙂


5 nights – Maquenque EcoLodge & Reserve, Boca Tapada. I sometimes call this my favorite lodge because of the large number of birds and other wildlife I’ve photographed there in the past and because they have treehouse rooms from which I’ve photographed both birds and monkeys in the nearby trees. But for the first time there I’m staying in a ground level cabin, one on the lake which may give me different wildlife photos from my room and I will be in less danger of falling down the 50 metal steps going up to the treehouse room. 🙂    You can see the photos of my 3 previous visits there by browsing through my Costa Rica Trips Galleries, or directly to  2022,  2020,  &  2019.  🙂


5 Nights – Esquinas Rainforest Lodge which I’ve visited only one other time, also in the rainy season with one of my largest collections of bird photos in a 2018 visit when I was the only guest most of my days there. It is a small, quiet jungle retreat in the rainforests of Piedras Blancas National Park on the opposite side of that park from the more touristy Playa Cativo Lodge I visited last July, also for my birthday! This year is will be my 83rd birthday!  🙂 This is run by Austrians in conjunction with their university-related rainforest research station there. Being the rainy season, it will definitely not be crowded and I could be the only guest again! That would be okay with me!  🙂


6 nights – Hotel Banana Azul, Puerto Viejo, Limón, South Caribe. This is my annual Caribbean Beach vacation, staying always in “The Howler Suite” room overlooking the rainforest property and beach where I get great sunrise photos each morning plus lots of butterflies and birds and other wildlife including Sloths. It is my most relaxing place to visit and I have no pressure to do anything, plus the food is good and I can walk to most places, though they have their own tour company to take me further if I want explore afar and of course to and from the Limón Aeropuerto. I always fly there as I will also to Esquinas in July, near Golfito. My only 2 flying trips this year. Walter will drive me everywhere else I go this year.  You can see my photos of 5 previous visits to Banana Azul by browsing through my Costa Rica Trips Galleries, or go directly to  2022, 2021, 2019, 2018, & 2017.


6 Nights – Hotel Savegre Lodge & Reserve, San Gerardo de Dota. And this year I will spend Christmas in another favorite lodge, in the most beautiful mountains with the 5th purest/cleanest river in the  entire world – Rio Savegre! And the best place in Costa Rica to photograph the Resplendent Quetzal birds along with many others! Plus terrific food, rooms and hiking trails! See my photos from there on my 2021 Visit, plus I was in the same hotel in 2009 (smaller then) and I have visited two other lodges in San Gerardo de Dota. Mariam’s Quetzales Cabins in 2015 and Trogon Lodge in 2014, all good experiences!

So fewer trips this year, but each one comes at a time I will emotionally need it and all in places I’ve been before and really love! I’m the luckiest guy in the world to get to spend my final years living like this in the most beautiful nature places in the world! Nothing could be better for my 83rd year of life!

¡Pura Vida!

Sunset from my room at Xandari one visit.

My 2022 in Photos

From the top of a volcano to the mangroves at the ocean’s edge and even in the tiny garden behind my casita, I’ve daily photographed nature for 8 years here and called that photography “Nature as Art!” and shared it in this blog.  🙂 

I like this Collins Online Dictionary definition:

Nature is all the animals, plants, and other things in the world that are not made by people, and all the events and processes that are not caused by people. 

Thus in nature I worship God and find my peace & inspiration from Him, the creator of it all!

Each year I find it difficult to select only 12 photos from the year and I first tried to come up with 12 “categories” of nature to make sure I selected a variety, but that became as cumbersome as trying to have a “photo-a-month.” So I decided to just stick with “12 favorites,” even if more than 12 are favorites! 🙂

So, however labeled, here’s 12 photos I made in 2022!

Happy New Year and Pura vida! 🙂

This 1st of 12 is looking out at the Pacific Ocean from Playa Cativo Lodge, Golfo Dulce, Piedras Blancas NP and the 12th photo below is a shot  looking out over the Atlantic Ocean at sunrise from Hotel Banana Azul. Coast to coast nature photos!   🙂

To the nearly 500 email subscribers: I hope you read on for the other 11 favorite photos . . .

Continue reading “My 2022 in Photos”

Xandari Trip Gallery

I do an online photo gallery (or galleries with the sub-galleries) and the gallery for my recent little two-night stay at a favorite place is now up at

Or you can just click this first page image and get there!

The highlight of this little trip was the large number of butterflies seen and photographed with 29 species having useable photos for the gallery. And I am still trying to catch up with posting all my butterfly species on! 🙂 Butterflies rule! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!