Juvenile House Gecko

Well, sometimes I think they are all “juvenile” in their behavior, chirping at night sometimes and leaving their distinctive gecko poop around the house, but then, on the other hand, they are heroes! They are my best “pest control” and maybe why Costa Rica does not have a mosquito problem or mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever plaguing other parts of Central America right now. This is a younger one with full grown nearly twice this size, though I’ve seen much smaller or literally baby geckos less than half this size. 🙂

House Gecko, Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica

My House Gecko GALLERY with only 3 so far. Not one of my priorities! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

June 6-8, 2024 15% OFF flash sale on my photo books with the Discount Code JUNEFLASH15. Go to my bookstore at https://www.blurb.com/user/cdoggett.

Arenal Butterfly Gallery Complete

and with 3 new moth species for me and at least one new butterfly species. First, to see them all in the sub-gallery of my developing trip gallery, go to Arenal ’24 Butterflies & Moths Gallery with 15 species . . .

Click Image of 1st page of Gallery to see gallery.

Since I did a post on most of these from Arenal, I will let you look for the last minute photos in the gallery! 🙂 Though one is the featured image at top of post of a Hecale Longwing shot on my last morning there. And the birds gallery may take much longer with a lot more photos to sort through! And I think that I’m just getting slower at everything I do now. 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Iguanas in the Heat

I captured these two different Black Spiny-tailed Iguanas (my gallery link) dealing with the higher heat than normal this year. They seemed to almost be panting like a dog does in the heat. As with the rest of the world, Costa Rica has broken temperature records this year and all of us from the birds and iguanas to the people are looking forward to the start of the rainy season, which is normally in May! Our Dry Season (December-April) is considered Summer here and we are concluding our hottest summer yet! Global Warming is very real!

Black Spiny-tailed Iguana, Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica
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Correcting a Butterfly ID

Two years ago, in May 2022, I did a first time trip to a new lodge for me that a friend recommended, Chachagua Rainforest Hotel (link to my trip gallery) and I got a lot of bird photos and quite a few butterflies, two of which are still unidentified. BUT, one of those I identified then was misidentified, and for that I apologize! I first called it a Western Pygmy (blog post link). In retrospect, there is no excuse, but what caused it was that because it was a tiny little fingernail-sized butterfly, I assumed (a dangerous word!) that it was one of the many in the family Lycaenidae or Gossamer-Wings butterflies because all of them are very tiny like this one. Bad assumption as I have now learned that there are tiny ones in all of the families and this one is actually in the Riodinidae or Metalmarks family! It is a Simple Sarota (my species gallery link) or the scientific name Sarota acantus (butterfliesandmoths link where only two of us have submitted photos). 🙂 So I re-submit with the correct name!

Simple Sarota, Chachagua Rainforest Hotel, San Ramon Canton, Alajuela, Costa Rica
Simple Sarota, Chachagua Rainforest Hotel, San Ramon Canton, Alajuela, Costa Rica
Simple Sarota, Chachagua Rainforest Hotel, San Ramon Canton, Alajuela, Costa Rica

¡Pura Vida!

And see all of my Costa Rica butterfly photos arranged by families and then species in my gallery: BUTTERFLIES & Moths of Costa Rica (270+ species)

Burst of Departure Color

Palm fronds die and depart the trees year around as the tree constantly grows new fronds, but near the end of dry season it is either more often or just more noticeable with the bright greens changing to bright yellows or rich rust colors, like their final flower or “notice me” as they leave this world. 🙂

Departing Palm Frond, Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica
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Villa Lapas/Carara Park Photo Gallery

Though I have another week+ of blog post photos already scheduled, I have now also got my “Trip Gallery” completed for the two-night visit to Villa Lapas Hotel (hotel link) in Tarcoles and it was a productive trip! 🙂 You can see all the photos from that visit last week by clicking the first page of the gallery below or go to this address: https://charliedoggett.smugmug.com/TRIPS/2024-March-11-13-Villa-Lapas-Tarcoles-Carara-NP

CLICK IMAGE above to go to the gallery.

And the FYI about why I re-visited this older local hotel in Tarcoles now (2015 was my other time) is that next year (2025, Q4) Villa Lapas (hotel link) will become a Marriott “Signature” hotel, whatever that means, and of course the prices will increase significantly as they modernize the very old rooms and restaurant. So it will be interesting to see what happens! 🙂 It is adjacent to Carara National Park and across the highway from Tarcoles Village with the Rio Tarcoles Boat Tours, so a lot to do there for the nature lover like me, including on their own significant chunk of forest on the hotel grounds. I recommend it if you can put up with older facilities, often needing maintenance. Lots of nature there! See the gallery! 🙂

But ALSO NOTE: even though I’m glad I revisited Villa Lapas, my favorite hotel in the area is still Macaw Lodge on top of the mountain above Villa Lapas and Carara Park for much more nature on the lodge grounds! I encourage you to try Macaw Lodge (lodge link) even though the drive up the mountain, partly on a gravel road, is much more difficult. It is worth it!

¡Pura Vida!

Kinkajou Killed by Car

Kinkajou killed by car, Atenas, Costa Rica

Warning! The second photo is graphic! The Kinkajou is the size of some smaller monkeys (but unrelated) and has a prehensile tail with which he hangs from tree limbs when harvesting fruit. They look similar to the smaller Olingo (but again unrelated). They are found in lowland forests in Central & South America and are nocturnal.

He/she was probably hit by a car in the night. I photographed on the bridge over a small stream on Avenida 8 just outside the Roca Verde main gate on a walk to town. It saddens me that humans continue to remove the forests and trees that keep such unique animals alive. I have never seen one alive in the wild but of course that is partly because they are nocturnal and I am not! :-) Just one more of the thousands of unique species found here in Costa Rica. ¡Pura vida!

Kinkajou killed by car, Atenas, Costa Rica
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Madre Verde Butterflies!

Yesterday was the last morning birding hike with my friend from British Columbia and Walter took us to a new nature reserve for me, Reserva Madre Verde near Palmares which is north of Atenas, a 30 minute drive through beautiful mountains (or maybe hills). :-)

Our two hour hike up & down a hill had a 300 meter rise in altitude was good for us 80-somethings! We heard lots of birds but in a fairly thick forest we did not see as many as the other two birding hikes. I got photos of only 3 birds – BUT – I’m still happy because I got photos of 9 different species of butterflies, which took me all afternoon to identify and process the photos AND I got 3 new species for me! :-) So a very good 2-hour hike! Below is a gallery with one shot of each of the 9 butterflies after this one shot for the email version of post . . .

Tiger Mimic-White, Reserva Madre Verde, Palmares, Costa Rica
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Thank You for 2023!

I am immensely grateful for each and every one of you who read my blog regularly, occasionally or just look at the photos! My site host reports more that 2,000+ “hits” online at my website/blog every month! 🙂 And that doesn’t count many of the 500+ subscribers who only look at the email version nor most of the 650 Facebook Friends who look at the one feature photo without clicking the the link to the post! 

I also appreciate the hundreds of comments left on the posts monthly and many “contacts” or messages through my contact page or by email. Just yesterday I responded to a man in England with questions about photographing wildlife at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge and a friend in the States commented with a meaningful Bible verse about my post yesterday on hugging the 800 year old tree. Nature is fun! :-) And you who read or just look at the pictures are the ones who make it fun for me! :-) THANKS! Keep reading or looking at the pix! And click the gallery links for more pix!

As usual, I’m ending the year with 12 photos from this year, equaling one per month but not literally from each month, since some months have weaker or fewer photos. Nor are these necessarily my top 12 favorite photos from this year, but are representative 2023 photos from “Retired in Costa Rica” this year, with birds and butterflies obviously being two favorite subjects again! :-) One shot here for the email version and eleven more online with a quick click below of “Read More”!

Black-cheeked Woodpecker, Maquenque Eco Lodge, Boca Tapada, Alajuela, Costa Rica
Continue reading “Thank You for 2023!”

“Hug a Tree!”

After the jeep ride up the mountain (yesterday’s post) going past the mirador (Spanish for a vista overlook platform), we stopped at the trailhead for multiple trails. Me and the 3-generation Tico family chose the shorter trail through the forest down to the Savegre Mirador. Just one experience here, so be sure to see the others in the Hiking the Pioneers Trail Photo GALLERY.

An 800 Year Old Tree says “Hug Me!”
A Mother & Child Hug the 800 year old Tree.

And for more pix on the trails at Savegre, click the linked blog post below titled “Trails and Trees” where Marino Chacón (a different son of the founder than this year) took me on a longer trails hike for the early morning bird hike back in January 2021, just the 2 of us.

¡Pura Vida!