Tree Planting

The only way we are going to save the earth for future generation is by “rewilding” or creating “new” old growth forests of about 50% of the globe by planting more trees. Yesterday I did one tiny part of that by planting an Almond Tree here at Maquenque, where they hope to reintroduce the endangered Green Macaws that eat mostly almonds! And soon they will add nesting boxes to replace the big old trees with nesting holes, one of several reasons they are endangered. It will be a few years before my little baby Almond Tree will feed Macaws, but we have to plan for the future! And that is symbolized by Vicky’s (lodge manager’s) children standing with me in the second photo.

Plus Maquenque does have a few grown Almond Trees here already, “los almendros.” But very few macaws on the ground now, mostly flying overhead as in the third photo below. Plus, since they are located north-central, close to the continental divide, they can have both Green Macaws (Caribbean Slope which they are on) and some Scarlet Macaws (from  the Pacific Slope). The Scarlets evidently fly over the Continental Divide which is not high mountains here in the lowlands. Scarlet Macaws are not as endangered as the green but are near-endangered because of habitat loss.

Charlie Doggett with the baby Almond Tree he helped plant at Maquenque Ecolodge & Reserve, Boca Tapada, Costa Rica, April 13, 2023.

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Yellow-faced Grassquit

This common resident bird is found literally all over Costa Rica at most levels and this is my 4th time to see one in my Atenas neighborhood, with all other photos here in trees, bushes or on a fence, though their feeding is in the grasses! I have seen one across the street in the cow pasture grasses but without a photo!  🙂  I did get photos of him in the grasses of a meadow in Curi-Cancha Reserve, Monteverde and I’ve also seen one at Celeste Mountain Lodge at Tenorio Volcano NP. See my other photos in the Yellow-faced Grassquit GALLERY. And you can read about them on eBird. He’s a resident, tropical, non-migrating bird found throughout Central America, the Caribbean Islands and the northern fringes of South America. Here’s 3 shots of this male in one of my Nance Trees . . .

Yellow-faced Grassquit, Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica

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Calle Nueva won’t be “Country” Much Longer

And as a nature lover, I do not always embrace “progress” that henders nature, but as always, I learn to live with it!  🙂 This old dirt country road called “Calle Nueva” winds over three or four hills through the woods and farms on the western edge of Pueblo Atenas running from the western side of town to the nearby village of Rio Grande at the entrance to Ruta 27, our controlled access highway between San Jose and Jaco Beach. This narrow country dirt road has been considered an emergency exit road in case of a disaster requiring evacuation. Now it is about to become a major street or road to enter or exit Atenas. They first graded and widened it to 9 meters taking a few trees and lots of wild flower with their backhoes, graders and chainsaws. Now they have started at the Rio Grande end widening it to 14 meters and paving it! Working this way! And more than half finished! Already traffic has increased and when all is paved it will stay busy!

Where I enter Calle Nueva, just past Colegio Técnico on Avenida 10, with new black gravel up to the little one lane bridge where it is back to the plain red dirt again.

Of course I am disappointed that I am about to lose my little “shady lane” country road for birding and butterflies along with other nature photography, but even with pavement and more cars it will for a while have more birds and other nature than city streets, just gradually the farms along this road will be turned into housing developments as more foreigners move here in both retirement like me AND now so many younger adults who work on the internet and can live anywhere are choosing to live here! 🙂  It’s all part of our big changing world! At least I’m already living in one of those more desirable places in the world to live! 🙂

Recently graded and widened to 9 meters and soon to 14 meters and paved!

I will continue to walk this road for its nature until there is no more nature. The additional people, traffic and greater speed of vehicles will discourage the birds and other animals in time, but for now it is still a nature path, even when the pavement goes down. And I will continue to document here the birds and butterflies I find through these woods and farms, but for you who live here, be aware than “progress” is coming!  🙂

More photos of the road below from my March 10 sunrise walk . . .

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Birds on Calle Nueva

7 days ago, Friday, March 10, I left my house at 5:40 am and took the city streets for the 20 minute walk to Calle Nueva alongside Roca Verde but with no entrance from our development. I saw a few birds on the city streets enroute and then a little past Colegio Técnico (our technical high school on 10th Ave.) I always start seeing birds and continue to as I cross the stream and go up the hill alongside Roca Verde. I’ll do a post about the road tomorrow and explain why I think birds have decreased there and will more in the future, but for today here’s the 11 birds I got useable photos of for the blog and darn it! I missed snapping the 2 Motmots I saw!  🙂

First a photo I consider kind of “artsy” – a black bird on black & silver power lines with the morning sunrise turning the clouds in front of him black & orange as he seems to stare at them in unbelief!  🙂  Sort of dramatic, don’t you think?  🙂

Great-tailed Grackle watching the sunrise on Calle Nueva in Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica.

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The Other 2 White Birds

Three days ago, March 2,  I published a blog post on the Snowy Egret, an all-white bird, and here are the other 2 all-white birds at Tortuguero: the Great Egret and the Cattle Egret.

You can tell the Snowy Egret and Great Egret apart by the opposite colors of their beaks and feet: Snowy has black beak and yellow feet, while Great has yellow beak and black feet.  🙂 The Cattle Egret is much smaller with shorter neck and beak and often with pale salmon coloring on head and chest. After this introductory photo, there is a 3-pix gallery for each of these two new all-white birds . . .

Great Egret, Tortuguero National Park, Limón, Costa Rica

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One Last Post on the Xandari Visit

Because the 2023 Xandari Trip Gallery is now ready for you to see all this year’s photos from this colorful nature resort, I will just summarize what was to be the last 4 posts on that trip and you can see the photos in the gallery which is more and better than a few here!  🙂  The last 4 categories each have a gallery that I’m linking to with the 4 pix below:

I photographed only 4 birds mainly because of the high winds we were having there that week. Here’s just 1 of those 4 and to see the others, click the above link or this image:

Clay-colored Thrush or Yigüirro, the National Bird

Though there did not seem to be as many Flowers on this trip as in earlier ones (different time of year), there were still a lot and you can see the ones I photographed by clicking the above link or this one image.

Bird of Paradise Flower, Xandari Costa Rica

Thirdly are some of the Leaves & Nature Things that I love to photograph out in nature anywhere I go! And I think I got a few interesting ones this trip including the feature photo at top of the post. Check them all out at the above link or click this one photo:

Nature as Art, Xandari Costa Rica

And last but not least are a few photos I made of only a sampling of the Trees & Trails at Xandari. Click that link or this one image to see more:

Trees & Trails at Xandari Costa Rica

¡Pura Vida!

Or see all the 2023 Xandari Trip Galleries!



Two Damselflies at Xandari

I was not aware of any Dragonflies but saw many Damselflies including these two with fairly certain identifications 🙂  . . . 

Female Azure Dancer

Female Azure Dancer at Xandari Costa Rica

Forest Rubyspot

Forest Rubyspot at Xandari Costa Rica

¡Pura Vida!

See my gallery of many of the Dragon & Damselflies in Costa Rica.

And the 2023 Xandari Trip Gallery is now ready for you to see all this year’s photos from this colorful nature resort. 

Last Butterfly – A Clouded Sulphur

This is a very common butterfly here and one of many in the family Pieridae – WHITES, YELLOWS & SULPHURS, though this was the only one from this visit to Xandari. In that linked gallery there are photos of 23 species and many came from Xandari on earlier visits.

Cloudless Sulphur – Phoebis sennae

Cloudless Sulphur – Phoebis sennae at Xandari Costa Rica

¡Pura Vida!

And the 2023 Xandari Trip Gallery is now ready for you to see all my photos from this colorful nature resort.

Yesterday’s Freshness . . .

. . . was felt when I went to and from Central Atenas on the first day of school. Everywhere were happy, smiling, chatting school kids of all ages, kindergarten to 12th grade wearing brand new uniforms and marking the real beginning of 2023 for them! School year here is February to December. It made me feel good about living en el pueblo de Atenas!

¡Pura Vida!


3 Brushfoots from Xandari

The largest family of butterflies is Nymphalidae – BRUSHFOOTS and you can click that link for my galleries in that family where I now have photos of 93 species. I did get one more photo from this family that I cannot yet identify, so not included here.

Banded Peacock – Anartia fatima

Erato Heliconian – Heliconius erato

Erato Heliconian – Heliconius erato at Xandari Costa Rica (also called “Postman”)

Carolina Satyr – Hermeuptychia sosybius

Carolina Satyr – Hermeuptychia sosybius at Xandari Costa Rica

¡Pura Vida!

And the 2023 Xandari Trip Gallery is now ready for you to see all my photos from this colorful nature resort.