Next to maybe “Nature” in general or “Birds” specifically, nothing describes my life of being “Retired in Costa Rica” better than “WALKING!” For seven years now without a car I have learned to get to most needed places on foot; walking to town, to the supermercado or farmacia, to a restaurante; and even better, walking for fun or the discoveries of nature on city sidewalks, my “Country Lane” or “Country Road” walks for photos of birds or other nature and best of all the many wonderful wilderness trails I’ve discovered in national parks and reserves across this beautiful, natural country of Costa Rica. My life here has made experiencing nature and walking (hiking) almost synonymous! The feature photo at top is one of the horizons I experience on “Country Lane” and other paths in Atenas with one of my trip trails below . . .Continue reading “WALKING PATHS in My Life Today”
Had I not married, hiking would have been my avocation or how I spent all my time when not working to pay the bills. 🙂 But that’s not the way my life worked out. So I squeezed in as much as I could, though mostly before marriage and after the divorce with some during marriage, and the memories of all those times among nature are some of the greatest treasures I have. Most of my photography on backpacking trips and day hikes were of the scenery and nature, but I have a few of me on the hiking trails I will show below on the post-email section of the blog, plus even more of hiking groups I either led (most of them) or participated in group hikes. These will be galleries and you can click an image to see its larger full-frame pix and/or a manual slideshow if you wish.
The feature photo at top is of my Vasque Hiking Shoes, the best hiking shoes I ever had!Continue reading “WALKING PATHS of My Adult Life”
Vultures are not all ugly as this magnificent creature attests. The King Vulture (eBird description) is hard to find and even harder to photograph without help, but possible as seen in my King Vulture Gallery from 3 locations in Costa Rica. Read the Backstory for how I got the closeups and follow the links to the three trip galleries where I found this big bird!Continue reading “FAVE BIRDS – King Vulture”
One of those thrilling moments of discovery was the first time I finally saw a Sunbittern, even though planned and expected but not guaranteed, there it was! And after a few shots of a plain walking bird along the stream, he finally opened his wings for this shot of spectacular color and design! Read the Backstory for more on the experience.
The Sunbittern (eBird description) is found along water in Central America and the northern half of South America. See my Sunbittern Gallery for my images made at La Mina near Rancho Naturalista, Turrialba; Macaw Lodge near Carara NP; and at Tapirus Lodge, Braulio Carillo NP. See links at bottom of post for all three of these trip galleries and links to these 3 lodges in The Backstory.Continue reading “FAVE BIRDS – Sunbittern”
The first in my series of favorite bird photos since moving to Costa Rica is almost everyone’s favorite, the Resplendent Quetzal (eBird description) found in the cloud forests of Costa Rica and some other Central American countries that is an endangered species or “near threatened.” See my other photos of this beauty in my CR Resplendent Quetzal Gallery with photos from three different trips to San Gerardo de Dota and two trips to Monteverde, the two best places to find and photograph this colorful bird in Costa Rica. Note that it is the national bird of Guatemala, but on my three trips there I never saw one.
On my first trip to Costa Rica in 2009 on a birding tour, one of our stops was the Hotel Savegre in San Gerardo de Dota and I made this close-up here of what I think is a younger male Resplendent Quetzal than the one in the top photo because his tail was not as long. They took us to a nearby farm and pointed to a wild avocado tree where Quetzales would come to eat if we waited patiently. Most everyone sat on a little hill beside the tree to see the birds when they came in and that was where I started . . .
But when someone else crawled down under the tree to shoot from below, I decided to also be different and joined him. A good decision! we were much closer to the birds when they flew in and that is how I got this closeup shot of a young male in brilliant Christmas colors that served as my Christmas card one year! The other shot above this is I think of a more mature adult with long flowing tail that was made this year in January during a week stay at the remodeled and enlarged Hotel Savegre! I love it there! 🙂
San Gerardo de Dota
I love all of San Gerardo de Dota and have had good experiences in 2 other lodges there, Trogon Lodge and the simple little cabins at Cabinas El Quetzal, then called Mariam’s Cabinas. But without a doubt, Hotel Savegre is my favorite for service, food and facilities plus the number of birds seen. See my photo galleries listed below for photos from each location.
I found it a little more difficult to find Quetzales in Monteverde, but they are there and you will see in my galleries I got some good photos there too including a nesting couple. I just prefer San Gerardo de Dota. One trip to Monteverde was with the Costa Rica Birding Club and we stayed in cabins. My solo trip was at Monteverde Lodge and Gardens which I highly recommend with a great restaurant and super guides to guarantee you find birds of all kinds, including the Quetzal. Plus it is very good birding on the lodge’s large property of forest and gardens. I love it there too! 🙂
My Trip Galleries that include Quetzales
- 2021 January 15-20 — San Gerardo de Dota, Hotel Savegre
- 2019 April 7-13 — Monteverde, Monteverde Lodge & Gardens
- 2016 March 10-13 – Monteverde
- 2015 Sep 25-27 – San Gerardo de Dota
- 2014 August, San Gerardo de Dota, Trogon Lodge, as an “add-on” to a tour
- 2009 January Birding Tour of Costa Rica, Hotel Savegre, San Gerardo de Dota
“Not all those who wander are lost”~ J.R.R. Tolkien
The response to yesterday’s blog post “Verdure” has been good and of course that older English word refers to the “green” in nature. One response caused me to look up quotes about “green in nature” and there were so many good ones! I limited myself to sharing just three:
“For still there are so many things that I have never seen: in every wood in every spring there is a different green.”– J. R. R. Tolkien
“Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.”– Pedro Calderon de la Barca
“Nature in her green, tranquil woods heals and soothes all afflictions.”– John Muir
Those who know me well may not believe that title – and, well – what is happening in this period of few blog posts is that I am totally absorbed in the re-reading the Lord of the Rings books, all in one volume for me on my Kindle, a much longer read than The Hobbit I just completed! Plus I am still mostly tired from the radiation treatments and just not doing much else or getting out much.
Frodo and his buddies are just beginning as they got out of “The Old Forest” terrors and the magical “House of Tom Bombadil” and head for “The Prancing Pony Inn” and more “Dark Rider” or “Strider” encounters (who has been following them).
Eventually I may report on the story with some of my nature photos or I just may give you a break! 🙂
“I’m going on an adventure!” said Bilbo Baggins~JRR Tolkien in The Hobbit
Only great books deserve “re-reading” and The Hobbit (Wikipedia link), the 1937 published book by JRR Tolkien, is certainly one of those! I just finished reading it again on my Kindle and of course discovered “new stuff” not in my memory! He pretty much introduces a new character or creature in every chapter and then brings them all back together for the epic “Battle of Five Armies” at the end of the story.
I will not write a full or formal review but just share some first impressions and personal feelings on the re-read of a favorite book, which I followed by a re-watch of the 3-movies version of the book . . .Continue reading “The Hobbit Re-read”
In many ways, YES! And in more than one place I have used the following Tolkien quote in relation to my nearly 7 years of continuous exploring the most magical place on earth to me – Costa Rica!
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”-J.R.R Tolkien
I just finished the Wingfeather Saga of four books where Andrew Peterson created his own imaginary world called “Aerwiar” and, like Tolkien before him, created this imaginary world before he wrote all the stories so that the places helped shape the stories. I don’t know if Lewis created Narnia before his stories, but as a best friend to Tolkien, he probably did! 🙂 And I can assure you that Costa Rica was created long before me and shapes all of my stories! 🙂
The Wingfeather Saga started off a little slow but ended with a powerful impact on me and probably most other readers. The many places within his world of “Aerwiar” not only influenced his story but also how we the readers react to it. You can easily say the same thing about Narnia and of course the most powerful sense of place in the make-believe world remains Tolkien’s “Middle-earth” that people still study and the fantasy of it keeps readers coming back for more!
But to me, the best fantasyland of them all is the real country of Costa Rica! It has greatly influenced not only my blog reported adventures here but how I’m living my new “pura vida” daily life in Costa Rica. In some ways I’ve tackled this country the way the Hobbit Frodo approached Middle-earth and how those children approached Narnia & Aerwiar; all with a sense of awe, adventure and purpose! I think it’s the way to approach all of life, wherever one lives! I just think it’s easier in a magical place like Costa Rica! 🙂
And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.
Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.~Roald Dahl
My Magical Place is Costa Rica!
As with any good coffee farming town, Atenas is in the hills below the big mountains and away from the plains of the big city of San Jose. Yesterday as my taxista drove me back home from a doctor appointment in the city, I cellphone-snapped these photos of the approaching hills as we neared Atenas. No great photos but they bear testimony of the terrain of my little pueblo.
“We are now in the mountains and they are in us, kindling enthusiasm, making every nerve quiver, filling every pore and cell of us.”~John Muir