FAVE BIRDS: Resplendent Quetzal

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.

Resplendent Quetzal, San Gerardo de Dota

Backstory

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.

Monteverde

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

“Not all those who wander are lost”

~ J.R.R. Tolkien

¡Pura Vida!

Green

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
Fern

¡Pura Vida!

🙂

Adventures in the Wilds & No Camera!

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.

The Kindle Edition Cover


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! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

The Hobbit Re-read

“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.

Cover of The Hobbit on Kindle.

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”

Is Costa Rica My “Middle-earth?”

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
The Wingfeather Saga uses maps and your imagination for their spirited land.

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 Stone Bridge in the movie-version of Narnia.


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!

Frodo runs through the magical Hobbit village in movie version.

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!

Everywhere in Costa Rica is magical like this view from Villa Calletas, Jaco.

¡Pura Vida!

Driving Into the Hills of Atenas

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.

The Hills of Atenas Costa Rica from Ruta 27.
The Hills of Atenas Costa Rica from Ruta 27.
The Hills of Atenas Costa Rica from Ruta 27.
And by the time we were at my house, the clouds had moved in for the afternoon rain. 🙂

“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

¡Pura Vida!

Costa Rica: “Champions of the Earth”

There are many reasons that the United Nations gave Costa Rica the “Champions of the Earth” Award.

Costa Rica was the first tropical country to stop and reverse deforestation. It has managed to produce about 99 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, a rare accomplishment even among the wealthiest nations. And in 2019, it became one of the first countries to craft a national decarbonization plan . . .

~The Washington Post

Read more in this Washington Post article: Costa Rica’s environmental minister wants to build a green economy. She just needs time.

Above in old growth forest, Savegre Lodge, San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica.
Feature photo at top is view from my room at Villa Caletas, Jaco, Costa Rica.

¡Pura Vida!

A New “Lay Flat” Book

My constant urge to be creating something led me to doing a second “Lay Flat” Book with Blurb.com which simply means a thicker book with pages glued together so that there are no gutters between pages, making it idea for horizontal landscapes across two pages. I did one back in 2018 titled Costa Rica Sunrises and Sunsets. I think it is nice! And this one focuses on landscapes with only 4 sunrise/sunsets in it. 🙂 40 pages, 23 photos.

Check out the free preview at: https://www.blurb.com/b/10831231-a-voyage-of-discovery or click the cover image:

Click Image to See a Free Preview of the Book

And if you are wondering about that title, it comes from a quote that I put on the back cover of the book:

“The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

~Marcel Proust

¡Pura Vida!

“The Best Art”

“Land really is the best art.”

—Andy Warhol

“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

¡Pura Vida!

The four photos today were made on the last two mornings, 2-each, from my terrace of some of the hills surrounding Atenas Pueblo in Alajuela Province, Costa Rica. You can see more of my Terrace Vistas in that linked gallery or go for all the many different CR Vistas. 🙂

REVISED BOOK: Bosque del Cabo

When I saw what the photos looked like printed on plain paper, I decided that I could not let my photos go out looking that bad. The other book is no longer available in my Bookstore, replaced by this more expensive book printed on Premium Lustre Gloss Photo Paper for a totally different visual experience! Generally the public does not buy any of my photo books, but rather I order them to give to the lodges or to individuals as gifts. But just in case someone orders one, I want my simple photos to look their best! 🙂 And yes, you pay for it! 🙂

You may see a Free Preview of every page at this address or by clicking the cover image below: https://www.blurb.com/b/10815951-bosque-del-cabo

Click book cover above for Free Preview.

¡Pura Vida!