Just in time! The night before I leave on another trip I finished my photos from the Christmas 2020 trip to Arenal Observatory Lodge with more than 50 species of birds! And 5 are lifers for me! Plus a whole lot of other photos from this favorite lodge. For now the birds are presented alphabetically by their English Common Name. Later I will make time to arrange by species families according to my birding guide book. Overall I’m pleased with this collection of photos and moving on to the next collection! 🙂 To see gallery CLICK above link or the image below:
The several swinging bridges at Arenal Observatory Lodge connecting the many trails are a lot more secure than those rope bridges we made in Boy Scouts, but just as thrilling! 🙂 Here’s some shots of two of the hanging bridges I hiked over during my Arenal Visit Christmas Week. CLICK an image to see larger . . .
“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.”
― Douglas Adams
Tomorrow Begins Another Adventure . . .
I don’t plan or intend to have trips just 3 weeks apart! It takes me longer than that to process the photos! 🙂
But because I had to reschedule this next trip, originally set for a March-April overlap week, just as the Pandemic was taking over . . . Soooo I told them to “reschedule it around the middle of January, not thinking about my Christmas trip – But anyway . . . I’m shifting gears from a rainforest at the base of a volcano to a cooler Cloud Forest in San Gerardo de Dota, starting tomorrow at the Savegre Hotel and Nature Reserve. (NOTE: their website is under reconstruction and only the home page shows for now.
This is one of the lodges I stayed in on my first trip to Costa Rica in 2009. It’s the best place in the world to see and photograph the Resplendent Quetzal bird. And the coldest place I’ve been in Costa Rica with fireplaces used at night. Since no rain in January, it is a little warmer at 13° C or 54° F average low to high of 27°C or 81°F, but hey guys! I freeze to death here in Atenas when it gets down in the 60’s F. 🙂
The new lodge website linked above is under construction, so instead of their photos, you can see my photo galleries of 3 previous visits, all a very long time ago 🙂 . . .
I enjoy photographing all of nature so much that it is difficult to stop or reduce the number of photos I share on this blog and I know that fewer can be better and simpler but here I go again, with only one more blog post on Arenal tomorrow, then I will begin another photo adventure – so get ready for more but different nature! 🙂 And the above feature photo is the morning walk guide explaining the Breadfruit Tree with a close-up of a breadfruit in “Other Nature Shots” below. And yes, it is edible, mostly by monkeys but some humans cook it and use with other more tasty foods. 🙂
Towering above me, ever-present, at Arenal Observatory Lodge – TREES! – – – Just one of so many reasons I love the Observatory! I still haven’t mastered how to photograph the beauty and grandeur of trees, but will keep trying. Here’s a few of my shots and you might be interested also in their own website/blog article The Rainbow Trees of Arenal by my friend & fellow Atenas resident, Shannon Farley. Rainbow Eucalyptus trees (Eucalyptus deglupta) were a part of the award-winning sustainable hotel’s reforestation program along with many more native trees in this natural rainforest area.
Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees at Arenal
Evergreen Forest Surrounding one Villa
And so Many More . . .
“A tree is our most intimate contact with nature.”
Here’s a few views of the big lake below Arenal Volcano. There is a boat taxi that will take you across the lake to a car taxi that will take you up that mountain to Monteverde. The lake is also a favorite for local fishermen. My May 2018 trip here gave me better sunset photos of the lake – time of year does make a difference!
I thought I had more different views than this but it is no longer new to me, so didn’t take as many photos and the one I took from the butterfly garden didn’t take so here’s 2 from my room, one from a hotel garden and one from the road in front of the Butterfly Conservatory.
Wednesday I shared my photos of “Other Wildlife at Caño Negro” which was a different wetland world on a day trip away from Arenal and the 3 Monkey species seen there were shown in two separate posts. Now sometimes there are more monkeys and other animals in Arenal Observatory, but this trip I photographed 10 species and I’m sharing just 8 of the “other animals” (not birds or butterflies). All were seen on the grounds of Arenal Observatory Lodge, one of my favorite places. Later I will have my trip galleries completed and will summarize here all the amazing wildlife and other nature seen and photographed on this Christmas week trip. CLICK an image below to see it larger:
“Real freedom lies in wildness, not in civilization.”
Yesterday’s butterfly post was all photographed at The Butterfly Conservatory, El Castillo – Arenal, Costa Rica. I highly recommend it if you are at or near Arenal Volcano or La Fortuna. I always stay at Arenal Observatory Lodge which is less than a 10 minute drive to the butterflies while from La Fortuna would be about 30 minutes. It’s on Lake Arenal.
See yesterday’s post for the butterflies I photographed. Below are some shots of the facilities, the hiking trails, and flowers. There is a so-so insect museum with dead insects of many species stuck to boards, but not labeled. This competes with if not better than the Monteverde Butterfly Gardens for just the butterflies, my other favorite and both are better than the very commercial Selvatura Adventure Park in Monteverde. And another one surprisingly good on my 3 visits there is the small Restaurant Selva Tropical Butterfly Garden, Guapiles, Costa Rica and sometimes the butterfly garden at La Paz Waterfall Gardens has a good collection. All are up and down with many butterflies only living a day or two and thus a lot of work to keep hatching new butterflies! 🙂
The International Living Magazine again ranks Costa Rica the #1 Place in the world to Retire. I’m not a fan of the magazine because I found them too commercial, with too many ways to take my money, but they do have interesting articles and if you are considering retirement in any other country, read these short articles on the top 10 places to retire.
Here’s my photos of just 10 of the many I saw at The Butterfly Conservatory, El Castillo-Arenal, on Christmas Day no less! 🙂 Tomorrow I will do a post on the facility which is a little-known nature gem in Costa Rica. It equals if not excels both butterfly gardens in Monteverde.
My guide there identified a some of these with all other identities found in my usual source, A Swift Guide to Butterflies of Mexico and Central America, Second Edition by Jeffrey Glassberg and all were verified with this book.
If you really like the butterflies of Costa Rica, check out my Butterflies of CR Gallery, at about 130 species now! 🙂 I have the largest Costa Rica Butterfly Gallery on the internet.
And this is it for that day excursion from Arenal Observatory Lodge, having done the birds post yesterday and earlier posts on 3 species of monkeys. Caño Negro is a wildlife-rich place for a 2+ hour boat ride and in our case lunch by the river before returning.