Since Costa Rica is open for local only tourism now (and I’m local!), I thought I would reschedule that April trip to San Gerardo de Dota for the next week or two. I’m ready to go photograph some new birds and without foreigners I’m less likely to encounter the virus! So I may not wait until the July trip, though so far I’m unable to contact the right person at the Savegre Lodge with their website and email down on Friday and the guy I got on the phone was obviously not a reservations employee and had trouble understanding my bad Spanish, so I will try again this week. Like much of the world, a lot of Costa Rica is simply shut down! I’ll just have to enjoy the clouds! 🙂 Maybe I’ll see a bird there!
“If you use your imagination, you can see lots of things in the cloud formations.“
On this cloudy morning I walk up the hill above my house and back at less than an hour with these colorful photos even without sunshine. Nature is everywhere and my favorite way to celebrate “May Day” or May 1.
May, more than any other month of the year, wants us to feel most alive.
May Day Birds
May Day Flowers
May Day Vistas
I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.
I got usable photos of 19 species of birds from my little one-hour walk yesterday morning, 6-7 AM, in the neighborhood on Calle Nueva, the little country gravel/dirt road that separates Roca Verde neighborhood from the adjacent farmland. Nineteen is not bad and as good as some longer walks I take when at expensive birding lodges! 🙂 PLUS, if my identifications are correct, I got 3 new species, “lifers,” for me, though I may get corrected by an eBird expert reviewer after I post them on eBird. 🙂 The new ones are Giant Cowbird, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher and a Yellow-green Vireo.
This road and my own street uphill above my house always yield a lot of birds early in the morning. And I have another neighborhood further away that I intend to try for even different birds, a place my birding friend Margaret found to be good.
Saturday AM Birds
Tropical Mockingbird Juvenile
“Every bird, every tree, every flower reminds me what a blessing and privilege it is just to be alive.”
― Marty Rubin
The Featured Photo is a shot from my terrace at breakfast this morning looking toward our mountain village of Atenas. I live in a peaceful place, appropriately called tranquiloin Spanish by the people here. 🙂
My Google Timeline Report for February:
WALKING: 36 km, 9 hours
BY VEHICLES: 351 km, 13 hours (Around town by taxi, several Alajuela trips by bus and the longest trip was to Heredia, north of San Jose. The walking was an almost daily walk to town plus 3 local birding walks with a Canadian friend.)
And they reminded me that my most distant destination for February was Heredia from which came my photo below. Should I be worried that Google knows so much about me? 🙂
Glad to get back to nature posts after all the other stuff I’ve been posting the last week! And the featured photo above is a Passion Flower growing on a neighbor’s wall along the street uphill above my house.
In my Roca Verde neighborhood, and most neighborhoods across Costa Rica, we have “Snow Birds” or “winter residents” who come to visit or live here during the very cold months up north (Dec-Apr). One of those couples I met for the first time last year always stay in Roca Verde, just a few doors up the hill from me – she is a birder and he a relaxer. 🙂 They are from British Columbia, Canada.
Yesterday she showed me all birds she had photographed in Atenas in just one week, most right here in our neighborhood! Thus I was shamed into birding more in my own neighborhood and later some other places in Atenas – but it means getting up at 5:30 in the morning which I have not been doing much here. Mixed emotions!
This morning I spent just one hour, mostly between 6 & 7 and saw about 20 species of birds, photographing about 15 of them! ALL WITHIN 300 METERS OF MY HOUSE! For you Americans, that’s just 3 blocks, and all along the street in front of my house, up the hill. Of course I ran into Margaret who get out every morning early for birds and we birded together much of the time. I will not do it every day like her, but hopefully more often now!
By 7 there are not a lot of birds to see. It is the magical hour after sunrise and the last hour before sunset that give the most birds! (Same thing on my trips!) And some of these birds from today have not come to my house or I haven’t seen them in my garden yet. CLICK AN IMAGE TO ENLARGE IT . . .
Someone may remember that for “2018 in Review” I did a “Photo a Month” and decided then that it was not the best way to choose favorite photos – like it or not, the best or “favorite” photos are not evenly divided among 12 months. 🙂
So . . . this year I decided to try my personal favorite photo in each of several categories for 2019 – but yikes! This was not easy either and I really wanted more from the category of Birds, which is what I photograph the most – but this is what you get this year and since I used a different bird on my electronic “Christmas Card” earlier, you got that bird too! And now I’ve decided to include two photos from my December trip to the rainforest AND there’s another bird! 🙂
I kept adding categories to include more photo! Cheating? 🙂 Here’s my personal favorites (not necessarily best photographically) – photos that mean something special to me in each of 18 categories listed alphabetically:
Art & Architecture
Insect (not a butterfly)
And yes, I realize that I kind of stretched the landscape category with other “scapes” which I won’t do next year but maybe try for my top 12 favorite photos (17 here) which had I done this year would have been mostly birds. But hopefully these “favorites” will give you an idea of what it is like being Retired in Costa Rica! 🙂 And 2020 will have a lot of great new photos! 🙂 I’m sure!
“As long as I am breathing, in my eyes, I am just beginning.”
Yesterday I hired Walter to drive me to the three hotels within an hour and a half from my house to deliver the photo books I made about the three hotels: Jaco-Carara Birding Hotels. (Click to preview the book.)
I visited these 3 hotels in March, June and July this year and because they are all in the same area of Costa Rica near Jaco Beach and Carara National Park I decided to do one photo book instead of three, thus the title and combination of photos. A nice book if I do say so myself, with a large variety of coastal and forest birds and other wildlife plus the best sunset photos yet and an interesting sunrise photo I used for the front cover. Check out this book about Punta Leona Hotel, Villa Calletas Hotel and Macaw Lodge by clicking the above link. An electronic “Preview” is free!
Walter picked me up at 10 am and I was home by 3:30 pm which included a super lunch at Villa Calletas which the book notes as the best of the three for food (according to me)! 🙂
Why would I spend as much money on delivering 3 copies of the book as I did on printing them? Because I’ve had 2 hotels not receive their book through the mail and most of all I’m passionate about making nature photos and sharing them, especially with the people who helped me make them and love the nature of their surroundings as much as I. One young hotel employee was thrilled to see his work surroundings depicted in a photo book – his smile alone made the trip worthwhile! 🙂
“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” ― Mother Teresa