Arrival at Macaw Lodge

Lunch Today

I wandered around the grounds when I arrived but did not make it to the waterfall today. Had a beautiful, healthy salad for lunch when I met a lovely young couple from Germany who are thinking about moving to Costa Rica. He is a photographer. They are not staying the night in lodge, just day visitors.

I am the only overnight guest here now. It is off season or rainy season and the ride up the mountain from Tarcoles is a rough 45 minutes on a bad road which discourages some, but it is really isolated! That is one thing I love about it! It is also very “wild” with rainforest noises as dark arrives (mostly frogs). It rained much of afternoon so I will explore more tomorrow. Just a few shots for today:

 

Birds Today

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Other Wildlife

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Grounds Shots

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

My Cabin

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter.      ~John Muir

Macaw Lodge

¡Pura Vida!

Park Renovation Progress?

Hard to prove it by me. They just keep welding pieces of metal on what will be the “Kiosk” or Bandshell and now they are trimming and taking out some trees, so that speaks to more of the garden renovation. We will see. It was originally going to be completed by the end of 2018 and now I think they will really have to speed up the work to get it done by the end of 2019!    🙂    I made these two photos yesterday, so up-to-date June 16, 2019!

The city has  a Facebook Page presenting the remodeling with architect drawings of what they expect it to look like – The New Central Park Atenas. Click on one of their pictures to enlarge it and begin a manual slideshow of the new park.

Are they pruning the old trees or will they be removed?

¡Pura Vida!

Next Week’s Adventure

Sometimes I think I’m the luckiest guy in the world! Being “Retired in Costa Rica” is simply perfect for me, even if I never left my little casita and garden in Atenas! But on top of that I get to continue exploring one of the most beautiful and ecologically diverse countries in the world! And next week it is to a place that not only have I not seen, but I am yet to meet anyone else who has been there! Even my driver will be going for his first time!   🙂

I urge you to watch their beautifully created introductory nature video to see part of what I will experience next week and also as an expression of why I love Costa Rica so much! Nature!       🙂

Just click the Macaw logo below to see it on YouTube. I’ll give you their website link further down.

This small eco lodge has only eight rooms and is recommended by National Geographic Society. I expect stellar service and food along with my full immersion in the wilderness! The video does not mention birding (I don’t do yoga), but they have birding guides and multiple options for birding with of course many trails I can explore on my own. And they will be my third lodge to visit that has installed Macaw Nesting Boxes, what may save a whole species from extinction!

My current approach to trips is to stay most of a week with birding in the mornings followed by relaxation and photo processing in the afternoon with a great evening meal and early to bed. Some places are more designed for my kind of schedule and I think this is going to be one of those! And may become one of my new favorites! Now explore their website by clicking the link below:

Macaw Lodge Website

As with most good lodges, there’s a lot to explore on their website as well as on their grounds, like their secret gardens and birding trails, their own waterfall with plunge pool swimming hole, their farm where most food I’ll eat is raised, unlimited birds, insects and other nature to photograph and much more! Six nights there will give me time to explore and discover another great getaway to which I already expect I’ll return! I love new discoveries!   🙂

Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.  ~John Muir

¡Pura Vida!

Trees & Trails

More shots from Selva Verde Lodge Sarapiqui as I sit at my computer with another wonderful afternoon rain! It rained every afternoon at Selva Verde and it was like I brought the rainy season back with me, rain every afternoon in Atenas now! I love it! And tempted to take a little nap as I’m doing more now.   🙂

Everyday for a week I walked through the grounds of Selva Verde Lodge among these big old trees and one day across the river on that long swinging bridge to the protected old-growth rainforest where I saw those Manakin Leks and several other birds. One must have a guide to go with you to cross the river into that forest thus most of these shots are on the lodge side, still magnificent!

“Today I have grown taller from walking with the trees.”

― Karle Wilson Baker

 

¡Pura Vida!

Boat Safari

On Saturday, my 3rd day here I chose to do the boat tour of part of the Sarapiqui River and part on the Puerto Viejo River. When I was here before in a December it was one of my best places for a large number of bird, but this time, like everywhere else in May, there were not as many birds. But it was still a good tour and a nice young couple from Austin, TX also in Selva Verde Lodge went on the same tour with me plus about 5 others on the boat. Here’s my photos in three categories:

Birds on the River

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Other Wildlife on the River

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Boat & River Shots

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

“Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time?” That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future.” 
― Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

 

¡Pura Vida!

Living Among Trees

My January week at Maquenque Lodge was special in many way, especially because I lived in a treehouse for a week – well I recently realized that I almost live in a treehouse in Atenas, on the side of a hill with trees and treetops surrounding me! It is beautiful with their myriad of birds singing, movement by the breezes, and my “galleries” for photographing birds! They are the most valuable thing about my little rental cottage:

For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.

~Martin Luther

From My Kitchen & Living Room:

20190507_103741-WEB
Trees all around! The same from my office, bedroom and even bathroom!   🙂

 

Entering My Favorite Room, the Terrace:

20190507_103812-WEB
Where I eat, read and relax, surrounded by trees.

And 2 “Gallery Trees” for Photographing Birds

20190507_103844-WEB
Cecropia Tree I planted 4 years ago – the perfect open bird perch!
20190507_103933-WEB
Ficus or “Strangler Fig Tree” is the bird’s favorite “Hiding Place.”

¡Pura Vida!

Cloud Forest Scenery & Vistas

Just a few sample shots of the beautiful cloud forests of Monteverde, Costa Rica which I’m sorry I did not pay more attention to in my photography this past week. Every tree is a beautiful work of art and some are old growth or a part of an ancient virgin forest. I was particularly surprised to see how close we were to Arenal Volcano and what a beautiful view we had from the continental divide in Santa Elena Reserve shown above in the feature photo. I plan to go back to Arenal in November! So many beautiful places of nature here!

Monteverde Forests & Vistas

 

Cloud forest is quite different from lowland tropical rain forest. The name comes from the observation that the forests are nearly always shrouded in clouds. These forests are situated at high altitude along the continental divide down the spine of Costa Rica. As the warm moist air from over the Pacific or Caribbean is pushed up the sides of the mountains, it cools, and the moisture begins to condense forming clouds.       ~Costa Rica Guide,  https://costa-rica-guide.com/nature/refuges/monteverde-cloud-forest-reserve/

I just realized that I have started to repeat some photos, so this will be all of my reports on a wonderful week in Monteverde. My “Trip Gallery” will be coming to my online photo gallery soon at 2019 April 7-13 — Monteverde Lodge & Gardens – just need a few more days for that and then “The Book,” my first on Monteverde even though I was there one other time. Watch my Bookstore for the Monteverde photo book! This trip alone yielded photos of 44 species of birds!

And check out some of my other trips in the Costa Rica Trips Photo Gallery! Almost every location is as beautiful and exciting as this one.

¡Pura Vida!

Bajo del Tigre Reserve

Bajo del Tigre Reserve is the smallest of the nature reserves within Monteverde even though it is a part of the largest total Nature Reserve in Costa Rica called Children’s Eternal Rainforest or better known here by its Spanish name Bosque Eterno de los Niños. The better part around Monteverde is outside of town in the forests where you must stay in cabins to see many birds or other wildlife. And the very best area of the bigger reserve for birds is east of here near Arenal which I hope to visit sometime. 

Here’s my better photos of wildlife seen in about 2.5 hours on the Bajo del Tigre Trail. The close-up of a Three-wattled Bellbird was when he came down near us (me & my private guide) feeding or looking for fruit to eat. Wild avocados are ripe right now.  🙂

Bajo del Tigre Wildlife

“Away, away, from men and towns,
To the wild wood and the downs, —
To the silent wilderness,
Where the soul need not repress its music.”
—Percy Bysshe Shelley

 

¡Pura Vida!

Selvatura Park, Monteverde

Selvatura Park is (or was) a great combination Nature Park next door to the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve AND an Adventure Park (which part is now taking over).  It was a super place when I visited 3 years ago with the biggest and most impressive Butterfly Garden I had ever seen and they claimed it to be the largest in Central America. Well this time the butterfly garden had only two species of butterflies – my hotel has more in their tiny butterfly garden! Their Hummingbird Garden is flowers & feeders attracting wild hummingbirds, so what seemed like fewer this year may just be what is happening in the wild (or what they are feeding them and fewer butterfly-attracting plants). I refused to pay extra for the serpentarium or insect exhibit, expecting they had gone down like the butterfly garden.

The hanging bridges seemed to be about the same and like before I saw one Bellbird and one Quetzal. So they are more about the forest than birds and I enjoyed the bridges the most, but I do not recommend spending the high amusement park prices if you just want a nature visit. The adventure business of zip lines, tram ride, a new “Superman” zip and other such has taken over here. For nature lovers and birders I recommend sticking with the four nature reserves in Monteverde. Here’s 4 slide shows of what I saw there which was still nice as I hope the photos show.

Hanging Bridges

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Birds

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Butterflies

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Flowers

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

¡Pura Vida!

Birds at Curi-Cancha Reserve

A day late because I had so many photos and so little time yesterday. Curi-Cancha Reserve is probably my favorite reserve in Monteverde, not only because I photographed more birds there but because I think it is the most beautiful and I apologize for no scenery photos except this one unusual tree below. I use my cell phone for scenery shots and had let Rodiber, my guide, carry my phone because he gets great bird shots on it for me through his high-powered scope.

20190410_092653-A-WEB

In 1970 the Lowther family purchased the property of Hubert and Mildred Mendenhall and named it Curi-Cancha, the name derived from “Golden Enclosure” in Inca. At that time the property was approximately 1/2 pasture and 1/2 virgin rainforest. In the ensuing 45 years the Lowthers cleared no areas and allowed the majority of the pastured areas to re-grow into forest.

The fact that some pastures still remain there as meadows is part of the beauty and that openness makes it easier to photograph birds. We saw a lot more birds, but here are 17 that I got decent photos of:

Curi-Cancha Birds