Back to My Garden Birds

Montezuma Oropendola in my garden

Another busy day today with Spanish Class here and minor surgery in Alajuela, but always time to photo a bird in my garden!  🙂   The above photo is of a Montezuma Oropendola sitting in my Guarumo or Cecropia Tree – my favorite place to watch birds, but unfortunately the light (for photos) is not good there, especially in the morning. They nest in our neighborhood visiting occasionally. And the bird below in my Yellow Bell Tree is a Melodious Blackbird.  And I saw a squirrel cuckoo this morning, but didn’t get a shot. 

Minor surgery? My dermatologist just went a little deeper on a growth removal for a biopsy. Only two stitches. If it turns out to be cancer, he will go even deeper next time to make sure he gets it all. An almost routine thing for us older people!  🙂  Otherwise I’m very healthy after a great week in a rainforest.

Tomorrow I have breakfast with the niece of David & Lynne Wells (Nashville friends) and her husband, child & nanny. They’ve rented a gorgeous house with an infinity pool for a week here in Atenas and using my driver, Walter, to take them to a few sights (volcano, waterfalls, beach & fishing) on top of resting here with possibly the best vista in Atenas. A great vacation plan!   🙂

Melodious Blackbird in my garden


If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. ~Marcus Tullius Cicero

¡Pura Vida!

More Than Birds This Morning!

The slideshow photos are in no particular order, just shots from my walk around the campus this morning with no rain! And almost no birds! There were a lot more birds on the rainy days! And now at about 3 in the afternoon the rain is starting for the first time today, so maybe the birds will return. Ahhhh! I just saw two Euphonias but not where I could photograph. Tonight is my last night here and near the end of the most wonderful food that someone else prepares for me. Its been a great week!

Morning Walk Photo Slideshow

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“The forest is a peculiar organism of unlimited kindness and benevolence that makes no demands for its sustenance and extends generously the products of its life and activity; it affords protection to all beings.”
~Buddhist Sutra


And I am just now starting the “trip gallery” for this trip at 2018 Esquinas Rainforest Lodge  —  but soon that will be the place to see all my best photos from this week. I have gotten 10 new “lifers” or first-time seen birds this week! That is incredible! Possibly more than on any other trip at least recently.

Will Costa Rica Become the only Chocolate Grower?

Will Costa Rica become the only source of chocolate by 2050?

Roasting cocoa seeds

The above link is a really interesting article in one of our online English newspapers. Chocolate comes from the cacao tree which will only grow 20 ° north or south of the equator and in the correct amount of humidity. Central America and particularly Costa Rica are perfect for that. West Africa has been good for cocoa, but global warming, higher temperatures and the desertification of West Africa along with some plant diseases there may someday, possibly by 2050, eliminate all cocoa farming in West Africa. They are experimenting with hybrid plants there says this month’s National Geographic magazine, but already people are saying the resulting chocolate is not as good.

Cacao is grown all over Costa Rica as small family farm businesses and by some of the indigenous peoples as I described in my recent visit to the Bribri Watsi village and earlier from my visit to Bribri Yorkin as we watched their children suck the sweet white stuff from around the cacao beans and we tried it ourselves.

If you ever visit Costa Rica there are many chocolate tours you can take to learn the complicated process for making one of the world’s favorite sweets.

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” 
― Charles M. Schulz

¡Pura Vida!

More from Manzanillo

More photos from Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge visit yesterday:

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Did you notice the quote on the entrance sign to this refuge?  It is . . .

“The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.”

― Charles Darwin


¡Pura Vida!

Preserving the Vista

I asked the gardeners to “take a little off the top” of my remaining Yellow Bell Tree up front that this winter’s (yes, rainy season is called winter here) rain had caused to shoot up rapidly and high, blocking my scenic view. And typically Tico, one of the young men scurried up the tree with his machete and whacked away! I would not have left that bare branch, but it will soon have new branches and leaves. And my view is opened up again. I love my gardeners!

Click image to enlarge.

See more vistas in my   VISTAS    Photo Gallery from all over Costa Rica.

Pre-Easter Yellow

And for one week only – this particular tree.
Seen from my terrace as is the photo below.
Atenas, Costa Rica


Behind my “Cow Pasture Neighbors” Houses
Atenas, Costa Rica


Even the silhouetted Chachalaca seems to be admiring the yellow flowers.
In my Guarumo/Cecropia Tree
Atenas, Costa Rica
¡Pura Vida!

A Day in Corcovado National Park

These are the general or scenery photos. For the main events see my photo galleries on Corcovado  Birds   –   Other Wildlife   –   Los Patos Waterfall


The Lodge converted a farmer’s tractor & trailer for hikers/tourists 
This took us the 6 km from lodge to ranger station where others must hike along river
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica


Rio Rincon or the Rincon River 
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica


I was the old man traveling with two young couples from Europe
as here, we sometimes drove in the river bed.
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica


And about 15-20 times we forded the river
When walking or riding a tractor, it is slow, even 6 km!
Plus we stopped for birds a few times, so an hour or so each way on tractor.
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica


River is park border, thus one side is private property like this house above.
When I got back I was showing the waiter/bartender David Venegas these photos and
he said, “Oh! That is my grandfather’s house!” Small little world down here!
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica


This young man couldn’t use his bike along river but was headed to the graded gravel road 
And note the machete strapped to his side, a basic tool all over Costa Rica!
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica


We finally leave the river and enter the woods to the ranger station. 
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica


At our hiking trail entrance near the ranger station 
After we registered and signed in at the station, we hike rest of the day.
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica


“Velcro Plant” is what Jairo called it!
See next photo for why.
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica


School children cut pieces of the “Velcro Plant” leaves and stick on their shirts to make lots of images!
 Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica


We are quickly in a thick virgen forest.
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica


There are still plants here not identified. 
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica


More species in this park than in any other one place in the world! 
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica


I want to photograph everything I see – but simply can’t! 
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica


“Monkey  Brush” 
Jairo explains how monkeys use this fruit/seed of a tree to brush insects out of their fur.
Then one of our two girls demonstrated by brushing her hair. Incredibly good brush!
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica


We stopped to see this “Stink Flower” 
which smelled awful! Like a dead animal!
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica


And here Jairo collects some “Red Beans” 
He gave each of us 3 of the red beans or seeds and said
that tradition is they will bring us good luck if carried in pocket.
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica


Meanwhile David is looking for birds & found many! 
See the trip Birds Gallery for some I photographed.
And the trip’s Other Wildlife Gallery for other animals
photographed both in the park and at the lodge nearby.
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica


Passion Flower as one of many wildflowers seen 
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica


About 4pm we were back to ranger station and on slow tractor drive back to lodge by around 5pm
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

This was just a brief overview of an all day hike that included the beautiful waterfall in a separate post yesterday and many birds and other animals shown earlier. Corcovado is truly an incredible place! See the bigger picture through my TRIP Gallery 2018 March 13-17 – Danta Corcovado.

Note that this trip was on the northeast side of park labeled “Los Patos.”
My trip last year was in northwest corner labeled “San Pedrillo” near Drake Bay.
And in 2009 I visited the south side of park at “La Leona.”
¡Pura Vida!

Starting Orosi Visit

Extremely slow internet service where I am staying, so only one photo a night after this. Sorry!

Iglesia de San Jose de Orosi 
This is the oldest continuously functioning church in all of Costa Rica, colonial built.
Orosi, Cartago Province, Costa Rica 
I got off the bus a block from this church across from the soccer field, the two things every town in Costa Rica has. 
Friday I plan to see the ruins of the very oldest church ever built in Costa Rica, the Spanish Colonial church grounds are also here in Orosi as a national park, Las Ruinas de Ujarras. 
Poro Tree
These beautiful trees are blooming now all over Costa Rica, but I saw more here today than anywhere.
They are usually growing in coffee farms for some particular reason I don’t remember.
This one I can see from the road in front of my little B&B 2 miles outside the village of
Orosi, Costa Rica

I will do more posts and many more photos when I get back home after the trip or next week. This one was a three-bus trip, one from Atenas to San Jose (1:30 in rush hour), one from San Jose to Cartago (50 min still rush hour) and the third from Cartago to Orosi centro (45 min) where I got off and had lunch and saw the oldest still functioning church, then a taxi to my little cabin for four nights. And learned that the bus goes within the equivalent of 1 block from my little hotel. But I saw the church and had a good Tico lunch or “casado.” I also met a couple from Canada in town who are here for a Spanish immersion school for several weeks.

I’ll tell more about the B&B when I post photos later, but it is small with it looks like only 3 or 4 little cabins in the country 2 km outside Orosi, operated by a very congenial multi-lingual French girl, thus the name Chalet Orosi. But the funny thing is that Costa Ricans or maybe all Spanish speakers don’t pronounce it the French way, “chal-lay” but “chal-et” just the way it is spelled!  🙂

Maelle arranged my two birding trips for Wednesday and Thursday and I am going to use the nice taxi driver I met today for seeing several other sites in Orosi on Friday, like the ruins, a couple of miradors (vistas). gardens, and maybe something else. So my time is planned. The best seafood restaurant in town is just a block away and a pizzaria a little further. The full-service hotels and lodges I usually stay in have spoiled me to onsite services, but this is already turning out to be a good different experience. The only other guests here tonight are a couple of 20-something guys from France, “seeing the world!”

I got photos of only two birds today, but the next two days are my birding days. Hoping for some new and different ones! There is a family of oropendolas living outside my cabin and a few smaller birds but the chalet owner has two cats, so not a birding residence!  🙂


Longest Zipline in the World (in UAE) Built by Costa Ricans

Includes a thrilling VIDEO – a must see!
And the Tico builder says a brief word in the video!  🙂

“Real” & Electronic Books

“Real” Book
Trees of Panama & Costa Rica
Electronic Book
Hercule Poirot: The
Complete Short Stories
I don’t buy many “real” or paper books any more with my Kindle Fire and the easy access to so many books electronically. And as an Agatha Christie fan, the Kindle has been a great joy for me with basically no storage space needed! And the best deal yet has been my current reading of The Complete Short Stories of Hercule Poirot. The cover says “More than 50” which of course means 51 stories, almost like 51 little books. I’ve loved every one as I’m now on the last 12 which are sort of related in their connections to the Roman mythology of Hercules, Hercule Poirot’s namesake! (Note that Hercules Roman mythology is similar to the Heracles Greek mythology.) And equally interesting is that this last series of 12 stories were all written in the year of my birth, 1940, and first published in magazines in both England and the U.S. Cool!
But nature reference guides are mostly easier to use in paper format, so my new “real” book on the trees of Costa Rica will hopefully help me identify more of the trees I see and photograph here. Experts know the names of around 3,400 trees here (more than all of U.S. & Canada combined and they still have not identified them all here. This particular book includes Panama which has a lot of overlap with Costa Rica and is produced by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute on Isla Barro Colorado in the middle of Lake Gatun, Panama which I visited Dec. 2013, making me confident this is the most authoritative resource available for now. And though I haven’t gotten into photographing trees like I do birds and other animals, the importance of trees ranks near the top as ecology indicators and value to us humans.
“Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.” 
 Kahlil Gibran


Illustrated by my photo at Tambor Bay last Christmas:
If a tree dies, plant another in its place.   -Carolus Linnaeus