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 🙂 . . .
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.
After seeing the monkeys but no birds, I hiked on past some beautiful scenery that I’ll share later and on down to the Danta Waterfall. It was a sunny day but evidently the wrong time for the best photographs. For better photos, see my gallery 2018 Danta Waterfall or even the 2019 Shot was better than these. Next time I will come here in April or May which seems to be better for photos. 🙂 CLICK image to enlarge:
I arrived at Arenal Observatory Lodge in time for lunch with my driver and my first afternoon of looking for birds with 11 species photographed including the above Emerald Tanager (link to eBird description) which is a “Lifer” or first-time-seen bird for me! And a colorful one found only in Central America plus Columbia & Ecuador.
I did lots of walking including to the top of the 28 meters or 92 ft. tall observation tower with 146 steps on stairs. I’ve gotten lots of birds and monkeys from this tower in the past, but not today with it being overcast and very windy when I went up today, but I got several landscape shots including this one I call “A Sea of Treetops.”
“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.”
December 24, 2020 is my 6 year anniversary here! But the first Christmas Card was sent before I left on Christmas Eve 2014 as a combination Christmas Greeting & Change of Address Card, thus 7 cards+ since I’ve designed two for some years. In fact, this is the second one for this year! 🙂
Like the hills yesterday, I never tire of trying to get a better photo of the Atenas Central Catholic Church, especially from the Roca Verde hills, so here’s another one! 🙂 The official name (en español) and website link is Parroquia San Rafael Arcángel.
The cluster of palms in front of the church is the Central Park which has been closed since March because of the pandemic, as has the church for large crowds, just open for solo prayers and small groups distanced and masked. Costa Rica has taken the pandemic seriously with national mask and distancing required, no large gatherings and strict restaurant rules, though unfortunately many restaurants have closed permanently for a lack of business. A sad time for many people world-wide. But the central church is still a symbol of hope for many. And fortunately Costa Rica has fewer cases of COVID19 than any other Central American country.
And some trivia . . .
Most Catholic Churches face west so worshippers are facing east towards Jerusalem. I haven’t put a compass to it, but have been told that is the case here. In Costa Rica it is also tradition for most central parks to have the central church on the east side of the park and on the west side of the park, opposite the church, is a Banco Nacional, the main national bank in Costa Rica. That is the case in Atenas and Alajuela I know and in many other towns when I’ve thought to check. Hmmmm . . . is that elevating money? Sounds more like the U.S. 🙂
Well, maybe TMI – too much information! But I find it fascinating living in a culture that I did not grow up in and thus notice little things like these and I love living here! For more pix of just Atenas, see my Atenas Galleries and CR People, Fiestas & Arts (mostly Atenas).
“Let the villages of the future live in our imagination, so that we might one day come to live in them!” ~Mahatma Gandhi
I never get tired of photographing the hills across our little valley and just keep trying to make a different image or view of the same hills I see daily. I would prefer them without the cell phone towers, but the modern society would argue that they are absolutely necessary! 🙂 Debatable! 🙂