As noted earlier, one of the things I’m doing more of during the “lock-down” time is trying get all of my old photos culled through and posted in one place.
One of the biggest collections is from my 10 years of volunteer work at Nashville Zoo and my Nashville Zoo Gallery is now completed. It includes one of my biggest collections of bird photos along with so many other animals and a really large number of people photos which was what the Zoo PR Dept. wanted a lot of. It was a nice re-living of many great memories at Nashville Zoo. And as I go through other photo files I expect to find more of Nashville Zoo, like when friends and family visited, I often took them to the zoo but haven’t gotten to those photos yet! 🙂
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.
Margaret, the lady birder from Canada who was in a nearby casita for one month, did most of her birding right here in Roca Verde, including uphill above my casita and on Calle Nueva, the country lane alongside Roca Verde. (She also walked to other neighborhoods in town and had a few trips away, including to Rancho Naturalista & the Tarcoles River.)
But her finding so many birds here got me back into more birding where I live and beyond my own garden where I have no feeders now which has reduced the numbers. Friday morning I spent an hour walking up and down the hill above my house with the result of the following photos of vistas and birds.
Not bad for less than a 200 meter walk from my house! And I know I have already shared similar views and birds on this blog before, but each new time in the viewfinder is a little bit different perspective, a different light, a different pose or action of the bird, and a new joy for me! No new bird species this time, though the immature Blue-black Grassquit was my first immature version of that species! Notice how different she looks from her mother or some other adult female Blue-black Grassquit in photos above. 🙂 I loved the walk and will keep doing it occasionally!
“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir
Central Atenas seen from the hill
Central Atenas seen from the hill
Farmland adjacent Roca Verde
Cattle on the next hill
Clay-colored Thrush (dark version)
Clay-colored Thrush (light version)
Adult Blue-black Grassquit female
Immature Blue-black Grassquit female
“I love walking because it clears your mind, enriches the soul, takes away stress and opens up your eyes to a whole new world .” – Claudette Dudley
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? 🙂
You spoiled Americans may say, “So what?” but this is a really big deal here in Costa Rica! For years Ruta 3 was the only route from San Jose to the west coast, a narrow, 2-lane, winding mountain road that went right through downtown Atenas (when travelers got to see this charming little town) and then over another set of mountains & one-lane bridges to Puntarenas and Jaco Beaches.
Ten+ years ago they finished an outdated toll road called Ruta 27 from San Jose to Puntarenas with a side branch to Jaco Beaches, much straighter through the mountains but unfortunately most was still just 2 lanes and all the bridges are 2-lane! 🙂 There are 3rd lanes or “passing lanes” on many of the uphill sections to help get around slow trucks, but that is it! Poor planning for the long-term future! See the operator’s video on Ruta 27.
Now it seems the legislature has approved a coming upgrade to widen Ruta 27to 4 lanes all the way to Puntarenas and Jaco – a huge improvement for those who drive this busy route when it is finally finished, though they are not even starting until 2021! Read all that I know about it on the “Live in Costa Rica Blog” article.
And for those fewer people like me who really like the Atlantic Coast or Caribe as we call it here, you probably know that the widening of Ruta 32 from San Jose to Limon (the flat part beyond the big mountain range) was approved a long time ago and is being widened to 4 lanes right now. It is an easier, quicker job after you get through the mountains of Braulio Carrillo because of the flat land between Guapiles & Limon and I assume they will eventually widen it through the mountains too. Both of these widened routes are important not only for retirees and tourists but especially for commercial trucks delivering goods from our two big shipping ports of Limon & Puntarenas to warehouses in San Jose.
In smaller, poorer countries like Costa Rica this kind of “progress” is slow & expensive, but sure as in this case. I don’t want us to become “too big” or “too developed” but one main highway from coast to coast is a good thing for everyone, though you will sure miss seeing a lot when you zoom by! 🙂 And it passes on the outskirts of Atenas just like the old coast to coast train did in a previous century. 🙂 ¡Así es la vida!
Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything. ~Charles Kuralt
In an earlier post I introduced you to the little 5 km country lane behind our Roca Verde development and along the stream by that cow pasture in front of my house. It is called Calle Nueva which would be simply “New Street” in English and the 2018 blog post was titled Finishing the country road walk today . . . Then later I added a photo gallery: Walking Calle Nueva Atenas 2018. Same photos!
Yesterday I walked part of the road more slowly than I did with young man Jason Quesada back then. It was with another older person who is a birder from Canada! Totally different! We saw more than 15 species of birds just behind where I live and here are a few photos of some of them! Even got one lifer on this walk of about 2 hours, the Black-crowned Tityra, both male & female! CLICK A PHOTO TO ENLARGE.
And apologies for several washed out pictures with white sky. That was because I was not paying attention to details and accidentally turned the dial to “Manual” without setting the manual settings and wasn’t looking at the images on screen! Ugh! Sloppy old man!
Birds on Calle Nueva
Rose-breasted Becard Female
Olive Sparrow (almost like Stripe-headed)
Black-crowned Tityra Male
Black-crowned Tityra Female
Rose-breasted Becard Male
Interesting Flowers on Walk
Country roads, take me home, to the place I belong.
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 . . .