Hiking at “Backdoor” of Cahuita NP

Whether coming as a tourist or a local who visits national parks here, you might want to know that there are two entrances to Cahuita National Park. There is a “main entrance” in the little town of Cahuita where most people enter, including a lot of locals for the easily accessed beaches, coral reef for snorkeling, plus very good hiking trails both along the beach and through the interior rainforest. You can see my previous photos from 2 hikes at that main entrance in these galleries:

Now here’s just 4 shots of the “back door” hiking trail also called officially Sector Puerto Vargas, as basically a 2 km long boardwalk (or bridge) over land that is sometimes under water. It leads you through a beautiful second growth rainforest with lots of wildlife possibilities to a connection with the two trails from the main entrance, one along the beach and one through the forest for a one-way total of about 8 km (using 1 of the main entrance trails + boardwalk) if you go all the way! Me and my guide, Henis, settled for the 4 km round trip on the boardwalk 🙂 where I got my “lifer” bird photo of a Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher, photos of 14 Butterfly Species and some Other Wildlife! Plus these four general shots . . .

My guide Henis on the Boardwalk Trail in Sector Puerto Vargas, Cahuita National Park, Limón, Costa Rica.
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Maquenque Trip Gallery Created

Finally I have all my photos for the 5 nights in April 2023 at Maquenque Eco Lodge and Reserve including the sub-galleries I’ve already shared. This was another great photo trip to one of my favorite places in Costa Rica with photos of 62 bird species (6 lifers!), 10 butterflies and more than 30 species of other animals! Plus my usual “Nature as Art” photos of everything from flowers to weird leaves and beautiful landscapes. Just this one trip gallery will show you why I am so excited about being “Retired in Costa Rica!” the name of my blog and website. Enjoy the photos! Just click this image:

CLICK this image of this first page of the gallery to go to it.

Or use this address:    https://charliedoggett.smugmug.com/TRIPS/2023-April-9-14-Maquenque-Ecolodge

¡Pura Vida!

Tanagers at Maquenque

Here’s either 4 or 5 species of Tanagers I photographed at Maquenque Ecolodge and the reason for the uncertainty is that one photo is of a baby or young juvenile and one can’t be certain of the species unless with its mom.  🙂 Many different baby Tanagers will look like this . . .

Here’s the baby first and I would guess either Blue-gray or Palm Tanager which adults outnumbered the other Tanagers. But face is similar to the Yellow-winged, so not certain!  🙂

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A break in my sharing of the many birds at Maquenque to share two photos of two different Agoutis I photographed there. Officially they are the Central American Agouti (Dasyprocta punctata) or in Costa Rica either Guatusa or Agutí centroamericana. There are different subspecies in Mexico and in the northern half of South America but all in the Dasyprocta family which is a rodent related to Guinea Pigs.

Read about them on Wikipedia or see my photos from all over Costa Rica in my Central American Agouti GALLERY.

Central American Agouti, Maquenque Ecolodge and Reserve, Boca Tapada, Costa Rica

Central American Agouti, Maquenque Ecolodge and Reserve, Boca Tapada, Costa Rica

Notice the color difference of the above two. They can be various shades of brown to reddish-orange to grayish or yellow & gray to blackish. They are more difficult to photograph than Coatis because they are more shy of humans and stay in the grasses and shrubs of the forest.

¡Pura Vida!

Rio Tres Amigos Safari

My 4th time at Maquenque Ecolodge, but first time to go on this particular float trip (their web description link) though I’ve canoed their lake and been on the bigger river, San Carlos, in a larger boat. The only reason I’ve missed this one is that they require a minimum of 2 paying customers and I travel solo! 🙂 This was the first time there were other guests interested in this same float trip to make up the minimum with me. They were a lovely couple from Europe, he Italian and she Swiss! We had a great time together and I got a lot of photos which is right now the only part of my Maquenque Trip Gallery that is completed. So you can see more photos at Rio Tres Amigos Safari GALLERY.   🙂

And note that the only wildlife (The cow doesn’t count!) that I show in this post is one bird, but it’s a rare photo of a female Sunbittern sitting on her nest! In earlier blog posts I’ve shown you 3 animals from this safari:  Crested Caracara, Green Iguana and Mantled Howler Monkey, yet there are still many more in the above gallery including 12 species of birds!  🙂  And here are 6 shots to give you an idea of what just one morning at Maquenque can be like!  🙂  Still my favorite lodge!

A fresh fruit & water break along the Rio Tres Amigos, Costa Rica.

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“Sometimes-Green” Iguanas

🙂   I say that because they are not always green as anyone who visits the tropics has noticed. I especially enjoy the males in mating season when they turn bright orange (not this time, though you can see them in my gallery). This time they were green to brown or greenish brown with some blue-gray and one black. And yes, I know that there is one called a “Black Spiny-tailed Iguana” or the “Common Spiny-tailed Iguana” (Ctenosaura similis), but it’s features are different and it lives only along the Pacific Coast and thus would not be at Maquenque Lodge which is on the Caribbean Slope where only the “Green Iguana” (Iguana iguana) lives. And it is interesting to note that the babies of both species are bright green.  🙂

Green Iguana, Rio Tres Amigos, near Maquenque Ecolodge, Boca Tapada, Costa Rica.

Below are 4 more photos (in different colors) from this trip and then a link to my photo galleries of both species of Iguanas . . .

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Lizard for Lunch!

WARNING! The photos in this post are graphic and could be considered gross, especially if you are a lizard or have close friends who are lizards!   🙂

I was waiting for my driver from Atenas to arrive at Maquenque for lunch and our return trip home when one of the lodge staff come running in, excitedly telling me that there was a Toucan in a tree in front of the restaurant eating a lizard. Of course I grabbed my camera and ran out for some photos which were difficult because of the poor light in the tree at almost 12 noon! But here’s 5 shots of the Yellow-throated Toucan with his captured lizard and the final shot of another toucan either stealing lizard meat from him or having it shared. I could not tell which.   🙂

Yellow-throated Toucan eating a lizard for lunch at Maquenque Ecolodge, Boca Tapada, Costa Rica.

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Long-tailed Tyrant

Not a new bird for me but definitely in the best positions for photos! It was like he was posing for 3 or 4 of us photographers at breakfast this morning! 😊 You can read about them on eBird  – found from Guatemala south as far as Paraguay and from north to south in Costa Rica, though mostly on the Atlantic or Caribbean Slope in both Costa Rica & Panama. Here’s 4 shots I made this morning that I’m pleased with because I could get close enough. Usually I have to try and photograph from a great distance. Another beautiful and different bird found here. My GALLERY of them is linked at the bottom of this post.

Long-tailed Tyrant, Maquenque Ecolodge, Boca Tapada, Costa Rica.

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Night Hike Frogs

Last night before a late dinner I took the “Night Walk” which is always a favorite almost everywhere I go in Costa Rica and especially here with the large variety of wildlife! I was the only participant and my guide favored frogs as I do, though we did see some spiders and other creatures, I will just share the 7 frog photos I got which included 3 or 4 new species for me. And thanks to Antonio for helping to make most of these photos! Young people handle cell phones better than us old guys!  🙂

This morning I finally got to go on the rubber raft “Safari” on the Rio Tres Amigos and though not a large number of birds, I did get a nesting Sunbittern! A Rare sight! I will share on some future blog post, but for now, last night’s 7 different species of frogs . . .

The Guide called it a “Green Bone Tree Frog” while online I found it without the green. Boca Tapada, Costa Rica

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Correction & Addition to Lifer Post

Well, I shared last night’s post with yesterday morning’s guide, Antonio, and the one I called “Yellow-bellied Seedeater” is actually a “Morelet’s Seedeater” (similar, but the other is on the Pacific Slope and we are on the Atlantic Slope or called Caribbean Slope here.

PLUS I shared with Antonio an unidentified bird photo from yesterday and he identified it as an “Olive-crowned Yellowthroat” which is another new bird species for me, thus now 4 Lifers for yesterday’s morning bird walk!   🙂   That is really good for someone with more than 360 species in Costa Rica already recorded!   🙂

Olive-crowned Yellowthroat, Maquenque Ecolodge, Boca Tapada, Costa Rica

And the correct identification of this one . . .

Morelet’s Seedeater, Maquenque Ecolodge, Boca Tapada, Costa Rica

¡Pura Vida!