BIRDS at Tortuguero

This is not all the birds seen but the ones with a halfway decent photo, 28 photos here of 24 species – 2 shots of the Boat-billed Heron since one is mother with chick and other the nest-guarding father, two of the White-crowned Parrot because the images are so different, two of Mealy Parrot front & back, and separate male & female shots of the Grackle. My only “lifer” or first-time-seen bird was the Agami Heron and he was at night meaning not a real good photo. Now that my Costa Rica Birds Gallery is up to 301 species, it is getting harder to find a new species I haven’t already photographed, but thus far every trip in 4 years has had at least one!  🙂  We saw several American Pygmy Kingfishers sleeping on the night tour, but none of my photos are good.

Since my first trip to Tortuguero in 2010 on the Caravan Tour I have liked the rainforest/Amazon atmosphere of living on the water and what I’ve always thought was a lot of birds. Nine years later I have discovered several places with more birds and better food in the lodge, but I still like Tortuguero and will return again someday.  I’ll do a lodge post later and compare the two lodges I’ve stayed in here.

I’m sharing the photos in a gallery format rather than the auto-slide show because you can see the image larger when you click on it or at same time start a manual slideshow. Also hover your mouse pointer over an image to see the bird’s name. Photos are being shown in random order.

BIRDS at Tortuguero

In order to see birds it is necessary to become part of the silence.

~Robert Lynd

 

See my 2019 Tortuguero Turtle Beach Lodge Visit Gallery for more on this exciting rainforest trip!

Or the Turtle Beach Lodge hotel website

Or my photo book on 3 visits to TORTUGUERO, The Amazon of Costa Rica

¡Pura Vida!

Cell Phone Garden

The other morning before breakfast I just walked through my garden using my cell phone to snap a few happy sights. This slide show of 14 shots shows just one reason I like Costa Rica so much – year-around!     🙂

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I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty.       ~Georgia O’Keeffe

🙂

¡Pura Vida!

 

And oh yeah! My flower galleries:  Flora & Forest

Maquenque The Book is Published

Maquenque Book
Click image to Preview free online.

Or go to the book in my Bookstore at:

http://www.blurb.com/b/9282399-maquenque-ecolodge

A New Favorite Lodge

I hesitate to rank or say there is only one favorite birding lodge, but this is in the top 3 or 4 best easily based on both the number of birds I photographed (53+) and the new birds I photographed for the first time or “lifers” of which there were these 7:

This is also one of the best or easiest places in Costa Rica (the whole world?) to get close photos of the King Vulture. My previous photos were made through a spotting scope, so I was thrilled to have Sergio pick me up at the lodge and take me to his blind on a nearby bluff where the King Vultures hangout and from his blind that he calls a “hide” I was about 20 to 30 feet from King Vultures.

Plus the lodge guides are excellent birding guides and found birds I would never have found on my own plus on the night hike I got a photo of the rare Red-webbed Tree Frog which is on the cover of my book. The DIY trails are excellent also for birding where I got several birds on my own.

The food is very good with excellent wait staff and by planning ahead nearly a year I got one of the 4 Tree Houses as my Treehouse Room for the week – an unbelievably unique experience which yielded all the Howler Monkey photos in my gallery (by climbing up 55 steps to my room). Or see my entire “Trip Gallery” 2019 Maquenque Ecolodge.

And check out the lodge website: Maquenque Ecolodge   a true experience in nature! I highly recommend it for all nature lovers and especially for birders! Just be aware that it is not near anything familiar, a 4-hour drive from my house in Atenas to a river on the Nicaragua border.

¡Pura Vida!

Maquenque Parrots & More

Everyone loves parrots and the general family includes not only Parrots, but Macaws, Parakeets and these other more distantly related birds, the Ani, a Woodpecker and Trogons plus I’m including two types of Oropendolas which are in a category of their own, all at Maquenque. Enjoy!

¡Pura Vida!

You may also enjoy my Costa Rica Birds Gallery 

and my 2019 Maquenque Lodge Trip Gallery    

See the lodge website:  Maquenque Ecolodge

Maquenque “Big Birds”

Of course “Big” is relative, but these are probably the 7 biggest birds I photographed at Maquenque Lodge & Reserve, Boca Tapada, Costa Rica – with yesterday’s toucans and tomorrow’s parrots tying for second largest, then we get to smaller ones–lots! I photographed more than 50 species of birds at this lodge which I think only Esquinas Rainforest Lodge has equalled and maybe Selva Verde, Sarapiqui. I highly recommend Maquenque for birding!

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See also my earlier post on just the King Vulture with more shots of him/her plus a juvenile, and yesterday’s post on the three types of Toucans at Maquenque Lodge. The gallery and then a book are both coming soon! All about the wonderful Maquenque Lodge & Reserve!    🙂

¡Pura Vida!

You may also enjoy my Costa Rica Birds Gallery 

and my 2019 Maquenque Lodge Trip Gallery   

See the lodge website:  Maquenque Ecolodge

Describing My 2014 Journey Here

This week’s death of Nature Poet Mary Oliver (1935-2019), and article about her in Washington Post, plus reviewing her poems led me to her “Journey” which in some ways describes what I was unable to describe in my 2014 “Decision Process” I called it then, of getting away from the depressing world of conservative Middle Tennessee, the clouds of a failed marriage and subsequent loss of family, branches and stones in my path of a vocational “calling”  manipulated by power-hungry “rulers” ending unceremoniously first in 1999 and finally by 2002 in unplanned early retirement. In a daze . . .

I’ve always tried to “make lemonade out of lemons” and I turned my retirement into an adventure of nature travel and photography as much as I could afford, including visits to all 54 state parks in Tennessee with a book about that, A Walk in the Woodsalong with many other nature/travel books and my growing nature photo gallery. But I was still looking for something else.

Moving from the vibrant life of rowhouse living in downtown Nashville to a suburban “Independent Living Retirement Home” was still not what I was looking for.

It was to commune closer with nature, to travel in natural exotic places that my limited income could not afford, then suddenly it hit me, why not move to one of the nature places in which I love to travel and just live there?

With only 2 family members left and no grandchildren, it was easier for me than some people to make such a life-changing move! And now I see it described in a new way in this poem by Mary Oliver:

The Journey

One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice–

though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

“Mend my life!”

each voice cried.

But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do–

determined to save

the only life you could save.

~Mary Oliver

¡Retired in Costa Rica!

¡Pura Vida!

Night Hike Frogs

Last night I went on the lodge’s “Night Hike” with about 8 other guests. It was similar to most other lodge night hikes and I have learned that my big camera is too much trouble on a night hike, so depend on my cell phone for photos. In addition to these frogs I got some insects and tried to photograph a coral snake we saw but failed at that. One of these is a new species of frog for me, the Red Webbed Tree Frog which has red-colored webs between his fingers and toes. Look close and you can see them. Click image to enlarge.

¡Pura Vida!

You may also enjoy my Other Wildlife Gallery

and my 2019 Maquenque Lodge Trip Gallery 

See also the lodge website:  Maquenque Ecolodge

Church Group Cancels & I Add Monteverde!

Anytime you are dealing with groups of people there are complications and changes and this happened with the First Baptist Nashville group that were coming back to Atenas to work again in the Hogar de Vida Children’s Home this April. Pam told me yesterday that it did not work out, so instead of a week with them I now have scheduled a week in the Quaker town of Monteverde in April and already scheduling guided birding hikes while there.   🙂

IMG_1732-A-WEB
Rare Three-wattled Bellbird I photographed at Selvatura Monteverde in 2016

I limit myself to one birding trip a month and somehow for 2 years now I have not been able to get back to Monteverde where I had only 2.5 days back in 2016 on a Birding Club Trip that I added an extra night to but still did not have enough time for all the reserves and other places for nature. I’ll stay 6 nights this time with my first priorities guided birding hikes in three reserves: Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve (or Official Site in English), Santa Elena Reserve (or Official Site in Spanish), and Curi-Cancha Reserve. That’s three days! Then a really good commercial nature reserve there called Selvatura that has the longest canopy hanging-bridges in the country plus a fabulous butterfly garden & hummingbird garden and more! That will be another full day, to which I will then add shorter trips like one of the best night hikes in the country, the excellent Monteverde Butterfly Garden, not to mention the trails and gardens at the Monteverde Lodge & Gardens where I will be staying. A full and fulfilling week!   🙂   So Nashville guys, I will miss you, but not be bored!   🙂

And I change my 2019 Trips Map with #4 (April) moved from Atenas to Monteverde.

Click to enlarge

 

 

¡Pura Vida!

A Blog-reader Stops By for ZooAve

My Visitor at Zoo Ave

Yes, I actually have some regular readers of my blog and several I have never met, some of whom are contemplating retiring in Costa Rica. One from Texas, a bigger birder than me, has visited several times and is possibly going to move somewhere in Central Valley here next year in retirement, with Atenas one option. One “Retired in Costa Rica” Wannabe from California has been planning a nature photography trip here for months, writing me for advice and with questions. She arrived today with a local flight to the Osa Peninsula in the morning but needed something to do today. I took her to Animal Rescate Zoo Ave in La Garita today with her hotel reasonably close to the airport for her flight out in the morning.

IMPORTANT NOTE: In 2020 this facility has been “rebranded” to eliminate the zoo concept and is now called Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center.

We did not finish our walk through the zoo because her camera battery went dead with her other one left in the hotel, but I got a few photos shown below. Note that 4 of the animals in today’s animal gallery or slideshow below were “wild” or not part of the zoo collection!   🙂

Animal Photos

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More of My Photos at Zoo Ave

One of many flowers at zoo

Part of a magnificent bamboo grove at Zoo Ave

Good Samaritan Serendipity!

 

“It’s a small world!” phenomenon only happens occasionally and when it does it always brings a big smile to my face.  🙂  It happened today, January 1, 2019, with a message through the contact form on this site from an address I did not recognize.  I will keep their names private but briefly share the fun serendipity story of that email greeting:

The email starts with the couple (an educator & a musician from Canada but now in the states) saying they were looking at a travel book reviewing all the countries of the world and when they came to The Gambia, they were reminded of me since I’m the only person they had ever met from there, though a long time ago, and remembered the Gambia photos on my condo wall.

My downtown Nashville Row House for first 10 years of retirement.

THE  STORY

It was around the first of January 2003 (16 years ago) when after returning from The Gambia I finally moved from the Residence Inn Nashville West End to my new row house in Hope Gardens/Germantown across from the Farmer’s Market and Bicentennial Mall State Park (Header photo above). I think I used my new Tacoma pickup to move my stuff from the hotel to my new row house. As happens sometimes, a box fell out of the truck along West End Avenue and this charming couple from western Canada, in town as Vanderbilt students, saw the box and stopped, picking it up and diligently tracing it to me at my new address! Wow! There are still a few “Good Samaritans” left in the world!   🙂  Thank you!

When they brought the box to me I gave them an invitation to my already planned open house later in January and they came! And still remember it and all my Gambia photos on the walls.

Thus the connection when they read about Gambia in the book. They found me and my website in an internet search and decided to write their very kind and thoughtful New Year’s greeting through the contact form on my website. Small world & fun memories!     🙂

Thanks friends! For remembering AND writing!   Good Samaritans in my life!


“We instinctively tend to limit for whom we exert ourselves. We do it for people like us, and for people whom we like. Jesus will have none of that. By depicting a Samaritan helping a Jew, Jesus could not have found a more forceful way to say that anyone at all in need – regardless of race, politics, class, and religion – is your neighbour. Not everyone is your brother or sister in faith, but everyone is your neighbour, and you must love your neighbour.” 


― Timothy Keller, Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just

¡Pura Vida!

 

Bicentennial Mall Carillons across the street from my Row House – Nice music!

 

How blessed I am to have lived is so many beautiful places!  AND to have had so many neat experiences like this! THANK YOU GOD!