The first in my series of favorite bird photos since moving to Costa Rica is almost everyone’s favorite, the Resplendent Quetzal (eBird description) found in the cloud forests of Costa Rica and some other Central American countries that is an endangered species or “near threatened.” See my other photos of this beauty in my CR Resplendent Quetzal Gallery with photos from three different trips to San Gerardo de Dota and two trips to Monteverde, the two best places to find and photograph this colorful bird in Costa Rica. Note that it is the national bird of Guatemala, but on my three trips there I never saw one.
On my first trip to Costa Rica in 2009 on a birding tour, one of our stops was the Hotel Savegre in San Gerardo de Dota and I made this close-up here of what I think is a younger male Resplendent Quetzal than the one in the top photo because his tail was not as long. They took us to a nearby farm and pointed to a wild avocado tree where Quetzales would come to eat if we waited patiently. Most everyone sat on a little hill beside the tree to see the birds when they came in and that was where I started . . .
But when someone else crawled down under the tree to shoot from below, I decided to also be different and joined him. A good decision! we were much closer to the birds when they flew in and that is how I got this closeup shot of a young male in brilliant Christmas colors that served as my Christmas card one year! The other shot above this is I think of a more mature adult with long flowing tail that was made this year in January during a week stay at the remodeled and enlarged Hotel Savegre! I love it there! 🙂
San Gerardo de Dota
I love all of San Gerardo de Dota and have had good experiences in 2 other lodges there, Trogon Lodge and the simple little cabins at Cabinas El Quetzal, then called Mariam’s Cabinas. But without a doubt, Hotel Savegre is my favorite for service, food and facilities plus the number of birds seen. See my photo galleries listed below for photos from each location.
I found it a little more difficult to find Quetzales in Monteverde, but they are there and you will see in my galleries I got some good photos there too including a nesting couple. I just prefer San Gerardo de Dota. One trip to Monteverde was with the Costa Rica Birding Club and we stayed in cabins. My solo trip was at Monteverde Lodge and Gardens which I highly recommend with a great restaurant and super guides to guarantee you find birds of all kinds, including the Quetzal. Plus it is very good birding on the lodge’s large property of forest and gardens. I love it there too! 🙂
My Trip Galleries that include Quetzales
- 2021 January 15-20 — San Gerardo de Dota, Hotel Savegre
- 2019 April 7-13 — Monteverde, Monteverde Lodge & Gardens
- 2016 March 10-13 – Monteverde
- 2015 Sep 25-27 – San Gerardo de Dota
- 2014 August, San Gerardo de Dota, Trogon Lodge, as an “add-on” to a tour
- 2009 January Birding Tour of Costa Rica, Hotel Savegre, San Gerardo de Dota
“Not all those who wander are lost”~ J.R.R. Tolkien
This morning I received a WhatsApp Voice Message with the above photo from Rodiber, my guide at Monteverde last month. He was thanking me profusely for the autographed copy of my Monteverde photo book for himself, Costa Rica Expeditions (who service this hotel) and the hotel Monteverde Lodge & Gardens. The girl in photo is one of the several front desk persons who were all very helpful to me during my stay. I sent two copies of book, one for my guide and one for the hotel to use at front desk, in lobby or in their little loaner-library of books for guests.
Since I make a book for most of my trips or the first trip to a lodge, I usually send two books like this. I just concluded my second trip to Selva Verde Lodge and right now not planning a second book. Their two guides on my first visit plus the front desk got copies of my 2016 Selva Verde trip book.
I really enjoy surprising my hosts in thanks for a good experience with the little photo books – not something they expect nor receive from other guests. This is the first one to send me a photo with their thank-you note. A surprise for me now! My response was the typical Costa Rican response to a “Thank You!” which is ¡Con mucho gusto! “With much pleasure!” Ticos are such beautiful people! 🙂
Art must take reality by surprise.
I finished it last week but was waiting for Blurb to offer one of their discounts before I ordered my copies since I have to buy at least one copy to offer it for sale. That’s business! 🙂 I usually get about 4 copies, sending one to my host lodge/hotel and one to the birding guide I used and I’m saving a copy for some local library here in Atenas but I haven’t found the right one yet. Long story.
By including some photos from my 2016 visit to Monteverde the book has 123 photos on 78 pages with about 45 species of birds plus other animals and nature. I’m pleased with this photo book available in my bookstore at:
FREE PAGE-BY-PAGE PREVIEW ELECTRONICALLY
Or click this cover image:
“My wish is to stay always like this, living quietly in a corner of nature.”
Thanks to Monet for my subtitle inspiration!
Finally, all the photos made during a week in Monteverde, Costa Rica have been sorted, culled, labeled and organized into the few best in each category as one of my “Trip Galleries” labeled as:
Now I will start working on the photo book about Monteverde and making more photos around here as I report on things in Atenas like the progress on our central park remodeling and the climate fair here next week with our annual oxcart parade – always something happening! 🙂
Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.
Now that I am wrapping up the photos from my week in Monteverde last week, I’m better realizing how good a trip it was! It was one of my best birding trips in recent years with useable photos of 44 different species of birds, 16 were first-time sightings for me or what birders call “Lifers.” See the 44 birds in the gallery:
My Lifer List This Trip
- Coppery-headed Emerald
- Magenta-throated Woodstar
- Ruddy Pigeon
- Buff-fronted Quail-Dove
- Golden-olive Woodpecker
- Paltry Tyrannulet
- Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher
- Long-tailed Manakin
- Azure-hooded Jay
- Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush
- Swainson’s Thrush
- White-throated Thrush
- Lesser Greenlet
- Gray-crowned Yellowthroat
- Rose-breasted Grosbeak
- Black-thighed Grosbeak
The featured photo at top is of a Wilson’s Warbler. And I am now working on the other parts of my trip gallery like other wildlife, the hotel, flowers, etc. which will go much faster than my huge collection of bird photos! 🙂 It’s at 2019 April 7-13 — Monteverde, Costa Rica which the birds gallery is just one part of.
I am thankful that when the Quakers came from the states and founded the little mountain farming town of Monteverde they also had the foresight to start preserving the virgin forest around the town and that other ecologists came and continued the effort with some of the largest forest reserves in the world! Nature is the main attraction of Monteverde!
My wish is to stay always like this, living quietly in a corner of nature.
Just a few sample shots of the beautiful cloud forests of Monteverde, Costa Rica which I’m sorry I did not pay more attention to in my photography this past week. Every tree is a beautiful work of art and some are old growth or a part of an ancient virgin forest. I was particularly surprised to see how close we were to Arenal Volcano and what a beautiful view we had from the continental divide in Santa Elena Reserve shown above in the feature photo. I plan to go back to Arenal in November! So many beautiful places of nature here!
Monteverde Forests & Vistas
Cloud forest is quite different from lowland tropical rain forest. The name comes from the observation that the forests are nearly always shrouded in clouds. These forests are situated at high altitude along the continental divide down the spine of Costa Rica. As the warm moist air from over the Pacific or Caribbean is pushed up the sides of the mountains, it cools, and the moisture begins to condense forming clouds. ~Costa Rica Guide, https://costa-rica-guide.com/nature/refuges/monteverde-cloud-forest-reserve/
I just realized that I have started to repeat some photos, so this will be all of my reports on a wonderful week in Monteverde. My “Trip Gallery” will be coming to my online photo gallery soon at 2019 April 7-13 — Monteverde Lodge & Gardens – just need a few more days for that and then “The Book,” my first on Monteverde even though I was there one other time. Watch my Bookstore for the Monteverde photo book! This trip alone yielded photos of 44 species of birds!
And check out some of my other trips in the Costa Rica Trips Photo Gallery! Almost every location is as beautiful and exciting as this one.
My first of 6 different Cloud Forest Reserves this week (where trees, wildlife, water and air is protected) was this morning at Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve (right click on page for English translation). It is beautiful and less crowded than the one I will visit tomorrow. The above featured cell phone photo is from the highest point in the reserve looking East/Northeast at Arenal Volcano which I visited last year at Arenal Observatory and going again in November. The photo at bottom is looking the other direction at the mountains and clouds you are above in a Cloud Forest.
I had a wonderful guide through the hotel’s tour service, Costa Rica Expeditions, Rodiberi, and we saw 14 species of birds, several new to me. Here are my photos of 9 of those species, two of which are lifers for me:
Birds at Santa Elena Today
Cool birds huh? Most live only in the cloud forest.
Other wildlife will be a separate post for the whole week.
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
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. 🙂
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.
On a vine covering a neighbor’s wall, Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica
Note the three stages here, bud, open flower, and spent flower.
Monteverde, Costa Rica
This one is like the ones I used to photograph in Tennessee.
See photos of some of the many varieties of Passionflowers in Costa Rica