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.
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.
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! 🙂
A different hotel/lodge every month except April when a gang from Nashville come to volunteer in the children’s home here in Atenas. 4 lodges are repeats but such great places they will be totally new experiences! I start this month near the Nicaragua border sleeping 5 nights in a treehouse and from there it is everything from Whale Watching to Tapirs and of course lots of birds! There will be new wildlife this year and also its the year I expect to top 300 bird species that I will have photographed in Costa Rica! What a life! 🙂
And you may wonder why I am planning so far ahead? Well, it was not far enough for some places I wanted to visit, especially for next Christmas when my first two choices were already booked. Costa Rica and its best lodges and hotels are very popular and stay booked more than a year in advance.
The links on the hotel/lodge name is to that hotel’s website, if you are interested. And the map gives the approximate location of each visit this year using the month number for when I visit that spot and listing indicates lodge or national park visited that month.
Everywhere I go in Costa Rica I’m captivated by the flowers! Here’s a few from my recent visit to Manuel Antonio, park, hotel grounds, and other locations, Click an image to enlarge it or start a manual slideshow:
NOTE TO OTHER WP BLOGGERS : This is my first post with the new WP5 Editing Software called “Guttenberg.” For now I’m staying with the Theme “Twenty Seventeen” which means my pages still look about the same. Their new recommended default Theme is called “Twenty Nineteen” and designed for the new editor, but does not have the right column I’m used to, so debating over that change, but may try it. The biggest difference on this post now is that the “Quotation Block” looks different and is very nice though it doesn’t seem to allow color typeface like I was using with dark red. But I like the softer quote look. And the “Button” to click for a link to my gallery (or other places) is new and I like that very much. All our different worlds are constantly changing! 🙂
I have really enjoyed the sunsets here from my room and try to be there between 5 & 5:30 every evening when our sun sets here pretty much year around. Tonight I used a real camera instead of the cell phone and it does make a difference I think, though I did not try to make the trees green tonight but let them silhouette into black. That is another difference with more contrast.
That’s a Fiery-billed Aracari in above feature photo which is the rarest bird yet for me here, shot from the deck of my room. I’m doing this as a separate birds post from what I will see tomorrow on:
Damas Island Estuary Boat Trip
Discover the complex estuary system of Damas Island. From your covered boat, you’ll wind you way through coastal mangroves for up-close looks at the abundant wildlife, including a variety of sea birds and tropical birds, reptiles, and monkeys. ~from the hotel website Tours descriptions
Note, that even with their own “Wildlife Refuge” at this hotel, I have seen fewer birds here than most of the lodges I visit and in this national park the only bird photo I got was of the stationary Hermit Hummingbird nest. I did see a Kingfisher and Woodrail on the hotel night hike but no photos. I expect my most bird photos tomorrow in the mangroves.
Si Como No Birds:
Stripe-throated Hermit Nest
Birds are a miracle because they prove to us there is a finer, simpler state of being which we may strive to attain.
Yesterday, 23rd, was a full day with tour of the park and the night hike here at hotel wildlife refuge – thus I did not get photos all processed until today, the 24th, the anniversary of me living in Costa Rica four years now.
I think I have said this before in the blog, but I will repeat that Manuel Antonio National Park is the most visited of all 28 or so national parks in Costa Rica and thus generally my least favorite because it is “loved to death” with too many people (think Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the states with the Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge mess). My last time here was in 2015 with Kevin Hunter and the park tour was different in that we saw some different animals and probably had a better guide who grew up in the area. We saw squirrel monkeys then which we did not this time nor the parrot snake I photographed on that visit, but otherwise similar. And this time we went to all three beaches in the park, while only going to the one main beach last time.
And this time there are now more trails and a really nice series of bridges or elevated walkways through the mangrove swamp, handicap accessible with braille signs! Though behind the U.S. in handicap accessibility, Costa Rica is moving fast in that direction!
I go mainly for the wildlife, so that is the main slideshow below, but many people come here for the three different beaches inside the park and pay the $16 admission just to spend the day on one of the beaches, so a shot of each of the three beaches is in the second slideshow. Overall, Manuel Antonio is just too “touristy” for me and I have no desire to return here. The hotel with its own wildlife refuge is nice and I love the views from the hillside, but it too is rather “touristy” and overpriced, so I don’t see myself returning here either. But glad I’ve had all these experiences! The Costa Rica tourists see.
On the hotel property’s “Wildlife Refuge” or nature trail is a “Butterfly Garden” like you find all over Costa Rica, a big, high ceiling cage with lots of flowering plants and continuously hatching butterflies. Here’s some of the ones I saw there today in a simple little slideshow. I do not have my butterfly book with me, meaning I could have mis-labeled one or two and there is one I have no idea of the name and there was no attendant to help me label them. Most I already knew from all I have photographed all over Costa Rica. Enjoy what Robert Frost calls “Flying Flowers!”
“Well, I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince