Rainy Day Wildlife

Dateline: CRISTAL BALLENA HOTEL, UVITA, COSTA RICA, 15 September 2019

I got here late morning and by the time I got settled in my room and the map figured out for  my bird walk before lunch, it started raining (like it is suppose to this time of year). Well, I got my tours lined up for the week with Whale Watching tomorrow morning, then went for a little light lunch in the rain.

From the restaurant, in the rain, I got photos of 8 birds and one sleeping sloth. Not bad!   🙂  Also overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Marino Ballena National Park.

Rain Birds and Sloth

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Nice extras for lunch!   🙂

The only thing I shall want for a rainy day will be my umbrella.

– Agatha Christie, Nemesis

-o-

Costa Rica Celebrates Independence Day Today

Costa Rica Flag MapCosta Rica’s Independence Day is celebrated on September 15th. It commemorates the independence of the entire Central America from Spain, which took place in 1821. The news of the country’s independence reached the nation’s people about a month after the declaration of independence that occurred in Guatemala.

Following the independence, the first constitution of the country was soon embraced. The celebration of the first elections in Costa Rica was held in December, 1821. The first elected Chief of State was Juan Mora Fernández, whom did much for the advancement of his country and people, as well as promoted industrial and commercial development.

The Independence Day of Costa Rica has been declared an official national holiday in the country and is celebrated with much joy and cheerfulness. The national holiday is marked by raising the National Flag, patriotic parades and the singing of the National Anthem.
Even though September 15th is Costa Rica’s official Independence Day, festivities begin on the 14th, with the reenactment of the notification of Costa Rica’s liberation carrying the ‘freedom torch’. At precisely 6:00 p.m., national TV and radio stations broadcast Costa Rica’s National Anthem, as the entire country sings along in a burst of patriotism. Following the anthem, the popular ‘faroles’ parade begins – homemade lanterns symbolizing the original freedom torch. Children in traditional costumes perform typical dances and then the fireworks begin.

Another important parade takes place on the morning of the 15th. School bands march along with children wearing traditional dresses, dancing at the beat of drums and lyres. During the vibrant and colorful processions, Costa Ricans, young and old alike, sit on sidewalks and enjoy the parade in a peaceful, friendly and family oriented environment.

There is typical Costa Rica food for sale in stands along the roads, such as arroz con pollo (rice and chicken), tamales, fried yucca, black beans and rice, fried plantains, rice pudding, coconut flan, and tres leches (three milk cake.)

Independence Day activities at commercial centers and other communal places are also very popular and free to the public, offering folkloric shows, typical dancing, great music and more.       ~copied from Google

PuraVidaBandera

An Adventure of Beauty

“When the destination becomes gracious, the journey becomes an adventure of beauty.”

-John O’Donohue

One week from today I return to the Costa Rica South Caribbean (Atlantic Coast South of Limón) for my 5th trip there, not counting 3 other visits to the North Caribbean (North of Limón or Tortuguero NP).

I’ve been “mulling over” (That’s a late 1800’s English idiom meaning “to think about” or “to ponder.”) what my photography focus would be this time (see previous focuses below–mainly birds!). I originally thought I was going during Carnival week, but got the dates confused (It’s the last week of October not August) so Carnival is no longer the theme for my photos and ultimately a photo book.  🙂   Here’s my previous South Caribe galleries & books:

Browsing Blurb’s Bookstore travel and art photography books (for ideas) I came across the above quotation by John O’Donohue in a book and decided next week’s destination is such a “gracious” place (both the Hotel Banana Azul and the Caribe) that the friendly, loving, kind graciousness of the place will make it truly an “adventure of beauty!” So now my mind is running in a thousand directions of how I can photograph that gracious beauty!

Of course there’s the beauty of nature as my sunrise photo above from another year depicts. The graciousness of the people there presents opportunities for grand portraits or activity shots. While the graciousness of the sea, or the forest, or the wildlife, or the plants . . . oh my, oh my – the destination becomes so gracious!

Soon I start my next adventure of beauty!  ¡Pura Vida!   🙂

 

I arise today Blessed by all things, Wings of breath, Delight of eyes, Wonder of whisper, Intimacy of touch, Eternity of soul, Urgency of thought, Miracle of health, Embrace of God. May I live this day Compassionate of heart, Clear in word, Gracious in awareness, Courageous in thought, Generous in love.”

~John O’Donohue

¡Pura Vida! 

Jaco-Carara -THE BOOK!

From expansive beaches to overpowering vistas and sunsets dotted with colorful tropical birds – my newest photo book captures the magic of where I live as well as any! With it my photos show the adventure of birding in three hotels just an hour from Atenas — Punta Leona Resort,  the Macaw Lodge and my recent visit to Villa Caletas, all with easy access to beaches, Carara National Park and Tarcoles River plus each having their own private forest reserve and trails. Nature at its best! All in one beautiful photo book!

You can preview the entire book electronically online at:

https://www.blurb.com/b/9601292-jaco-carara-birding-hotels

Or click the image of the book cover below:

Jaco-Carara

And if interested is purchasing a copy, Get 40% OFF through Monday 12 August by using the Discount Code LAZYDAYS4T at checkout.

Retired in Costa Rica

¡Pura Vida!

Macaw Lodge Photo Gallery

I completed my “Trip Gallery” of the 6 nights at Macaw Lodge, Carara National Park, Costa Rica. It is another fabulous nature retreat in Costa Rica and I hope you check out some of the photos I have posted. You can click the print screen image below or this web address:  https://charliedoggett.smugmug.com/TRIPS/2019-06-18-24-Macaw-Lodge

2019-06-27
Click gallery page above to visit it.

“A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels.”
— Ansel Adams

Macaw Lodge Website

¡Pura Vida!

Macaw Lodge Grounds

One of the best things about Macaw Lodge is the beautiful grounds! The owner Pablo’s hobby of horticulture helps!   🙂   I have already done posts on Flowers and Other Green Things,   The Waterfall, and yesterday on my Cabin in the Woods – thus you’ve seen some of the grounds but here is a whole lot more photos of just the general look of the grounds and chocolate farm and in my gallery I’m adding a Trails gallery because that is a big part of the grounds, though I barely photographed trails, mostly the trail to the waterfall & spa.

Click on an image in the montage below to see it larger and/or start a manual slideshow.

Macaw Lodge Grounds

 

There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more.

~Lord Byron

See my “Trip Photo Gallery”  titled:  2019-06–18-24–Macaw Lodge    (finished except for a few more bird photos)

Macaw Lodge   (lodge website)

My Quick Evaluation: It is one of the better “eco lodges” and more isolated than most at 45+ minutes from a town of any size and no houses or farms nearby. The rainforest surroundings match or surpass most other eco lodge I’ve visited. The rooms are excellent as is the food, though note that you have to request daily maid service and a change of towels. And you need lots of towels because it is the hottest most humid place I think I’ve been to yet (in the middle of rainy season) and hanging towels never dry.

Birding is good or basic, not my best source of birds with one “lifer” here if I labeled the Indigo Bunting correctly. Though note that I did see a Sunbittern which is a rare find anywhere (though this photo not good)! As a comparison, I photographed 30 species here and 53 at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge and about that many at Selva Verde Sarapiqui my first trip there. But this was still good!

There were lots of lizards but I saw no monkeys or other wildlife (though supposedly there). For my morning guided birding hike they secured a local Carara Park area guide who was good but not the best I’ve had. The Muscovy Ducks on the lake are entertaining and they, along with other birds, have babies this time of year (June).

I would return here but probably not anytime soon, since I know of eco lodges that have given me more birds. It was a great location for the Yoga Retreat going on while I was there! And for anyone wanting to just “get away!” About 45 minutes from Tarcoles or an hour from Jaco Beach on a terrible road. Though not required, 4WD would be safer.

It is adjacent to Carara National Park, but on the backside, thus about an hour drive to the entrance on Ruta 34. The Lodge can arrange a driver from San Jose Airport at about $140 each way. I’m glad to answer other questions you may have about this unique place.

¡Pura Vida!

A Cabin in the Woods

Mine was so surrounded by forest on top of a hill that I could not get a distance shot of it, thus the featured photo is of another cabin, #9, not quite as big as mine (#12) since mine had a kitchen which I did not need but used like an office for my computer & camera stuff. I guess the kitchen is good for families.

Cabin-Vista_Panorama1-WEB

I sat on the porch every day with my camera but did not photograph many birds there, just a dove, kiskadee, clay-colored thrush and one little lizard with a dewlap. But a nice peaceful place!

The electricity is from solar-powered batteries (a bunch of batteries!). The “hot” water was a separate device with a long pipe running back and forth on a board out in the sun. Since it is rainy season and limited sun I barely had warmish water after letting it run for three minutes. Showering first thing in the morning means a cold shower. Ahhh nature!   🙂

These “eco” lodges all encourage you to reuse your towel, hanging it on the towel rack for multiple uses all for ecology (but even more to save on their laundry costs!). The problem is that in a coastal rainforest like the one I was in, It is very hot 24-7 with humidity in the 90 percentiles, thus hanging towels never get dry (unless in direct sunlight). A wet towel will not dry you! I was not very ecological!   🙂

Macaw Lodge Cabins

Click an image to enlarge it.

 

Yes, you have to walk up a trail to your cabin, uphill! But they have strong young men on staff to carry your luggage up! A part of the remoteness!

There are elements of intrinsic beauty in the simplification of a house built on the log cabin idea.

~Gustav Stickley

I’m starting a “Trip Gallery” on my visit to Macaw Lodge, but it may be a week before finished.  It is titled:  2019-06–18-24–Macaw Lodge

Macaw Lodge

¡Pura Vida!

Other Wildlife at Macaw Lodge

This is not all that I saw! There were really a lot of lizards of all kinds, especially a lot of Common Basilisks, which I never got a good photo of except the one juvenile below without the crown on his head. And as usual a lot more butterflies than I could ever get photos of. Plus my main focus is always birds!   🙂    But here is some “other wildlife”:

CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE

 

Walking is my main method of relaxation. I don’t go over my lines or try to solve the world’s problems, I just enjoy the scenery and the wildlife.

~Kevin Whately

Macaw Lodge

¡Pura Vida!

Last Minute Birds

In these last 2 or 3 days I’ve seen a lot of the same birds but also got 5 new species shown here plus I’m adding the juvenile of the kingfisher and a new shot of a Muscovy Duck in the rain that I really like which is different from the Mom and babies I shared earlier. Enjoy!

Final Birds, Macaw Lodge

 

Birds are a miracle because they prove to us there is a finer, simpler state of being which we may strive to attain.

~Douglas Coupland

Macaw Lodge

¡Pura vida!

Funny Fungus & Gracious Green

In a very wet rainforest like this one where it rains every day, there are a lot of “interesting” things growing on trees, on the ground, etc. Here is just a little sample. There is so much more that I am tempted to photograph! It’s such a beautiful and visually stimulating place!

Tomorrow I will share some new birds I got in the last 2 or 3 days here and tomorrow is when I return home to Atenas. Got more to share after that! So keep reading or looking at my photos!

“Rainforest Greens”

Click an image to see larger or start a manual slideshow.

“And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul” 
― John Muir

Macaw Lodge

¡Pura Vida!

Flowers at Macaw Lodge

There are so many beautiful, tropical flowers everywhere I go in Costa Rica that I just can’t not photograph some of them, but please know that this is just a few I managed to grab shots of. There are so many more here! Pablo, the owner and director of the lodge is a horticulturalist, a lover of plants and he just keeps adding more plants, more gardens, more trees (like the new orchard of almond trees to attract macaws. The place is beautiful! And I am still trying to grab photos of the grounds which is hard to depict in a few photos!

A Flowers Slideshow

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See also my Flora & Forest Costa Rica Photo Gallery for more beauty!

When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not. 

~Georgia O’Keeffe

Macaw Lodge

¡Pura Vida!