Non-Bird Wildlife at Carara

White-faced Capuchin Monkey – Just hanging around!  Pura Vida!
Carara National Park, Costa Rica

Carara National Park, Costa Rica
Variegated Squirrel
Carara National Park, Costa Rica

Northern Ghost Bat
Carara National Park, Costa Rica

Some Kind of Fungus!
Carara National Park, Costa Rica

Unless I do a post on plants, that is all from the Campesinos/Carara trip. But every trip seems to have about a week’s worth of posts! Always a lot to share! I love it here!

As the attorney told me, I went to the local Atenas Social Security office to be “inscribed.” I took Jason (one of my language helpers) with me as an interpreter and he was absolutely needed! In short, the first desk sent us to another desk which was the appointments desk. Of course we needed to make an appointment (but you do it only in person-not by phone!). I am on standby for July 8 with a firm appointment on July 15.

I have a two-page form in Spanish to be filled out in Spanish. David is going to make it a class project next week in Spanish Class!  🙂  There are a bunch of other things I need to bring like proof of at least $1,000 income, the resolution I got, an electric bill, and a copy of my housing rental agreement. I can hire ” a professional” to help me walk through this, but it is more fun to work with friends and get closer to local Ticos! (And cheaper!) Ten to one odds that there will be some document not exactly right for the July appointment and I will have to go back again, but that is part of the adventure of government bureaucracies!

Birds at Carara National Park

Orange-Collared Manakin
Carara National Park, Costa Rica
White-whiskered Puffbird
Carara National Park, Costa Rica

Montezuma Oropendola
Carara National Park, Costa Rica
Black-mandibled Toucan
Carara National Park, Costa Rica
Scarlet Macaw
Carara National Park, Costa Rica

Pale-billed Woodpecker
Carara National Park, Costa Rica

Blue-crowned Motmot
Carara National Park, Costa Rica

Common Black-Hawk (most likely)
Carara National Park, Costa Rica
NOTE: The front is lighter than usual, but it happens on them some.
It does not match other characteristics of Gray or Gray-bellied Hawks
Tomorrow I will post a few shots of other non-bird animals I shot at Carara. 

Last Bird Photo Today – A First-Timer for Me!

Orange-collared Manakin
Carara National Park, Costa Rica

I spent Sunday afternoon and night at Cerro Lodge, Tarcoles, Costa Rica and because there was not a group boat ride available to bird on the river, I birded around my cabin and down the road yesterday. This morning I again birded around the lodge property with several birds then had an appointment with a birding guide named Antonio who was good and help me get lots of bird photos in my two hours there. Because this is a “first-time” bird for me, it is sort of my favorite, but I haven’t had time to go through the others yet and still haven’t posted the photos from Campesinos, so busy the rest of this week with this and lots of other projects. Stay tuned!  🙂

Carara National Park Plants

Pixie Cup Fungi, Carara National Park, Costa Rica
Ceiba Tree, Carra National Park, Costa Rica
Also called Kapok or Silk Cotton Tree
In all tropical forests I’ve seen, Africa, South America
The back side of the above Ceiba has a “cave”


Rain forests have an incredible variety of trees
and plants. My guide Victor leads the way down
and old road used as trail now.
One of the several varieties of Cecropia Trees,
similar to my Guarumo but not the same. Cousins!
This whole family of trees has multiple medicinal uses.
Rare plant that only grows in this particular
transitional forest and only in the shade.
Has medicinal uses.
And another fungus!   🙂

“The clearest way to the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”

— John Muir


Carara National Park Mammals

Central American Agouti, a large rodent, Carara National Park, Costa Rica.
Spider Monkey, Carara National Park, Costa Rica (baby on her back)

Spider Monkey, Carara National Park, Costa Rica.

White-nosed Coati, Carara National Park, Costa Rica
White-nosed Coati, Carara National Park, Costa Rica
Costa Rican White Bat
Carara National Park, Costa Rica
Cell phone through guide’s spotting scope

We also passed the bridge where the week before my guide Victor saw a Puma resting. And we saw some howler monkeys but no photos. Most mammals here are nocturnal. Insects were more visible in the day but also more difficult to photograph. 

The tropical rain forests of the world harbor the majority of the planet’s species, yet this wealth of species is being quickly spent. While the exact numbers of species involved and the rate of forest clearing are still under debate, the trend is unmistakable—the richest terrestrial biome is being altered at a scale unparalleled in geologic history. 
— Larry D. Harris
Also see my PHOTO GALLERY of Costa Rica Mammals

Carara National Park Insects

I started going through over 600 photos made in the park, and though disappointed in not many birds, I discovered I had too many photos for one post. So here’s 4 insects! Mammals tomorrow!

Owl Butterfly, Carara National Park, Costa Rica
Helicopter Damselfly, Carara National Park, Costa Rica
Helicopter Damselfly in tree showing color better.
Carara National Park, Costa Rica

Red-tailed Dragonfly, Carara National Park, Costa Rica
Check out my better photo of one at Corcovado National Park in 09.
Termite Nest, Carara National Park, Costa Rica

Of course we saw lots of ants, including the leaf-cutter ants and many other flying insects, but these are my only usable photos. Maybe mammals tomorrow and then a day for plants with one really cool fungus! Rain-forests are so so much fun to visit, even when I don’t get many bird photos!

Newly discovered wasp named after Costa Rica President! Cool huh!?

And remember, I now have PHOTO GALLERIES for my

Endangered forests are being slaughtered for toilet paper.~Daphne Zuniga

Pura Vida Gardens

After checking in my jungle hotel Thursday, I drove 6 km up the dirt road to a beautiful garden:

La hermosa Pura Vida Jardin:


Gardens carved out of the rainforest, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and threatening rain, near my hotel on a dirt road
buena vista


Miles of paved or maintained trails with every tropical plant imaginable!
sendero del jardín


You know you are still in the jungle! Technically it is the last remaining
“Transitional Rainforest” in the Americas, transitioning from the dry forests
of Guanacaste and the montane forests near Atenas to the lowland rainforests.
selva de transición
What I hope my “Maraca Plant” will look like in a year or two!
Also called “Shampoo Ginger” or in Spanish  plantas jengibre
But local Ticos call it the Maraca Plant which is the name I’m using.


And hoping I get several blooms like this next year!
flores jengibre


Many unknown to me flowers like this and too many to show here!
Desconocido para mí


A Water Hyacinth like we had in The Gambia
Eichhornia crassipes


One of the many Heliconias like I have in my yard
My blooms are dying out now and will return
in the dry season I’ve been told.
Heliconia L. es un género que agrupa
más de 100 especies de plantas tropicales
On the edge of Carara National Park just like my hotel grounds. Tomorrow’s post!
Parque Nacional Carara
And a view of Manantial de Agua Viva Waterfalls, one of tallest in Costa Rica.
I was going to hike to bottom, but decided safer to not do it solo! Maybe later!
The Pura Vida Gardens website with short video clip:


Beauty surrounds us, but usually we need to be walking in a garden to know it.

Felt Like Driving in Africa Again!

Just a gravel road you say? Well rainy season has made it a pot-holed rub board!
Driving a rent car on this to my hotel reminded me of driving in The Gambia.
Only we have mountains here!  los bosques en las montañas

From the road I snapped this view on cell phone of Tarcoles River dumping into the Pacific Ocean on a cloudy day.
But no views like this from Hotel Villa Lapas which is deep in the forest on the edge of Parque Nacional Carara.
Part of this little simple mountain lodge is made into a Spanish Colonial Village.
I’m sleeping in a tile-roofed hacienda with plaster walls and a musty smell.
Español colonial hotel de estilo

To make the colonial village complete, they have a little church (for weddings they say).
Old and simple but just right for a birder with the forest up against the backs of buildings.
The food was okay for dinner. You go to the beach town of Jaco for modern hotels.
con la iglesia

I’ve heard birds and seen a bat but the only wildlife I’ve photographed on the arrival afternoon are the leaf-cutter ants at right.

I did drive 6 km up the dirt road to Pura Vida Gardens which are simply beautiful in a hard to get to place with beautiful vistas and flowers and a view of what they call the tallest waterfall in Costa Rica. They also call it “Pura Vida Waterfalls,” but it is better know by “Bijagual Waterfalls” (name of nearby town) and “Manantial de Agua Viva Waterfalls.” I’m going with this last name.

I will do a separate post on the gardens tomorrow. Then tomorrow’s tour in the park is when I hope to collect a lot of bird photos. We’ll see! I trusted the hotel to get me a guide, so “proof’s in the pudding!”

I’m still reading Don Quiote and picking up Sancho’s habit of quoting truisms! 🙂  And I would love to hear from someone who has read it with your opinions, feelings, or meaning of the book. I’ve nearly quit reading it several times, saying “This is stupid!” But know how historically significant it is, so I keep trudging on through it at about 70% now.

Expect several more days of blogging from this trip. 🙂

“Blogging is like work, but without coworkers thwarting you at every turn.”

~Scott Adams  (Dilbert creator)

Spelling Bee and Carara National Park

All the students walk to and from
school, are clean cut, polite, friendly

Tomorrow, Thursday, 30 July 2015, I’m starting the day as a “Native English Speaker” at Colegio Liceo de Atenas, the big high school near where I live, to serve as a judge and maybe to pronounce the English words for their English Language Classes Spelling Bee. They have 3 full-time English Teachers in a Spanish-speaking school! A big high school!

How fun this will be! Even though I was going to leave early on my birding adventure, I can’t turn down an opportunity like this to relate to the community! I’m trying hard to not be like most of the segregated expats who only associate with each other. I didn’t move to Central America to spend all my time with North Americans! I’m here to get away from them! 🙂 (No offense now! I still like some of you! But I sure like the culture down here better.) So I will leave for Carara at 11:00 after the Spelling Bee! FYI the school Facebook Page.    or  School Video   and    Google Images  of the school or just Google the school and you will see pages for the students to do homework, etc. You will get a report from me on this for sure!

Hope to get a better shot than this one on
my 2011 Tarcoles River Cruise as a day trip
from the Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship,
our FBN Panama Canal Cruise

Now for the planned trip: I have a rent car and I’m spending two nights at Hotel Villa Lapas at
Tarcoles, the closest one to the Carara Park and have scheduled a 5-hour guided tour of the park with hopes of Scarlet Macaw photos. This is mating season in the second most populous Scarlet Macaw forest of the country, so maybe some cute, cuddly couples to photograph!  🙂 But regardless, there will be many birds and much else to photograph! And if not raining too much, I will hike to the tallest waterfall in the country or at least see it from a distance at a nearby botanical gardens. I’ve done the nearby Tarcoles River cruise 3 times, but that is always another option if I get bored – ha, ha!

Tico Times article on Carara National Park

Costa Rica Bureau Page on park (not sure if it is official park page, if any)

One National Parks Page on the park (maybe not official)

A Guide Service Page     and the Wikipedia Page is good

And hopefully more than overfly shots like this one I made in 2009 at
Corcovado National Park in the South on Osa Peninsula. 

“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” ― John Muir, Our National Parks

And my PHOTO GALLERY of Costa Rica Birds if you want more!  🙂