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.

This trip gallery:  2019-September 13-21–Cristal Ballena, Uvita

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

44 Species – 16 Lifers – Monteverde BIRDS!

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:

2019 Monteverde BIRDS

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Emerald Toucanet with an attitude!

My Lifer List This Trip

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Golden-olive Woodpecker
  1. Coppery-headed Emerald
  2. Magenta-throated Woodstar
  3. Ruddy Pigeon
  4. Buff-fronted Quail-Dove
  5. Golden-olive Woodpecker
  6. Paltry Tyrannulet
  7. Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher
  8. Long-tailed Manakin
  9. Azure-hooded Jay
  10. Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush
  11. Swainson’s Thrush
  12. White-throated Thrush
  13. Lesser Greenlet
  14. Gray-crowned Yellowthroat
  15. Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  16. 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.

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Collared Redstart

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.

~Claude Monet

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Three-wattled Bellbird close to the ground in search of food – A 1st for me!

 

¡Pura Vida!

Cloud Forest Scenery & Vistas

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.

¡Pura Vida!

Birds at Monteverde Reserve

It was another great morning with the same super guide at a different Cloud Forest Reserve. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Preserve of the Tropical Science Center is the first private area for the conservation of wildlife founded in Costa Rica in October of 1972.

We did a lot of walking with a lot of hills but it paid off with more birds today and two that birders all over the world come here hoping to get: The Resplendent Quetzal and the Three-wattled Bellbird. Below are my photos of some birds we saw and as always I see more than I get photos of. I’m not sure yet, but 3 or more lifers today! One bird is still unidentified.

Monteverde Reserve Birds

Hear how the birds, on every blooming spray, With joyous music wake the dawning day.

Alexander Pope

¡Pura Vida!

Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve

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

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 Cool birds huh? Most live only in the cloud forest.

Other wildlife will be a separate post for the whole week.

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One of the views from the highest point in the reserve, looking West/Northwest

“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.” 
― John Muir

¡Pura Vida!

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.   🙂

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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!

My 2019 Nature Adventures

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.

  1. Maquenque Eco Lodge, Boca Tapada
  2. Doubletree San Jose & Turtle Beach Lodge Tortuguero
  3. Hotel Punta Leona, Jaco Beach
  4. Hogar de Vida Children’s Home, Atenas
  5. Selva Verde Lodge, Sarapiqui  *
  6. Macaw Lodge (Nat Geo), Carara National Park
  7. Xandari Nature Resort, Alajuela  *
  8. Hotel Banana Azul, Puerto Viejo, Caribe (Carnival Week)  *
  9. Cristal Ballena Hotel, Uvita (Whale Watching) Ballena NP
  10. Hotel Hacienda GuachipelinRincón de la Vieja National Park
  11. Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Volcano National Park  *
  12. Tapirus LodgeBraulio Carrillo National Park

*The 4 starred hotels are repeats for me, meaning I really like them!  🙂  And this is what it is like to be Retired in Costa Rica, the name of my blog! Pura vida!

For those who know Costa Rica the map helps understand where I’m traveling this year, my first to not go to Osa Peninsula, as I explore new places.

CLICK MAP TO ENLARGE  

Sun Setting on 2018 & My Celebration Begins!

The above photo is one of my sunsets at Manuel Antonio National Park in 2015, my first year here! I go back to celebrate 4 years living here! Photographing new birds and other animals, walking forest trails and one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica, getting one or more relaxation massages, and eating gourmet food every day for a week as I create more Costa Rica Nature Photos! That is my kind of Christmas Celebration and I anticipate a fabulous week! Here’s one of the resort’s several videos:

Or browse the Si Como No Website   —   This is living!   🙂

3-toed Sloth I photographed there in 2015.

Retired in Costa Rica 4 Years Christmas Celebration

Starts Tomorrow, 21 December 2018

¡Pura Vida!

The Gringo’s Hawk

Excellent first person account of living in the earlier, wilder Costa Rica as a twenty-something, then adapting and growing older here. Especially good for nature-lovers like me as a “Retired in Costa Rica” senior adult blogging about it at charliedoggett dot net. ¡Pura Vida!

—      Goodreads Review by Charlie Doggett

And I read the real book on paper! It is not available digitally for my Kindle. Thanks to a friend here in Atenas who loaned the book!