2019 Feb 9-13–Tortuguero Turtle Beach Lodge or click image:
“To Travel is to Live”
– Hans Christian Andersen
And there were more! A wetland rainforest like Tortuguero has many animals and this is just a sampling from the River Otter to the Spider Monkey – a lot more than just my birds! To keep it simple I’ll use the auto-slideshow today, randomly presented and the name of each animal appears at the bottom of photo. This is part of the beauty of Tortuguero National Park – enjoy!
“A forest’s beauty lies with its inhabitants.”
― Anthony T. Hincks
This is not all the birds seen but the ones with a halfway decent photo, 28 photos here of 24 species – 2 shots of the Boat-billed Heron since one is mother with chick and other the nest-guarding father, two of the White-crowned Parrot because the images are so different, two of Mealy Parrot front & back, and separate male & female shots of the Grackle. My only “lifer” or first-time-seen bird was the Agami Heron and he was at night meaning not a real good photo. Now that my Costa Rica Birds Gallery is up to 301 species, it is getting harder to find a new species I haven’t already photographed, but thus far every trip in 4 years has had at least one! 🙂 We saw several American Pygmy Kingfishers sleeping on the night tour, but none of my photos are good.
Since my first trip to Tortuguero in 2010 on the Caravan Tour I have liked the rainforest/Amazon atmosphere of living on the water and what I’ve always thought was a lot of birds. Nine years later I have discovered several places with more birds and better food in the lodge, but I still like Tortuguero and will return again someday. I’ll do a lodge post later and compare the two lodges I’ve stayed in here.
I’m sharing the photos in a gallery format rather than the auto-slide show because you can see the image larger when you click on it or at same time start a manual slideshow. Also hover your mouse pointer over an image to see the bird’s name. Photos are being shown in random order.
In order to see birds it is necessary to become part of the silence.
I have so many photos, it is late, and I am tired. So I’m just sharing the a couple of butterfly and flower photos made at our breakfast stop in Guapiles this morning. The lodge and the whole National Park is wonderful, but I can’t start showing it tonight. Here’s some color on the way to the jungle! 🙂
You who live in cities and counties around the world with bicycle paths and bike lanes in the streets and roads can be thankful! Much of the world is still slow making bicycle transportation safe, including Costa Rica.
When I first moved here at the end of 2014 one of my initial goals was to buy a bicycle since I had already decided to live without a car. It only took one day of walking through Atenas for me to realize with such narrow streets and wild traffic, it simply would not be safe for this old man to ride a bike around town. (Not to mention the difficulty of several steep hills.) So I chose to be a walker with taxis and buses for longer trips.
In the meantime more people are riding bikes to work everywhere in Costa Rica and thus organizations and individuals are promoting bike-safety and bike-friendliness for car drivers as does this sign in Alajuela put up by the county government. It will be slow, especially the finding of space for bike paths and bike lanes, but I believe it will start happening rapidly here since autos are so expensive and so many people already ride bikes.
WEBSITE INFORMATION ABOUT BICYCLES IN COSTA RICA
Or go to the book in my Bookstore at:
I hesitate to rank or say there is only one favorite birding lodge, but this is in the top 3 or 4 best easily based on both the number of birds I photographed (53+) and the new birds I photographed for the first time or “lifers” of which there were these 7:
This is also one of the best or easiest places in Costa Rica (the whole world?) to get close photos of the King Vulture. My previous photos were made through a spotting scope, so I was thrilled to have Sergio pick me up at the lodge and take me to his blind on a nearby bluff where the King Vultures hangout and from his blind that he calls a “hide” I was about 20 to 30 feet from King Vultures.
Plus the lodge guides are excellent birding guides and found birds I would never have found on my own plus on the night hike I got a photo of the rare Red-webbed Tree Frog which is on the cover of my book. The DIY trails are excellent also for birding where I got several birds on my own.
The food is very good with excellent wait staff and by planning ahead nearly a year I got one of the 4 Tree Houses as my Treehouse Room for the week – an unbelievably unique experience which yielded all the Howler Monkey photos in my gallery (by climbing up 55 steps to my room). Or see my entire “Trip Gallery” 2019 Maquenque Ecolodge.
And check out the lodge website: Maquenque Ecolodge a true experience in nature! I highly recommend it for all nature lovers and especially for birders! Just be aware that it is not near anything familiar, a 4-hour drive from my house in Atenas to a river on the Nicaragua border.
is what the Dermatologist says about the cause of skin cancer. But he also says if I continue to get too much sun it will make it worse, so my two wide-brim hats and 60 SPF Sunscreen, called El Protector Solar here or informally protección de sol. I dislike it but when I know I will be in the sun much, I use the sunscreen now and wear my big hat everytime I go out!
SKIN CANCER SURGERY ON MY FACE THIS TIME
The only other skin cancer removed was from my arm a month or two ago and it was comparatively easy with a lot more skin on the arm. Sorry if the photo below grosses you out, but I was really surprised at how much this facial growth had grown with this big of a scar or “more than 15 stitches” said the doctor, though I counted more like 20 or 21 in the photo. My eye is partially swollen and partially closed but it will get back to normal soon. I went back to the doctor the day after surgery (Wed) and he changed the bandage which I will permanently remove Thursday. Air helps healing. And he prescribed a cream I put on it twice a day for at least two weeks when I see him again for a checkup, after my next photography trip of course! 🙂 I have to keep my priorities straight you know!
It was Mohs surgery Tuesday which the link describes or basically it is a pathologist there with the surgeon doing biopsies on every bit removed until there is no sign of cancer. With this he is now more certain he got all the cancer and didn’t remove too much “good skin” which is more limited on the face. He was prepared to graft a piece of skin from my cheek if necessary, but thankfully it was not. And in two weeks or so I will be back to normal with a noticeable scar on my face. No problem! Just call me “Scarface.” 🙂
That’s Life! – ¡Así es la vida!
And tomorrow I will go back to sharing more from my great trip to Maquenque Eco Lodge! (Link is to the Gallery)
And oh yeah, that sunset photo above is one I made at Arenal Volcano National Park. After all, this article is mostly about the sun! 🙂
Water birds are impressive and numerous all over Costa Rica with most of these found in all lowland waters on both the Pacific and Caribbean sides. I never tire of river trips or wetland visits because the surroundings are always changing and even though I see some of the same birds every time, they are never the same! At Maquenque I had both a river trip and lived for 5 days on lagoons that attract the same birds in these wetlands (el humedal en español) of the Caribbean Slopes of northern Costa Rica. A birding paradise!
Click Image to Enlarge
You may also enjoy my Costa Rica Birds Gallery
See the lodge website: Maquenque Ecolodge
Here are some shots of non-bird wildlife I haven’t already shown on the blog other than the monkeys and frogs that got their own blog posts earlier. A real rainforest like this is full of wildlife of all kinds and the photo ops are numerous and I’ve seen more than shown here.
The photos of my main target, birds, is almost overwhelming as I now have gotten photos here at Maquenque of over 50 different species and with new lifers my total Costa Rica collection is close to 300 species now, though not tabulated yet. I am still sorting and labeling photos and may be for days, 🙂 but will soon have a blog post and an online gallery of Birds at Maquenque. That will include 2 manikins, 2 trogons, plus a Little Tinamou and a Water Thrush as lifers plus more new ones for me!
You may also enjoy my Other Wildlife Gallery
See the lodge website: Maquenque Ecolodge
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.