For My New Hampshire Friends

New Hampshire Fall Trip, October 5, 2004
Kancamagus Highway October 5, 2004

One section of my photo gallery was recently added as Pre-Costa Rica TravelI am slowly adding one trip at a time until it is finished, starting with my Latin American travels since that is where I live now.  🙂

But one couple living in snowy New Hampshire just left their winter visit to Atenas to return home until their trip next January which will be longer or two months next year. They are not sure yet about retiring here, but wrote to say that my blog keeps them looking forward to their annual trek here.

Well, their message reminded me of my only trip to New Hampshire which was a fall color photography trip in 2004. including lots of vistas and 22 covered bridges along with many of my other interests!  So I just got motivated (by new friends) and added this photo gallery ahead of schedule with some of my favorite fall color shots. See this “New” old travel gallery now included here – CLICK Linked Title Below:

2004 October – New Hampshire

A part of the joy of being “Retired in Costa Rica” is occasionally remembering old times and places which is something my photography and Gallery provide, along with the personal pages of my Blog/Website on the top menu above (still being developed). And of course I continue my regular reports on Costa Rica!   🙂   My first love now!

“What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.”
― Karl Lagerfeld

¡Pura Vida!

Punta Leona Photo Gallery

I really got a lot of good photos on this last trip and finally have them culled and organized into a gallery for the trip. See this newest photo gallery at:

2019 Mar 5-10 – Punta Leona

I’m not doing a photo book on this trip yet but plan on a book of the area after two more trips there, giving a broader picture of the Jaco-Carara Mid-Pacific Costa Rica. I have trips to that area in both June and July, so a book in August maybe? And it will include my earlier trips to Carara, Tarcoles and Jaco – so maybe a larger-format book. Change is good.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

~ Marcel Proust

¡Pura Vida!

Fiery-billed Aracari

For more than 4 years I have been trying and hoping to get a good photo of a Fiery-billed Aracari (Neotropical Birds Link for description), one of the unique and more rare smaller toucans found only on the Pacific slope of southern Costa Rica and western Panama. I really expected to photo one at Punta Leona last week but the only one seen was at a great distance up a mountain and impossible to photograph.

In 2016 I got one shot of a Fiery-billed in a high tree at Los Campesinos Ecolodge, Quebrada Arroyo, Naranjito, Costa Rica, up the mountain from Quepos on the Pacific (Not a very good photo.). I also got one shot of an injured Fiery-billed at the ZooAve in La Garita, but it is wild birds I want!

Thus I was surprised and thrilled Tuesday morning when on my terrace for breakfast around 7, five young Fiery Billed Aracaris flitted between my Strangler Fig Tree and my Guarumo or Cecropia Tree. They were socializing and eating what appeared to be leaves on the fig tree. Here’s 20 of nearly 200 photos I quickly snapped before they left. As Alice said, “There’s no place like home!”  and though our part of Central Valley is on the Pacific Slope, it is mid-Pacific and not southern Pacific where they say these aracaris are. So I consider myself quite fortunate! I think they are juveniles and probably siblings or one might be the parent. 

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Being in the right place at the right time!


¡Pura Vida!


See all my Fiery-billed Aracari photos or all of my Costa Rica Birds.

Macaw Project – Punta Leona

One of the reasons I chose to stay five nights in the Jaco Beach area of Costa Rica (a heavily visited and touristy area I usually avoid) is because I read about the Scarlet Macaw Project and Hotel Punta Leona’s installation of Nesting Boxes. All Macaws are somewhat endangered because they require a large hole in a big old tree to nest and most big ol’ trees have been cut down. Thus mankind has found a way to help replace what we destroyed by installing nesting boxes for the Macaws to nest in, thus continuing the species. It is a bigger problems on the Caribbean side of CR with the more endangered Green Macaws as helped there by the Manzanillo ARA Project I visited it in 2016 near Manzanillo. The ARA Project is also on the Pacific side focused on the Scarlet Macaws at Punta Islita which I have not visited yet.  Another hotel on the Pacific side that has Scarlet Macaw nesting boxes is the Tambor Tropical Resort, Tambor Bay, I visited in 2017. So I’m happy to see this, another project that helps save an endangered species!

Hotel Punta Leona has many nesting boxes installed over their heavily wooded property and a new exciting thing is that about 5 boxes have REAL TIME CAMERAS where you can watch the babies in the nests. Cool! Just click the real time link. In the photos below you will see a wire running into one of the nests – that’s the camera!   🙂

Here’s a few shots of Scarlet Macaws I made at Punta Leona:

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Learn more about this beautiful but endangered species, the Scarlet Macaw at Neotropical Birds

See my Punta Leona Trip Gallery

And visit the Hotel Punta Leona Website for more about this nature place!


FUTURE DREAM – Birding in Columbia

I have often said I would leave Costa Rica only to visit other nearby countries birding and thought that Ecuador would be next – but I just saw the following video (short movie) from E-Birds that has now turned my attention toward Columbia. To see why, watch this little movie called BIRDING: A Musical Journey through Northern Columbia  —  I love living in this incredible region of the world! So much to see/do!

¡Pura Vida!

Selvamar Rooms at Punta Leona

Punta Leona is big and hotel rooms are in different clusters – mine in Selvamar, Haiti Sidewalk (Between Cuba & Jamaica Sidewalks) where each group of little cabins is named after a Latin American country. So I was Selvamar, Haiti 852. It seems newer than some other areas of hotel rooms and has its own restaurant called Carabelas which is suppose to be Peruvian food, all three meals served buffet style. That is typical of a place that caters to tour buses of which there were a few here. And how Peruvian is debatable, though almost everything was good. I ate at the Mantas Beach restaurant Marinos twice and the Playa Blanca Restaurant once a la carte. Both featuring fast casual food. I don’t rate Punta Leona very high for food, but okay. The room was very nice and by putting the little sign on my doorknob “clean now” it was clean after breakfast every morning! Nice!

Like all of the many buildings at Punta Leona, they have tried to save the old big trees with these cabins nestled in among old trees and new trees and other plants added. Nature is central here which I appreciate.

Selvamar Grounds

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My Room

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Restaurant & Pool

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All we need, really, is a change from a near frigid to a tropical attitude of mind.       ~Marjory Stoneman Douglas


See my Punta Leona Trip Gallery

And visit the Hotel Punta Leona Website for more about this nature place!

¡Pura Vida!

BIRDS – Carara National Park

The hotel secured an outside guide to take me to nearby Carara National Park birding at 7:30 AM which should have been at 5:30 but they do that to fit their 7 AM Breakfast. If I had it to do over I would have asked for a “box breakfast” and a 5:30 departure! We would have seen more birds. This is my third guided walk in the park and equal to or better than my second one on the number of birds. We saw more than 20 species easily though I only have here the halfway decent photos of 13 species.

About half of these photos were made on a fruiting tree in the rainforest called huevos de caballo or “horse’s balls” which look in these photos like a pair of little hamburgers or egg mcmuffins.  🙂   These two fruits were cracked open from the heat or dryness and lots of different birds were picking the little red seeds out of the center of the fruit. You will see the seeds in some photos. 

Explanation of the two Trogon photo IDs: The one labeled Black-headed is based on the wings which are showing in that image. The one labeled Black-throated is based mainly on the type of stripes on the tail, which though not showing as well, could cause me to label the other one black-throated too. These are the only two trogons with yellow breasts that also have light blue eye-rings and are very similar. But the black-headed male is the only one with green on shoulder, thus that label. ID of birds is not always easy. These two IDs were made with the aide of my guide in the park.

The Ovenbird (featured photo) is one lifer on this hike and it is similar to the Northern Waterthrush from my first hotel birding hike which is another “lifer” or first time seen bird. Also on this trip I saw for the first time the Gray-chested Dove, another “lifer.”

Click an image to enlarge or start a manual slide show:


¡Pura Vida!


See my Punta Leona Trip Gallery

And visit the Hotel Punta Leona Website for more about this nature place!

Early Hotel Birds

I’m showing birds photographed at the hotel the first day and a half since tomorrow I do Carara National Park Birds and want to separate them. There will be more from hotel, like water birds at beach which I’ve not done yet. But this gives you an idea of some of the birds you can see here. Click image to enlarge or start a manual slideshow:


See my Punta Leona Trip Gallery

And visit the Hotel Punta Leona Website for more about this nature place!

¡Pura Vida!

Exploring a New Place

Punta Leona is huge and having a car here would be helpful, though they do have shuttle vans when available, but as always, the walking is good for me!   🙂    And I’m exhausted from walking several hours today!

Sidewalk leading from Reception Lobby

They are strict about the 3PM check-in time meaning they held my luggage from my 11AM arrival until 3 at the front desk while I explored, photographing birds and butterflies in their above-average butterfly garden, finding the Scarlet Macaws and their nest boxes that are all very, very high in very, very tall old trees.

I walked to the closest beach, Mantas Beach and may wait for the shuttle to see Playa Blanca. In the midst of what must have been a gorgeous old-growth forest they have placed buildings of all kinds while saving a lot more big old trees than most developers, but it is still a development with houses, condos, hotels, cabins, restaurants, etc.

Groove-billed Ani

Except for the Scarlet Macaws, all the birds I saw today are pretty common all over Costa Rica. I’m doing the 6AM birding hike on property in the morning (Wed) and Thursday morning I’m going with a guide to Carara National Park. The transportation to Tarcoles River is pretty expensive, so I decided to pass on that, since I’ve been there about 8 or 9 times! The rest of the week I’ll just explore their huge property. And oh yeah, I have to wear one of those plastic bracelets while on the property,   🙂

Mantas Beach   —   Playa Mantas


See my Punta Leona Trip Gallery

And visit the Hotel Punta Leona Website for more about this nature place!


¡Pura Vida!

Tropical Kingbird

Tropical Kingbird is one of the more common birds in Costa Rica and I have seen him in my gardens several times before this photo. Yes, there are two other birds with similar coloring but clear distinctions can be seen between this and the Western Kingbird and Gray-capped Flycatcher. Click above name link for more information on the Tropical Kingbird.

Seeing and sometimes photographing birds like this in my garden is just one of the many joys I have in living here. Tranquilo is a favorite Spanish word used here to describe Atenas and translated to English that means “calm, quiet or peaceful.” Fellow residents like this Tropical Kingbird help make it so as do  other birds in my Costa Rica Birds Gallery.

“A happy life consists in tranquility of mind.”


¡Pura Vida!

Tortuguero – THE BOOK

The book is now finished with photos from 3 different trips to Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica and I think it is pretty interesting. You can go to the book online and Preview it electronically free! And of course best seen at fullscreen since it is all photos. Click this link or the book image below for the preview:



“A brave heart and a courteous tongue. They shall carry thee far through the jungle, manling.”
~Rudyard Kipling


See my 2019 Tortuguero Turtle Beach Lodge Visit Gallery for more on this exciting rainforest trip!

Or the Turtle Beach Lodge website or Laguna Lodge of my previous visits.

¡Pura Vida!