Red-tailed Squirrel

Though I tend to see more Variegated Squirrels in Costa Rica, this species is my second “most-seen” of the 4 Squirrels of Costa Rica. And I’ve photographed all 4 species as seen in my CR Mammals Gallery (scroll down to S’s for Squirrels) or you may prefer to go directly to my Red-tailed Squirrel Gallery where I have photos from 6 different locations in Costa Rica counting this new one. And interestingly, I’ve seen them on both slopes (Pacific & Atlantic) and in both lowlands and mountains, so they seem to be almost as universal here as the Variegated Squirrel. 🙂 Here’s two shots of a Red-tailed I found at El Silencio Lodge, Bajos del Toro . . .

Red-tailed Squirrel, El Silencio Lodge, Bajos del Toro, Alajuela, Costa Rica
Red-tailed Squirrel, El Silencio Lodge, Bajos del Toro, Alajuela, Costa Rica

See more photos of these and a lot of other wildlife in my 2023 El Silencio Lodge TRIP GALLERY.

¡Pura Vida!

Handsome Collared Trogons


I use the word “handsome” because to me it better describes all Trogons, male and female, than “beautiful,” (though they are beautiful too, especially the Quetzal!) and here I have a photo of a male and a female Collared Trogon (link is to eBird info) which was earlier combined with one called “Orange-bellied Trogon,” another name change keeping us old men birders on our toes! 🙂

I’ve seen this one in six places in Costa Rica, all shown in my CR Collared Trogon GALLERY. And there are more photos of these 2 at El Silencio in my “trip gallery:” 2023 El Silencio Lodge. A tropical bird found only in Central America and northern South America. And this one is always in the mountains or cloud forests while different species of Trogons are seen in the lowland rainforests.

My latest book, Princeton Field Guide to Birds of Costa Rica, lists 9 species of Trogons in Costa Rica including the Resplendent Quetzal. I have photos of 7 of these in my Costa Rica Birds GALLERIES (just 2 more to go!). 🙂 Scroll down past the hummingbirds, water birds, hawks and owls to the Trogons. 🙂

I’m showing the female of the Collared Trogon here first because she is one of the very few distinctively brown birds and I like brown! 🙂

Female Collared Trogon, El Silencio Lodge, Bajos del Toro, Costa Rica
Male Collared Trogon, El Silencio Lodge, Bajos del Toro, Costa Rica

¡Pura Vida!

Sorry for the delayed reports on El Silencio, but I got two weeks ahead on my blog posts during the last trip (Esquinas Rainforest Lodge) and didn’t want to start sending two posts a day! I hope you enjoy the variety of photos I will be sharing from El Silencio and see why it is another one of my “favorite places” here in Costa Rica! 🙂

And after 7 days of El Silencio photos I will be back to pix from my garden and neighborhood here in Atenas! 🙂 Next trip is September 18 to the Caribbean side of Costa Rica which is totally different from the mountains! 🙂 And I’m going to save those dates for “live” reports daily from the Caribe! 🙂

And if you want to learn more about El Silencio, see their website: El Silencio Lodge. It is an upscale lodge that costs more than most I visit, but the owner likes my photo books and gave me a free night this time! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

El Silencio – GALLERY 2

The “Trip Gallery” for last week’s 4 nights at El Silencio Lodge & Reserve in Bajos del Toro, Alajuela, Costa Rica is now completed and ready to visit by clicking the image below or this web address with many photos not yet shared on the blog:

And because I was there just 6 months ago, last September, and was not having a knee problem, I have even more photos in THAT FIRST TRIP GALLERY, especially more waterfalls! 🙂 Just click the gallery title below to see it . . .

2020 September 14-19 — El Silencio Lodge & Reserve

The joy of being “Retired in Costa Rica!”

¡Pura Vida!

Sunrise Behind the Mountain

Sometimes a beautiful hill or mountain hides the sunrise as it did yesterday for my early morning bird walk, making photos of birds in the shadows difficult – but patience! The sun eventually comes over the hill! 🙂

El Silencio Lodge & Reserve, Bajos del Toro, Alajuela, Costa Rica

And today I slowed down my activities by necessity.

Continue reading “Sunrise Behind the Mountain”

In the Clouds

This afternoon the clouds slowly moved in until I was in a mist it seemed.

El Silencio Lodge and the nearby pueblo of Bajos del Toro are in the Cloud Forest in mountains much higher than where I live in Atenas though not as high as my January visit to San Gerardo de Dota – but still the clouds move in sometime as they did this afternoon after my arrival and during my first walk around the property.

Continue reading “In the Clouds”

A Reward for Sharing

One of my new favorite lodges in Costa Rica is El Silencio Lodge at Bajos del Toro in my own province of Alajuela, north of San Ramon in the cloud forest mountains where there are many waterfalls. I was there last September and as I frequently do, I made a little 7X7 inch photo book about my experiences there, sending them a copy plus one each of my general birds and butterflies books for their other guests to enjoy. When the owner came down from San Jose and saw the books he was so impressed that he told the staff to offer me two free nights in this luxury lodge.

Well, of course I accepted the offer and will add-on two more nights at my cost for a great 5-day visit the middle of February! 🙂 If you want to see a free electronic preview of the book online, click the title here: El Silencio, Touching Souls, inspired by a quote from Mother Teresa:

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.

~Mother Teresa

¡Pura Vida!

Or you may like visiting my “Trip Gallery” on 2020 September El Silencio Lodge.

Enjoying a “Thank You”

I do a little 7 X7 inch photo book on almost every lodge I visit in Costa Rica and send a copy to the hotel and/or the guides. After my September trip to El Silencio Lodge & Reserve I sent two such books to the hotel along with a copy of my CR Birds Book & one of my CR Butterflies Book for their guests to enjoy.

One of the guides sent me a What’s App message “Thank You” yesterday afternoon with the above photo of my two El Silencio guides, Daniel & Bryan, holding a copy of the El Silencio Book. Nice to be appreciated! 🙂 Thanks guys!

¡Pura Vida!

Lichens, Leaves & Nature Things!

Some wonder what I do with a whole week at one of these very remote nature lodges I visit all over Costa Rica – well, a week is almost never enough time for me to see, experience and photograph all there is in these natural wonders! First priority at El Silencio Lodge & Reserve was waterfalls, then birds, butterflies, and on it goes through nature! Today’s collection is some of those little things like an ear-shaped lichen or a fiddlehead – the furled fronds of a young fern that were the inspiration of some of the colorful Oxcart designs used in this lodge and on the famous Oxcarts of Costa Rica. Enjoy a slide show of those and 23 other designs from nature . . .

Lichens, Leaves & Nature Things!

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time. —John Lubbock

¡Pura Vida!

All of my Photo Galleries are Nature-related in Charlie Doggett’s COSTA RICA.

and I’m finished with the new Trip Gallery: El Silencio Lodge & Reserve or perhaps you would prefer to zero in on my Costa Rica FLORA & FOREST Gallery. ¡Buenas Dias!

¡Pura Vida!

The Silent Flowers!

Silent at El Silencio Lodge & Reserve in Costa Rica and all are wild flowers with only 3 of these having been planted and cultivated near the buildings. CLICK an image to enlarge.

“A flower does not use words to announce its arrival to the world; it just blooms.” – Matshona Dhliwayo


Or see THIS TRIP GALLERY: 2020 El Silencio Lodge & Reserve

¡Pura Vida!

El Silencio Lodge Waterfalls

I finally got to seeing the waterfalls here on the hotel property and they fabulous! There is a “Waterfall Trail” which including the walk from my villa is 6 km round trip and thus I kept putting it off until my last full day here. For those considering a stay here, it is an uphill walk on the gravel road to the trail head but they will take you that far in one of the golf carts.

The waterfall trail is fairly easy with some hills except for Catarata La Promesa (The Promise Waterfall) which is an uphill climb from the main trail on its own side trail that includes steps, maybe 30 or 40, I didn’t count. BUT it is worth it! It is maybe the tallest and some would say the most beautiful and it is out in the open more than the other two, meaning easier to see and photograph without climbing over rocks. And there are two picnic tables there to make it your rest stop or picnic lunch before returning back to the hotel. And possibly a swim there!

The main trail goes over a bridge in front of Catarata La Melodía (The Melody Waterfall) which is the first one you come to. You can see and photograph it from the bridge or to get closer you climb over some rocks and get right to the bottom of the falls. Then just a short way past that first falls is a Y in the trail with two dead ends, one to Catarata El Silencio (The Silence Waterfall) straight ahead and up the steps and hill to La Promesa. They are all three beautiful and full of water during the rainy season. Not sure I have a favorite.

I will say that many of the lodges I’ve visited all over Costa Rica have one or more waterfall on their property, but few as beautiful as these. Well . . . the one falls at Arenal Observatory is as big or bigger and as beautiful, but there are 3 such beauties here at El Silencio Lodge! And then Hacienda Guachipelín at Rincón de la Vieja National Park has 3 falls as beautiful on their property, so I’m backing down a little on their brag! 🙂 And another favorite hotel, Xandari Alajuela has 3 waterfalls but they aren’t as big or as beautiful as these.

Actually there are technically 7 falls at El Silencio with 4 “lesser water” waterfalls used only for those who rappel down the falls and that is the only way to see them, but one of the guides said I’m not missing much. 🙂 That is one of the many optional activities here and you rappel down all four of those! But not me! 🙂

For more Costa Rica waterfalls, see my CR Waterfalls Gallery.

Or see THIS TRIP GALLERY: 2020 El Silencio Lodge & Reserve.

¡Pura Vida!