Most Common Wild-Mammal for Me

Some tourism ads and photos/videos from visitors to Costa Rica make you think you will see Monkeys and Sloths everywhere you go, which is not true. Except for the aggressive White-faced Capuchin Monkey, all other monkeys are quite shy and elusive, but if you try, you can find them and photograph them all over the country, especially in the rainforests. Sloths are even more shy and difficult to see and photograph. But if you check my CR Mammals Gallery you will see the many photos I have of both monkeys and sloths or photos a total of 28 different mammals here! But the one wild mammal I see the most often and in the largest number is the White-faced Coatimundi or generally just “Coati” or the local Spanish name of “Pizote.”

Though in the Raccoon family, they are quite different and we do have raccoons here also! 🙂 See the “Treehugger” website’s 11 Interesting Coatimundi Facts. They live from Mexico south to the northern fringes of South America, so mostly a Central American animal. You frequently see them in large groups or families sniffing around the ground for grubs and beetles (feature photo at top), which is their favorite food, though they are omnivorous and do eat fruits, frogs, lizards, and other small creatures and plants. Read more on Wikipedia.

The shots below are some I made on my recent trip to Manquenque Lodge . . .

White-faced Coati, Costa Rica
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Cool Spider Webs

I’m always amazed at the work of little spiders and really don’t try to photograph their work nearly enough! Early morning is the best time and seeing them at Maquenque on an early morning bird hike reminded me of early walks years ago in the Everglades National Park in the States with thousands of spider webs visible in early morning in those wetlands. Note that on the second or landscape photo below that the web looks like the spider wove a second web on top or an earlier one. Maybe common, but the first time I’ve noticed such.

Spider Web, Maquenque Ecolodge, Costa Rica
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Strange Katydid

With 6,400 different species of Katydids worldwide, this one may not even have an “official” name yet. Another amateur photographer online called it “Flat-faced Katydid” which is certainly descriptive but I’m not going to give it a name until I find an official entomology name for it – but it is a cool bug that we saw on the “Farm Tour” at Maquenque Ecolodge & Reserve a week or so ago (time is blurring on me now). 🙂

Here are three different views of what I am pretty sure is one of the many Katydids . . .

Unidentified Katydid, Maquenque Ecolodge & Reserve
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Bird Portraits 3

I had some tough choices to show only 5 more birds, but that is best for now and I will maybe skip a day while I go through other photos for some future posts from Maquenque. Then I will get back to blogs about our tranquil little farm town of Atenas. 🙂

Here’s my last 5 bird portraits . . .

Orange-chinned Parakeet, Maquenque Ecolodge & Reserve, Boca Tapada, Costa Rica.
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Bird Portraits 2

Maquenque Ecolodge is such a great place to get close to birds that the portraits approach seemed logical to me! 🙂 Here’s 5 more and I will try to hold it down to just one more “Portraits Post.” 🙂

I can’t say enough good things about Maquenque Ecolodge & Reserve (link to their website). in many ways it is my favorite in Costa Rica and they made several improvements over my last visit – using their “Covid down time” to make many physical improvements plus they hired a new super chef with a menu that now competes with any lodge in Costa Rica! AND I still get to stay in a treehouse! 🙂

Here’s 5 more bird portraits that I liked . . .

Female Great-tailed Grackle at Maquenque Ecolodge & Reserve, Boca Tapada, Costa Rica.
And oh yes, she’s fluffing her feathers to dry them after a rain shower! 🙂
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This Week’s “Wildness”

“Wildness . . . has also been defined as a quality produced in nature, as that which emerges from a forest, and as a level of achievement in nature.”

~definitions.net

I leave tomorrow morning for my third visit to a favorite rainforest lodge, Maquenque Ecolodge & Reserve in Boca Tapada, which is in my province of Alajuela but in the far north near the Nicaragua border, a 3 hour drive for my driver Walter. 🙂 Read on for why this is a favorite lodge and check out the links to my two other visits there . . .

One branch of a very large lake plus they are on a big river.
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On the Road Again

Walter usually drives me in one of his two vans but today was Monday and both personal cars and tourist vans with tags ending in 1 or 2 are not allowed on the road. Yes, it’s a coronavirus prevention tool, keeping more people off the roads and out of the towns. Well, he has 2 vans and both were disqualified, so he had to use his taxi today (no limit on taxis), meaning his driver Cristian had the day off, like it or not. Only 40 km of the road from south of Boca Tapada to the lodge is gravel, but you notice it more! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

The “Tarzan” Tree House

Can you believe that the tree house they assigned me to this year is named “Tarzan?” And I love it! Like they knew the little boy Charlie wanted to be Tarzan! Why it even comes with grape vines (see outside views) though I will not be swinging on them! And I was welcomed to my room by a visiting Keel-billed Toucan! See photo below.

And I doubt that Tarzan had a King sized bed or screens and ceiling fans, but I’m sure glad I do! It is hot and humid here like where I grew up in south Arkansas near the Louisiana line – hotter and more humid than Atenas which is in the hills.

CLICK a photo to enlarge it.

Outside Views

Inside Views

Our 3 hour drive took 4 hours with a lot of trucks on the roads today and the gravel road portion of the drive was in pretty rough condition – what it costs to get to real wilderness! 🙂 And yes, we are all wearing masks here, Costa Rica is smart enough to require it and everyone working here is in the same family – cool! And so nice! I’m the only guest until Friday when there will be 8 to 10 other guests for the weekend.

“Every man can transform the world from one of monotony and drabness to one of excitement and adventure.” – Irving Wallace

¡Pura Vida!

Virgen Rainforest Paradise

This morning I leave at 8 AM with Walter, my local transportation for out-of-Atenas trips, on a 3 hour drive north of here but still in our Alajuela Province. It’s on the San Carlos River near the Nicaragua border as a private nature reserve and eco-lodge that is one of my favorites in Costa Rica, where I’ve photographed more species of birds than any other one place and where I can sleep in a tree house room, watching howler monkeys and spider monkeys from my room. See my 2019 experience there and this short video of the virgen rainforest reserve says it all:

My Paradise Rainforest this week!

I will be here through next Monday – 6 nights in the tree house to celebrate my 80th birthday on Saturday the 4th of July! And, as long as the WiFi in their main building works, I will be posting blog reports every day! Maybe one tonight.

Because of world-wide increasing Coronavirus, the borders of Costa Rica remain closed to non-residents where we have the lowest infection rate in Latin America! But hotels, lodges like this one, and restaurants can open at 50% capacity to local residents only with required social distancing and masks, making places like this more pleasant (no “Ugly Americans” or “aggressive Japanese”) and less crowded. Two weeks ago they told me that in addition to me they had two couples coming for part of the week with me alone the other days, though that could change with late registrations! 🙂 Many Ticos are just now discovering the great tourism in their own country.

I will wear a mask when not eating and around other people, including my birding guide just to be extra cautious. I will not take their delightful boat trip to a little jungle village with great people that I enjoyed but will avoid this time due to COVID19 possibilities. I will mostly traipse through the jungle solo and stay safe from the virus. There have been NO CASES among the lodge employees (mainly one family) nor in the nearby town of Boca Tapada. But I will still be cautious because it is close to Nicaragua where the virus is more rampant and we are still getting new cases in Costa Rica.

“When you see someone putting on his Big Boots, you can be pretty sure that an Adventure is going to happen.” – A.A. Milne

My BIG BOOTS Adventure . . .

Yep! I’m taking my big boots this trip because I’m going in a car and can! 🙂 Plus they fit me and the lodge loaners don’t always fit . . . and I’ll be in a rainforest during the rainy season so they are needed! And my poncho!

I know . . . the boots are dusty, but why clean when they will get muddy this week! Plus I had to empty out the spiders and spray with that bug spray before I consider putting my hand or foot inside! 🙂

“Adventure is worthwhile.” – Aesop

¡Pura Vida!