Health Update & Trip Tomorrow

My daily nature post was earlier today with the skipper butterfly – now a personal update from cancer surgery & radiation therapy, plus the coming week that I’m excited about. 🙂

Health Update

As we say here in Costa Rica, “Estoy mejor poco a poco.” I’m better little by little. Most of my taste has returned after losing all of it from radiation. Food is not quite as “tasty” as I remember it being, but so much better now and I can eat almost anything. And my swallowing ability has also greatly improved if not completely normal now.

I still need to sleep long hours at night and sometime nap in the day with not near the high energy I used to have physically. But again it is so much better than it was at the end of June! And I’m still having to accept that being 81 years old might have a little bit to do with my lack of energy or physical ability now. 🙂

Overall I am feeling so much better than I was going into that July trip, plus this trip will be to flat land with no hills to climb! And generally a more “laid back” or relaxing place than my July mountain-top experience! 🙂 Plus right now I’m planning on no tours or side trips, just relax in the forests and beaches of the hotel which I overview below if you read on after this 2019 photo from there . . .

Beach from walk down the “beach road” — Featured Photo Header is Hotel Beach.
Continue reading “Health Update & Trip Tomorrow”

Birds in the Yorkin Bribri Forest

We heard and even saw hundreds from a distance. Two club members had big lenses on their camera and I’m sure got much better photos. This is what I could do with my cheap 300 mm lens. Many have been cropped and enlarged to the point of almost seeing dots, but I’m still happy with these 13! 🙂

Montezuma Oropendola
Yorkin River Bribri Indigenous People Forest, Costa Rica
Long-tailed Hermit Hummingbird
Yorkin River Bribri Indigenous People Forest, Costa Rica
Scarlet-rumped Tanager
Yorkin River Bribri Indigenous People Forest, Costa Rica

Rufous-tailed Jacamar
Yorkin River Bribri Indigenous People Forest, Costa Rica

Violaceous Trogon
Yorkin River Bribri Indigenous People Forest, Costa Rica

Boat-billed Flycatcher
Yorkin River Bribri Indigenous People Forest, Costa Rica

Long-tailed Tyrant
Yorkin River Bribri Indigenous People Forest, Costa Rica

Pale-billed Woodpecker Male
Yorkin River Bribri Indigenous People Forest, Costa Rica

Blue Ground Dove
Yorkin River Bribri Indigenous People Forest, Costa Rica
Gray-capped Flycatcher
Yorkin River Bribri Indigenous People Forest, Costa Rica

Paltry Tyrannulet
Yorkin River Bribri Indigenous People Forest, Costa Rica

Short-tailed Hawk
Yorkin River Bribri Indigenous People Forest, Costa Rica
Black Vulture
Yorkin River Bribri Indigenous People Forest, Costa Rica
White-fronted Parrots
Yorkin River Bribri Indigenous People Forest, Costa Rica

And the Blue-headed Parrots photos were even darker silhouettes than these, plus another 10 or so bird photos that are not very good and/or unidentified. It was an effort to photograph in mostly poor light of a dark rainforest with overcast or rainy skies while wading through mud. So with those conditions and my amateur camera, I’m happy to have gotten these photos! I’m easy to please!  🙂

They will eventually be added to my Costa Rica Birds PHOTO GALLERY, so check it out sometime for a lot more bird photos collected over the last six and a half years in Costa Rica.

“Sweet bird!  thy bow’r is ever green, 
Thy sky is ever clear;
thou has’t no sorrow in thy song,
No winter in thy year.”
–  John Logan 

And yesterday’s post on Bribri Insects has been updated with a correct identification on the unsure one and three more butterflies added! 

Bribri Insects

Still working on my bird photos, so just 3 insects tonight who are not the ones that bit my legs that still itch!  🙂 We slept under mosquito nets and I sprayed myself every day with Deet-infused Off! Yet these 3 guys still let me get close enough for photos.

Great Blue Skimmer was everywhere! Lots of standing water!
Bribri Yorkin Forest, Costa Rica

Banded Satyr
Bribri Yorkin Forest, Costa Rica

Banded Peacock or Fatima Butterfly
Bribri Yorkin Forest, Costa Rica
Orange-barred Sulphur
Bribri Yorkin Forest, Costa Rica

White Peacock
Bribri Yorkin Forest, Costa Rica
Unidentified Butterfly or Moth
Bribri Yorkin Forest, Costa Rica
And for more, see my separate PHOTO GALLERIES on: 

All life is linked together in such a way that no part of the chain is unimportant. Frequently, upon the action of some of these minute beings depends the material success or failure of a great commonwealth.
— John Henry Comstock

The Bribri on Yorkin River

A few shots of the Bribri indigenous people during our 4 days at Casa de las Mujeres Yorkin

Our guide’s son and his cousin sucking the “white stuff” off Cacao seeds as
we had done earlier. It is a sweet milky stuff surrounding the bitter seeds that
become chocolate later. Jungle kids don’t get candy or junk food, but pull neat
stuff to eat off trees all the time!

Later they were eating this red fruit that I don’t remember the name of.

We made two morning hikes (before and after breakfast) and one afternoon
hike always passing by different homes or farms on our way into the forest.
All homes are off the ground to avoid flooding and the constant mud in rainy
season and to keep out their own animals as well as wild animals.
No roads to the village but some ride horses around the community or to the
tiny town of Bambu (in Bribri language), called Bratsi by the government.  🙂
No cowboy boots, just mud boots like I wished for every day!
We traveled to and from the village in
dugout canoes with outboard motors which
is their bus and supply system, though there
is a walking trail from Bambu which is about
an 11 or 12 mile hike. Horses use it too!
Boat is the fast way at about 45-60 minutes.
The guy in front of boat used a long pole to
get the boat around rapids and sand bars.
Another guy works motor in back.

I’m still tired from the trip. My new maid comes on Tuesdays, so she helped with my laundry of muddy clothing today. If I ever go there again I will take knee high mud boots. That side of Costa Rica gets more rain year around with I guess muddy trails year around. The Bribri all wear rubber boots outside and go barefooted inside as we did. My hiking shoes were great except not high enough for stream wading and mud that comes up over the ankles. Yuk!

  1. The Bribri are an indigenous people of Costa Rica. They live in the Talamanca (canton) in Limón Province of Costa Rica. They speak the Bribri language and Spanish. There are varying estimates of the population of the tribe. (Wikipedia)
A great article about all 8 Indigenous People Groups in Costa Rica who, like most indigenous peoples everywhere are in danger of disappearing or losing their culture. The Bribri have done a better job than most here maintaining their language and culture. 
The main cash crop for the village we visited is cacao pods used to make chocolate. I will do a post on cacao later. They live off the land with no grocery stores, no refrigeration, no electricity, and we ate several vegetables and fruits I had never eaten before. They farm and have chickens for added protein along with fish of course. No beef or pork. They use powdered milk. This village was hurt when the price of cacao fell a few years ago. The women suggested tourism for cash flow and the men said it would never work and be a big intrusion. The men were later surprised at how well the women’s project has worked and a few men now help with it along with some teenagers. Read about what they do with tourists at this website of one tour operator featuring the name of the women’s project: Casa de Mujeres Yorkin 

The Yorkin River is the boundary line between Costa Rica and Panama and is in thick forest.

Well, I’m still sorting photos, so more later on this adventure including some birds!  

Church Bingo, Stuffed Grapefruit, and Indian Village!

David invited estudiantes del español to the church bingo Sunday afternoon.
Not many of us showed up to practice our números in a fun way. Our table.
We were given corn kernels with our cards to lay on the numbers.
A card cost 1 mil colones ($2) as fundraiser for the church.
None on our table won a prize, though Corinna had a winning card.
Plus food was for sale! We shared tortillas with cream cheese.
Ticos use cream cheese instead of butter for lots of things.
Bingo & Lunch for sale was right after 11 AM Mass.
That is not when this older photo was made.
That Mass is a packed house!
Stuffed Grapefruit!
copied from web
I forgot to report the other day my experience eating a stuffed grapefruit, a Costa Rican specialty! The whole grapefruit is cooked and somehow candied and mine was stuffed with cream cheese, a dearly beloved by-product of milk or the cream here, which is why it is hard to find local butter. They use most of the cream for cream cheese! I told you that Ticos have more of a sweet tooth than me!  🙂

Here is one online recipe that doesn’t use cream cheese but a condensed milk and sugar filling. That is all I could find online. I guess it is just too local!”The place where I bought it used the name “Ronja Rellenos” for them, which I can’t find on the web. Another new experience!

copied from Google images

SERENDIPITY TRIP TOMORROW! Caribbean Coast and 3 nights in BriBri Indian Village.

The birding club had this trip planned for awhile with limited space in the humble lodging. I was on the waiting list. Well, last night there was a last minute cancellation and I decided to take it without any of my usual long range planning! Am I getting impulsive?

I have a 4W Drive vehicle reserved for in the morning. I’ll drive to the coast and to a hotel in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca called Cariblue, very nice and on the beach! Meeting some club members for dinner there.

copied from Casa de Las Mujeres site

Then friday morning we caravan drive through the jungle through Bribri to Bambu on dirt and gravel roads, fording streams. At Bambu we pay someone to watch our cars and we take our “pack light” bags on a small boat for an hour floating trip to the village on Yorkin River in the Bribri Yorkin Reservation where we will stay 3 nights with no electricity at night (limited in day).

The Bribri are our hosts and will serve all meals, take us birding in the mornings and evenings with free time in the village and surrounding area with a waterfall and a hot springs. It will of course be a cultural experience with some of the few indigenous peoples left in Costa Rica. It is intentionally not promoted as a tourist destination. There’s only a half page in the Lonely Planet Costa Rica travel guide book about Yorkin. It is where people live and work and not equipped to handle tourists. Birders are different of course!  🙂

copied from Google images

The only websites on the village are by the various tour companies who take small groups there. I’m linking to Casa de Las Mujeres Yorkin because they have this good map. We are not using any tour company. Our birding guide has worked directly with the village elders and they are providing our boat transportation, meals, housing and guides into the forest in search of birds. So we are totally supporting the indigenous community.

A dream trip for me! How often do you have indigenous people taking you into an ancient forest looking for birds?

copied from Google images
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” 
― Augustine of Hippo