FAVE BIRDS – Sunbittern

One of those thrilling moments of discovery was the first time I finally saw a Sunbittern, even though planned and expected but not guaranteed, there it was! And after a few shots of a plain walking bird along the stream, he finally opened his wings for this shot of spectacular color and design! Read the Backstory for more on the experience.

The Sunbittern (eBird description) is found along water in Central America and the northern half of South America. See my Sunbittern Gallery for my images made at La Mina near Rancho Naturalista, Turrialba; Macaw Lodge near Carara NP; and at Tapirus Lodge, Braulio Carillo NP. See links at bottom of post for all three of these trip galleries and links to these 3 lodges in The Backstory.

Sunbittern at La Mina, Costa Rica
Continue reading “FAVE BIRDS – Sunbittern”

Jaco-Carara -THE BOOK!

From expansive beaches to overpowering vistas and sunsets dotted with colorful tropical birds – my newest photo book captures the magic of where I live as well as any! With it my photos show the adventure of birding in three hotels just an hour from Atenas — Punta Leona Resort,  the Macaw Lodge and my recent visit to Villa Caletas, all with easy access to beaches, Carara National Park and Tarcoles River plus each having their own private forest reserve and trails. Nature at its best! All in one beautiful photo book!

You can preview the entire book electronically online at:


Or click the image of the book cover below:


And if interested is purchasing a copy, Get 40% OFF through Monday 12 August by using the Discount Code LAZYDAYS4T at checkout.

Retired in Costa Rica

¡Pura Vida!

Macaw Lodge Photo Gallery

I completed my “Trip Gallery” of the 6 nights at Macaw Lodge, Carara National Park, Costa Rica. It is another fabulous nature retreat in Costa Rica and I hope you check out some of the photos I have posted. You can click the print screen image below or this web address:  https://charliedoggett.smugmug.com/TRIPS/2019-06-18-24-Macaw-Lodge

Click gallery page above to visit it.

“A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels.”
— Ansel Adams

Macaw Lodge Website

¡Pura Vida!

Macaw Lodge Grounds

One of the best things about Macaw Lodge is the beautiful grounds! The owner Pablo’s hobby of horticulture helps!   🙂   I have already done posts on Flowers and Other Green Things,   The Waterfall, and yesterday on my Cabin in the Woods – thus you’ve seen some of the grounds but here is a whole lot more photos of just the general look of the grounds and chocolate farm and in my gallery I’m adding a Trails gallery because that is a big part of the grounds, though I barely photographed trails, mostly the trail to the waterfall & spa.

Click on an image in the montage below to see it larger and/or start a manual slideshow.

Macaw Lodge Grounds


There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more.

~Lord Byron

See my “Trip Photo Gallery”  titled:  2019-06–18-24–Macaw Lodge    (finished except for a few more bird photos)

Macaw Lodge   (lodge website)

My Quick Evaluation: It is one of the better “eco lodges” and more isolated than most at 45+ minutes from a town of any size and no houses or farms nearby. The rainforest surroundings match or surpass most other eco lodge I’ve visited. The rooms are excellent as is the food, though note that you have to request daily maid service and a change of towels. And you need lots of towels because it is the hottest most humid place I think I’ve been to yet (in the middle of rainy season) and hanging towels never dry.

Birding is good or basic, not my best source of birds with one “lifer” here if I labeled the Indigo Bunting correctly. Though note that I did see a Sunbittern which is a rare find anywhere (though this photo not good)! As a comparison, I photographed 30 species here and 53 at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge and about that many at Selva Verde Sarapiqui my first trip there. But this was still good!

There were lots of lizards but I saw no monkeys or other wildlife (though supposedly there). For my morning guided birding hike they secured a local Carara Park area guide who was good but not the best I’ve had. The Muscovy Ducks on the lake are entertaining and they, along with other birds, have babies this time of year (June).

I would return here but probably not anytime soon, since I know of eco lodges that have given me more birds. It was a great location for the Yoga Retreat going on while I was there! And for anyone wanting to just “get away!” About 45 minutes from Tarcoles or an hour from Jaco Beach on a terrible road. Though not required, 4WD would be safer.

It is adjacent to Carara National Park, but on the backside, thus about an hour drive to the entrance on Ruta 34. The Lodge can arrange a driver from San Jose Airport at about $140 each way. I’m glad to answer other questions you may have about this unique place.

¡Pura Vida!

A Cabin in the Woods

Mine was so surrounded by forest on top of a hill that I could not get a distance shot of it, thus the featured photo is of another cabin, #9, not quite as big as mine (#12) since mine had a kitchen which I did not need but used like an office for my computer & camera stuff. I guess the kitchen is good for families.


I sat on the porch every day with my camera but did not photograph many birds there, just a dove, kiskadee, clay-colored thrush and one little lizard with a dewlap. But a nice peaceful place!

The electricity is from solar-powered batteries (a bunch of batteries!). The “hot” water was a separate device with a long pipe running back and forth on a board out in the sun. Since it is rainy season and limited sun I barely had warmish water after letting it run for three minutes. Showering first thing in the morning means a cold shower. Ahhh nature!   🙂

These “eco” lodges all encourage you to reuse your towel, hanging it on the towel rack for multiple uses all for ecology (but even more to save on their laundry costs!). The problem is that in a coastal rainforest like the one I was in, It is very hot 24-7 with humidity in the 90 percentiles, thus hanging towels never get dry (unless in direct sunlight). A wet towel will not dry you! I was not very ecological!   🙂

Macaw Lodge Cabins

Click an image to enlarge it.


Yes, you have to walk up a trail to your cabin, uphill! But they have strong young men on staff to carry your luggage up! A part of the remoteness!

There are elements of intrinsic beauty in the simplification of a house built on the log cabin idea.

~Gustav Stickley

I’m starting a “Trip Gallery” on my visit to Macaw Lodge, but it may be a week before finished.  It is titled:  2019-06–18-24–Macaw Lodge

Macaw Lodge

¡Pura Vida!

Other Wildlife at Macaw Lodge

This is not all that I saw! There were really a lot of lizards of all kinds, especially a lot of Common Basilisks, which I never got a good photo of except the one juvenile below without the crown on his head. And as usual a lot more butterflies than I could ever get photos of. Plus my main focus is always birds!   🙂    But here is some “other wildlife”:



Walking is my main method of relaxation. I don’t go over my lines or try to solve the world’s problems, I just enjoy the scenery and the wildlife.

~Kevin Whately

Macaw Lodge

¡Pura Vida!

Last Minute Birds

In these last 2 or 3 days I’ve seen a lot of the same birds but also got 5 new species shown here plus I’m adding the juvenile of the kingfisher and a new shot of a Muscovy Duck in the rain that I really like which is different from the Mom and babies I shared earlier. Enjoy!

Final Birds, Macaw Lodge


Birds are a miracle because they prove to us there is a finer, simpler state of being which we may strive to attain.

~Douglas Coupland

Macaw Lodge

¡Pura vida!

Funny Fungus & Gracious Green

In a very wet rainforest like this one where it rains every day, there are a lot of “interesting” things growing on trees, on the ground, etc. Here is just a little sample. There is so much more that I am tempted to photograph! It’s such a beautiful and visually stimulating place!

Tomorrow I will share some new birds I got in the last 2 or 3 days here and tomorrow is when I return home to Atenas. Got more to share after that! So keep reading or looking at my photos!

“Rainforest Greens”

Click an image to see larger or start a manual slideshow.

“And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul” 
― John Muir

Macaw Lodge

¡Pura Vida!

Flowers at Macaw Lodge

There are so many beautiful, tropical flowers everywhere I go in Costa Rica that I just can’t not photograph some of them, but please know that this is just a few I managed to grab shots of. There are so many more here! Pablo, the owner and director of the lodge is a horticulturalist, a lover of plants and he just keeps adding more plants, more gardens, more trees (like the new orchard of almond trees to attract macaws. The place is beautiful! And I am still trying to grab photos of the grounds which is hard to depict in a few photos!

A Flowers Slideshow

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See also my Flora & Forest Costa Rica Photo Gallery for more beauty!

When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not. 

~Georgia O’Keeffe

Macaw Lodge

¡Pura Vida!

Brilliant Forest Frog

On my waterfall hike the other day I photographed a frog that was new to me. Lisa here at the lodge helped identify it at a Brilliant Forest Frog or Lithobates warszewitschii which is among the 194 species of frogs here in Costa Rica. The link to frog name is to Wikipedia but more research has info on:   (1) IUCN Red List, (2) Amphibiaweb, (3) CRBio, and many more!

The first photo below is of the back of the frog made on my cell phone and the other, a side view, with my Canon. To avoid scaring him away, both had to be shot from a distance in little forest light,f thus had to be cropped a lot, so not very good shots, but you can see what he basically looks like and online you will see some varieties of colors, etc.


See also my Costa Rica Amphibians Photo Gallery for more than 20 species I have photograph and about that many more unidentified!   🙂

Macaw Lodge

¡Pura Vida!