Morning Bird Walk

Glad to get back to nature posts after all the other stuff I’ve been posting the last week! And the featured photo above is a Passion Flower growing on a neighbor’s wall along the street uphill above my house.

In my Roca Verde neighborhood, and most neighborhoods across Costa Rica, we have “Snow Birds” or “winter residents” who come to visit or live here during the very cold months up north (Dec-Apr). One of those couples I met for the first time last year always stay in Roca Verde, just a few doors up the hill from me – she is a birder and he a relaxer.  🙂   They are from British Columbia, Canada.

Yesterday she showed me all birds she had photographed in Atenas in just one week, most right here in our neighborhood! Thus I was shamed into birding more in my own neighborhood and later some other places in Atenas – but it means getting up at 5:30 in the morning which I have not been doing much here. Mixed emotions!

I live adjacent to these farming hills seen from street above my house.

This morning I spent just one hour, mostly between 6 & 7 and saw about 20 species of birds, photographing about 15 of them! ALL WITHIN 300 METERS OF MY HOUSE!  For you Americans, that’s just 3 blocks, and all along the street in front of my house, up the hill. Of course I ran into Margaret who get out every morning early for birds and we birded together much of the time. I will not do it every day like her, but hopefully more often now!

By 7 there are not a lot of birds to see. It is the magical hour after sunrise and the last hour before sunset that give the most birds! (Same thing on my trips!) And some of these birds from today have not come to my house or I haven’t seen them in my garden yet.  CLICK AN IMAGE TO ENLARGE IT . . .

This Morning’s Birds

Catholic Church in Central Atenas is also seen from the street above my house, though not as close as this seems through my 60 mm lens!   🙂


I like where I live!   🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Meadow Haiku

Cellphone shot in Roca Verde Neighborhood, Atenas, Costa Rica

This is the view that a few houses up the hill from me have. It is one of the views I have when I walk the kilometer circle through my neighborhood. Peaceful and rural.

My photo gallery of Vistas

My photo gallery of Haiku

“Mountains are the beginning and the end of all natural scenery.
~John Ruskin

Great Neighborhood Project!

Except for Atenas Central, there are few sidewalks (like Donelson-Hermitage)
So in the neighborhood between Roca Verde and Atenas Central, the neighbors
got together and decided to build their own, since government isn’t doing it.

Today it was young adult volunteers mixing & pouring cement, other times
have had some older adult men doing it, at least a quarter mile finished now!
The orange roofs on hill at top of photo is a part of Roca Verde.

Today’s young men shoveling cement into the forms. Great!
I gave them a thumb’s up and said “Muchas Gracias” as I walked by.
Again you can see one Roca Verde hill in distance.
This is an earlier photo I took going down the hill toward our gate.
I feel much safer walking on a sidewalk than in narrow streets or very
rough shoulders if any! The closer to Central Park, the more sidewalks.
First shift leaving high school.
Almost all students walk to school here. 

It is interesting to watch how many people still walk in the street, possibly from years of habit, I would guess half. Of course further up you have no choice and that includes walking by the high school where there are no sidewalks. Gangs of teens leaving or arriving just fill the streets and cars wait (photo below or at right).

But it was sad to see in Tico Times recently that Pedestrian Deaths Outnumber Drunk Driving Deaths in Costa Rica.  Speeding and irresponsible lane-changing are the top two causes of road deaths here.

Maybe this one more sidewalk will save another life or two. Everything is not perfect in Costa Rica! Infrastructure is still lacking in many areas.

Walk with me through my neighborhood

View from an available lot on top of my hill. You look over Central Valley to northeast, San Jose at left. Your home here?
This is the above lot for your dream home. A large, old-growth tree at entrance.
I can give you the phone number if interested.  🙂  Come be my neighbor!

Looking over my house which is below the orange roof, lower center.
The orange roof is my landlord Jean Luc & Nicole, brown roof is Richard’s.
You can see cow pasture in front of my house, central Atenas beyond that. 
Anthony’s house next door to me. He is a Spanish Class friend from Indiana, a
bachelor artist who has a clay bird I plan to buy and install in my garden after he
has it fired. His house is rented from Richard, is below brown roof, above photo.
Some neighbors can see church steeple at Central Park Atenas. 
A few homes are visible from the street, most are not. 

All have privacy/security gates & I think this the most creative one on this loop. 
All are lushly planted for our tropical weather year around.
It is like walking through a garden to walk through my neighborhood.

Come visit me and you can physically walk with me over this and other hills in Roca Verde. Some of you know that I earlier said I would never live in a rich, gated community like this, but people change their minds! Living in a Tico neighborhood has the closeness and familiarity with the people around you that is not what this old independent, private person is real comfortable with. Plus the closeness of dogs barking, roosters crowing, parties going on, constant music, highway traffic, motorcycles, teenagers, is just more noise than I prefer to put up with all the time. I have some noise here, but nothing like in town or at the apartments where I lived for four months. It is mostly birds singing which I love and the roosters and dogs are further away. 

Several of the large houses in Roca Verde have “casitas” (little houses) for either guests, parents, or to rent which is what I have. Some of the main houses are lived in by “Snowbirds” only in the North American Winter or dry season here. I am fortunate that this particular one was for rent by a year-round resident landlord on the hill above me. He is also one of two developers of Roca Verde. Though barely affordable for me (cheaper than McKendree Village!), this is the only one of this quality I was able to find within walking distance of Central Atenas, one mile. Not having a car was always part of the plan for living here. 
Walking to town most days is my exercise program and now I have several choice walks in my neighborhood for when I don’t go to town. The above loop is just 1.3 miles and of course I did not show all the views and houses. I am so blessed in so many ways at almost every turn of this retirement adventure. I feel so fortunate! Almost everything has worked out positively, even if slower than an impatient American wants it! Just two more main things to finish: a residency card and conversational Spanish. Both are on track for early next year maybe! I’m starting to relax more and be more creative. Life is fun! Pura Vida! Jubilado!