The Birds of Esquinas

I think I’ve shown 5 favorite birds on their own individual blog posts, now here they are with all the other birds in a gallery of 18, a fraction of the 50 species I got on my last trip there, which I will blame on both climate change and the lack of a mangrove boat trip this time, though there were still fewer birds at the lodge this time, just like there are fewer birds at my house this year! Here’s one bird for the emailed version and then a gallery of 18 total birds to follow.

White-tipped Dove on a Panama Hat Flower at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, Golfito.
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Renata Satyr

This Renata Satyr, Yphthimoides renata, was spotted on the campus of the La Gamba Field Station down the road from Esquinas Rainforest Lodge. It is a rainforest research station for the University of Vienna, Austria and that is why German is spoken in that area as much or more than English along with the Spanish of course! And I refused to put it in the headline, but this is another “first time seen” butterfly for me! 🙂 And I will do a post on the research station later. And for the butterfly enthusiasts, yes, you need the side view of Satyrs for good ID and by blowing up my one angled side shot I was able to confirm the proper eye spots and lines to assure this identity. 🙂 Another Central American butterfly!

Renata Satyr, La Gamba Field Station, Piedras Blancas NP, Golfito, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Renata Satyr, La Gamba Field Station, Piedras Blancas NP, Golfito, Puntarenas, Costa Rica

¡Pura Vida!

Another New Butterfly!

I’m slow getting all the photos processed and identifications made is why I keep coming up with new things! 🙂 This butterfly is not one I saw for the first time at Esquinas but have identified correctly for the first time, as I’m getting a little better at ID. It is a Hewitson’s Longwing, Heliconius hewitsoni that I saw in the understory deep in the forest on the Manakin Trail the other day at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge. I often compare my photos with not only my butterfly book photos, but online photos and even my own older photos which is when I discovered I had seen him before at Punta Leona but misidentified! And because the one at Esquinas was damaged and not in the best light, I am including the much better photo I made at Punta Leona for comparison and I will have to go back to all the places that photo appears and re-identify it! Whew! And because it is such a better photo, I will show it first and this is my first time to properly identify it.

Hewitson’s Longwing, first photographed at Punta Leona (near Jaco) and just now properly identifying.

Now see three weaker photos I made in the dark understory of the rainforest at Esquinas Lodge for comparison. I am now certain of this new identification and the website I volunteer for will have to add this new species because it is not now included, meaning that my photos will be the first ones on And this is not the first time I’ve introduced a new species there, thanks to the incredible variety of species in Costa Rica! Many are endemic to just Costa Rica or sometimes, like this one, endemic to Costa Rica & Panama’s Pacific Coast.

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Long-billed Hermit

One of my favorite Hummingbirds seen in the rainforest is the Long-billed Hermit (eBird link) found throughout Central America and the northern edges of South America. He can hover longer in one place than some hummingbirds and his tail can be long and straight or opened into a fan shape plus he seems to favor Heliconia flowers. Here’s four shots from the forest at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge.

Long-billed Hermit, Esquinas Rainforest Lodge. Piedras Blancas National Park, Golfito, Costa Rica.
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Great Curassow

The Great Curassow, Crax Rubra (eBird link) was the first bird to greet me here at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge. It is a large “turkey-like” game bird found throughout Central America that was hunted to near extinction and today is seen only in reserves and national parks where they are protected. Here’s four of my photos from here, two each of the male and female.

There was surprisingly no rain my arrival afternoon yesterday (Saturday) but I did not get to a blog post because they have internet connection only in the restaurant and reception areas, not in the cabins. This afternoon (Sunday) it started raining about 12:30 and looks like an off & on rain will continue, but this morning was clear for my birding hike. 🙂

Great Curassow Male, Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, Costa Rica
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“The Wind in the Trees”

“Nothing has ever been said about God that hasn’t already been said better by the wind in the trees.”

~Thomas Merton

With that, I renew an old adventure that will certainly become an even grander new adventure . . .

Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, Piedras Blancas NP, Golfito

It was in October of 2018, the peak of the rainy season, that I first visited Esquinas Rainforest Lodge at La Gamba Research Station, Piedras Blancas National Park, north of Golfito, Puntarenas. It rained pretty hard every afternoon with the mornings and short spaces between rain full of wonderful birds to photograph! And the planned boat trip to Rio Coto Mangroves turned impossible with high winds and heavy rain on Golfo Dulce, but the ingenious boat captain took me back into the smaller Gulf of Golfito (shielded from heavy wind by trees) for some of my better bird shots in between downpours – an unplanned but excellent substitute for an always good mangrove tour! Making Lemonade from Lemons! 🙂 And how could you not in this incredible rainforest? See more photos from my first trip there & a video link below . . .

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Playa Cativo Photo Gallery

It’s finally completed! And now I can focus on more photos here in Atenas and my garden, though I might still blog some more from Cativo that I haven’t shared yet 🙂 since probably few of you will actually go to this trip gallery linked below. 🙂

This was a better than usual trip and rainforest lodge, though maybe not in my #1 choice yet 🙂 — it’s so hard to compare nature lodges when all of them are so good and each have their own unique things that the others do not! 🙂 If you want to learn more about this lodge, check out their website with this link: Playa Cativo Lodge, Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica. And note that the night-shot of a cabin at the top of their first page is of the cabin I stayed in for a week. 🙂 One of my best cabins ever, anywhere!

This was the third of the 3 “new” lodges I tried this year and was definitely the best cabin of the three and possibly the best overall experience than those at Chachagua or Guayabo, my other two “first time” lodges this year, both of which I loved and enjoyed very much! And I would consider returning to all three! The Cativo food was gourmet like Chachagua’s and the girl guide I had, Alejandra, was one of the best I’ve had anywhere plus the dining room staff gave me one of my best birthday celebrations yet in Costa Rica when I turned 82 there! So, overall a very good experience! 🙂 But I recommend both of the other new lodges also plus my only new lodge of 2021, Bosque del Cabo near Puerto Jimenez, which rivaled this lodge in many ways though I was still to weak from cancer treatment to fully enjoy it.

To see my Playa Cativo Trip Gallery, click that linked title or the image of the first page below. Photos tell a lot about a place if you are considering a visit there! 🙂 And remember that you must travel to either Golfito or Puerto Jimenez and then the hotel arranges a taxi from airport to dock for a boat ride to the lodge. Or if you drive a car, like my Tico doctor friend did, they will suggest where to park it safely before your boat ride to the lodge.

¡Pura Vida!

Trips like this are one thing that make my simple retirement a constant adventure along with the wonderful people and tranquility of the little coffee farming town I live in between these trips. I own no car or house, living happily in a rental house and walking or using public transportation, including for these trips.

You can virtually experience all my trips and tranquil home life through this blog “Retired in Costa Rica” and/or the past trips in my Costa Rica TRIPS Gallery which of course has a sub-gallery for each of the 96 trips I’ve made to every corner of Costa Rica plus 2 to Nicaragua and 1 to Panama since moving here in 2014. This number of trips does include several day-trips but mostly multi-nights lodge trips which are the best of course! And for me, 6 nights somewhere is needed to both relax and experience everything! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

The “Other” Nature Shots

Maybe the miscellaneous stuff that didn’t fit in another post shouldn’t be shown, but I liked most of these and so my last post from Playa Cativo Lodge is “Misc.” that I hope you will find some beauty in, as all nature is the art of God. I will show even more in my “Trip Gallery” when finally done, including some nice nature quotes they had posted on some of the trails. But for now that is all of Cativo for the blog and tomorrow more posts from Atenas begin again! 🙂


10 more photos below . . .

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Inside a Coastal Rainforest

I included “coastal” because it is a little different from an inland rainforest like I was in in May at Chachagua Rainforest Lodge – both with lots of rain and streams & ponds but the ocean front has more severe weather and a global warming rising ocean that is washing away the land and the trees one row at a time as shown in one of these photos. Further into the forest is dark and thicker trees and potentially more dangerous wildlife. I did not go too far! 🙂

I am still amazed every time I see a big tree with big roots.

Nine more photos follow . . .

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