Jungle waterfall

Jungle Waterfall, Playa Cativo Lodge, Piedras Blancas National Park, Costa Rica.

My birthday morning was sunny with lots of birds singing and the Howler Monkeys closer than they were the previous morning! 🙂 The monkeys serve as the roosters to wake you at 5 am when you’re in the rainforest. After a great breakfast I walked the half-kilometer all uphill to the waterfall closest to the lodge. It is left natural as it would be if no humans were around, thus vegetation hides part of the upper falls and a tree fell in the lower falls and they will let nature take its course, as the tree will eventually rot and be washed away, but now the only human “improvements” are the trail to get there and that could use some more improvement! 🙂 (I will include photos of the trail in my trip gallery later.)

Note that in the above photo you can partly see the upper falls while in the next two from the bottom, it is mostly hidden by vegetation.

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Goodnight from a Rainforest

Dark, damp, misting rain with no sunset as such but a trace of color as I eat my dinner at Playa Cativo overlooking the Gulf of Dulce on the Pacific coast of southern Costa Rica, while north of us Hurricane Bonnie is rushing across northern Costa Rica and Nicaragua and the handful of us here are thankful it didn’t veer south! 🙂

I saw and did a lot the first afternoon, but too tired to curate more photos now, so this rainforest report begins with a dark sky that will surely brighten as the week goes by. If not raining, I go on my birding hike at 5:30 in the morning and I got a head start with two pretty good photos today in the low light of a Great Curassow and a Scarlet-rumped Tanager.

And Of course I already like this place! 🙂 Later I’ll tell you about my beachside cabin and share photos from this nature-rich forest.

¡Pura Vida!

South Pacific Parks to be Improved

Squirrel Monkey, Osa Peninsula

In Sunday’s Tico Times it was announced that Costa Rica’s National Parks located in the less-traveled South Pacific Area will receive the equivalent of $1.7 million USD infrastructure improvements which affects some of my favorite National Parks and Reserves like Marino Ballena, Corcovado, Piedras Blancas, Golfito Wildlife Reserve, and La Amistad International National Parks. I have visited all but La Amistad, the nearly inaccessible wilderness park on both sides of the Costa Rica/Panama border.

This will help tourism in that area and provide basic infrastructure needed with anything from a road or trail to a bathroom. Maybe even make La Amistad accessible to an old man! 🙂 They say this about it: “This protected area is vital for Costa Rica biodiversity and conservation. The rugged terrain and intense jungle make it difficult for tourists to visit. You won’t find convenient amenities there.” I slept 3 nights in the adjacent Bribri Yorkin Indigenous Reserve which is probably as close as I will get to that park.

Below are links to my “Trip Galleries” for parks in this area that are some of my favorites . . .

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Home from Maybe Best Birding Trip Yet

I am tempted to declare Esquinas Rainforest Lodge my best birding location yet! In 6 days I photographed 50+ species of birds with 12 of them first timers for me or “lifers” for Costa Rica with two seen before in other Panama.  The Lodge name link above is to their lodge website. Or check out others’ reviews on TripAdvisor.

I highly recommend it! The lodging, food and services were all first class while immersed in a rainforest. You know that I have a lot of places I like all over Costa Rica, but this new one for me just moved near the top of my list! And realize that I was here during the wettest month of the year for them and still had a great experience! And it may have helped that I was the only guest there this week and had a personal birding guide!  Plus a personal chef and maid!   🙂  Hey! This is living! Retired in Costa Rica!

My Trip Gallery is Posted!

See the birds, animals, flowers, lodge and Golfito in my gallery for this trip at   2018 Esquinas Rainforest Lodge Visit.  Photos are the reason I make these trips and this collection is the result of this trip. A photo book will be coming soon! If no one else, the host lodges all love my photo books as I send one to each of them.

My Birds This Trip

Here are the birds I saw and photographed with the “lifers” or ones seen for the first time in boldface type. Presented in the order of the lodge’s bird list which is a little different from the Field Guide:

  • Great Curassow
  • Brown Booby  (1st in CR, got some in Panama in June)
  • Brown Pelican
  • Neotropic Cormorant
  • Magnificent Frigatebird
  • Little Blue Heron
  • Great Egret
  • Cattle Egret
  • Snowy Egret
  • Green Heron
  • Tricolored Heron
  • Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
  • Roseate Spoonbill
  • White Ibis
  • Green Ibis
  • Osprey
  • Gray-cowled Wood-Rail  (formerly Gray-necked Wood-Rail)
  • Willet
  • Spotted Sandpiper
  • Ruddy Turnstone
  • Laughing Gull
  • Short-billed Pigeon
  • White-tipped Dove
  • Gray-chested Dove
  • Squirrel Cuckoo
  • Long-billed Hermit
  • Band-tailed Barbthroat
  • Purple-crowned Fairy
  • Charming Hummingbird
  • Rufous-tailed Hummingbird
  • Violet-headed Hummingbird
  • Ringed Kingfisher
  • Green Kingfisher
  • American Pygmy Kingfisher  (1st in CR, have photo from Panama)
  • Fiery-billed Aracari
  • Wedge-billed Woodcreeper
  • Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet
  • Ochre-bellied Flycatcher
  • Least Flycatcher
  • Great Kiskadee
  • Gray-capped Flycatcher
  • Tropical Kingbird
  • Orange-collared Manakin
  • Gray-breasted Martin
  • Clay-colored Thrush
  • Prothonotary Warbler
  • Bananaquit
  • Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager (endemic to this area)
  • Scarlet-rumped Tanager (formerly Cherrie’s Tanager)
  • Bay-headed Tanager
  • Green Honeycreeper
  • Variable Seedeater
  • Orange-billed Sparrow
  • Scarlet-rumped Cacique
  • Spot-crowned Euphonia

And with many of these I saw both male & female which can be so different it is like another species!  🙂

Spot-crowned Euphonia female eating a berry. Note her tongue.

¡Pura Vida!


More Than Birds This Morning!

The slideshow photos are in no particular order, just shots from my walk around the campus this morning with no rain! And almost no birds! There were a lot more birds on the rainy days! And now at about 3 in the afternoon the rain is starting for the first time today, so maybe the birds will return. Ahhhh! I just saw two Euphonias but not where I could photograph. Tonight is my last night here and near the end of the most wonderful food that someone else prepares for me. Its been a great week!

Morning Walk Photo Slideshow

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“The forest is a peculiar organism of unlimited kindness and benevolence that makes no demands for its sustenance and extends generously the products of its life and activity; it affords protection to all beings.”
~Buddhist Sutra


And I am just now starting the “trip gallery” for this trip at 2018 Esquinas Rainforest Lodge  —  but soon that will be the place to see all my best photos from this week. I have gotten 10 new “lifers” or first-time seen birds this week! That is incredible! Possibly more than on any other trip at least recently.

Birds today at the Lodge

All of these birds were photographed in front of my cabin or alongside the main building terrace. It is amazing the wide variety of birds living here!

Birds Seen in One Day at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge

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A Beautiful Rainforest Retreat for Birds & People!

Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, Piedras Blancas National Park, Costa Rica


It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.

~Robert Louis Stevenson

Boat Trip in Golfito in Rain

Golfito literally  means “little gulf.” It is both the name of a town near here and a little gulf off the humongous Gulf of Dulce (Golfo Dulce). Our plans were to take a boat out of the little gulf into the big gulf and over a ways to the mouth of a river where the mangrove trees grow and attract birds. Wellllll . . . it was like this: We thought we only had to deal with rain but the gulf is the ocean and the white caps were big and powerful plus it was high tide. As we bounced over the rough water we were all literally soaked and the ride was rough and it was foggy. As we got closer he could not see the mouth of the river and said the water was too high and too dangerous to go on, thus we turned around and went back into the little gulf and spent our time going around the islands and shores of it to find a lot of birds as you will see in the slideshow below. In spite of getting very wet, it was a good day of birding! Instead of eating our packed lunch (in an ice chest) on a beach or in the boat, we brought it back to the lodge and ate in the pool rancho while watching birds including euphonias!

Birds of Golfito Bay

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White-faced Capuchin Monkey was part of a large group on one island.


Kevin, my birding guide for the week


Our Boat Captain, Melvin

Today’s Report will come tomorrow . . .

Accept this red berry gift from a Prothonotary Warbler and expect a lot of cool birds in tomorrow’s post about my wet boat trip today. I’m too tired to do a good report tonight but staying in tomorrow. Hasta mañana.

Today at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge

No rain today – so far at 3pm! I had a wonderful 6am birding hike with birding guide Kevin and returned for breakfast and the morning photographing wildlife from my cabin terrace – amazing!

Below is a slideshow of a few of today’s photos – mostly birds but some other animals. Tomorrow Kevin and I go on a boat trip through the mangroves which always yields a lot of birds rain or shine. Then over the weekend I plan to just enjoy walking the forests that surround me here and the really good food someone else is preparing!  🙂  And oh yeah,  a night hike one of those nights which is always interesting!

And I’m hearing thunder now, so rain tonight which is always the best time and well, it just started at 3:42!  🙂

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Among the scenes which are deeply impressed on my mind, none exceed in sublimity the primeval [tropical] forests, … temples filled with the varied productions of the God of Nature. No one can stand in these solitudes unmoved, and not feel that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body. 

— Charles Darwin

¡Pura Vida!