Dorantes Longtail

This Dorantes Longtail, Urbanus dorantes (Link is to butterfliesandmoths.org) was in my garden the 3 or 4 weeks ago with one of the yellows being the only two at that time. I wrote this post and then forgot about it, lost in my “drafts.” 🙂 This one is found from Argentina north through Central America and Mexico to South Texas and Florida plus the West Indies. I’m expecting more butterflies to start arriving soon or sometime in June.

Dorantes Longtail, Roca Verde, Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica
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Pleasant Surroundings

It is fortunate indeed to have neighbors who maintain their property so that all around them are in pleasant surroundings! 🙂 This is just one of the pleasant views uphill from my simple little “casita” rent house in Roca Verde. In spite of recently complaining about a favorite tree removed for a house under construction now (by my landlord), I generally have very pleasant surroundings where I live in the Roca Verde development of Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica known by it’s slogan “Mejor Clima del Mundo” or in English: “Best Weather in the World!” 🙂 A subjective opinion of course! 🙂

Another view uphill from my house.

¡Pura Vida!

Browse my CR Flora & Forest Galleries.

Chainsaw Massacre Across the Street

Last February I wrote a blog post titled “Tree by the Pasture” featuring one of my favorite trees, plus it is (was) across the street from my house in a vacant lot beside the houses on the edge of the cow pasture. Well I was quite troubled the other day when I heard a chain saw continuing most of the day Monday and continuing on Tuesday and went over to see what was happening, fearing they would take down that beautiful tree to build another ugly house, which is what they seem to be doing.

Well, below are my photos of the following 2 days of their chainsaw massacre. Will they leave the ugly stub or eventually level it?

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The Other Grosbeak on this Walk

Earlier I shared my shots of the Blue Grosbeak female from this same walk up the hill, now a couple of shots of a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak (eBird description link) which doesn’t have the “rose breast” that the male has, and I saw no males of either of these grosbeaks today. You can see my other photos of both male and female in my Rose-breasted Grosbeak Gallery seen earlier here near my house plus at Monteverde and at Xandari Resort Alajuela and as with most birds, the male is more colorful. 🙂

Rose-breasted Grosbeak Female, Atenas, Costa Rica
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Keel-billed Toucan

Unlike my previous walk up the steep hill above my house, I left my walking stick and took my main camera with the 600mm zoom lens which is needed for both the little birds in the trees and bushes and the toucans who stay in the tops of the trees, thus I got an almost decent photo of this Keel-billed Toucan who hasn’t been back to my garden for maybe 2 years now. It is just pure luck when one poses on an open limb so you can see all of the bird without limbs blocking parts like this; but this one is okay and you can tell what it is! 🙂 You may want to read about the Keel-billed Toucan (eBird description link) or see the many other photos I have made all over Costa Rica in my Keel-billed Toucan Gallery.

Keel-billed Toucan, Atenas, Costa Rica
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Morning Hill Walk

This morning ( 2 weeks ago today, as I’m really writing posts way ahead now) I took the difficult steep route up to the top of the hill I live on the side of and completed the circle drive back around to my house. I’ve done this only 2 or 3 times since radiation therapy and I’m okay with it, just slow going uphill. 🙂 Because of dogs on this route I walk with my walking stick and not the big camera, only cell phone, which I regretted today, seeing a Keel-billed Toucan in a distant tree and unable to photograph it well.

I will include two cellphone photos of the tree, one crop-zoomed in on the bird, but not good resolution. Then I tried to do a selfie with the village of Atenas in the background below the hill but the sun was too bright to catch the town in photo and it is before breakfast or even me shaving, so I’m “unkempt” but I’m showing the photo anyway! 🙂

Toucan on lower limb to right.
Keel-billed Toucan in poor zoom-crop of above photo.
Early-morning Selfie on Hill before Shave, Shower or Breakfast! Distant Atenas lost in the glare behind me.

For those concerned about my health, you can see that the left cheek is still swollen from the surgery and radiation (can take more than a year to go down) but the left side of smile has moved up a little bit and the eye is good uncovered for 2 to 4 hours in the morning before it hurts/burns and I then wear the black patch. I remove patch again for short times in afternoon and evening (easier reading with 2 eyes). And my Covid Mask is on my wrist here with no people around! 🙂

The Covid mask, 2 meter distancing & hand-washing is still required everywhere in Costa Rica and come January 8 the proof of vaccination will also be required to enter all public places, including supermarkets and restaurants. But remember, Costa Rica has a lower percentage of Covid cases than the U.S. with their stupid Republican Anti-vaxxers! 🙂 And if you want to visit this healthy country, you will need proof of vax just like the rest of us! By December we will have a vaccination app for cell phones here that will show some code for electronic readers at the entrance to all businesses, etc. Interesting! We’re pretty “high-tech” to be a “developing country.” 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

FAVE BIRDS – Squirrel Cuckoo

I was really excited the first time I saw a Squirrel Cuckoo (eBird description) in my garden, thinking that all cuckoos were rare exotic birds. I’ve since learned that this particular one is fairly common all over Costa Rica and you will find 5 locations in Costa Rica in my Squirrel Cuckoo Gallery. Plus eBird says it is “widespread” throughout Central and South America. It is one of 6 different species of Cuckoos found in Costa Rica. Beyond this one, I have photos of just 2 other species in Costa Rica: The Mangrove Cuckoo (2) and the Lesser Ground-Cuckoo (1). See more information and links in The Backstory below . . .

Squirrel Cuckoo, My Gardens, Roca Verde, Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica
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House in the Forest

I just found this feature image from the May 9 “Big Day” of bird counting for eBird when I walked, counted and photographed birds in Roca Verde and adjacent Calle Nueva. The only non-bird photo was this above of a “House in the Forest” which I think I shot because it was so appealing to me, beckoning me into the forest.

Then just as I started to use it in this post as a wishful place, PRESTO! I realized that I already have it! It is the same kind of thing I have created with my little rental house, planting trees and flowers all around it where there were none already until I now have a slightly more modern version of the above house in the woods. Mine is seen below:

I love my “house in the forest” and the “jungle” I’ve created around it. This was “wide open” or mostly barren when I came 5.5 years ago, so I’m proud of my “reforestation!” 🙂 Plant a tree! It will make you happy!

A few weeks ago I spoke to this “living in a forest” with my blog post Forest Window and back in January I did a post titled My Windows – My World where I actually showed you the view I have from every room in my house! 🙂 You see, I love forests and living in them! 🙂

But I also live periodically all over Costa Rica now and those many forests can be seen through my eyes in a Flora & Forest Gallery and of course other galleries with the birds & other animals in these forests! And oh yes, today is the day I leave for one of my favorite forests in Costa Rica, Arenal Volcano National Park and the wonderful in-park wilderness lodge Arenal Observatory Lodge (link to lodge website). So maybe an arrival-day blog post report tonight! 🙂 Enjoy your own trees and plant some more! 🙂

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

– John Muir

¡Pura Vida!