Talamanca Hummingbird

The second in my featured mountain hummingbirds is the Talamanca Hummingbird (eBird article) as one I’ve seen in 2 other locations and of course have a Talamanca Hummingbird Gallery! 🙂 The name “Talamanca” is the name of the major mountain range through the center of Costa Rica where this bird lives only in Costa Rica and the western edge of Panama.

¡Pura Vida!

This trip’s Hotel Savegre BIRDS Gallery (23 species)

Costa Rica Leaders Celebrate Biden Inauguration

There have been at least 3 contacts now including the initial congratulations. Here’s more in this Tico Times online article in English: ‘Multilateralism is back!’ How Costa Rica’s leaders celebrated U.S. inauguration

¡Pura Vida!

Birds of San Gerardo de Dota

All photographed in the San Gerardo de Dota, along the road or at Mariam’s Quetzals Cabins in the steep mountain canyon along the Savegre River, Talamanca Mountains, Costa Rica, at an altitude of 2200 meters above sea level (72,178 feet). It was cold in the nights and early mornings!

Acorn Woodpecker (1st sighting for me)
San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica

Sooty Thrush (1st sighting for me)
San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica

Flame-colored Tanager Male (1st sighting for me)
San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica

Flame-colored Tanager Female (1st sighting for me)
Immature Rufous-collared Sparrow below her
San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica

Emerald Toucanet (1st sighting in wild for me)
San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica
(Fruits are wild avocados, favorite food of Quetzals)

Black-capped Flycatcher (1st sighting for me)
San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica

Black-billed Nightingale Thrush (1st sighting for me)
San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica

Possibly a White-throated Thrush or Nightingale (?)
San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica

Flame-throated Finch (1st sighting for me)
San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica
Resplendent Quetzal Female
No males seen even though they were the reason we went to this place.
I had better luck on my two other trips here. See my Quetzal Gallery.
San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica

Violet-headed or Magnificent Hummingbird
San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica

Magnificent Female or Green Hermit Hummingbird
San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica

Fiery-throated, Magnificent or Violet-headed Hummingbird (?)
San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica
I did this birding experience with the Birding Club of Costa Rica after my personal 2-day retreat at Rio Chirripo in the same mountain range. A productive and full week! Lots of new birds!
Tomorrow I go to the Pacific coast and the port city of Puntarenas with the Atenas Community Band to a band festival and parade with bands from all over the country. The public high school near me, Colegio Liceo, is also going from Atenas. It will be an interesting one-day bus trip to the hot coast with a bunch of noisy kids. Then Thursday I go to the Nicaragua border again to renew my visa. So it may be a couple of more days without a post. We’ll see!  🙂  Then October 8 I go back to to the Caribbean Coast to explore some more and birding with the club at Manzanillo.  Pura Vida!

I Drove Over the “Mountain of Death” to a Retreat Lodge

Cerro de la Muerte in Spanish or “Mountain of Death” in English is what they have called one of the mountains I drove over today since pioneer days when so many people lost their lives walking over the mountain. The steep climbs and hairpin curves reminded me of childhood driving trips through the Ozarks of north Arkansas or later trips on the back roads of Colorado. And I never found a good place to stop and make a photo! Just glad when I made it to Rio Chirripo Retreat Lodge! It is a scary drive with idiots passing on curves, etc. But I’m here, safe and sound!  🙂

A warm fire in the lodge on a cool, rainy night.

My room balcony overlooks the mountain cloud forest.

I walked down to Rio Chirripo in the rain for a quick photo.

Just a few of the flowers outside my room.

Tomorrow morning I have a birding guide picking me up at 6:30 for a hike in a nearby forest. Hoping for a Collared Trogon and a Black Guan among others!

Trip to the Mountains Tomorrow

My shot from the top of one of the mountains in Talamanca range in 2014.

My general plan was to get settled in a home, explore locally,  then travel, maybe as much as a week or weekend ever month to continue my exploration of this amazing Costa Rica. I’m now into the travel stage beyond some short trips earlier. Joining the Birding Club of Costa Rica came with a built-in trip every month, though eventually I will skip some of those and do my own thing. But for this month and next I’m doing the birding club trips and adding my own exploring days while in that part of the country.

Today (Tuesday) I take bus to Alajuela, pick up some mail, go to airport and get a rental car. Tomorrow after Spanish Class, I drive south 2-3 hours into the Talamanca Mountains where I have been two other times (09 & 14) but love it enough to go again with the club. I’m going early to explore a different part of the mountains, Mount Chirripo, the tallest mountain in Costa Rica. I’m not climbing it! But staying at a yoga retreat center lodge near the base, next to a national forest and the national park, Rio Chirripo Retreat. On Thursday I have scheduled a birding guide to take me out for some good photos of birds other than quetzals. Then Friday I move to Miriam’s Quetzals to join the club for more birds including the Resplendent Quetzal. There I’ll share a little cabin with some other guys there without spouses. Birding is all we do for two days. So get ready for some more bird photos!  🙂 And oh yes, it gets cold up there! I’m taking 2 weights of jackets plus long pants!

And if you don’t remember what a Resplendent Quetzal looks like, here’s my earlier shots of some.


Just in: Guava Leaves are Good for You! As much as the powerhouse Costa Rica fruit Guava. My favorite is Guava Marmalade, but good in fruit punch or just a guava fresca or guava ice cream! But I still prefer guanabana as first choice to drink! My cancer prevention fruit!  🙂

A good article:  7 Things to Consider Before Retiring Abroad   And it is not just about Costa Rica. For what it is worth, I seriously considered Panama as my second choice and the cost of living is lower there than in Costa Rica but more nature here won out for me. Wherever you consider moving, check out these 7 things as a minimum and then visit the country multiple times and study it before moving there. Then you almost always want to rent at first to make sure the area or neighborhood is where you want to settle before you buy. It is easier to buy than sell! Me? I will only rent. Freedom! (And lack of money!) You too can have a stress-free life in paradise without American politics, crimes and wars!  Pura Vida!

New Frog Species Discovered – My Earth Day Post

New Frog Species Discovered in Talamanca Mountains of Costa Rica.
Photo from TicoTimes.net

In a time when many frog species are going extinct because of fungus and diseases around the world, it is encouraging that scientists have discovered a new species of glass frog in Costa Rica. Hyalinobatrachium dianae was discovered in the Talamanca mountains of Costa Rica. April, 2015.  That is one of my favorite places in southern Costa Rica where I have twice photographed the Resplendent Quetzal from both Sevegre Mountain Lodge and Trogon Lodge. These glass frogs can be tiny and are known for transluscent skin on their undersides, showing their internal organs. Neat! The only glass frog I have photographed was not this cool looking. He was photographed last month in Manuel Antonio National Park. Unfortunately neither photo shows the underside of the frog.

For the ones who read this regularly you are probably ready for a break! I will not have internet connection immediately in the new house since I’m responsible for my own utilities. It is not likely to happen fast! If it is longer than a week, I’ll report back from an internet cafe maybe.  🙂

Resplendent Quetzal Day

Resplendent Quetzal Male near Trogon Lodge
San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica

Collared Redstart, Trogon Lodge
San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica

“Buena Vista” in Talamanca Mountains Above the Clouds
with a Tico friend soaking in the beauty.

A great last day and I’m exhausted with two birding hikes and the 90 minute drive back to San Jose. At dinner tonight I started a list of positives and negatives to moving to Costa Rica. I’ll share that later. I have thousands of photos, more great memories of Costa Rica, and a lot of knew knowledge about the country and the people. I have new friends here and from other places including a guy from the Netherlands today. Now I need a few days to let it all soak in and get some rest before I decide.

Mountain Rainforest Today

My 8:00 AM ride was early, not on “Tico Time” – a very pleasant young man named Alejandro for our 90 minute ride into the TalamancaMountains and Trogon Lodge. Upon arrival, the first thing I did was put on long pants and long-sleeve shirt! It is very cool here and they have already lit the gas heater in my rustic cabin. The rain is in the middle of the day here while always in afternoon in valley and coast. But I did get to hike a couple of hours in the rainforest with only a mist. Got only one bird, but several shots of him, I think some kind of thrush; I don’t have my CR Bird Book with me. I also saw several Tropical Kingbirds but couldn’t get a shot. The star of this hike was Catarata Falls on the Sevegre River (photo}. The lodge is right on this mountain river. The staff and food are fabulous! Only 3 guests during the day but 20 young adults from Germany came in this afternoon, so the dining room will be livelier for dinner! And already is in the bar! The only WiFi hot spot is in the bar where I’m posting now before dinner. Every moment of every day is an exciting adventure! I enjoy them all!
At 5:40 AM tomorrow I meet my guide to go find and photograph the Resplendent Quetzal before breakfast. Then I will hike around the cloud forest until Alejandro returns for me at 2:00 PM, my last day in Costa Rica this time. Enjoy my mountain rainforest photos. More will be in my online gallery later.
Catarata Falls on the Sevegre River

Trogon Lodge on Sevegre River in Talamanca Mountins

Black-billed Nightingale-thrush, Trogon Lodge
San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica

My “Rainforest Selfie” On Best Part of the Trip!

Birding Adventure Scheduled

Resplendent Quetzal by Charlie Doggett
Near Savegre Lodge, Talamanca Mountains, Costa Rica

I was saving all four of my personal days after the tour for business if needed, but realized I could get enough done in two and found a travel agent to set up a birding trip for my last two days. I’ll get private transportation (90 minutes) from San Jose to and from the Talamanca Mountains, Los Quetzales National Park, and Trogon Lodge on September 3 & 4. It comes with a birding guide early before breakfast on the 4th to help find and photograph another Resplendent Quetzal bird (above), the most sought after bird for birders in Central America. The photo here was made on my 2009 birding trip. Hope I get another one as good or better than this! Plus there should be trogons, hummingbirds, and many other cloud forest birds, other animals, waterfalls, and landscapes. A cloud forest is a rainforest in the mountains with mostly different species of flora & fauna than seen in the lowland rainforests.

Well, I’m excited and ready for my flight early tomorrow morning and the beginning of the Live in Costa Rica Tour. I plan to make a post tomorrow night and each night for the two weeks, with a photo of the day each night. Please send a link to this blog to anyone you know who is interested.
http://costaricadecisionprocess.blogspot.com/  This is where I will finalize my decision to move (or not move) to Costa Rica.