Birds on Tarcoles River

Our trip to the river Thursday yielded more species of birds than any other of my now 9 trips on the Tarcoles River! I got photos of 35 species and know we saw several others, but I only count my photos!   🙂   And this was in less than 2 hours on the river! A good place for birding!

It has been a difficult and rushed job to get the photos ready to post while also getting ready for my trip Sunday to Heredia for Spanish Immersion! I’m only including one shot of each bird in this post, but for more of each bird plus crocs, other wildlife, and other photos, see my “TRIP GALLERY”  2020 Feb 20, Rio Tarcoles Birding Trip for more photos!


Rio Tarcoles Birds


“TRIP GALLERY”  2020 Feb 20, Rio Tarcoles Birding Trip

¡Pura Vida!

Black Skimmer

My lifer bird this morning on a trip to nearby Tarcoles River was a Black Skimmer. Read an Overview about them on Cornell’s “All About Birds.”

I took two new friends from British Columbia there this morning and we saw way more than 30 species of birds and I think I got around that many photographed! I’m still working on the photos, but maybe a full report tomorrow.   🙂


¡Pura Vida!

Tarcoles River The Place

Nice Trees and Plants Along the River
from mangroves to forests and plains
Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

Surrounded by Mountains and the Pacific Ocean
Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

Tarcoles Teens Headed for School at 7:30 AM
Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

Welcome to Our Tour Boat
Jungle Crocodile Safari

Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

A Fishing Village, Thus Boats Everywhere! 
Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

Mangrove Trees
Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

Lone Boat Anchored in Mouth of River
That’s ocean waves just beyond the boat.
Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

Why do I want to photograph every boat I see?
Low tide on a tidal river close to its mouth
Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

Other Tour Boats Going Out
You have several choices, but ours is the best for birding.
Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

Our Guide Explaining Something to John
Like me, he talks with his hands 🙂
Tarcoles River, Costa Rica
Just being on the river is a great nature experience even if you did not see a single bird! And the little village is an interesting place too. See some of my past village shots.
And the Trip Gallery for this is called 2018-February-27–Tarcoles River Trip
For all of my BIRDS photos. that gallery or 
Link to the Google Map Location of Tarcoles & our Jungle Crocodile Safari
My other trips on TARCOLES RIVER 
and their photos (all different!): 
2016 December:   

2015 July:   

2015 March:   

2015 February:   
2011 May Cruise Ship Excursion:
And a sub-gallery for all the birds
Yeh, I kind of like it! And have been here more than any other place birding in Costa Rica. 

Birds at Cerro Lodge

Cinnamon Hummingbird
Cerro Lodge, Tarcoles, Costa Rica

Turquoise-browed Motmot
Cerro Lodge, Tarcoles, Costa Rica
My first to see in Costa Rica, though I saw many in Nicaragua.

White-tipped Dove
Cerro Lodge, Tarcoles, Costa Rica
I almost called them Inca for the scaling, but white tips on tails ID them.

Warbler of Some Kind   (I’m pretty sure but hard to ID)
Cerro Lodge, Tarcoles, Costa Rica

Hoffman’s Woodpecker
Cerro Lodge, Tarcoles, Costa Rica

Blue-gray Tanager
Cerro Lodge, Tarcoles, Costa Rica

Boat-billed Flycatcher
Cerro Lodge, Tarcoles, Costa Rica
Several flycatchers look similar, but the bill and red cap ID this one.

Melodious BlackbirdCerro Lodge, Tarcoles, Costa Rica
Very similar to Bronze Cowbird which has red eyes an this one doesn’t.
Only the Melodious Blackbird has everything black, eyes, bill, feet.
Cerro Lodge Entrance
Cerro Lodge, Tarcoles, Costa Rica

Last time I stayed down here it was at Villa Lapas which further off the highway,
closer to Tarcoles, & deeper in the forest, but services and facilities are similar.
This one is actually in the middle of an upscale housing development but with
plenty of land for privacy and lots of birds. The gate is like what the neighbors
have to enter their mansions. Good friendly service, views, birds and food.

I’m saving the birds photographed at Carara National Park for tomorrow since I got a lot at the lodge and the park was my last stop before going home. Some nice birds at the park this time! Better than my last trip there.

Scarlet Macaws, Lapas, Guacamayo Rojo

Scarlet Macaw flying over the mouth of the Tarcoles River at Pacific Ocean.
All Photos by Charlie Doggett, Tarcoles, Costa Rica

Scarlet Macaws were the main reason I spent a couple of nights at Carara National Park, where one of the two breeding colonies of Scarlet Macaws live, the other being at Corcovado NP and the surrounding Osa Peninsula which I visited in 2009 and got a few distant photos there. I also photographed a couple of the macaws on my 2010 and first Tarcoles River Crocodile & Birds cruise. But there were more macaws this time as June and July is the breeding season. My guide for two days here was Victor Mora Shaves of VicToursCostaRica. He is not a serious birder, but knows most of them and many of their songs or calls. And he did know we could get closer to macaws in Tarcoles Village than in the national park, thus we went there first thing Friday morning where all but one of these photos were made. We returned to Tarcoles Saturday morning for a mangrove boat tour with just me and him for a lot of other birds but no Macaws except flying way overhead. A separate post on that is coming with other bird photos. I’ll also do a post of our hike in the park for tomorrow, though it was a little disappointing compared to other parks I have visited (for the quantity of birds). Well here are some of the decent shots of Scarlet Macaws, not a single great one here, but okay and typical of shots birders get. You just can’t get close like in the zoo. But no zoo shots here!

Names used in Costa Rica are  Guacamayo Rojo  o Lapa  Note that I stayed in Hotel Villa Lapas which in English would be The House of Macaws. This artwork of Lapas is between the rest rooms off the lobby area helping define their location and name: 

The blue is Guacamayo Azul and the red Guacamayo Rojo and both are Lapas.
Hotel Villa Lapas is the closest to Parque Nacional Carara.
Problem with painting is that there are not blue & yellow macaws here!
They’re in South America and more rare than scarlet. Blue or Hyacinth
Macaws are even more rare, but did live in Central America once.

Scarlet Macaw, a typical shot in the trees.  Tarcoles, Costa Rica.
The one on right is upside down, also common.
Scarlet Macaw “loving couple” – they mate for life! Tarcoles, Costa Rica.
“Double-Dating” with one upside down!  🙂  Tarcoles, Costa Rica
Scarlet Macaws in different light – Tarcoles, Costa Rica

Scarlet Macaws above the Tarcoles River Mouth, Tarcoles, Costa Rica
Colorful birds! And beautiful flying!

Scarlet Macaws inside Carara National Park, Costa Rica.
Photo made across pond with cell phone through spotting scope.
Better photo ops with the fishermen in Tarcoles!

Rainforest Alliance article “About Scarlet Macaws.”  in “Kids Corner” 

Color is a power which directly influences the soul.
~Wassily Kandinsky

Tarcoles Village

Dog on Porch Roof, Tarcoles, Costa Rica

Tarcoles Village is where the Tarcoles River goes into the Pacific Ocean near Jaco and Carara National Park. It is where I have taken four boat trips on the river including the one today. It is where we got our good photos of Scarlet Macaws yesterday morning before going into the park where they are even more difficult to photograph. (Sharing those photos in tomorrow’s post.) And it is just a typical Tico small town, quiet, lazy, hot, and humid with sights like above and below before you get on your boat for the cruise. 

A boy brings in part of the morning catch at 8:30.
You can buy fresh fish along the road.
He caught those fish in a boat like this.
Then repair the nets for tomorrow’s catch.

The main road through Tarcoles.

And the only sign seen more than Coca Cola,
Costa Rica’s own, locally made, Imperial Beer.

For you Nashville readers, Kevin Hunter has ridden through this village with me for our birding/croc cruise. I came here two mornings on this trip; Friday for Macaw photos and Saturday for photos of other birds from a private boat. Someday I will just come and photograph the village. 

Growing up in a small, hot, humid town like this in South Arkansas near Louisiana and Mississippi brings me to a quote by Harper Lee in To Kill a Mockingbird.  Life in Tarcoles is like this:
“Maycomb was a tired old town, even in 1932 when I first knew it. Somehow, it was hotter then. Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon after their three o’clock naps. And by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frosting from sweating and sweet talcum. The day was twenty-four hours long, but it seemed longer. There’s no hurry, for there’s nowhere to go and nothing to buy…and no money to buy it with.” 
― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Tarcoles River

Great Blue Heron Catches Catfish for Lunch
Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

I was asked to take a friend of a friend birding today (Friday). I gave several choices and he chose Tarcoles River because of the closeness for a day trip (in his rent car). I have dozens of photos to show and will continue tomorrow. Above is a special one you don’t have the opportunity for very often, watching a bird catch a fish!

I’ll show two more tonight with more tomorrow:
Common Black Hawk in Flight, Tarcoles River, Costa Rica
Baby Iguana, Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

This is what I moved here for – just been too busy to do much yet. Expect much more in the future! Above is just 3 of 500 images made today.  🙂   Pura Vida!

My Trip Advisor Review of this trip with photos!

Me llamo Carlito.

Part of the hilly rainforest I will be exploring between my house and the coast.
I shot this on my 2011 Panama Canal Cruise Excursion to Tarcoles River for a jungle river cruise. 

Today was my second Spanish Class and it looks like the Spanish name Chris Howard gave me is what my Nashville Spanish Class likes best as they are all calling me Carlito now. Fun! Just getting my feet wet in the language and I like it and our teacher Maya! By the way, Charles in Spanish is Carlos, and the closest to the Charlie nickname is Carlito, which literally means “little Charles,” which is okay with me.

The letter from Social Security arrived today, so all my papers are in order for my residential application. By next week I will send them to my attorney in Costa Rica and the process will begin.

Also today Jane and Scott came to my house to see what all I have to sell in their “Village Treasure Shop” on campus. We are no longer allowed to have yard sales because of traffic among the cottages, so the Treasures Shop is a substitute. I have so much stuff that they decided to give me a whole room in the former cottage used as the shop and let me operate it as my store each Saturday until December. I do my own pricing and they just get a percentage of whatever I make. So that is what I will be doing for the next few Saturdays. It will be kind of like an indoor yard sale one day a week. Hope to make some money!   🙂  Come see me some Saturday, beginning October 11, the Grand Opening! I’m also deciding what I will keep and put in storage during my first year in Costa Rica. A few pieces of furniture, books, art, etc. will stay here until I decide to either return to states or make Costa Rica my permanent home. If the latter, then I will ship it all to Costa Rica. As the old TV comedy soldier of fortune used to say, “I love it when a plan comes together!”

Thanks for reading my blog! And please comment or write!   -Carlito