Thursday, March 28, 2024

Pura Vida, the Great Life Contunues....

The beach in of excellent smoothies!

Meanwhile, back in the warmth of Costa Rica...

This day was sort of a day off to rest and recuperate from the hiking and sweating in the forest primeval. And what did we do? Go to the beach along the pacific shore to dabble in the water...and sweat a little more. I discovered how out of shape I am this winter! I REALLY needed this day for a little rest. Ahhh, chillin' under a coconut really is "Pura Vida" down here!

Of course with Brian at the helm, a man who can't sit still for more than 30 seconds, and that's pushing it, we ended up  wandering through the jungle at the beaches edge and over a small river in search of gold...or birds...whichever...

Here's some more evidence that I wasn't in Ohio anymore!

Yep, still dealing with that birds from behind these days I'll get it right...or not.

By the way, that's a black-hooded antshrike.

We saw hundreds of brown pelicans sailing and hunting fish over the ocean...or was it the same 12 every time? Hmmm...

Yeah, I know, he's out of focus...actually that's one of their defense mechanisms. Honest.

This is a flower...with ants. Yep.

In case you were wondering, yes indeed, this is another flower. You can find flowers FEBRUARY!

This is Bob. Bob is a great-tailed grackle...and he followed us. Good dancer too by the way...

This crabby crab is a hermit crab that was feeling crabby.


Now here's a raptor, and I'm stumped on what he is. He looks like a juvenile with that much barring and he has a full crop. 

Hunting at the forest edge must be good!

 Brian makes a great bird spotter, he saw the raptor and this red-naped woodpecker before me...I was still watching Bob the grackle dancing...


Just like home! A bird I know, a spotted sandpiper in his winter home!

 He was hunting along the rivers edge and caught something tasty!

Zoom in!


 I knew I wasn't home anymore when we saw this variegated squirrel...a coat of many colors! 


Well, back to the real world...until next week when I post more of my adventures in Costa Rica!


Monday, March 18, 2024

Costa Rica...the Adventure Continues...

Hey! That's me on the whales tail!

Hello again from Costa Rica! We took a couple trip today, we'll start with a visit to Parque Nacional Marino Ballena. Great beaches and scenery abound here. We spent time just chilling on the beach, then Brian and I wandered out to the Whales Tail. When the tide is low the area where I'm standing above becomes visible and it's shaped like a whales tail! This appropriately named area is the best place to see Humpback whales during their breeding season, no whales today but we did spot a few dolphins waaaay off shore. Along with the beach area, there are hiking trails through the lowland rainforest and a mangrove estuary, which we'll see more of soon! 

If you get to visit this beach...beware of falling coconuts! Ha! They missed me!

Just like at home! A spotted sandpiper at the edge of the mangrove estuary.


 The ever present great-tailed grackle...they we the most numerous bird we saw.

 Earlier in the day, yes, I'm out of order...again...oh well, you'll get over it...anyway...earlier we went to visit the Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary ( ). They're a great rescue and rehabilitation organization. Their main goal is the recovery and release of wildlife back to their native habitat. They have a 24/7 vet clinic and great volunteers to help the animals they receive. Some animals have suffered road strikes, abuse and domestication. They provide a great haven for the animals that can't be re-released into the wild.

They also provide education to local children and visitors like us!
 All cuddled up in his hidey hole is an northern tamandua, a type of anteater, very shy...
 This black-mandibled toucan, though they called a yellow-throated toucan, can no longer fly and is a permanent resident.

 Another black-mandibled toucan, but a free flying visitor!
 What happy little teeth you have!
This is a collared peccary I forget his name, but I'll call him Gregory...Gregory Peck-ory...ha...sorta...
Speaking of shiny teeth, they also have a crocodile.

This yellow-naped Parrot is named Lora, usually very talkative, like most females, she stopped talking while I was there...
Did you know, they can up to 60 years in captivity?! 
 Unfortunately they have several yellow-naped parrots that can't be released into the wild.
 This is Lapa, one of the two scarlet macaws they have.
People should NOT have these as pets
Spiderman!'s a spider monkey at least as agile in the trees as Spiderman!

This white-faced capuchin looks so sad and innocent, but he loves to throw things and splash water at anyone that nears his enclosure!
That's all for today! I have plenty more to share so stay tuned!

Saturday, March 9, 2024

PURA VIDA! My first day in Costa Rica...

My new buddies at Manuel Antonio National Park...

Wow! What a great vacation in the middle of winter! Thanks to our great friend, Brian, we all had a wonderful time discovering the wonders of Costa Rica. From birds to waterfalls, ocean front beaches and great food, we learned about the people and places in this amazing country.

Brian recently retired, along with a number of his friends, I'll retire in October(so excited!) and he decided it would be great fun to get everyone together for a trip to paradise to celebrate...which we did everyday! We hiked through a number of national parks, swam at beautiful waterfalls, relaxed at the beach and poolside and had wonderful meals together. Costa Rican food is delightful by the way...fresh seafood, vegetables and the best smoothies I'd ever had!

Our first destination was Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio. A three hour drive from the airport in San Jose, this place is amazing...rainforest, mountains and hills and out to the Pacific Ocean. The sights you'll see can be overwhelming. Please remember to bring your water bottles...unlike me...doh! A little bout of vertigo hit me near the end of the hike, but it was well worth it! And bring binoculars! There are birds galore out there, hiding and every once in a while coming out into view...and wildlife like lizards, mammals and snakes. Unfortunately I didn't see any snakes, next visit I'll look harder!

Anyway, here's a few photos from our first day out...

Brian our glorious leader and host telling me to be quiet and pay attention!

This is a species of basilisk reptile, I'm not up on my Costa Rican reptiles...


I don't know how our guide spotted these two brown bats high up in a tree!

 One of the first birds that I spotted on my own, I almost lost the group as they were looking at a clay-colored the way, this is a black-hooded antshrike.
Flights of brown pelicans were very common along the coast.
 Another great bird to see! A chestnut-backed antbird.


It took us a while to see where our guide was pointing, but when you finally spotted this common pauraque camouflaged in the leaves, it was a great sight!

There's a famous bridge along the way on Costanera Sur highway. It overlooks the Rio Tarcoles and is said to contain the largest amount of crocodiles in the world!

No swimming, it's against the law to feed the wildlife...

If you're looking for great-tailed grackles, turn around, they're everywhere!

A heliconia...the hummingbirds that we saw were way to fast for me to get any time!

The forest is alive with iguanas and lizards!

This orchid was growing on the side of the tree along with a number of other epiphytes.

My first scarlet macaw of the trip! Surprisingly difficult for a color blind burd nerd to see!

I envy three-toed sloths...that life of leisure...


We were lucky enough to see a group of white-faced capuchins feeding on fruits in the jungle!

 That's all for today...stay tuned for more in Adventures in Costa Rica!!


Wednesday, May 17, 2023

I'm Behind Again...and so are my photos!

 Howard Marsh at sunset...

Howard Marsh is an amazing place! Open for the past three years , it was farm land for the last hundred years or so. Donated to the Toledo Metropark system, they've done an astounding job of transforming the land back to it's original marsh habitat.

There's plenty of trails wrapping around and going through the area. You'll have the opportunity year round to see a number of species that migrate through, ducks in fall and winter, shorebirds in early spring and late summer and all of the wonderful migrants that make the Biggest Week in American Birding so great!

The high point for me was seeing the breeding black-necked stilts! It's been nearly sixty years since they bred in northern Ohio...and now we have TWO pair nesting here! And on top of that they're easy to see with one pair nesting near the benches near the boardwalk.

Next time Magee Marsh...and WARBLIES!!!!

The boardwalk is fantastic for seeing the stilts, grebes and coots...even old ones like me!

A juvenile bald eagle was eating his dinner atop a muskrats home...yummee!

A pair of American wigeons, a couple of gray and white things(ho-hum) and a peep gang!

Black-necked stilt booty!!
A stilt trying to get away from me...I can't understand why...
One of the two pairs nesting and breeding here!
I think I was discovered staring...
Them leggies is long!
Blue-winged teal waaaaaay back in the marsh...

this is cropped quite a bit!

Just a lowly brown-headed cowbird...
Lots of great egrets were fishing in the marsh...
A lonely horned grebe just floating through life...
This killdeer was leading me away from it's nest... supervision required for this Osprey photo!

Baby making time!

Taking a break after his little soiree...
Even the red-winged blackbird was shocked!
Hmmm...a semipalmated sandpiper, a dunlin and a lesser yellowlegs(which is hard to tell from that angle!)
Another semipalmated sandpiper and a lesser yellowlegs...maybe... not the best with shore birds butt I'm trying!
And my little song sparrow buddy!

Stay tuned for the warbly migration at Magee Marsh and the Biggest Week in American Birding!