Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Birds of a Feather

Tri-colored Heron

Tri-colored Heron

The Tortuguero canals are my favorite in Costa Rica. The quiet waterways with arching thick vegetation, hidden wildlife and mirror reflections hold magic. One watches for rustling leaves and movement out of the corner of an eye...hoping to see one of the many creatures that lives here.

The following photos are just a few of the over 300 species of birds. Many were photographed with the dreaded flash which was useful against the dense foliage and the fact we were gliding through the canals by boat. For the most part, I was happy with the results, particularly the feather details.



Bare-throated Tiger Heron

A Bare-throated Tiger Heron preening on a palm frond.

Snowy Egret 02

Snowy Egret

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 01

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 02

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 03

The Yellow-crowned Night-Heron in the three photos above put on quite a display for us, preening, strutting and flapping his wings!

Blue Heron

A watchful Blue Heron bides its time quietly at the water's edge.

Green Heron

Green Heron

Keel-billed Toucans 02

...and everyone's favorite, a comical pair of Keel-billed Toucans, high above, in a fruit laden tree.

Please click on the images to view in a larger size on Flickr. On Flickr, press L to see in light box.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Family ties ~ Tortuguero Village

The Soccer Ball

The foursome caught my attention, particularly the boy with the red soccer ball and his inscrutable expression. Behind the children there is a cluster of well fed, expensively equipped tourists (I do not exempt myself from that description!) One of my Flickr contacts observed that three of the children are barefoot. True, but I don't think they lacked shoes, rather, I think they shucked them off the way kids are prone to do.

Pretty Blue Dress

The houses are very modest, usually with a riotous tangle of wires in one corner connected to a nearby utility pole. Almost everyone has a rank overstuffed sofa on the front porch, or in the yard, curious because of the almost daily rainfall. Everyone has laundry (ostensibly drying) draped over anything horizontal. I marveled at the near futility of this chore and wondered how anything could dry in such thick humidity. Incredibly, given Costa Rica's climate, children were always neat and clean.

Tortuguero was one of the few places where we had time to walk about and explore a village, tiny as it is. The shops exist for visitors who come to see the nesting green sea turtles. Some village offerings are inexpensive handicrafts, vendors selling coconut water in the shell and a rambling bar by the canal selling very welcome ice cold beer

It was late in the afternoon when we arrived and families were gathered in a small park by the water. The interaction between parents and children made a deep impression and I thought of the isolation in many U.S. families from over extended lives with too little free time and the abundance of television, cell phones, pods, pads and internet that presumably connect us.

Family 01

There were colorful clusters of people everywhere and always an assortment of appealing dogs.

Family 04

Family 06

A young mother with large red earrings and a small infant on a bright blue bench.

Family 03

Family 10

This lovely woman grooming her daughter, framed by bamboo at the water's edge, is one of my favorite photos from our trip.

Family 08

Shadows deepened creating a silhouette of family ties in Tortuguero.

Friday, February 24, 2012

the Juggler and the Dog

There is a dreary overcast sky indicating weather on the way in Maine. As an antidote, I thought I'd post this light-hearted series I shot in Tortuguero Village, Costa Rica. I stumbled across the scene unexpectedly and there was no time to check camera settings.

The Juggler and the Dog





Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tortuguero ~ Lots of Turtles

The Place of the Turtles 06

Tortuguero means lots of turtles and it is on this stretch of the Caribbean coast, in Costa Rica, that Green Sea Turtles come to nest. It was the wrong time of year so we didn't see the remarkable spectacle of the turtles emerging from the sea to lay their eggs. They return again and again to this place of crashing waves and riptides in spite of being harvested and threatened by logging activity in years past. The area became a national park in 1970. Although an eco-tourist destination, the shoreline is remote, there are no roads. The only access is by plane or boat. A short path from the beach brings one to Tortuguero Village with its population of roughly 500.

The Place of the Turtles 05

The Place of the Turtles 04

The Place of the Turtles 02

Sea foam and tropical haze from drenching humidity give the shoreline a unique atmosphere. One wonders if a velociraptor will come crashing through the dense growth at any moment, but there goes my overactive imagination again!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

First Impressions ~ Costa Rica

Poinsettia Splash

Tangled Growth

Doka Coffee Estate, located on the slopes of the Alajuela Poas Volcano. Costa Rica.

it wasn't hard to pack for Costa Rica. Light clothing, a waterproof poncho, bathing suit, walking shoes and a fleece for chilly mountain temperatures were all I needed. I agonized over my camera equipment and, especially, the desire to bring my new macro lens. In the end, I left it at home (thank you JCB for that advice!) It was a good decision. There was no time to change lenses on the rugged and uneven trails, my hands (and everything else!) were slick with perspiration and sunscreen. Even my glasses were opaque with grime at the end of the day.

I've never done much wildlife photography and the trip was a challenge. The sluggish reptiles were cooperative subjects, but the butterflies and birds were difficult to capture. My small point and shoot was handy and the Canon EFS 18-200 mm was perfect for almost every situation. The following shots are from our first few days and our introduction at INBioParque. There are more photos on my Flickr Stream and hundreds more to edit and post!

Butterfly Garden 02

Butterfly Garden 05

Can You See Me? 001

Sudden Flight

Caiman in the Grass

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!


Hello Blogger friends! We are home from Costa Rica! I have a memory card full of amazing wildlife I hope to share with you soon!

Wishing everyone a Valentine's Day full of sweet surprises.

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