Thursday, February 21, 2013

Bird Watching in Costa Rica

Friend, Vicki, and I braving the thorns to catch a closer glimpse of the boat billed heron.
I am the first to admit that I am not an avid or knowledgeable bird watcher, but in Costa Rica I became much more interested with a skilled tutor, Jorge.  Jorge grew up with both his grandfather and his father working at CATIE, the Tropical Agriculture Research and Higher Education Center in Turrialba.  Instead of going into botonanical studies, he became a river guide and made his living that way until he suffered a shoulder injury.  Now he conducts other adventure tours with both his own adventure tour company and as a sub contractor for Costa Rica Rios in and around Turrialba with a special emphasis on CATIE and the Pre-Colombian archeological site at Guayamo.  Like many Costa Ricans, he is extremely concerned and learned about environmental issues.  Because of living so close to nature, Jorge loves all plants and creatures and can answer almost any question you might have.


This post is for my cousins, Barbara and Diane and friend from high school, Mary, who really do know their birds and travel all over the world to see them.  Here is a list of what Vickie and I saw in about two hours and some very poor shots I managed:

Rufus Motmot

Baltimore Oriole (yes they really do fly south for the winter!)
Wedge billed woodcreeper
clay colored robin (the National bird of Costa Rica)
Cattle Egret

Boat billed Heron

Black-crowned night Heron
Green Heron
Golden -hooded tanager
Boat billed fly catcher
Northern Jacanda
Zoomed in a bit too much, but isn't this rather like Monet's Water Lilies?

Purple Gallinulas

Montezuma Oro Pendula
Montezuma Oro Pendula going for a banana in a feeder.
Black-banded wren
Summer tanager
Road side Hawk
Great Kiskade
Yellow-bellied Elania
Variable seedeater
Yellow warbler
Palm tanager
Common tody-Flycatcher

Keel-billed toucan
great tailed-Grackle
Socit Flycatcher
Crimson fronted Parakeet

blue gray tanager
black vulture
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird
House wren
tropical Kingbird
Slary-tailed trogan
Collared Aracari

buff-throated saltator
spot-crowned eufonia

If I continue to enjoy birding, I will need to get a camera with a faster shutter, and a much bigger zoom lens.  Some photography lessons might help as well.  Now if only the birds would stay still long enough for me to get the shot! Mostly I caught only a blurred image as they took off.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Everyone loves a Mime

During our stay in San Jose, Costa Rica, one Sunday afternoon we walked down Central street which has several plazas.  As in all Central American cities, the plazas are social centers of activity.  This Sunday, many entertainers were out. 
Oddly, a pair of young American musicians singing songs by the Beatles.
 A duo of mimes caught our attention along with a sizeable crowd.

 And no street fair is complete without children getting their faces painted...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Going for the Gold

Real gold that is!  In this case in the Museo del Central Banco in San Jose.  A fascinating exhibit that includes not only all the the gold artifacts discovered at the various archaeological sites around the country,(except of course those pilfered over the years by grave robbers) but a wonderful re-creation of how the native Costa Ricans might have lived three thousand years ago.

Recreation of how artifacts were found at the excavation site. 
Spinning and weaving cloth
Chiefs and High Priests
Goldsmiths using lost wax casting.
Preparing bodies for burial
Brewing an alcoholic beverage

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Lola Fernandez, A Living Treasure of Costa Rica

During our time in San Jose, Costa Rica, we were lured by gold fever into the Los Museos Del Banco Central to see the Pre-Columbian Gold Exhibit.  I will post photos of that glittering exhibit another day, because I was diverted by the vibrant paintings of Lola Fernandez.  

Lola Fernandez was born in 1926 so inherited a contemporary love of abstract expressionism of the previous decades.  Not a peer of Frida Kahlo, Georgia O'Keefe, and Emily Carr, she never the less, inherited their love of color and form and can stand shoulder to shoulder with them as a star in the galaxy of important women artists.

The Museum mounted the show on vibrant colored walls to set off this important body of work by one of Costa Rica's premier artists.

Working in many styles and media over her lifetime, Fernandez continues to grow and improvise and learn her craft well into her eighties.