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Words fail.

March 20, 2013

The we I will refer to here is a bunch of really great folks mostly from North Carolina and Georgia who came to Costa Rica with Georgann Schmalz to see birds here. There are some.

We were guided through the mist and rain and sun and wind by Charlie Gomez, Marco Niño and Georgann. Pretty amazing trio. Charlie and Marco are native Costa Rican birders. Charlie has 27 years of experience, a great personality, lots of patience… an awesome guide. Marco has a really quick eye for birds in obscure places and can dodge dogs, children, trucks, and tractors while driving our bus and getting us where we needed to be on time, in good shape. Together they are awe-inspiring. Georgann, who’s no slouch at findin’ em’, looked out for those of us sorta out of our depth, making sure we saw what was spotted and told us what it was. Without her several of us would have stood around with our mouths open gazing at blitz birding, amid the plethora of species, by people who seem to be constantly detecting birds by sight by sound and by instinct. What a crew!

We were on the birding trail every morning until late in the evening some days. Many of the crew were up at 5:00 AM and out. Franca and I couldn’t always pull that off but everyone in the group was at it by 7:00 AM every day. We started the trip at the El Cafetal Inn, near San Jose. After El Cafetal, 1 night, we went to the Arenal Observatory Lodge, 2 nights, Natural Lodge Caño Negro, 2 nights, Celeste Mountain Lodge, 2 nights and the Solimar Ranch in Guanacaste on the way back. Back in San Jose we stayed at the Bougainvillea Hotel, fantastic garden… great food!

Of course every trip has a hitch or two… I made the airline reservations more than a year before the actual dates of the trip and assumed that we were all on the same flights, going and returning, so we went to the airport with the rest of the gang only to discover our flight had left several hours before. As it turned out we got to stay 2 more days, see a bit of San Jose and even more birds including a White-winged Dove nesting within three feet of our hotel window. The Museo Nacional was really nice, lots of pre-Columbian artifacts and cultural examples from the early inhabitants of the area.

This was a great trip. We learned a lot, saw some beautiful landscapes and, of course, birds. We’ll do it again.

One thing I know about photography… it can never convey the total experience of sight, sound, and smell in a manner that is a  substitute for being there. The lighting conditions as well as the weather forced me to shoot in a manner to which I am not accustomed, to wit, higher ISO settings,consequently more noise in the images, and the possibility of a lack of sharpness because of low light levels necessitating that higher setting which also called for slow shutter speeds. Nevertheless photographing the birds and flowers of Costa Rica was great fun. Just remember this is no substitute for being there.

On to Austin on the 22nd.


From → Other Artists

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