Yosemite National Park – Tenaya Lake

The Tioga Road passes the trail head for May Lake, then Olmstedt Point, Tenaya Lake, and the climbing venues on the Stately Pleasure Dome and Pywiack Dome.

May Lake, 2019.

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Mount Hoffman, from the trail to May Lake

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View southeast, from the trail to May Lake. Cathedral Peak (left) and Echo Peaks (right)

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View from the trail to May Lake

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Extreme telephoto view of Vogelsang Peak, from the trail to May Lake

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May Lake and Mt. Hoffman

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May Lake

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May Lake

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View of Half Dome, from a pull-out on the way to Olmstedt Point. X marks the spot where the Cable route to the summit begins. Figures can just barely be made out.

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Red crossbills

Olmstedt Point.

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Glacier-polished slabs

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same as above

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Glacier-ground slabs

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same as above

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Sierra juniper

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Chipmunk

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Lizard

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Pine cones drip sap

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Mob scene, Sept. 2019

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Potholes

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Pika

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Sierra juniper

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same as above

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same as above

Views to the west.

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Clouds Rest Peak is seen on the left, the Quarter Domes in the center, and Half Dome on the right

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Clouds Rest Peak is a bastion of granite. At its right extremity are the Quarter Domes

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Clouds Rest Peak

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Half Dome, with Mt. Watkins in the right foreground

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Half Dome and cars, at Olmstedt Point

Views to the east.

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A wide-angle view from the summit of a small dome that sits above Olmstedt Point. Tenaya Lake is to the right, with a snowy Mt. Conness in the distance. Immediately to the left of Tenaya Lake is a formation named “The Stately Pleasure Dome” (SPD), by climbers. And the small dome seen just beyond Tenaya Lake is Pywiack Dome.

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Telephoto view of the SPD, with climbers seen near both the top and bottom of the photo. The open book facing the camera is a route known as the Great White Book.

Tenaya Lake and the Stately Pleasure Dome.

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Tenaya Lake

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Tenaya Lake

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The Great White Book, on the SPD

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Climbers on the Great White Book route

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Climber free-soloing the Great White Book route. His left hand reaches into his chalk bag.

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Another route on the SPD. Runners and carabiners connect his rope to protection pieces placed into the crack to his side.

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Friction climbing on the SPD

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Same as above. The tan areas are glacier polish.

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same as above

Pywiack Dome.

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Sierra juniper

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Friction climbing. The figure at the left is rappelling down.

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same as above

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same as above

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This route follows  a system of dikes

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Rappelling from the top of the slab

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Tree in pothole

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Granite slab, forest and cliffs

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Curved overhang

Here is the link to the next post: https://believesteve.org/2020/01/02/yosemite-national-park-tuolomne-meadows/

Tuolomne Meadows, which is located just a few miles up the road.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in California, Photography, Rock climbing | Leave a comment

Yosemite National Park – The Valley

I’ve been coming and going from Yosemite for a long time. Yosemite Valley (and the balance of the park that surrounds it) is in a class by itself – first, for its spectacular granite architecture, and then for its waterfalls, rivers, meadows, trees and so much more.

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Left to right: Royal Arches, Washington Column and Half Dome. 4X5 photo, mid-60s.

I first visited Yosemite in 1955, when my parents, myself and my Aunt Etta did a 6 week-long tour of the western US, primarily to see the National Parks. I was 15 at the time, and the magnificence of the parks made such an impression on me as to determine the course of the rest of my life.

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At the Wawona Tree. Myself, and my Mom at the wheel. 1955.

I returned to Yosemite Valley in 1960. I had become a climber that summer, and learned that “The Valley” was a climbing mecca.

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Climbing on the Royal Arches, with Pete Lev. Early 60s.

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Postcard to my folks, showing my climb on Yosemite Point Buttress. Early 60s.

I spent many weeks and months in the Valley during the early 60s, after having started, and then stopped, my college education (at UC-Berkeley) in 1959. I became a ski and climbing bum, traveling throughout the western US and abroad. In 1966, I married Karen Holdaway and returned to UC-Berkeley. This put me, again, in the vicinity of Yosemite.

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Snow climb on Sentinel Rock, early 60s. View to the east, with the snow-covered Clouds Rest Peak in the center, and Half Dome on the right.

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Same, view to the west, with the Cathedral Rocks on the left and El Capitan on the right

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Postcard to my folks, showing climb of the Southwest Face of Half Dome, early 60s

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Cathedral Spires, in a smokey haze. Fall, 2019

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Me, climbing Higher Cathedral Spire. Photo by my climbing partner (and later National Geographic photographer), David Hiser. 1964

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Middle Cathedral Rock, in a smokey haze. Fall 2019. Behind the trees on the left is the East Buttress route, which I climbed with Joe Faint in the mid-60s.

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Climbers, on the Direct route of Reed Pinnacle. The standard route on Reed Pinnacle was my last Valley climb, Spring 1966.

My last climb in the Valley was on the standard route of Reed Pinnacle, in the company of Jim Bridwell and Kim Schmitz. I tell that story in another post: https://believesteve.org/2016/05/12/reed-pinnacle-my-last-climb-in-yosemite-valley-spring-1966/

The Associated Students at UC-Berkeley (ASUC) ran a top-notch photo lab, staffed by the published professionals Dave Bohn and Roger Minich. The teaching emphasis was on the West Coast tradition, best exemplified by Ansel Adams. So, I returned to Yosemite with a 4X5 camera.

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Lost Arrow and Yosemite Point Buttress, mid-1960s

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Left to right: Cathedral Rocks, Bridalveil Falls drainage and Leaning Tower

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Merced River in the foreground, with, left to right: El Capitan, Clouds Rest Peak, Half Dome, Sentinel Rock and Lower Cathedral Rock

 

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At the base of Upper Yosemite Falls. Sentinel Rock is seen on the left. Mid-60s.

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At the base of Upper Yosemite Falls, mid-60s

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Lower Yosemite Falls, mid-60s

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Potholes, Lower Yosemite Falls, mid-60s

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Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls, mid-60s

35mm photos, 1960s.

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Merced River, winter, early 60s

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Vernal Falls, early 60s

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Snow-covered benches, early 60s

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Deer, early 60s

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Merced River and maples, early 60s

El Capitan, 1990.

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North America Wall

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The Nose and the Dawn Wall

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The Nose sits in the center of this vast expanse of vertical granite

Yosemite Point Buttress, 1990.

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Lost Arrow and Yosemite Point Buttress

Vernal Falls, 1990

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Vernal Falls, ’90

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Vernal Falls, ’90

Merced River in winter (photos interpreted with Topaz Simplify).

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Camp 4, early 60s.

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Maya, with dogwood blossoms

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Columbia Rock, with Gary Colliver (left) and Jeff Foote (right)

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Columbia Rock, with Jeff Foote

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Camp 4 scene

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Camp 4, with Gary Colliver (left) and Fred Beckey (right)

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Camp 4 table

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Columbia Rock, Steve Miller. Photo by Karen Miller.

Little Yosemite.

Little Yosemite is the valley of the upper Merced River, located atop Nevada Falls.

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Left to right: the backside (south face) of Half Dome, Liberty Cap, Nevada Falls and the entry to Little Yosemite. From vicinity of Glacier Point, 1990.

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Sierra juniper and lichen

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Silver Apron, Merced River

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Silver Apron, Merced River

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Steve Miller, fishing in the Merced River, early 60s

Here is the link to the next post – Tenaya Lake:

https://believesteve.org/2020/01/01/yosemite-national-park-tenaya-lake/

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in California, Nature, Photography, Rock climbing | Leave a comment

Bald Eagles for the Holidays

It’s Christmas Day (2019), and one of my presents was to sight four bald eagles. I was able to photograph two of them. This was along the Racecourse stretch of the Rio Grande, between Pilar and the County Line River Access.

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Posted in Birding, Nature, New Mexico, Photography, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Eagles Everywhere!

The major migration of bald eagles has arrived at the Rio Grande. They come, presumably, from points north, and always show up in mid-December … which, I’m guessing, is when the northern waters have started to ice up. The Rio Grande is relatively ice-free in the winter, which also attracts bunches of northern ducks. The eagles hunt those ducks, along with fish.  They are readily seen along the river from Velarde upstream to the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, which stretches to the Colorado border. The Orilla Verde stretch of the Monument, which begins in the vicinity of Pilar and ends 6 miles upstream at Taos Junction Bridge, is where I habitually see the greatest concentration of eagles. Eagles are also often spotted along the Racecourse stretch, downstream of Pilar (see map at end of post). The following photos were all taken yesterday (12-20-19) in Orilla Verde.

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Posted in Birding, Nature, New Mexico, Photography, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument | Leave a comment

Water Birds, Alameda CA, Fall 2019

Migratory seabirds abound in the Bay Area in the winter months. And they are much more approachable than the migratory seabirds we get along the Rio Grande, in New Mexico. It must be that they are exposed to so many people, in that very populous area.

The following photos were taken along a waterway that runs through a fancy subdivision on Bay Island, Alameda.

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Black-necked stilts

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same as above

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Bufflehead

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Goldeneye

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Cormorant

Below are photos from San Leandro Bay.

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Black-necked stilts and willets

 

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Buffleheads, in the channel leading to San Leandro Bay

 

 

 

Posted in Birding, California, Nature | 1 Comment

Aerial Photos, ABQ to Oakland, 9-26-2019

On September 26, I flew Southwest Airlines from Albuquerque to Oakland. This route usually provides views of the Grand Canyon and the Sierras,  but the vagaries of seating in the plane, the clarity of the windows, the time of day  and the presence or absence of clouds determines what kind of photos I get.

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Leaving Albuquerque, view to the north. The Sandia Mountains are seen in upper right. The Rio Grande runs through the center of the photo, and lava flows are seen on the left. View to the NE.

Clouds covered most of the rest of New Mexico and Arizona, including all of the Grand Canyon. But, I did get this view of the gorge of the Little Colorado, which here runs right to left through the center of the photo.

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Gorge of the Little Colorado River, view to the N

And, west of the Grand Canyon, Lake Mead showed up.

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At the head of Lake Mead, where the brown water of the Colorado River is brought to a complete halt against the blue water of the lake.  A distinct boundary is encountered at this point. Due to a continuing drought, the lake has been shrinking, and, thus, the end of current has been advancing downstream. Since 2008, it has advanced about four miles downstream. View to the N.

I spotted the following two sights in western Nevada, which I later ID’ed with Google Earth.

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Silver Peak Mine settling ponds

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Mt. Dubois (13,565 feet), view to the NE

Then, with mostly clear skies. we crossed into California, flying to the south of Mono Lake, and over Yosemite NP.

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Mono Lake and Yosemite NP, view to the NE

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Yosemite NP, view to the NE

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Yosemite NP, view to the N

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Northern Yosemite NP, view to the N

The plane passed directly over Yosemite Valley,  and then left the High Sierra behind. We then flew over the Tuolomne River.

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Cherry Lake and Lake Eleanor are on tributaries of the Tuolomne River, view to the N

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Built to provide drinking water to San Francisco, Hetch hetchy Dam drowns the Grand Canyon of the Tuolomne River. View to the NE.

New Melones Dam floods the Stanislaus River. This is where, in 1973, the river conservationist, Mark Dubois, chained himself to a rock, to protest the dam.

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New Melones Dam floods the Stanislaus River, view to the NE

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The Central Valley

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Oakland Airport

 

Posted in California, Nature, Photography, SWA Flights-photography | Leave a comment

Rio Grande Winter, #1, Dec. 2019,

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Bald eagle, Rio Grande, Pilar, 12-10-19

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Mallards, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, 12-10-19

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Barranco Blanco, Embudo, 12-11-19

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Toreva block, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, 12-13-19. Toreva blocks are seen throughout the Rio Grande Gorge, which is cut predominately through basalt. They are large blocks of basalt that have broken away from the canyon rims and remained intact as they slid down and away. In most cases, they have rotated in a counter-clockwise direction as they slid, thus ending up tilted backwards. Numerous very large blocks form terraces in the gorge. This tilted block  slid away from the cliff face seen behind.

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Bighorn ram and truck, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, 12-13-19

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Bighorn sheep, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, 12-13-19

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Bighorn ewe, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, 12-13-19

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Bighorn ewe and ram, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, 12-13-19

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The big guy, who allowed me to drive right up to him, and take photos from the driver’s seat. Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, 12-13-19.

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15 bighorn sheep graze on the canyon slope, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, 12-13-19

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Northern flicker, Pilar, 12-14-19

 

 

Posted in Birding, Nature, New Mexico, Photography, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Birding in Northern Costa Rica, Part 4

On the morning of Day 7 we left Arenal for La Ensenada, which is located on the upper eastern shore of the Gulf of Nicoya. On the way, we passed through the town of Tilaran.

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At gas station in Tilaran

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Huge spreading acacia and cabins at La Ensenada

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Crepe ginger

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Baby viper on graveled path

 

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Gulf of Nicoya, view to the south, with Nicoya Peninsula to the right

Our first outing was a boat ride a short distance to the north, into the mangrove estuary that fringed the shoreline

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Semipalmated plover

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Brown pelicans, by Tom Petersen

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Local folks out for a Sunday boat ride

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Magnificent frigatebird

 

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same as above

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same as above

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Juvenile frigatebird, by Tom Petersen

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Low tide in the mangroves, with crabs covering the muddy surface

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Crabs

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Little blue heron

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Resident yellow warbler (aka Mangrove warbler), by Tom Petersen

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Osprey, by Tom Petersen

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Crocodile, on the rocks close to the landing

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Royal terns, by Tom Petersen

We next visited the salt pans.

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Black-crowned night heron (juv.)

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Short-billed dowitcher

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Yellow-crowned night heron

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Black-necked stilt

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same as above

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same as above

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Snowy egret and white ibis

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Snowy and great egrets, wood storks, immature white ibis (rear) and roseate spoonbill

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Roseate spoonbill and wood stork

In the late afternoon, we were taken on a ride through the wetlands that surround the lodge, on a wagon pulled by a tractor.

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Egrets and laguna, by Tom Petersen

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Common black hawk (aka Mangrove hawk), by Tom Petersen

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Mangrove hummingbird

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Frog

The tractor tour finished, at sunset, with a climb to the top of a nearby hill. The local version of a sunset rum cruise, we were treated to cold beers and pop.

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Gulf of Nicoya, view to the west, by Tom Petersen

On the grounds of the lodge.

In the open air dining area, white-chested magpie-jays had discovered a new eco-niche. They would take, from either the tables or a glass container, packets of sugar. See such a packet in the photo below.

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White-chested magpie-jay, with packet of sugar

The jays were, of course, very habituated to people, and would allow a close approach or approach us closely. This was, for me, a great pleasure, since they are such handsome birds!

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White-chested magpie-jay

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White-chested magpie-jay on sugar container

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Spot-breasted oriole

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same as above

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In Costa Rican usage, “Rabo de zorro” translates to “Squirrel tail”. A hummingbird and insect favorite, it is in the verbena family, and known as “porterweed” in English.

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Bee, on porterweed

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Rufous-tailed hummingbird

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Green-breasted mango hummingbird, by Tom Petersen

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Cinnamon hummingbird, by Tom Petersen

 

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Rufous-naped wren

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Turquoise-browed motmot

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Ferruginous pygmy owl

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Pacific screech owl

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same as above

We left La Ensenada on the morning of Day 9, and would be returned to San Jose that afternoon. But birding was not over! We saw this Stripe-headed sparrow on the drive out to the coastal road, onto which we turned south.

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Stripe-headed sparrow, by Tom Petersen

Our destination was the Rio Tarcoles area, where we hoped to see scarlet macaws. This area was the first stop on our last year’s southern trip, at which we did see those birds. But not this time.

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Scarlet macaw, seen in 2018

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Native tree next to teak plantation, Rio Tarcoles

Our last sighting was this Black-bellied whistling duck, after which we had lunch and headed uphill to San Jose.

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Black-bellied whistling duck

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Our last lunch on the road, Day 9

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Beach view

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Flag of Costa Rica

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Contributing photographer Tom Petersen, by Laurie Petersen

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Appendix

Kathy and I stayed an additional day, during which we visited the Jade Museum. While this museum did indeed exhibit jade artifacts, most exhibits had to do with the aboriginal inhabitants of Costa Rica.

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Feathered headdresses incorporate quetzal plumes and curassow tail feathers

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Painted ceramic

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Male figure

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Female ceramic figures

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Painting of painted woman

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Executing a prisoner

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Tableau

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Stone penis

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Tableau

Then, on our flight north over Nicaragua, we were treated to the sight of Lakes Nicaragua and Managua, along with a number of active volcanoes.

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Ready to pushback. San Jose.

The first volcano we sighted was Masaya.

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Masaya volcano

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Apoeque volcano, adjacent to Lake Managua

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Momotombo volcano, on the other side of Lake Managua

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San Cristobal volcano (?)

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Housing development under construction, Houston

We’re back (sigh).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Birding, Costa Rica | 6 Comments

Birding in Northern Costa Rica, Part 3

From Caño Negro, we returned south, to the the crossroads at Muelle, and then turned west. We climbed to La Fortuna,  where we had lunch, and then circled around the north side of Arenal volcano, to the Arenal Observatory Lodge, which sits just south of the volcano. The volcano is no longer active, but the La Fortuna area is a tourist hub, and very busy.

On the way:

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Laughing falcon, by Tom Petersen

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Stopping to shop. That’s me (Steve) in the pink shirt, by Tom Petersen

At the hotel:

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By Tom Petersen

 

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Arenal Volcano. Cloud cover never allowed a glimpse of the summit of Arenal Volcano while we were there.

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Cloud forest (in the clouds)

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Clouds obscure the view of Arenal Lake

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Arenal Lake is a large reservoir

The hotel was surrounded by cloud forest and beautiful grounds. An elaborate fruit feeder was positioned a few yards from the viewing deck of the hotel, but there were no hummingbird feeders.

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Collared aracaris at the fruit feeder

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Montezuma oropendola

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same as above

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Brown jay

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same as above

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Crested guan

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same as above

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Curassow, female

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Golden-olive woodpecker

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Red-legged honeycreeper, on ginger flower

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Red-legged honeycreeper

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Scarlet-rumped tanager on heliconia

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same as above

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Eyelash viper, on signpost

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Emerald tanager

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Golden-hooded and emerald tanagers

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Golden-hooded tanager

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same as above

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Black-striped sparrow

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Bananaquit, on porterweed

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Beehive ginger

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Laurie Petersen, on bridge connecting the lodge to additional grounds and pool, by Tom Petersen

We also visited a nearby “skywalk”, which consisted of a trail system connected by bridges that spanned a number of ravines.

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Cali uses his laser to pinpoint the location of a bird, by Tom Petersen

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Unknown plant

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Seed pod

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Philodendron

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Unknown plant or ?

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Broad-billed motmot, from bridge

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Cecropia, from bridge

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Limb

We also encountered one or more groups of White-faced capuchin monkeys, who broke off branches and tossed them down in our direction, as they are known to do.

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White-faced capuchin monkey

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same as above

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same as above

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Rufous-tailed hummingbird on porterweed, by Tom Petersen

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Eyelash viper (dark morph), by Tom Petersen

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Fasciated tiger-heron

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Here is the link to Part 4: https://believesteve.org/?p=16538

 

 

Posted in Birding, Costa Rica | 3 Comments

Thanksgiving, 2019, with Flo and Ethan

The Flo and Ethan Miller extended family gathered at Flo and Ethan’s new home, in Penngrove, CA. A GREAT time was had by all.

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Andrew blows out his birthday candle

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Andrew and Miss America (dog)

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Andrew is now an online editor, working on Apple TV productions like The Politician and For All Mankind

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Lox and bagels!

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Lox and bagels, with Steve replacing Flo in this pic.

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Shannon with Miss America and Jenny with a mimosa. Quin and Ethan behind.

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Ethan slicing

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Ethan doing gravy

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Babette, Flo and George

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Tossing a football

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Leeks and a gravy boat

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Kath and Jenny

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L. to R.: Karen, Jenny, Shannon, Andrew, Quin and part of Ethan

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Quin, with Andrew’s Japanese scotch

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Pies

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Shannon (left) and Camille

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Shannon, Jenny and Vinnie (dog)

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At dinner. The whole mishpacha. 

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Drinks

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Dinner setting

 

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