Beasts Birds and Bugs of Costa Rica and the rainforest of the Austrians

Phil Cooper

Phil Cooper HistoricTravelTalks
Notice Period:
Short (maybe less than one month's notice)
U3A, Rotary, Probus, Womens Institutes
Expensed: Expenses as usually arranged by the hosts
29th July 2019
Costa Rica | Wildlife | Sloths | Travel

If people have never been to Costa Rica and are interested in wildlife I think they find this of real interest. This presentation showcases video (and some striking still photographs) taken on my 2018 trip to this fabulous country. There are some unique shots of sloths, one mother and child and another of a rarely seen encounter between two alpha male sloths. The guide had never seen this before. "I enjoyed your talk and the photos and the videos. I have already passed your details on to a contact at another Rotary Club" Brightly coloured birds such as Toucans, Curassaw, Acorn Woodpecker, Scarlet Macaw, Flame Coloured Tanagen and Emerald Toucanet, I find a delight to watch, particularly watching them feeding. The places visited represent the full variety of environments, from high altitude cloud forest (at Savegre) , to transitional forest (Manuel Antonio Reserve), to tropical wet forest (Tortuguero) to rainforest (Esquinas). The photo is of a cheeky Capuchin monkey - who stole the lunch of one of our party!Of course Costa Rica is well know for its bird life. While many will have seen humming birds, (as I have) it was a superb sight to be close to these magnificent birds as they weaved their way around us lumbering giants. I never grow weary of watching these creatures. Fellow traveller Bob Mason provided some outstanding photos - its a must for ornithologists. Howler, Spider and Capuchin monkeys using their prehensile tail to move from branch to branch provide an often amusing spectacle. Other animals featured are the Tent Maker Bats and White Lined Bats, Agouti, Coati, Caiman and Green Iguana. In the title I mention the Rainforest of the Austrians. The inspirational Michael Schnitzler who as a conservationist has obtained over $4 Million from his Austrian sources to purchase land and develop Esquinas Lodge. Amazingly he has done this in between travelling to between Costa Rica and Austria, where he is an internationally admired violinist and concertmaster the Vienna Johann Strauss Orchestra. Any contributions will be forwarded to the above project . I have talked with Michael and any contributions will be forwarded on to allow more reforestation is taking place of land used for grazing. This helps sustain species under that and also helps to lock in more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

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About Phil Cooper

I am registered on Zoom and have undertaken 5 presentations using this. One of these to a Rotary Club in Victoria Australia. This was by using screen share, as my talks revolve around photographs I have taken of various places I have visited.

During this time where people need help if there are any donations I will be sending them to the homeless who are vulnerable at this time. I would stress that for me it isn't a money making venture. Any donation from the Costa Rica talk will go to the reforestation project "Rainforest of the Austrians". Please google this to see details of their tremendous project. There is a PayPal reference if a group wants to support this. More details are on the website.

The accent is on the visual, with enough verbal to explain the story of where I have visited. I have accumulated what I feel are good photographs to illustrate my talks which relate to my travel experience. I had 19 speaking engagements in 2019, to various organisation. These presentations relate to places, often with a historical background and often not readily visited. These include Syria and Jordan, the Silk Road in Central Asia and Western China,, India and Cuba. Cuba and Panama. “Great presentation – I spoke to people tonight they were the cleanest photos seen at a Travel Club Presentation. Very good 9 out of 10. It must have been good, hardly anyone dropped off to sleep!” (Taradale Travel Club New Zealand).

My blog site is (Copy and paste)

One trip I wish to really promote is the trip to Costa Rica. Anyone who is interested in wildlife will enjoy this. There are some excellent photos provided by a colleague on the trip and lots of video. One particular scene involving sloths was something the guide had never seen in his 18 years experience. It also features a superb reforestation project "The Rainforest of the Austrians", re establishing habitats and adding to the carbon trapping capacity. I have liaised with the inspirational Michael Schnitzler and ALL funds generated are sent to Costa Rica to continue this.

I look back at my trip in the Middle East - from Cairo to Istanbul and reflect on what I saw then and what I see currently in places like Aleppo. However the highlight for me was the crusader fortress of Krak des Chevaliers, which is shown on the photo I have included. This was described by TE Lawrence as "perhaps the best preserved and most wholly admirable castle in the world". Indeed he associated with many places along this journey.

I research the topics thoroughly and I provide a narrative and background to illustrated talks. I operate on a voluntary basis and am prepared to travel within reasonable distances from my home in North Nottinghamshire.

 Along the Silk Road in Central Asia Talk Feedback

This part of Central Asia included in particular Kunya Urgench, Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand. The buildings are simply stunning and the area is historically very interesting. It is the arena where the Great Game was played out, the political and diplomatic confrontation between Britain and Russia in the 19th century, which was described by one of the audience as fascinating.

"Very interesting talk. I could hear every word. I knew nothing about this area and learnt a lot. Pleased I came!!"

“Your talk was extremely interesting and I do believe, if you had spoken for much longer   everyone should enjoy it, and no-one would be bored. I did like the aspect that you kept referring to the map when relating to the history this indeed helps when discussing reasons and timings when situations occurred in the distant past. I also feel that your talk appeals to almost all  age groups, and both male and female.”

I am a former graduate Biology teacher and also coached cricket for 24 seasons. mainly in New Zealand,Scotland and Amsterdam. as a professional.

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