|Posted by Stacebird on January 9, 2018 at 9:00 AM||comments (0)|
Exciting news this morning! Our resident biologist and naturalist guide Stacey Hollis spotted a group of highly endangered YELLOW-BILLED COTINGA, this being the second sighting here at the ecolodge after last year's first in February '17.
These birds are highly endangered–their population is suspected to range between 250 and 999 individuals remaining, according to Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Neotropical Birds website. This is attributed to deforestation of rainforest and mangrove ecosystems, both of which these birds critically rely upon. This rare species is endemic (existing locally) only to the Pacific coast of Costa Rica–including tucked here into our beautiful corner of the rich Golfo Dulce– as well as ranging slightly into the extreme western corner of Panama.
We're happy to report that this sighting was shared with Andy Whitworth of Osa Conservation (Conservación Osa), Gary Strehlow and Terri Peterson of Nueva Tierra de Osa as well as a lovely family of guests staying here with us at the ecolodge.
From the wild nutmeg tree, the birds most enjoy the aril (inside the seed casing the nutmeg nut is covered by the aril, which is another of our kitchen spices, called mace.) The aril is a bright reddish pink and looks like an octopus hugging the nut.While the white faced capuchins crack open the seed, discard the spicy mace and eat the nutmeg nut. The cotingas, which aren't bothered by the spice, enjoy it tremendously!
Their presence speaks highly of the health and functionally of these intact local ecosystems that we help protect, and to be able to share these beautiful natural spaces and rare sightings with our guests while informing them of the importance of maintaining and protecting these natural habitats is in keeping with our education-based. And to be able to share with others this never to be forgotten experience, this incredibly rare, beautiful, snow-white bird, the Yellow-billed Cotinga is and to revel in the sight of a proud, brilliantly gleaming male facing the rising morning sun. What a memory, one for the ages.
|Posted by fincasaladero on December 23, 2017 at 2:00 PM||comments (3)|
There is much more going on here than can be seen watching a lazy perezoso long-settled in the crook of a cecropia from a bipedal’s vantage point far below. In fact, a panoply of interactions are happening that we’d need a lot of patience, perhaps an extending ladder and certainly a microscope to bear witness to, that of the oh, so fascinatingly complex life history of the three-toed sloth..
A low-energy diet of slow-to-metabolize leaves, which also happen to contain a mild narcotic, are both to blame for the eternal dawdling of this beloved and unique icon of the tropics. Nevertheless, its sluggish pace provides plenty opportunity for an entire ecosystem to set up shop all throughout the pelt of this slothfully sedate soul.
Algae finds an easy substrate to grow within the grooved strands of fur which from this furry perch provides nutrients to an array of both microorganisms and invertebrates, including the various species of “sloth moths” which call this (and only this) slow-moving terrain of a mammal home. The symbiotic relationship that provides a substrate upon which the algae can grow reciprocally acts as effective camouflage for this creature that can’t make a hasty escape when predators are near.
Female sloth moths take advantage of the perezoso’s weekly defecatory descent (aka pit stop) to lay her moth eggs in the feces the sloth deposits at the bottom of the tree. When the hatching moths emerge, they fly upwards to spend their lives nestled in the perezoso’s fur, feeding on the algae and nutrients from the sloths’s skin secretions as well as adding their own defecations to the system all while awaiting their next reproduction cycle on the mating grounds that is this very mammal’s own fur.
But that’s not all folks! So when the perezoso makes its laborious and energy-intensive descent, it is making itself perilously vulnerable to predation. So why go through all that trouble to carefully deposit one’s droppings and (perhaps almost reverently) bury it underground at the foot of the tree? Scientists have long debated this and the possible hidden benefits of this arduous journey just to go poo. What this all revolves back around to is the micro-ecosystem within the fur of this fascinatingly complex creature and the algae that grows upon it. The algae itself is rich in nutrients and the sloth in fact feeds upon its own body’s edible garden, which thus provides the animal with nutrients otherwise lacking in a diet solely of leaves.
Whew, I can hardly keep up! But can you even imagine how this rich interaction of species in such a micro environment evolved? It’s an complex interconnection of relationships that has in fact persisted for millions of years. And just think how much research (and patience!) it must have taken to figure all this out? And yet even within this micro-ecosystem, there’s still even more to learn in regard to energy input & output and how these vulnerable appearing animals have persisted throughout time. The secrets of the rainforest are infinite and every step we take to learn more about it not only benefits the species we’re learning about but perhaps has the possibility of benefitting the planet and we bipeds who inhabit it as well.
|Posted by fincasaladero on December 16, 2017 at 9:20 AM||comments (4)|
Welcome to Saladero Ecolodge's blog where I invite you to join me for an in-depth experience of all the goings on here in our little corner of paradise!