|Posted by Stacebird on January 25, 2018 at 1:55 AM||comments (6)|
What a season it’s been! We’re well into the high season at Saladero and it’s warm, sunny and the sparkling blue waters of Golfo Dulce are luscious and inviting.
We’ve had just absolutely delightful guests hailing from all corners of the planet, making for fascinating and lively conversation around the table at meal times. Countries represented thus far include Germany, Ukraine, Scotland, Ireland, Malta, the UK, Canada, South Korea, Holland and plenty of folks from the Pacific Northwest and east coast of the United States. Many new friendships have formed in this beautiful paradise set on the edge of Piedras Blancas National Park overlooking the rich Golfo Dulce.
Some of the fun bird and wildlife sightings we’ve had of late include the critically endangered Yellow-billed Cotinga (of which there are only between 250 and 1000 birds remaining, see our post here!) as well as many close encounters from the kayak, stand-up paddleboard and even snorkeling with the Pacific Green Sea Turtle as we came into the height of their breeding season.
We’ve also sightings of the tamandua (a large species of anteater) that walked right by us sitting out one evening on the Beach House patio and a family of guests watched in awe as one climbed up a tree in the back corner of the garden. The Scarlet Macaws, which were reintroduced by Zoo Ave to Piedras Blancas after becoming locally extinct in this area, have provided a welcomingly colorful spectacle along the forest edges as well as lovely views of them and our iconic Chestnu-mandibled Toucan from the Tree House balcony.
A beautiful and harmless Neotropical Bird Snake gave us some closeup views in the grass behind the kitchen. We’ve had plenty of monkey sightings, the cheeky White-faced Capuchins drinking water from coconuts by the Rancho picnic and camping area, Mantled Howler Monkeys also come through on occasion and are heard roaring from the forest. We’ve even had some special sightings of the much more rarely seen Spider Monkeys which have experienced reductions in populations in Piedras Blancas in previous years.
A Tayra, a larger member in the weasel family, was seen walking in the garden above the Glamping Cabins and Collared Peccaries (wild pigs) that are an important food source for the bigger cats have made their presence known in the back gardens. Speaking of peccaries, we’ve recently retrieved the data cards from our camera traps and they were well represented on Trail One and the Puma Trail. Video was captured of groups moving across the stream on various occasions, once with even a tiny piglet in tow! Also in the cameras we had many Agoutis and a spotted Paca (similar to groundhogs with long legs, both in the rodent family).
The Three-wattled Bellbird has also come to town, making it’s annual latitudinal migratory descent from the upper mountains to the lowland primary rainforest to forage on fruiting trees while belting out it’s strange “bonk!” from the treetops.
In the Golfo Dulce, our snorkelers have enjoyed watching a managerie of fish species including parrotfish, rays, triggerfish, moray eels, butterfly fish, angelfish. A frequent guest, Rob, is a scuba diver-and-fisherman-extraordinaire. Rob has been coming to Saladero on a annual basis since the lodge first opened. Rob and his brother-in-law Kurt practice catch and release but when begged, managed to have a few "keepers" for dinner. Rob taught our Ukranian guest Leon some great skills in the ways of fishing and we enjoyed one of Leon’s triggerfish in a fresh ceviche appetizer the morning he left.
The fresh sea breeze off the Golfo in the afternoons is the perfect way to wind down the day and the sunsets over the Osa Peninsula have been just phenomenal and aptly timed for our happy hour vista. Pure Vida! Pure Life, indeed!
|Posted by Stacebird on January 9, 2018 at 9:00 AM||comments (1)|
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 (11)|
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!