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Early Spring at Reserva Las Tangaras

April 13, 2012
Sunset over the forest

Birding along Sendero Gallo de la Peña.

Hello from your new Reserva Las Tangaras reserve managers!  We arrived in Mindo on March 28th where we met Juliet and Yvan and marched four-strong into the forest through a proper cloud forest welcome- rain and mud.  Bidding farewell to time well spent at Las Tangaras, Juliet and Yvan left us the following day for their next great adventure.  And thus ours began…

We are Luke Bloch and Katie Crossman of Eugene, OR and Butte, MT respectively.  Luke is a biologist with over seven years of experience working in the field, primarily with birds and will be heading to Berkeley in the fall to earn a PhD in Integrative Biology.  Katie is an educator with a passion for the environment and will be heading to Colorado State University in the fall for an MS in Environmental Sciences.  We have lived many places… Luke in Panama, Venezuela, Hawaii, and San Clemente Island, and the two of us in the Bay area, Seattle, and most recently Los Angeles.

It was a bit of an adjustment going from sunshine and dry climes to the moisture-laden life of the cloud forest, but we´ve adjusted and have had an excellent half month of life among the trees, birds, and tarantulas!  As you might have guessed from the previous posts, we are in the midst of the rainy season here!  Some say it will start to dry out a bit as we move into May, but looking at the previous rain records for the reserve, we aren´t so certain!  So far, our rainiest day was this last Wednesday with 68 mm total (and most of it was while we were sleeping!).  The rain often brings beautiful lightening and thunder storms in the evening and it´s been interesting watching the fireflies dance in the dark periods between flashes of lightening.

We´ve seen 115 species of birds so far, getting late afternoon visits from the famous Andean Cock of the Rock in the trees in our front yard and Torrent Ducks swimming in the river just down the hill from the cabaña.  We have counted 18 tanager species, 14 hummingbirds at the feeders and 2 more in the forest, and we´ve seen Andean Dippers near the source of our drinking water.  We also have, just across the river from us (at the beginning of a place we call Yanez Pasture), a tree we´ve labeled the Mammal Tree.  In this fruiting tree, we´ve had evening visits nearly every evening for a week from a little oppossum (Caluromys lanatus?) we´ve named Maurice.  One evening, instead of Maurice, we had a visiting Kinkajou (Potos flavus).

We have no idea what this is. But it´s beautiful and only occurs in a small patch of the forest.

Pablo the Armadillo has only been spotted once on the trail, but he is still around.  And the fence for the garden seems to be doing what it´s supposed to– keeping him and his friends out.

We look forward to our remaining time here…  It´s so much fun to wake up every morning and wonder what new animal, plant, bird, or insect we might see.  The other day, while hiking a trail for a bird count, we stumbled upon a microenvironment along a hillside that had the most incredible flowering plant.  It was an epiphyte, growing in the sun spots through the breaks in the foliage, and it was pink and pointy, but blossomed into the most beautiful purple flower (you can tell we´re birders and not botanists!).  Then, a few steps down the trail, it was gone!  The forest can be mysterious like that.  What makes that spot the only place in the forest this flower can grow?  It´s so fascinating… What else might we see like this?

Thanks for reading our blog and we hope you enjoy our updates as we include them!  Please feel free to request certain subjects, as there is much to tell about life here!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Fredrick kerika permalink
    April 14, 2012 2:51 pm

    The flower is the most beautiful i have ever seen.
    Congratulation guys,and please do have funs.

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