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Hola! Somos Alexia y Parks…

October 15, 2014
Us (Parks and Alexia) starting our day with a cup of tea while recording hummingbird date

Us (Parks and Alexia) starting our day with a cup of tea while recording hummingbird data

Hola! We are Alexia and Parks, the new managers of Reserva Las Tangaras. We arrived in Mindo last Wednesday and were met by outgoing managers Marc and Eliana. We explored Mindo with them and met some very nice and helpful people around town. After buying some groceries, we caught a taxi to the reserve entrance. Hiking along the entrance trail we saw Choco toucans, listened to a golden-headed quetzal, and were awestruck by all the bromeliads, ferns, moss, lianas, and just overall abundance and diversity of vegetation. Every tree limb is covered by another universe, which in turn is covered by other little worlds. We arrived at the beautiful and cozy lodge where we were immediately taken by the chirping, fluttering, zooming flurry of hummingbirds at the feeders. So many and so many different species! Back in Virginia and North Carolina, we had been thrilled by the visit of the ruby-throated hummingbird to our feeder, now we can look forward to over sixteen different species of hummingbird.

After two days of training and wonderful conversations, meals and birdwatching with Marc and Eliana, we watched as they headed off down the trail and our time as managers of the reserve began. We now have a solid week behind us that has included a group of four Ecuadorians from Quito who trekked into the reserve in the rain and camped, and apparently loved their visit despite the rain. Our next visitors were Alex and Serena from Australia, who are doing a fabulous sounding tour of South America. We had a really nice time talking with them and also making really yummy meals for them. For dinner, we had sweet potato fries, lentil burgers, and a fresh veggie salad, and also gluten-free chocolate oatmeal cookies for dessert. Serena is gluten-intolerant, so I (Alexia) made up a recipe, and it worked out so great, I’ll probably try to make it again. For breakfast, we prepared scrambled eggs with tomato, onion, and pepper, and Parks made his amazing biscuits. We also made fresh passion fruit juice and had fresh, sweet papaya slices. Yum!

Lunch with Eliana and Marc, the outgoing managers

Lunch with Eliana and Marc, the outgoing managers

Parks and I have been enjoying starting the day with a cup of tea on the veranda while doing hummingbird data. Every day, we track the hummingbirds that visit the feeders, as well as the flowers around the lodge. So far, our favorite hummingbird is the Purple-Throated Woodstar because it is adorable and looks and acts like a slightly larger bumblebee.

Purple-throated woodstar female

Purple-throated woodstar female

Butterfly with transparent wings

Butterfly with transparent wings

The last few days have involved getting to know the water system, trail maintenance, cleaning, “mowing” the lawn (using a machete), and waxing counters. Along with daily caretaking, we are getting to know trails and learning birds. There is such an immense diversity of birds here, and quite a few of them look extremely similar, so identifying them is a bit of a challenge. We are already getting better, but there are a lot to learn. We are also enjoying the many incredibly colorful butterflies – several of which have really cool, transparent wings. As for mammals, we have seen an agouti, two different species of squirrel, deer tracks and bats. If you leave the hummingbird feeders out a little longer at dusk, bats come and drink, flashing in and out so quickly that it’s hard to distinguish all their features.

So far, Parks and I have been loving all of it. Our past experiences on tall ships, on farms, traveling in rural areas, backpacking, maintenance work, and cooking and caring for folks (Hello to Arthur Morgan School!) have given us a wealth of skills and helped prepare us to be managers of Reserva Las Tangaras. We are excited to share more about the reserve and our adventures here over the next three months! Please come and visit!

This toucan wants you to come visit too. (It's either a Choco or Chestnut-mandibled toucan - you have to hear their very different calls in order to differentiate them.)

This toucan wants you to come visit too.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. October 16, 2014 10:52 am

    Awesome guys! Have fun!!!

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