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Newsletter

SVBC visits Hacienda La Amistad


by Doug Wilson
Over the past several years, my wife Linda and I have come to look forward to participating in some of the great trips organized by the San Vito Bird Club. These trips can be exciting, mind The author. Photo: Alison Olivieri expandinga chance to see things and go places weve never beenas well as a great time to spend with like-minded nature lovers. But most of all, these trips are just plain fun. Early Sunday morning this past February 28, twelve of usAlison and Michael Olivieri, Julie Girard and Dave Wooley, Jean and Fred Schroeder, Judy Richardson, Linda and I, and our bird-guide extraordinaire, Jim Zook, rendezvoused in San Vito and car caravanned the 40km to La Amistad Lodge. This unusual eco-lodge is set within the sprawling Hacienda La Amistad, a privately-owned property with almost 400 acres (160 ha) devoted to organic

August 2010 Volume 5 Issue 1

Fred Schroeder, Judy Richardson, Jean Schroeder & Michael Olivieri at Lodge entry. Photo: Alison Olivieri

farming, primarily coffee, as well as many more acres of mature premontane and montane forests that border on the La Amistad International Park. Upon arriving at the Lodge, a three-story marvel constructed of tropical woods, we were greeted by members of the friendly staff. A pair of White-faced Capuchin Monkeys welcomed us as we walked to our cabinas behind the main lodge. In short order we were unloaded, checked in and ready for the adventure to begin. As we began gathering for our first walk that morning, I noticed that some of the group were quite

preoccupied with tucking in clothing, spreading some kind of powder all over their shoes and socks. I overheard others talking about the danger we were about to face: chiggers or, as the locals colloquially call them, coloradillas. Yes, chiggers. I had a feeling these folks might have been just fooling around or maybe overreacting. Whats the big deal about chiggers anyway? The morning walk was beautiful. We were in the foothills of the Talamaca Mountains within the Hacienda La Amistad Private Nature Reserve, also known as the Las Tablas Protected Area, almost completely surrounded by the International Park. (UNESCO has declared this biological corridor a World Heritage Site and biosphere reserve.) As he has on other SVBC trips, Jim Zooks birding skills and cheerful patience not only helped us see birds we would otherwise have missed but provided a greater perspective and understanding of the remarkable forest environment we were enjoying. We returned to the lodge for a well-prepared, healthy lunch, then set out on another hikea bit more strenuous than the Walking along one of the roads in the forest. morning walk but no less enjoyable. We returned to Photo: Linda Wilson the lodge late in the afternoon for some private time in peaceful and beautiful. The expert birders in our group our cabinas. At 6:00 pm, all spruced up, we gathered had been hearing the distinctive ringing call of the in an open air lounge at the invitation of our host Three-wattled Bellbird, and it was here that they set and owner of the Hacienda, Roberto Montero. Don up the spotting scope and actually found one perched Roberto shared stories of the history on a very distant limb. This was my of the area and his familys pioneering favorite bird sighting of the trip, not establishment of the hacienda, and only because it was such an impressive of his role, assumed not so long ago, bird but also because I really admired as the forward-looking leader of this the perseverance of Jim Zookhe eco-lodge and sustainably-farmed never gave up trying to find it. Other finca. notable bird sightings, out of the 151 The next morning, after a hearty on the trip bird list, were the Sulphurbreakfast, I experience a bit of dj winged Parakeet, Scaly-throated vu: everyone in the group tucking Three-wattled Bellbird. Click image Foliage-gleaner, Tufted Flycatcher, to hear its song. Para escuchar su in clothing, talking of chiggers. It canto, haga click en la foto. Photo: Blackburnian Warbler, Prothonotary was obvious people were taking this internet; sound recording by [Grabacin Warbler, and Flame-colored Tanager. del canto por] Max Roth at Monteverde chigger thing very seriously. Even Cloud Forest Reserve, Costa Rica. There is plenty more to tell, but I was wearing boots, more because I wanted to look Ive run out of time and space It was a great trip with cool with my pants tucked into my socks than out of a wonderful group, and in addition to getting to know chigger-phobia. A 45-minute truck ride on rugged better another special corner of Costa Ricas southern dirt roads up through magnificent forests to a trail zone, I eventually learned a lot more about chiggers. headmost of us standing in the open backwas But thats another story! I encourage you to come and followed by a few hours of easy hiking that led us to learn things for yourself on one of the Clubs future a large meadow called Cotoncito. Everything was so outings.

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Setting out. L-R: Michael Olivieri, Linda Wilson, Alison Olivieri, Julie Girard (behind scope!), Dave Woolley, Judy Richardson, Jean & Fred Schroeder, and guide, Jim Zook.

Photo: Linda Wilson

Newsletter
SVBC visita la Hacienda La Amistad

August 2010 Volume 5 Issue 1

a los pies de la Cordillera de Talamanca, tambin 45 minutos de viaje en carrola mayora de nosotros conocida como Zona Protectora Las Tablas, casi afuera en el cajnpor caminos de tierra a travs de totalmente rodeada por el Parque Internacional magnficos bosques hasta el inicio del sendero fue por Doug Wilson (UNESCO ha declarado este seguido de varias horas de caminata tranquila que corredor biolgico como un Sitio nos llev a un gran prado llamado Cotoncito. Todo de Patrimonio de la Humanidad era pacfico y bello. Los expertos pajareros de nuestro y reserva de la biosfera). Como ha grupo venan escuchando el distintivo canto del pjaro hecho en otros viajes del SVBC, campana, y fue aqu donde desplegaron el telescopio la habilidad de Jim Zook y su y hallaron uno perchado en una rama distante. Este alegre paciencia no slo nos ayud fue mi ave favorita del viaje, no slo porque esta es un a ver aves que nos hubiramos ave impresionante, sino tambin porque realmente perdido de ver son que tambin admir la perseverancia de Jim Zooknunca desisti nos provey de una amplia de buscarlo. Otras aves notables que vimos, de las perspectiva y entendimiento del 151 de la lista del viaje, fueron el perico aliazufrado, ambiente boscoso tan interesante el trepamusgo de anteojos, el mosquerito moudo, que estbamos disfrutando. la reinita gorginaranja, la reinita cabecidorada, y la Hacienda La Amistad Lodge con cabinas detrs [with cabins behind]. tangara dorsirayada. Foto: Harry Hull Regresamos al albergue por un rico y saludable almuerzo, y luego nos Hay mucho ms que contar, pero se me acab el En los ltimos aos, mi esposa Linda y yo hemos fuimos a otra caminataun poco ms ardua que la tiempo y el espacio Fue un excelente viaje con un esperado con ansias el participar en algunos de los de la maana pero no menos agradable. estupendos viajes organizados por el San Vito Bird En la tarde regresamos al albergue para Club. Estos viajes pueden ser excitantes, ilustradores un rato de descanso en nuestras cabinas. una oportunidad para ver cosas e ir a lugares donde A las 6:00 pm, todos pulcros, nos nunca hemos estado- al igual que un excelente reunimos en un saln al aire libre por momento para disfrutar con amantes de la naturaleza invitacin de nuestro anfitrin y dueo similares a uno. Pero ms que todo, estos viajes son de la Hacienda, Roberto Montero. puro disfrute. Don Roberto comparti ancdotas de Temprano en la maana del pasado domingo 28 de la historia de la zona y de su familia febrero, doce de nosotros Alison y Michael Olivieri, pionera en el establecimiento de la Julie Girard y Dave Wooley, Jean y Fred Schroeder, hacienda, y de su papel, asumido no Judy Richardson, Linda y yo, y nuestro extraordinario hace mucho tiempo, de ser el sucesor gua, Jim Zook, nos reunimos en San Vito y nos fuimos en el cuidado y liderazgo de este eco- Doug Wilson y Dave Woolley acuerdan compartir una roca en medio del Ro Cotn. [Doug Wilson and Dave Woolley agree to share the rock in en caravana de carros los 40km hasta La Amistad albergue y finca sostenible. the middle of the Rio Cotn.] Photo: Linda Wilson Lodge. Este inusual eco-albergue est ubicado dentro A la maana siguiente, despus de de la extensa Hacienda La Amistad, una propiedad un buen desayuno, tuve la experiencia de privada con 160 has. dedicadas a agricultura orgnica, un pequeo dj vu: todos en el grupo acomodndose grupo maravilloso, y aparte de llegar a conocer mejor principalmente caf, as como muchas ms hectreas de la ropa, hablando de las coloradillas. Era obvio que otra esquina del sur de de Costa Rica, eventualmente bosque premontano y montano primario que bordean la gente estaba tomando esta cosa de las coloradillas aprend mucho ms sobre las coloradillas. Pero eso es el Parque Internacional La Amistad. El personal muy muy en serio. Incluso yo usaba las botas, ms porque otra historia! Le invito a que venga y aprenda cosas amistoso nos recibi al llegar al albergue, una maravilla quera lucir lindo con los pantalones metidos entre por usted mismo en alguna de las prximas salidas del de tres pisos construida toda en maderas tropicales. las medias que por la fobia de las coloradillas. Unos Club. Un par de monos cara blanca nos dio la bienvenida mientras caminbamos hacia nuestras cabinas, detrs del edificio principal. Rpidamente descargamos, nos registramos y estbamos listos para que iniciara la aventura. Cuando empezamos a reunirnos para nuestra primera caminata esa maana, not que algunos en el grupo estaban preocupados acomodndose la ropa, esparciendo unos polvos sobre sus zapatos y medias. Medio escuch a unos hablando del peligro que se aproximaba: las coloradillas. S, coloradillas. Tena el sentimiento que esta gente estaba vacilando o hasta reaccionando exageradamente. En todo caso, que es la gran cosa con las coloradillas? La caminata en la maana fue hermosa. Estbamos Bebidas al atardecer en el saln al aire libre. [Evening drinks in the open air lounge.] De I-D [from L-R]: Fred Schroeder, Jim Zook, Judy Richardson, Julie Girard, Doug Wilson, Alison Olvieiri, Dave Woolley, host Roberto Montero, en la Reserva Natural Privada Hacienda La Amistad, Jean Schroeder, and Michael Olivieri. Photo: Linda Wilson

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