Costa Rica: N P & T F

Day 11 - Sunday, December 23, 2012 - San Gerardo de Dota; Search for Quetzals; Day at Leisure

The rooster crowed at 5:00 and our alarm went off at 5:15. With those persistent reminders, we knew it was time to get up and get ready for the 6:00 Bird Watch. The temperature was 58° and the humidity was 77%.

We met 12 of our group at the Lodge, excited to search for the Resplendent Quetzal. Samy had the bus warm and took us a few miles up the canyon to where an avocado tree is known to attract the quetzals.

When we arrived, Eddie set up his scope ready to focus on the habitat tree. A group of about seven tourists and a guide had hiked up the hill and were approaching right under the tree.

Instead of looking from a distance, they frightened this elusive bird from everyone’s view. Eddie and Samy were not happy and grumbled a bit about guides who were so greedy and unprofessional that they would sacrifice the tranquility of bird watching for a big tip!

We learned the virtue of patience by watching and waiting for the bird to calm and to show us his brilliant blue-green and vivid red colors. The high altitude of 7,600 feet and the lush vegetation of this valley are perfect conditions for spotting this bird that is on serious birdwatcher’s top-ten list.

Ironically, the Maya calendar ended two days ago, but their sacred bird is still alive and well; but visible only for those who get up early and are patient.

We went back to the dining room for breakfast at 8:30 and got ready for the next hike at 9:30. This was a three hour trek to the waterfalls on the Savegre River.

On the way out of the grounds the owner and visionary, Efraín Chacón happened to be passing by. Eddie introduced us to this gentleman who had the foresight to conserve this land as a sanctuary for the Quetzal. He gave us some of the Japanese plumbs he had just harvested from his orchards.

Back on our hiking trail, we continued through the forest and saw several nesting boxes placed to encourage the safe reproductive cycle of the Quetzal. The famous Quetzal Institute is nearby and students from all over the world come here to observe these birds.

Our walk to the waterfall was long and treacherous. Roots and rocks on the narrow path discouraged the faint of heart from continuing. We started with eleven of us and by the time we actually reached the rocks of the waterfall, Eddie took a picture of the six survivors.

Our walk back was at a more rapid pace as water and lunch were waiting for us when we returned at 12:30. After lunch we worked on photographs, began writing the journal, and enjoyed our afternoon on our own.

Eddie planned another streamside chat in the lodge for 6:00. He gave us more specific information about the environment and habitats of the valley.

We checked our mail and looked for the results of the Broncos game before we enjoyed another lovely buffet dinner with our 14 new best friends.

As we come to the end of our Costa Rican National Parks Tour, we have to pack up one more time to travel back to San Jose in the morning.

Accommodations: Savegre Lodge - Meals: B, L & D

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Fantastic trip! Your photos are spectacular - wish there were more. So much you tell about we don't see.

Carolyn Moon   December 24, 2012 - 3:07am
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Juvenile Resplendent Quetzal

Juvenile Resplendent Quetzal

Queen of the Night

Queen of the Night

Efraín Chacón

Efraín Chacón

Birds of Savegre Reserve

Birds of Savegre Reserve

Six Survivors of the Waterfall Trek

Six Survivors of the Waterfall Trek

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