It’s 6.40 a.m. and I’m taking my observation-sofa place subsequent to a glass wall, overlooking hen feeders within the misty cloudforests of the Cordillera de Talamanca. My pal and host, Serge Arias, brings me a mug of a slowly, drop by drop, ready specialty Tarrazú espresso. I could also be in tropical Central America, however at 2100 m / 7000 ft a.s.l. within the Casa Tangara dowii boutique lodge and reserve – a birder’s dream venue, mornings are fairly cool.
The Talamanca Mountains that lie alongside the continental divide within the southern half of Costa Rica embody quite a lot of habitats, together with montane cloudforest and páramo, and include the best peaks of the nation. And quite a lot of specialty birds, too: Resplendent Quetzal, Black Guan, Snowcap, Fiery-throated Hummingbird, Golden-browed Chlorophonia and Spangle-cheeked Tanager (the hen that provides the title to the lodge), to call however a couple of.
I met Serge 5 years in the past, when he invited me to a mad hen race all the way in which from the Caribbean to the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Serge is a professor of ecotourism at College of Costa Rica, CEO and founding father of Costa Rica Birding Hotspots Route, CEO and founding father of Birdwatching Central America, and the previous supervisor of the well-known Selva Verde Rainforest Lodge. Casa Tangara dowii is his newest growth, each his house and his new enterprise initiative.
From my couch, I noticed the primary Widespread Chlorospingus, Chestnut-capped, White-naped and Yellow-thighed Brushfinches, and Silver-throated Tanagers coming to Serge’s papayas, hung maybe 2 metres (6.6 ft) above floor. However all of them needed to wait earlier than a number of Crimson-tailed Squirrels had their (greater than) fair proportion. On the planet of creatures small, squirrels are undoubtedly the kings. Each Mountain and Clay-coloured Thrushes additionally made their look.
On the bottom, spilled wheat attracted a pair of Dusky Rice Rats, to take mouthfuls underneath a specific log. Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush walked by, after which, one of many specialty birds got here, the Buff-fronted Quail-Dove (cowl picture), a not often seen ground-dwelling forest dove that was doubtless considering: ought to I peck some wheat or what?
Casa dowii is situated in Cartago Province, alongside the Panamerican Freeway within the Navarro Sombrero Protected Space that buffers Tapanti and Los Quetzales Nationwide Parks. It consists of a small reserve with a properly maintained in website path (over 195 species recorded, many endemic and uncommon birds accessible), cozy lodging and a eating room. It is a true birders’ venue, and visits are doable by earlier appointment solely. The lodge remains to be small (learn: secluded and personal) – in the mean time it sleeps solely two, however enlargements are deliberate. Actions embody mountaineering, quetzal search, espresso excursions, birding San Gerardo de Dota (extra about shortly), Quetzals and Tapantí Nationwide Parks, and extra.
Its place on the Panamerican Freeway signifies that many birding teams travelling both north or south will cease by, hen the reserve path (on the lookout for e.g. Black Guan, Purple-throated Mountain-gem, Northern Emerald-Toucanet, Furry and Spot-crowned Woodpeckers, Barred Parakeet, and many others.) and afterwards keep for breakfast or lunch. And did I point out that Serge is a grasp chef?
His delicacies focus is on prime native dishes with a gourmand accent, and the whole lot is gluten free. All substances are recent, obtained a day earlier from varied farms within the neighbourhood. Add to that a number of types of craft ales (with native hen names) and the Tarrazú espresso. This espresso comes from the namesake area within the inside mountains of Costa Rica – throughout Casa dowii, grown on mountainside farms at 1200 to 1800 metres above sea stage (4,000 to six,000 ft), described as having an “inherently intense flavour with peaks of shiny acidity and depths of candy honey and chocolate”. In an effort to discover ways to put together it correctly, Serge even turned a cupper, a espresso sommelier.
There’s some motion contained in the window-front bromelia. All I can see is a silhouette of a hen bathing in it, however its attribute beak tells me it’s a flowerpiercer of some form. Serge completed the ID course of, it’s the Slaty Flowerpiercer. Ochraceous Wren exhibits up, adopted by the reserve’s namesake hen, the Spangle-cheeked Tanager, two of them feeding on papayas.
Casa dowii Lodge is an uncommon architectural construction made completely of wooden and glass. In contrast to most homes being constructed from exterior to the within, deciding on the most important floor space first and digging the foundations accordingly, this lodge was constructed first as a small house, which grew organically over time, getting one other bed room, a viewing corridor, and a big eating room with a bar, plus the spacious terrace within the entrance.
I despatched a video of the inside to my spouse, she mentioned, oh, it’s so charming. Then I despatched her a photograph of Serge’s canine, referred to as dowii, named after the home named after a hen; and my spouse mentioned, oh, she is so cute. Seeing the way in which this goes, I made a decision to not ship her a photograph of Serge.
A motion amongst bromelias, a hummingbird… it’s the Purple-throated Mountain-gem, Serge IDs it, a regional endemic that Costa Rica shares with neighbouring Nicaragua and Panama. I hoped for the extremely elusive Buffy-crowned Wooden-Partridge, a Central American endemic (from Chiapas to Costa Rica) of humid evergreen forests ground, virtually unimaginable to seek out, and but it visits Serge’s feeder station… however, apparently, not when I’m sitting on the couch! The comfort prize got here within the type of two Prong-billed Barbets, chunky ochre birds with thick silver payments, a neighborhood endemic that Costa Rica shares with western Panama.
Okay, no extra ready, off to lunch within the Savegre River Valley we go… To be continued.
Learn the earlier, Rancho Naturalista stage, in the Land of Coffee and Chocolate.
Photographs by Casa dowii.