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Good “Bird Karma” in the Nosara Forest

Elegant Trogon

Elegant Trogon

While here in Nosara for three weeks, researching for an interactive, environmentally-engaged art project, we were lucky enough to get to hike though a nearby forest with an extremely knowledgeable conservation biologist.  Felipe López, who’s doing a biodiversity study of the area, took us through the various zones of the diverse tropical dry forest biome, pointing out all sorts of amazing things. Though I somtimes lead nature hikes and foraging walks back home, I am still learning about the amazing and very different ecosystem here in Nosara…and tried to absorb Felipe’s every word. Luckily, he is just as big of a nature nerd as I am, and we both got really excited about the amazing “bird karma” we had during our hike. We were very lucky—not just to spot—but to get quite some time to watch two of the area’s rarest, most beautiful, and most interesting bird species: The Elegant Trogon (Trogon elegans) and the Long-tailed Manakin (Chiroxiphia linearis).

The Elegant Trogon is a relative of the better known Quetzal group, and is the rarest and showiest of the three trogon species here in the tropical dry forest. Its beautiful green plumage glowed in the sunlight as it flew from branch to branch ahead of us for almost 20 minutes.

Long-tailed Manakin

Long-tailed Manakin

The tiny, yet beautiful Manakin, with it’s red and blue head markings and long tail feathers, is known to be notoriously difficult to spot—and it’s elaborate and thrilling mating display tops many hard-core birder’s “must see” lists. The male we spotted hopped around in a single tree…and if that wasn’t cool enough, several minutes later his beta male showed up! Because these birds’ song and dance courtship strategies are so complex, younger males tend to “apprentice” with alpha males, both leaning the tricks of the trade, while helping the alpha stay in top shape and defend his territory as well. We had a wonderful time watching (and photographing) these and many other bird species, and I left truly impressed by Felipe and the stunning biodiversity of Nosara’s tropical dry forest.

 


Posted by Jenny Kendler

Jenny Kendler is an interdisciplinary artist, environmental activist, naturalist, social entrepreneur & wild forager who lives in Chicago and elsewhere. She is currently the first Artist-in-Residence with Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

 

Postcard from Nosara

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The sun lights up the Pacific as surfers (and their dogs) catch the last waves of the day.

 

Restoring Our Watershed

Filmmaker Joe Foster of Dapp Design House traveled to Costa Rica to produce short films for One Fund Costa Rica, a nonprofit with the mission to support good people doing good work around the world. Using storytelling, crowdfunding, and networking, One Fund finds genuine organizations within a community and creates videos to secure funding, resources, and support from donors who want to connect with causes they care about. By creating videos and networking platforms for several organizations working within the same community, One Fund provides members of these communities the opportunity to share with, learn from, and support each other.

Check out this video about Restoring our Watershed, a nonprofit devoted to protecting and renewing the water resources and ecosystems in the Nandamojo River Valley and Watershed and ensuring sustainable livelihoods for its communities.

A Creative Gathering at the Harmony

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Earlier this season, a group of musicians and friends traveled to the Harmony to surf, relax, play music, and support local charities. Nosara and the HH provided a beautiful backdrop for a weekend of connection and camaraderie among this creative and fun group of people.  The highlight of the experience was an intimate nighttime beach concert played by artists Cam Avery of Tame Impala, Omar Velasco, Jonathan Wilson, Rodrigo Amarante, and Langhorne Slim.  Check out some beautiful shots of the whole weekend taken by photographers Anna Palma and Thomas Northcut below:

 

Hideaways

green roof

Based in Nosara, Gecko Architecture has an emphasis on sustainable design.  The Hacienda Trinidad features green roofs to create habitat for climbing plants and to keep the building cool during the heat of the day.  The home faces prevailing winds, maximizing internal air movement; with high ceilings and openings on opposite ends of the building, air moves through freely, keeping the home naturally cool.  No air conditioning is required here: just passive ventilation which replaces hot air with a cool ocean breeze.  And with natural lighting and a view of the Pacific Ocean, this eco-home can’t be beat!

 

Postcard from Costa Rica

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You see movement on the ground beneath you, and when you look closer, there is a parade.  Small ants carry bits of green leaves, several times the size of the ants themselves, above their heads.  They are farmers, used to hard work.  They carry their prizes down the trunks of trees, along vines and branches, and across the earth to their underground chambers.  Here, they create gardens by injecting their leaf clippings with a fungal secretion, which digests the plant matter and turns it into a nutritious mushroom, which they use to feed ant larvae.  The adult ants thrive on leaf sap.  Older adults, who no longer tend to the gardens, collect waste to remove from the garden, putting it in a pile and moving it around to aid decomposition, composting like any true gardener.

Hideaways

treehouse

An icosahedron is a three-dimensional geometrical shape with twenty faces.  Joseph Mikrut, who has a background in architecture, engineering, industrial design, web and print marketing, nutrition, detox/cleansing, herbal medicine, and business development, decided to turn this shape into a treehouse.

Twenty feet off the ground, the treehouse is suspended by cables strung between four trees, allowing it to sway in the breeze.  With views of the mountains, the treehouse is located at the Rancho Delicioso eco-village in Costa Rica, which supports projects such as an experimental organic farming learning center and tropical green-building research.

Video Game Developed in Costa Rica to Protect Pink River Dolphin

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A new video game has been developed in Costa Rica titled Apu, el espiritu del rio, or Apu, the Spirit of the River.  This game is designed to raise awareness about threats to river species in Latin America, including the manatee and the Amazon river dolphin.  These animals are threatened by illegal fishing and habitat loss; the pink dolphin population has decreased by ten percent due to illegal fishing in Brazil, where the animals are used as bait to catch catfish.  The video game takes players through the river as a pink dolphin that dodges fishhooks, nets, and boats, encouraging players to recognize the threats to these beautiful river animals.