March 2014

The road to Cloudbridge can be a bumpy ride in a car but it is a beautiful walk with the added bonus of great birding.

The road to Cloudbridge can be a bumpy ride in a car but it is a beautiful walk with the added bonus of great birding.

 

Volunteers/Researchers:

The group ARO from Quebec sent two groups this month to help out with transplanting seedlings and other misc. work in the tree nursery, as well as annual road maintenance.

ARO volunteers from Quebec

ARO volunteers from Quebec

A well deserved swim in the river

A well deserved swim in the river

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Bob stayed until mid month and rewired a few of our older buildings.  Thanks Bob for all of your help these past few months.  It is much appreciated!

Bob practicing his electrical skills

Bob practicing his electrical skills

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Christian Shulz had to leave us and head back to Germany, but not before he managed to experience some great night hikes.  He also explored the forest during the day adding new photos to his collection.  He did some machete work as well as plumbing repairs in the nursery and carpentry.  He is a plumber by trade, but wanted to experience nature through a volunteer experience.  He says he is coming back and we look forward to having him.

Christian

Christian

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John Himes PhD from Florida  has joined the Cloudbridge team and will be managing day to day operations and expanding our research program.  John has much experience as a herpetologist and in field research.

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John out looking for dragonflies

 

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Sara Silva and Joao Reis from Portugal are travelling the world.  This is just one stop of many for them.  Previously they spent 2 years working in the Cayman Islands to save a little money for the next leg of their journey.   Now they are up for some volunteering.  Sarah is a pharmacist and Joao an engineer.  Their careers are on hold while they experience many opportunities and adventures. Here at the reserve they are measuring trees for research on reforestation methods as well as tree nursery tasks and help with computer related issues.

Sarah transplanting seedlings

Sarah transplanting seedlings

Joao (center)  takes the lead role in supervising other volunteers on a task in the yard

Joao (center) takes the lead role in supervising other volunteers on a task in the yard

 

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Natalia is a young Costa Rican student studying tourism at a University in San Isidro.  She is volunteering once a week so that she can practice her English while learning a little about ecotourism in her country.

Natalia

Natalia

 

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We say goodbye at the end of the month to Matt Smokoska our resident biologist.  His enthusiasm for biology and nature has been a real asset for the reserve.  He has introduced many people to the life that abounds after dark with his numerous night hikes.  During the day he also  did group tours as well as private tours  covering trails in search of birds and wildlife.  He always takes the time to share information and photos resulting in many happy and informed visitors.

Thank you for the hundreds of photos that you have left us for future reference.

You will be missed.

Good luck with the job hunt back in the United States.

Matt, always taking photos.

Matt, always taking photos.

Watching quetzals with Karen from Switzerland

Watching quetzals with Karen from Switzerland

Working in the welcome center.

Working in the welcome center.

A visit from Matt's sisters and friend from Michigan

A visit from Matt’s sisters and friend from Michigan

 

A night hike led by Matt:

Examining snakes that Matt collected prior to the night hike

Examining snakes that Matt collected prior to the night hike

Two young biologists

Two young biologists

Everyone searching for Suzie, the resident glass frog.

Everyone searching for Suzie, the resident glass frog.

The group on this hike included Cloudbridge staff and volunteers, Swiss tourists, and local community volunteers

The group on this hike included Cloudbridge staff and volunteers, Swiss tourists, and local community volunteers

Searching in the dark

Searching in the dark

3 glass frogs on one leaf!

3 glass frogs on one leaf!

I think he attracts them

I think he attracts them

Glass frog - Peering up at the light wondering what all the excitement is about.

Glass frog – Peering up at the light wondering what all the excitement is about.

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Birding in March:

March seems to be nesting month for many species.  It is not uncommon to be hiking along and have a bird fly out from a nearby hidden nest.  Also the quetzals are calling, which indicates the beginning of the mating season for them.  This year there have been regular sightings along the main trail of a young male who we hope has decided that this location will be his territory.  It is an easy and accessible spot for avid birders in which to see one.

Quetzal on the main trail

Quetzal on the main trail

Blue-hooded Euphonia

Blue-hooded Euphonia Photo by Matt Smokoska

The nest of a Black-faced Solitaire

The nest of a Black-faced Solitaire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 2014

Courtesy of  Bill Green Photography

Courtesy of Bill Green Photography

Visitors:

The group “Wilderness Inquiry” brought another eager bunch of visitors to Costa Rica to explore the forests and beaches.  They came up to Cloudbridge for a day hike.  They hiked to the water falls, along the river trail and across both bridges guided by Tom and Linda.  What a fun group.  Two of them, Mary and Mary Rose (later known only as the 2 Marys) decided to stay on longer, renting one of our casitas and exploring many more trails.  The 2 Marys also did a night hike and took part in one of our weekly pot luck dinners!

Matt, the group leader for Wilderness Inquiry - making his way across the suspension bridge

Matt, the group leader for Wilderness Inquiry – making his way across the suspension bridge

Group photo - Wilderness Inquiry

Group photo – Wilderness Inquiry

The 2 Marys

The 2 Marys

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Tico Times

Editor Ashley Harrell, and Journalist Lindsay Fendt from the English on line newspaper ‘Tico Times’ stayed at Cloudbridge for a few days. They worked on a couple of projects while here and also managed to have a few fun adventures of their own, one of which included an accidental fall into the river and over a small waterfall.  No one was hurt except an expensive camera and a wounded pride .   Their stories about the reserve appeared in Tico Times in February under the links: http://www.ticotimes.net/2014/03/02/amateur-herpetologist-goes-on-hikes-in-costa-rica-finds-unlikely-creatures   and  http://www.ticotimes.net/2014/02/13/name-that-tree

Lindsay and Ashley - Tico Times

Lindsay and Ashley – Tico Times

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GVI – Global Vision International

Three of the leaders from the organization GVI came up for a visit to observe the work of the researchers that they send to Cloudbridge.   The trip was a chance for the Cloudbridge staff and the GVI staff to share ideas, become better aquainted and to discuss insites for enhancing  our working partnership.  While here they had a chance to hike some of the trails and check out some of the current projects.

Blaine the Director of GVI in Costa Rica is stationed out of Quepos

Blaine the Director of GVI in Costa Rica is stationed out of Quepos

Mariliana - Base Manager and Frank - Mentor of interns (researchers) both work out of the GVI Caribbean location Jalova.

Mariliana – Base Manager and Frank – Mentor of interns (researchers) both work out of the GVI Caribbean location Jalova.

Frank tracking a butterfly - his specialty

Frank tracking a butterfly – his specialty

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Research and Volunteers:

Tree Identification – Our on going project of tree identification in the old growth forest was given a little help from our researcher Marlena  and from our guest and tree climber Sierra Allen along with  her boyfriend as the ground belayer .   The climber would ascend these tall and inaccessible trees and bring down samples of leaves, fruit or flowers that were then observed, documented and photographed for identification.

Sierra

Sierra

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Marlena and Linda observing the leaves sent down from the climber

Marlena and Linda observing the leaves sent down from the climber

It's a long way up! Photo courtesy of Bill Green

It’s a long way up!
Photo courtesy of Bill Green

Just hanging around in the jungle

Just hanging around in the jungle

Marlena photographs each leaf and fruit for identification

Marlena photographs each leaf and fruit for identification

The goal is to eventually have every tree catalogued with location and species information within this section of the old growth forest.  This information could be useful in the future for research on animal habitat observations, forest conservation methods, biodiversity studies, and as indicators for monitoring climate change.

We welcome any contact information for tree climbers, botanists,  and researchers who would be interested in helping with the continuation of this project.

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Bill Green and Beth Cooley

A special thanks to Bill and Beth who are keen photographers and have helped us record some of the efforts at the reserve.  We appreciate the use of the photos and expert advice.  Bill even presented a short session to our researchers on good photography skills for the purpose of tree identification.

Bill keeping a close eye on our tree climber in the old growth forest.

Bill keeping a close eye on our tree climber in the old growth forest.

Beth and Linda taking a break after a long hike up.  This is a perfect way to catch chiggers!

Beth and Linda taking a break after a long hike up. This is a perfect way to catch chiggers!

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Dionthe and Alex our GVI researchers have wrapped up their time at the reserve.  There were a few interesting observations from the biological survey data.  They added 16 new bird species to the database.  The assessment of data indicates a need for more preparation and training for interns in the future.  There has to be more emphasis on learning bird calls for identification.

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Bob Jacobs MD from Nova Scotia, Canada is our newest volunteer.  He is spending a month in the San Gerardo area, learning Spanish, enjoying the culture, and helping out at the reserve.  Bob has the ability to see what needs to be done and gets right to work.  He has completed a variety of small projects that have been waiting to be done including electrical and carpentry work.  we are very grateful to have someone with all of these skills.

Bob building desks for the cabinas

Bob building desks for the cabinas

Matt’s Photo Gallery:

Matt Smokoska our resident biologist has taken so many beautiful photos.  To see more of his photos join our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cloudbridge-Nature-Reserve/323929640980995

Here is just a few of the latest:   (Click to enlarge)

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Common tody flycatcher

Common tody flycatcher

Speckled Tanager

Speckled Tanager

Elegant Euphonia

Elegant Euphonia

Caterpillars

Caterpillars

Eleutherodactylus crassidigitus

Eleutherodactylus crassidigitus

female Norops polylepis

female Norops polylepis

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Beetle guarding her young for a week when this photo was taken

Beetle guarding her young for a week when this photo was taken

Resplendent Quetzal

Resplendent Quetzal

Male Collared Trogon

Male Collared Trogon

"Suzie" our resident Glass Frog

“Suzie” our resident Glass Frog

Tropical Parula

Tropical Parula

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Juvenile Pit Viper

Juvenile Pit Viper

Common Blunthead Vine Snake

Common Blunthead Vine Snake

Tarantula

Tarantula

Male Masked Tityra

Male Masked Tityra

These two were spotted by the photographer a few days before Valentines Day.  Could that be a heart?

These two were spotted by the photographer a few days before Valentines Day. Could that be a heart?