Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Harvesting Timber from the forest floor; Mexican Elm “Cenizo”

Saturday, September 17th, 2016

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One of the emergent trees in the canopy of 2nd growth and old growth forests here is the Mexican Elm Ulmus mexicana. When an ancient tree falls to the forest floor the timber remains intact for decades as this tree is very rot resistant and very hard. When you mill the wood in dimensions smaller than 4×6 beams it tends to warp which is why these trees were not harvested years ago when this valley was timbered. The Mexican Elm is an excellent wood however for joists and columns.

We are now building again, starting our last structure here at Mount Totumas Cloud Forest. So we are harvesting the wood of this ancient Mexican Elm.

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Opening up the ancient trunk reveals clean solid wood

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See this big slab? We’ll come to this in a few months and show you where this will end up!

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Lepidopteran Dreams

Monday, September 5th, 2016

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Meet Albert Thurman. He has been coming to Panama for almost 40 years doing research on Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) and he organizes entomology nature tours 3-4 times a year. This is his 6th trip to Mount Totumas.

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Meet John McDonald. He has joined Albert on many of his trips and is an expert on the moths of Panama. John arrived a couple days
early and spent invaluable time going through our collection and correcting all the misplaced specimens!

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Meet Margarita, a student from Ecuador who is attending Mississippi State University and is focusing her studies on micro moths.

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Patience and a steady hand required!

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Bill and John looking at specimens

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At night our restaurant gets converted into an impromptu lab and freshly caught specimens are examined.

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Margarita on the left and Ana on the right. Ana is studying entomology at the University of Panama.

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Meet Tatiana. She currently lives with her husband Brian in Boquetee. They are both entomologists who come up and stay with us when
Albert visits. Tatiana creates beautiful original paintings of fauna of Panama and she has done a series of lepidoptera of Panama.
This painting is of a geometrid moth first collected here at Mount Totumas by Charles Covell of the McGuire Center in Gainsille Florida.
This species is new to science and is currently being described.

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New geometrid species from our collection.

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Alma and Tatiana displaying Tatiana’s work.

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The following images are from the collection here at Mount Totumas. All the insects displayed were only collected here at this single
location. This collection is a window revealing the immense biodiversity here in the cloud forest.

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Eribidae with Eulepidotinae (right hand columns)

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Sphingidae of Mount Totumas

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More Sphingidae of Mount Totumas

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Saturnidae of Mount Totumas

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More Saturnidae of Mount Totumas

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Eribidae; Catocalinae of Mount Totumas

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Sematuridae and Uraniidae of Mount Totumas

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Eribidae; Arctiinae of Mount Totumas

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More Arctiinae

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Geometridae of Mount Totumas

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More Geometridae of Mount Totumas

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Display of diverse beetles and other insects of Mount Totumas

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Misty new moon warm nights with no wind and this is what happens when you put up black lights and mecury vapor lamps.

In The Field Spotting Birds

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

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Some times you have to step back from spotting the birds and observe the observers. Here are some fun shots of friends and guests in the field spotting birds and helping each other locate them.

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Emily

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David La Puma, Director of from Cape May Bird Observatory, on a recent visit digiscoping with and Iphone

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Mike Lanzone and family in the background. Fruiting mistletoe was drawing in Ochraceous Wren, Golden Browed Chlorophonia and several tanagers.

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Cleveland Natural History Museum visit

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Birding from our safari landrover

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Volcan hiking club spotting a Respledent Quetzal.

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Male Three Wattled Bellbird spotted!

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Tatiana, Alma and Reinaldo on the Quetzal Trail.

MOULTRIE DIGITAL GAME CAMERA Little girl looking into our game camera on the big tree loop trail.

Introducing Alma and Karin and our Restaurant at The Bellbird Lodge, MTCF

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Alma is the soul of the kitchen here at our restaurant at MTCF. She is an alchemist and creates dishes that span the continents from thai to italian, panamanian, filpino, mexican, french, and american.

Karin with empanadas smiling in kitchen Karin, our daughter, joins us in the high season. She graduated from ICE Culinary Institute in NYC and she brings her skills as she gleans fruits and vegetables from our garden and wild pastures and creates new dishes, sauces, marinades.When you combine Karin and Alma together in the kitchen magic happens, along with occasional high drama!

karin with salad She means business and she knows it.

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Fresh salad from our garden and hydroponic green house. The Chioggia beets from our garden as well!

alma karin leche flan Leche Flan

Alma Lasagna
Lasagne

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Chicken Curry with lemon grass, thai basil, and galanga from our garden. The kafir lime was hand picked from our tree in south florida and brought with us to Panama.

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Home made spring rolls.

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Bellbird Lodge living area where meals are served.

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Lunch today is bean soup, patacones and fresh fruit.

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Volcan hiking club at the table and having desert

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Empanadas filled with pesto, potatoe and ground beef.

huevos rancherosHuevos Rancheros for Breakfast

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Buffet spread when we have large groups.

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Quiche with Portobella mushrooms.

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Ratatouille

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Pizza

Tamales
Tamales

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Alma, Kevin and Sierra preparing Naranjilla fruit and arbol de tomate for marinades, jam or chicha.

tomatoe fruit 1 Naranjilla fruit and arbol de tomate from our gardens

Crepuscular drifting clouds

Friday, August 26th, 2016

rainy season mood

In the rainy season late in the afternoon as day turns to night clouds often drift up and the Colorado Valley is shrouded in moving mist. The view from the lodge is of forest fading in and out of the clouds. Silent at times punctuated by the call of a forest falcon, this infects the viewer with a stillness, one stops all the internal chatter and feels and breathes the moment, all there ever really is. Scenes like this send gentle reminders.

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Volcan Hiking Club Hikes to Mr. Vega’s Homestead

Monday, August 15th, 2016

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Over the weekined we had the Volcan Hikling Club up for their third visit to Mount Totumas Cloud Forest. This time we hiked to Mr. Vega’s homestead. Mr. Vega cleared and homesteaded his land back in the early 1960’s and has spent over 50 years living off the grid in a small humble cabin tending to his livestock. He represents a way of life that is fast disappearing in Panama and in most places in the world. Not a digital device to be found in his cabin. He is a lucky man.

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Glass Frogs and other herpetological marvels

Monday, July 25th, 2016

glass frog Emerald Glass Frog Espadarana prosoblepon

Andreas Hertz, a herpetologist and expert on neo tropical frogs, visited us in June for the 3rd time and discovered on a night walk male glass frogs singing along the creek on our Cascade Trail. Photo by Kevin Moser

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Kevin Moser, who has been volunteering here since April, has shared his photos of the past months of other herpetological marvels documented here at Mount Totumas Cloud Forest

pugnosed tree frog Pugnosed Tree Frog Smilisca sp.

pugnosed tree frog 2 Smilisca sp.

Hyla sp. Hyla sp.

Eleutherodactylus sp. Eleutherodactylus sp.

Norops vociferans Anole Norops vociferans

Tropical alligator lizard Topical Alligator Lizard
Mesaspis monticola

P1020566 Earth Snake Geophis sp.

pumilio sp We have to include these beautiful photos of Pumilio frogs that Kevin photographed on a recent trip to Bastamiento Island on the Carribean side of Panama. These are not found here at Mount Totumas.

pumilio egg mass Egg mass probably of Glass Frog species.

Bats in a wooden cave

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

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Reinaldo and I were exploring here at Totumas for a new trail. We ended up discovering an ancient and immense dead tree laying on the forest floor with a hollowed out core that formed a wooden tunnel like cave that reached more than 40 feet deep. An amazing micro habitat, a pure wooden rotting cave. Hanging from the ceiling a group of 5 bats were chilling out and not really appreciating our presence invading their sleeping quarters.

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Now what species of bat are these? Anyone have any idea?

Olingo on The Big Tree Loop Trail and a soaring Garamas Swallowtail.

Friday, July 15th, 2016

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The Olingo Bassaricyon gabbii is an elusive arboreal cloud forest mammal that is nocturnal……usually. Today we had the good fortune to encounter one with insomnia as it was active around noon and oblivious to our presence as it balanced along vines and moved up and down the trunks of trees just a few meters away from where we watching him.

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The Olingo is related to the Cacomistle and Kinkajou, all members of the raccoon family.

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The Workinger Family next to an ancient Aguacaton tree. Sophie was the photographer who captured the images of the Olingo

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On the way back to the lodge in a light gap in the forest butterflies were feeding on a wild fuschia understory tree full of flowers. A Garamas swallowtail butterfly, a montane species, soared overhead in effortless circles.

A great hike!

Bothriechis nigroviridis. Black & Green Palm Viper

Saturday, June 18th, 2016

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The second time in 4 years we spotted the Black and Green Palm Viper. This time about 1950m on the Roble Trail. This viper was a larger specimen, about 2 feet long and found 7 feet up on a bamboo species Chusquea sp.. Kevin found the snake. Curiously, the only other sighting four years ago was found by Kevin’s wife Rita. Somehow I am not surprised by this!

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Kevin looking very content

All photos by Kevin Moser and Sierra Miller