Archive for August, 2013

Life on the Farm

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Most of our blog posts are related to natural history of the cloud forest and or infrastructure progress of the project. With the recent visit of our daughters on site I thought this would be a perfect moment to highlight life on the farm here at Mount Totumas Cloud Forest. Here is Lyra and Karin after painting some chickens on the back wall of the homestead


Here are the real chickens roosting in their new home we made by converting half of the storage shed into a coup.


Ladders and all. Protection from the wild tigrillos that one night got in the old coup and killed 5 of them.


These are scrambled eggs from our free roam chickens that eat alot of bugs. No there is no tumeric on these eggs. That is the real color!


Graciela prepared 4 chickens which provided a meal for the recent visit of entomologists to MTCF


We stuffed two of the chickens with rosemary and two with lemon grass we are growing in the garden.


Wild raspberries harvested in the pastures.


Roasting the small qty of 2012 harvest from our mature coffee trees at the entrance


Roasted beans. Even though roasted over the coals it was incredible.


This years maturing coffee beans on the tree.


Our holding tank that stores 6000 litres of water was a bit of an eyesoar on the open pasture so Lyra and Karin painted a quetzal on the wall. They look like proud school girls.


A coati infant was brought to the farmhouse by one of our employees and we kept him for a couple of weeks until he got big enough to release.


Alma cutting a wild fennel by the compost heap with chickens looking for worms… very organic!


Free roaming…..not cell phone propaganda.


This is a great opportunity to highlight some of the common birds that are associated with the farm habitat around the gardens and cabins. A Tropical Kingbird in the rain.


Rufous Collared Sparrow


Boat-billed Flycatcher


Sweet potatoes out of control


Snow peas with chicken

Wind in the dry season and too much rain in the monsoon can can create challenges with outdoor gardens here. The small greenhouse we built off the mudroom grew some great tomatoes. This has inspired us to build a larger greenhouse this fall near the current garden.


Our current dog…… yes its true, he eats bananas.


And one cat in the yard, life used to be so……..


Our family on the 2nd floor of the new lodge construction site.

Arctiidae at MTCF

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013


Here are some specimens of moths of the Arctiidae family. Many species imitate wasps and bees and have metallic markings. An amazing diversity can be found at Mount Totumas Cloud Forest. This is just a sample collected since April 2013

Herpetology Update: Isthmohyla rivularis

Sunday, August 4th, 2013


Isthmohyla rivularis

Andreas Hertz and friends came to visit Mount Totumas Cloud Forest to survey the herpetology and enjoy a few days walking the trails. Andreas is a herpetologist and he has done a lot of field work in Panama. This was evident by how quickly he spotted frogs and salamanders on a night hike along the stream near the cabins.

A critically endangered frog, Isthmohyla rivularis, was spotted and photographed. See the link here on the IUCN red list for current status. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/55627/0


Isthmohyla rivularis

The presence of this species alone justifies the importance of protecting buffer zones of La Amistad NP. This frog was found at around 1940m. The national park begins at 2000m and protecting habitat below this boundary is critically important. Mount Totumas Cloud Forest encompasses this buffer zone from 1650M up to the boundary of La Amistad NP at 2000m.

A number of other species where also photographed and shown here with the kind permission of Andreas.


Bolitoglossa nigrescens


Bolitoglossa nigrescens


B. minutula (to be confirmed)


Mesaspis monticola

Andreas and friends also had the good fortune during their visit to witness the spectacular display by the Spider Monkeys shown on an earlier post.


Andreas and friends