Archive for January, 2014

Volcan Hiking Club

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Had a wonderful visit last wednesday from the Volcan Hiking Club. 6 SUV’s and pick ups broke the record of one day visitors to Mount Totumas Cloud Forest with over 20 guests. We hiked the La Amistad Trail and took the big tree loop. Great to meet some of the local ecology minded residents of Volcan. We plan on joining them on future hikes. Thank You Sandy and Phil for orgnizing this.

New orchid to our growing list at 2630m

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

Here is an orchid we found from around 2100m up to the top of Mount Totumas at 2630m. This species grows both as an epiphyte and terrestial, the specimen shown here is terrestial and was found at the top of Mount Totumas.


Here is a link to our Orchid Gallery, images of species discovered here at MTCF.

Ready for Roasting

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Our first tiny lots of harvested coffee from the first harvest have been processed and are ready to be sent to Cup Roastary for evalution. We will provide a full report when the analysis has been completed.

Cataui beans

Tipica beans

Drying. The outer parchment (endocarp) is removed before storage.

On the drying rack in our greenhouse

Snowcap Hummingbird at MTCF

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Along the edge habitat of forest and pasture, at 1850m, we spotted a male Snowcap Hummingbird. Unbeleivable beautiful bird, we first heard his buzzy call and then spotted him. This is a rare bird for Panama and not indicated for this elevation. This is species 15 for hummingbirds here at MTCF

Magnificent Hummingbird
Green Violetear
Brown Violetear
Magenta-Throated Woodstar
White throated Mountain Gem
Purple Throated Mountain Gem
Scintiliant Hummingbird
Stripe-Tailed Hummingbird
Snowy-Bellied Hummingbird
Violet Sabrewing
Green Hermit
Fiery-Throated Hummingbird
Purple-Crowned Fairy
Green-Crowned Brilliant

Resplendent Quetzal courtship flight

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Today, January 21st, at 9am a male Resplendent Quetzal, right next to our new Cabin, took flight vertically and arched down calling, his tail streaming. This is the first time this season we have heard this courtship call, a harbinger of more to come. We have noticed a few more sightings of silent individuals in the forest, but for us this marks the beginning of the 2014 breeding season. This was the first still morning without wind since about 4-5 days which might have influenced the Quetzal to take flight.

Black Faced Solitaire singing as well, no bellbirds yet seen or heard.

New frog at the top of Mount Totumas

Sunday, January 19th, 2014

We discovered this frog in the leaf litter at 2630 at the top of Mount Totumas. Different markings with the red on legs and head. We have sent out these images to a few herpetologists and hope to hear back from them who this guy is

We heard back from Andreas Hertz in Germany who has surveyed herpetology here at Mount Totumas. I post here his comments

Thank you for the photos of the frog. This is a very interesting group (Craugastor rhodopis species group) that contains some undescribed species. This specimen has a unusual coloration pattern, but this normally means nothing as these guys are very variable. I have several genetic lineages from this group in Panama, but I donĀ“t know if this is enough to see them as separate species. Maybe I will have the opportunity to work more on them somewhere in the future. I think it would not be wrong if you call it Craugastor cf. podiciferus, with the cf. (lat. confer) expressing a uncertainty.

All the best,

Lonely Planet Panama: We’re in

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

The new Panama edition of the Lonely Planet was released in Nov 2013. And Mount Totumas Cloud Forest made it in at the last minute. There is a noticable impact in our bookings. Thank you for all that made this possible.

Our new lodge will be completed May 2014 and we will increase our capacity by 5 bedrooms. Stay tuned for more details.

Our First Coffee Harvest

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

Frehly harvested Cataui coffee beans harvested January 11th

3 years ago we planted coffee seedlings on a southfaces slope at 1830m elevation shaded by Inga trees. The varieties of Coffea arabica planted were Cataui, Tipica, Caturra, Pacamara and Geisha. After the first year we replaced the Caturra and Pacamara, which grew poorly, with more Cataui and Geisha because these two varieties seem best adapted to the area based on the growth rates of the first year. This year we harvested the very first crop from a small number of 3 year old seedlings of Cataui, Tipica and Geisha that bore fruit.

We are excited to send samples of this first harvest to be analyzed by coffee conniseur’s Robert and Ester Dietrich at their specialty coffee roastery, CUP, located in Charleston, South Carolina.

Alma with small Cataui coffee tree

3 year old Cataui tree loaded with fruit

Coffee trees in the shade of Inga trees.

Big Trees at MTCF

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Some big tree with guests from the past year. These individual trees are stops along some of our most popular trails and these specimens never cease to amaze us. These patraiarchs and matriarchs of the forest are truly awesome and one is humbled in their presence.

A Quercus sp. at 2600m at the top of Mount Totumas

130 foot tall Quercus at the top of Mount Totumas

Aguacaton, the local name for a member of the avocado family Lauraceae. The fruit are large, around the size of a baseball. This tree is on our newest trail called the Big Tree Loop and is about a 60 minute walk from the Homestead.

Ulmus mexicana. The Mexican Elm. A few massive specimens on the flood plain in our lower pastures. This tree is entwined with a strangler fig.

Ulmus mexicana

A flush on new leaves looking typically elm like.