Jan 23, 2016

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve (Bosque Nuboso Reserva)

The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is a unique biological wonder, and a crown jewel in the protected biodiversity. We spent an entire day in the reserve, starting with a guided wildlife tour (we had Orland of Monteverde Morning Walks all to our selves which was a gift all to itself.)

It is hard to convey the experience of being inside this rain forest but it must be something like being a fish in a coral reef. There was life everywhere, in all directions, in many layers. A single host tree can support thousands of individuals and as many as 100 different species.





































We took a great many photos, mostly in vain.
Moss living on ferns living on trees which are themselves living on trees.


There is a huge amount of water in the air, and the epiphytes (such as philodendrons, bromeliads and orchids) and moss capture it effectively.



The canopy often forms complex fractal spacing patterns when viewed from below.









 Una catarata, or cascada.

Wild ginger

Tree ferns reminded us of those in our yard in India, only these are bigger.

Outside the reserve proper is a hummingbird garden which is literally buzzing as if with a thousand bees. We captured few decent shots.




Plants
Cyropia (?), black pepper, Eliocarpus!, elephant ear (calla lilly family, which has two cavities which heat up to over 100 degrees F and caputure mating beetles in order to pollenate), Solanum (like the Kodaikanal shola), native bamboo (although larger asian bamboo is also invading in some areas - note that very little invades the cloud forest, competition is way too high), bush height begonias, passion fruit vine, tree ferns, wild ginger (pic), strangler figs (ficus, hemi-epicphytic - meaning is starts life as an epiphyte via seed transport by birds eating figs, then grows roots to the ground, and then established itself as a tree, and eventually strangles and kills the original host tree), closia (a tree species), angel wing begonia (pic), heliconia, sleeping hibiscus (which unlike other hibiscus, never opens its petals).

Birds
Black-eyed solitaire (a thrush with metallic cry)
Ruddy tree runner nest (pic)
Slaty-backed Nightingale thrush, 
Grey breasted wood wren
Violet Saberwing
Green crown brilliant hummingbird
Purple throated mountain gem
Resplendent quetzal (which tends to hang out on avocado trees for the fruits)
Cocora (heard but not seen)