New England Coastal BIrds

New England Coastal BIrds

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Krausman's Woodcarving Studio 2016 Costa Rica "Pura Vida" Birdcarving Extravaganza!!

                                      Krausman's Birdcarving Studio 25th Anniversary

                                                              Costa Rica!!!

Continues.......Day 5, Monday, Oct 3, 2016, Doka/Poas Coffee Plantation and LaPaz Waterfall Garden's Tour.........(Since I was teaching the class, I want to Thank Jim Krausman, Pam Krausman, Jan Parekh, and Jim Koschman for the images from the day tours)- After an early breakfast, the buses pulled out on their way north on the Pan-American Highway to the Caribbean Highlands. Their fist stop was the Doka/Poas Coffee Plantation.

      For others that didn't go on the tour, Marino knew of a fruiting aguacatillo tree just two kilometers down the road from the Hotel. This tree was probably only one of a few that was full of ripe fruit and was being visited by a dozen Quetzals every morning. At 6:00 am this morning, a small group of us packed into the two Savegre utility vehicles and headed up the road to the small Quetzal Mirador owned by a local farmer.

    The Farmer was gracious in allowing all of us to walk up the steep hillside of his property to a small observation area. Just thirty feet in front of us at eye level was a single aguacatillo tree rising up from the very steep hillside. A long way below you could see the Savegre road and the river; the view was absolutely breathtaking! But what caught our eye the most was the six Quetzals feeding in the aguacatillo tree. The photo opportunities were incredible! While we were enjoying the amazing Quetzal show that was happening a few meters in front of us, the landowner came walking up the hill. Marino introduced me to him. He was a very warm and friendly man with a very strong handshake! I was so happy to meet him. His name was Rafael Bonilla, but he insisted I call him "Felo"! We chatted for a short time (with the help from Marino) and he was so excited that we were enjoying the Quetzals and happy that he had provided a mirador platform for us to see these beautiful birds. Marino told him that I was an artist and World Champion birdcarver from the US and was leading a group of artists in a workshop being held at Savegre. Felo told me that he was so proud that we were visiting his land to see these birds and that we came to San Gerado de Dota to have our workshop.......I told him it was me that was proud to visit his beautiful country!

                       Two adult male Resplendent Quetzals, one with very long caudal plumes

               Male Quetzal returns to its perch after making a sallying flight to pick an aguacatillo

                An excellent profile in true "Symbiosis"......a Quetzal and the aguacatillo!

                  A male Quetzal grabs an aguacatillo in flight. Since the Quetzals and Trogons has very small and weak feet (known as heterodactyl configuration) they are incapable of perching and reaching for a fruit. In fact they can't even turn or pivot on the perch. To pick a fruit, they must do this while in flight as shown in this image. Quetzals show great maneuverability in flight while feeding. They are capable of hovering upside down while picking a fruit.

     I have been to many fruiting trees with Marino, but this by far was the best and most exciting tree that Marino shared with me/us........absolutely amazing!

     Class started right at 9:00 am so we were back at 8:00 am for was hard leaving that mirador! :^) Back in class, we started by building up the layers of greens and blues on the plumage of the Trogons.

       After lunch, Marino brought a bag with him and handed it to me. He told me earlier that he had something to show me and share with me. I opened up the bag and found the decoys that I made for him years earlier: a female Quetzal, pair of Long-tailed Silky-Flycatchers, a pair of Emerald Toucanets, and a pair of Acorn Woodpeckers. I made them for Marino so he could use them for his studies. I was really happy when I noticed that the decoys were well-used showing signs of rub marks, dings and wear. -

      Here are a few images of these decoys from eight years ago being deployed by Beny and Marino in an aguacatillo tree just off the road a short distance form the Hotel-

          Marino began to tell me a story about the Acorn Woodpecker decoys. I made him a pair: the male was a full-bodied decoy which attached to the tree trunk as if it were climbing. For the female, I made the decoy appear that she was coming out of a nest hole.......

     .......Marino told me that he had placed the decoys on the trunk of an oak tree behind his house near the Hotel so he could watch the reactions of the Woodpeckers out his rear window. He told me that the decoys must have looked real to the Woodpeckers........

      ......because he watched as the female woodpeckers began to attack and peck at the female decoy. Obviously this was a territorial dispute, and his decoy took a beating from the other female Woodpeckers! You can see the star-shaped holes from the tip-shapes of the Woodpeckers on the head and body of the decoy. With the story, Marino handed me the decoy and said he would like me to have it! I was floored.......and speechless! I accepted his gift without hesitation and was honored by his heartfelt gesture. This means everything to me. I wrote a book entitled "The Art In Making Decoys" with a sub-title "Every Decoy Tells a Story", this is certainly true!

      For the people going on the tour, breakfast started a little early at 6:00 am this morning which allowed them to make better time to the plantation arriving just after 10:00 am. The Doka/Poas Coffee Plantation........

             Hectares and hectares of Arabica coffee plants.........

                 The Banana plants are used to help shade the coffee plants and to add rich nutrients back into the soil-

                                                    A few ripe coffee beans-

                          Chart showing the different roasts from the green coffee beans-

                                              Roasted beans ready for shipment-

                                Discussion on the grading of beans and the process-

                        Grading and separating the beans in the water tanks and conveyor system-

                                System to peel and prepare the beans for roasting-

              Mary with Jose Joaquin Tortos "Tito" one of Beny's staff and tour guide for us-

                                                  Roasted bean selection and discussion-

                  With the coffee tour completed, it was off for a short ride to the LaPaz Waterfall Gardens, Aviary, Butterfly Gardens which also featured an Orchid/Bromiliad/Heliconia and Tropical Plant Gardens, Hummingbird Garden, Monkeys, Jaguars and other Cats, Serpentarium, Amphibian Gardens and more!

                There are nine waterfalls with five being the large dramatic waterfalls. The river is in a gorge in the Caribbean highland cloudforest..........

     To access all the waterfalls, there are stairs that follow the waterfalls on the sides of the gorge.......

                                                              .........and more stairs.........

                                                         ........and more stairs..........

                                     .......and more stairs! But the trip down is worth it!

                          On one of the viewing platforms of one of the larger falls-

                           (From left to right: Carolyn, Jan, Donna, Dave, Karen, Judy and Courtney

                                                          Tito poses for a photo!

                                                                    Amazing views!

               Jen and I have been here several times over the years....., we thought this mirador view from the top of the last and largest fall was our favorite, just breathtaking!

                                    The last waterfall viewed from below on the road.

                                         Well, what goes down, must go back up!! :^)

                                                                  Way to go Dave!! :^)

           After a lunch in the restaurant at the Waterfall Gardens, there was more time to explore the Waterfalls and the many attractions on the grounds including the large Aviary with its extensive collection of birds........

                                                                  Spectacled Owl

                                                                    Crested Caracara

                                                                         Scarlet Macaws

          Yellow-throated Toucan (formally Chestnut-mandibled Toucan ), (formally Swainson's Toucan)
(I still call them Chestnut-mandibled Toucan).....more romantic a name artistically speaking! :^)

      Emerald Toucanet (also known as Blue-throated Toucanet) and Tucancillo verde to Costa Ricans

                                                             The beautiful Gray Hawk

                                                          The Butterfly Gardens-

                                                        the magnificent Blue Morpho

                                                                  Heliconia Butterfly

                           I don't know the names of these.....I need to read the chart!

                                                                 The large Cats-


                                                             The spectacular Jaguar-

                                                   Puma (aka Mountain Lion)

                                             The Serpentarium and Amphibian collection-

                                                              Red-eyed Tree Frog

                                                              Green Leaf Frog

                                                      Green and Black Poison Dart Frog

                                         Strawberry Poison Dart Frog (aka "Blue Jeans")

      The day grew long and it was time to say good-bye to LaPaz and start heading back to Savegre. It would be a long ride back so the Hotel would be holding dinner for everyone.......Thank You to the staff at Savegre, you really went beyond to accommodate everyone!

      For those who stayed behind and were in class, the painting of the Trogons is progressing beautifully! The birds are looking spectacular!

      We broke for dinner at 5:00 pm just as the light had faded. Many of us waited dinner for the weary travelers to come back from their day trip......and I am sure they will be starving after such a long day with all that stair-climbing exercise!! :^)

       Just before 9:00 pm the buses arrived. Everyone made a B-line for the restaurant, and I could hear the words hungry coming from just about everyone!:^) It was great to see Jen after a long day, and it sounded like everyone had a good time! Jen gave me a small bag and said she bought me a few souvenirs. I opened one of the bags and it was filled with eight pounds of Doka de-caf  coffee beans, one of my favorite coffees. In the other bag was another treat......Costa Rican dark cacao chocolate bars!


      During dinner, I told everyone that we had a few surprises for them as well! Earlier in the day, Marino, Felipe and Rolando came to me during class and told me that three of Costa Rica's top newspapers had written articles on our class at Savege! I was incredibly humbled, and very proud! It seams that a journalist was spending the weekend at Savegre was fascinated by our class and that we were having it at Savegre. Since this had never been done here before, it was something that she wanted to tell her fellow Costa Ricans! Costa Ricans really love their country, and the fact that artists from the US and Canada chose to hold such a prestigious gathering in their country, it made them proud!  Here is one of the three articles that were written by some of Costa Rican's top journalists including Daniel Fernandez Chacon.

     From "La Republica"-

Artistas internacionales rinden homenaje a las aves de Costa Rica

Foto cortesía ComDigital/La República.
24 artistas de Connecticut, Estados Unidos, decidieron inspirarse en la flora y fauna de Costa Rica, específicamente en las montañas de Dota y Monteverde para esculpir las especies de aves que residen en estos lugares.
Sus trabajos en madera, valorados en miles de dólares, se concentran en un homenaje a las especiales de la fauna mundial y contiene tantos detalles que pueden llegar a confundirse con animales reales.
“Costa Rica es un lugar que brinda muchos recursos de inspiración para todo artista de cualquier ámbito, y las especies de aves que se encuentran en San Gerardo de Dota son el mejor modelo que un escultor puede desear”, comentó Keith Muller, director de los artistas.

Actualmente, los escultores están dando una breve exposición en el Hotel de Montaña Savegre hasta el jueves 6 de octubre, donde vinieron a realizar los detalles de pintura de sus obras, especialmente el pájaro Trogón.

“Saber que personas de otros países centran su mirada en las especies que tenemos en nuestros bosques al punto de realizar largos viajes para admirarlas y plasmarlas en sus obras de arte es algo que nos tiene que llenar de orgullo y felicidad a todos los ticos”, agregó Rolando Chacón, gerente del Hotel de Montaña Savegre

     Translation in English:

International Artists Pay Tribute to Costarican Birds-

24 Artists from Connecticut, United States got inspiration from Costarican flora and fauna, specially in the Dota and Monteverde mountains to carve the species of birds that can be found in these places.

Their woodworks, valued in thousands of dollars, are made to pay tribute to the world fauna and they have so many details that they could be easily mixed up with real birds.

"Costa Rica is a place that provides many resouces for inspiration for every single artist in any field, and the bird species found in San Gerado de Dota are the best models that a carver could wish" commented Keith Mueller, artists director.

Nowadays, carvers are given a short exposition in Savegre Mountain Hotel until Thursday October 6, they come to this place for painting the details of their works, especially the Trogon bird.

"To realize that people from other countries put their eyes in the species that we have forests, and even make long trips to admire them and use them as inspiration for their works, that's something that has to make the "Ticos" feel proud and happy" said Rolando Chacon, Savegre Moutain Hotel Manager.

    Since the articles were published in Spanish, Marino read them to us in English......It was us who were proud!

     Tomorrow is a day off for the class, we will be taking a day trip to the Pacific slopes and a town called Jaco, and then to a small coastal town called Tarcoles. In Jaco, we will go zip-lining, then have lunch in Tarcoles, and then on a boat ride into the mangroves at the mouth of the Rio Tarcoles to see Crocodiles and birds!

     Buenas nochas! See everyone at 6:00 am for breakfast!

                             Day 6, Tuesday, October 4, 2016, continues.............

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