Thursday, March 28, 2013

Until the Sun Makes the Hills It's Grave

3/15/13        Hotel de Montana Paraiso Quetzal

This morning I woke up early so I could take some more hummingbird pictures.  I did a lot of that today, actually.  Approximately 300 pictures in fact (not counting the ones I deleted).

Fiery-throated Hummingbird

We then had a yummy breakfast of cereal, fruit, eggs and ham, and toast before heading out on our morning walk.  This walk was pretty special because we were looking for a specific bird, the Resplendent Quetzal.  Here at the Quetzal Lodge, as you may have guessed, they specialize in Quetzal watching.  Before we even left the parking area our guide, Jorge, was calling for them.  It was amazing.


He then led us on a walk to an area with a known nest and we were able to spot a male Quetzal, both outside and then inside the nest.  We waited for a while for the female to arrive and trade off with him but Jorge believed there were too many of us and we were preventing it.  And so the walk essentially ended.  We did see three other quetzals before that, but they were brief sightings.

Our group decided to go on another walk before lunch on the only trail available to us without a guide.  The whole trip- to the path, the path itself, and the return from the path- was a trek and a half.  The terrain wouldn't have been that bad if we weren't 2650m high (that's 8694 feet).  There is very little oxygen to be had here.  Boy did my lungs get a workout.

After lunch it was time for more hummingbird pictures during our break.  At 1:30 we all met up to help the Lodge with a reforestation project.  We planted something like 100 trees.  With only one shovel, no joke.  It took a little while.  The trees themselves are similar to avocado trees ( in the same family) and are prime food for the quetzals.  We were told if we come back in 20 years they'll be pretty big.

After that unnecessarily long feat, Joy, Melissa, and I headed back to our room where we took a nap before, you guessed it, more hummingbird pictures!  This time I had a specific goal in mind, though.  A hummingbird in front of the sunset.  It was not easy.  It's almost as though they know where you want them to land and they specifically will not land there.  Little brats.  I finally got some really nice pictures, though, just as the sun was setting behind the mountains.

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