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The Mixed Feeding Flock

HEADer, Army ants attacking a large wasp

By Jack Ewing

Pair of Yellow Crowned Euphonias

Yellow Crowned Euphonias

My obsession with tropical nature began with my first monkey sighting. I had seen them in the zoo, but there is no comparison between zoo monkeys and wild ones. My first toucan was another special moment. “How can it even fly with that huge beak?” My first sloth, boa constrictor, kinkajou, king vulture, and terciopelo viper were others. But it wasn’t until more than 15 years later that I was to witness one of the most complex and intriguing phenomenon the rainforest has to offer, the mixed feeding flock, a congregation of many different species of birds in a small area each busy consuming its own special food in its own special way at its own level of the forest.

Though the rainforest as a whole had already captivated my soul a number of years earlier, and I lived in a bird watcher’s paradise, it wasn’t until 1987 that I got interested enough in our feathered friends to start actively looking for them, identifying them, and making a list. In those days there were no field guides to the birds of Costa Rica. Birds of Mexico and Birds of Panama were as close as we could get. My bird list grew rapidly at first and then gradually slowed. Then on one special day I added 11 new species in less than an hour. It was about six months into my birding career when I was to wander into a bird watcher’s dream, a mixed feeding flock. It is a phenomenon that every birder and every bird watching guide prays for. For the aficionado it will assure new species for the list, and for the guide it is sure to result in a group of very happy visitors.

Hacienda Baru

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That’s Fishin’- January 2020

That's Fishin' header

By Benn Gilmour

A huge Happy New Year, may all your Fishy dreams come true in 2020 & welcome to the January installment of That’s Fishin!

Our peak fishing season is in full swing and we have experienced some truly incredible fishing during the past couple of months, I hope that you get to experience it for yourself during your time in the area.

Man releasing a marlinOFFSHORE FISHING

The Billfish bite offshore has been great with good numbers of Sailfish, Blue and Striped Marlin being caught. December and January are perhaps the best months of the year to catch a Billfish Grand Slam of 3 different Billfish species in a single day. Several boats in the fleet have already accomplished Grand Slams and I expect more to do so in the coming months whilst there remains the possibility of Striped and Black Marlin together with the more common Sailfish and Blue Marlin.

The Tuna fishing was spectacular during December with lots of fish in the 30-80 lb range caught and frequent 100-200 lb class fish landed also. All manner of artificial lures work well for Tuna here in Costa Rica such as various sized Squidnation Squids, Bucktail Jigs, Bass Worms plus other styles of jigs. It is difficult to beat a Live Bonito for a BIG Tuna, however, Blue Runners, Goggle Eyes, Caballas, and Sardines all work well also.

After some insane Mahi/Dorado fishing in November, the bite slowed a little in December as the rains cleared and water temperatures started to rise. A few Dorado should still be caught over the next couple of months and are always a welcome addition to any Billfish charter.

The main event in January is most certainly Sailfish and is the start of our peak Sailfish bite which typically goes on from January through mid-April. Double digit release days can be possible when the bite is on!

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What’s Shaking at Marina Pez Vela – January 2020

What's Shaking headerFrom the quiet tranquility and cool rains of our green season we emerge into the HOLIDAY MADNESS and explosion of another summer and peak travel season here at Marina Pez Vela. We are extremely excited about 2020 and all of what is to come both for the Marina as well as for our community at large. We will highlight some important news here for January and encourage you to visit our website, and to follow our social media on Facebook and Instagram for the most up to date news and events.
 

THE ROCKSTAR, January 11 and 12, 2020

The title could not be more fitting. It has now become the largest and biggest payout fishing tournament in Central America!! This two day shoot out is full of fun, rock and roll concerts, fishing crazies, fun team uniforms, photoshoots, and some incredible fishing. The tournament has divisions for anglers of all ages and capabilities and is an event not to be missed. For our local community, even if you are not participating, do NOT miss the early morning energy, (come down for some coffee at sunrise and enjoy breakfast in the marina…more to come on that) and DEFINITELY be back from 4-6 with the boats coming in, weigh station drama and live music in the plaza. GET READY TO ROCK AND ROLL.

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FAVORITE RESCUE STORIES OF 2019

In 2019, The Sloth Institute rescued and rehabilitated 65 sloths. Here are our Top 5 favorite rescue stories of 2019.

Dolly is a two-fingered sloth who was electrocuted and fell from the top of a transformer. She sustained damage to her eye and arm but she recovered surprisingly well. She is the first sloth we’ve tried acupuncture treatment to help with lost motor skills.

The Sloth InstituteHumpty Dumpty’s body was so broken, it was a miracle he survived. Multiple fractures, contusions and neurological issues are no match for his fighting spirit, however—he was climbing trees in no time!

While reuniting an abandoned crying baby with his mother we noticed odd behavior from mom. We brought Mrs. Jumbo and Dumbo in and found a bacterial infection. With care and a very trusting mother sloth, they became well enough to be released and are tracked daily with a collar.

Nemo’s eyes were covered with skin membrane from his eyeballs. His face was full of thorns and was possibly attacked by bees. Stem cells and other treatments allowed us to nally gaze in his sweet, beautiful eyes.

Schumer is not a sloth but a Tamandua anteater. Orphaned at two weeks, she’s now an adolescent and learning skills she’ll need in the wild. She’s named after a certain comedian 😉

Read updates on all of the sloths in care at TSI at TheSlothInstitute.org

What To Do If You See A Sloth In Danger

If you see a sloth who is in need of help, please call or send a message via WhatsApp to The Sloth Institute’s Sloth Response Team at +506 87SLOTHS. Ideally it is best to send photos or a video of the sloth in need of rescue. The TSI Sloth Response Team can then properly assess the situation. There are times we get a call about a sloth in danger when they aren’t in need of rescue.

You can also call your local Bomberos (Fire Department). If a sloth is on the electric wires you can also call ICE.

ABOUT THE SLOTH INSTITUTE

The Sloth Institute (TSI)’s mission is to enhance the welfare and conservation of sloths through research and education. TSI is located in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. For more information please visit TheSlothInstitute.org or email us: info@theslothinstitute.org. If you see a sloth who needs help: CALL or WHATSAPP +506 87SLOTHS 7 5 6 8 4 7.


¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – January 2020

January 2020 coverBienvenidos… Welcome 2020. We hope you had a wonderful holiday and want to wish you an incredible New Year. High season is upon us here in Costa Rica and we are glad you are here to be part of it with us. Green season has provided us a beautiful backdrop to begin this New Year of adventures and great memories. Our magazine is filled with the best of the best the area has to offer.

Try something new this year like sport fishing for your record Marlin with Marina Pez Vela. Either onshore or offshore the fishing season has arrived so get out there and catch your dream and dinner. Want to party like a rockstar, than get to the marina for the 2nd Annual Pelagic Rockstar Tournament January 11-12. Speaking of partying like a rockstar, Paws is holding the 9th Annual Battle of the Bands at Ronnie’s Place in Manuel Antonio on January 26. So if your looking for great music, great food, great people, and a really GREAT cause. This is the place to be. Movie Night Under the Stars is back on their new night Wednesdays. So grab some of the best gelato in Costa Rica at Gelateria Amarosi and enjoy the movies with the entire family. Experience zip lining or explore the canopy with Titi Canopy and Hacienda Barú. Paddling through the mangroves or down one of our incredible rivers with Tucanes Tours. Just chillin’ on the beach try parasailing with Aguas Azules. We also have some of the most beautiful National Parks in the world. Looking for all the bowl games and NFL, Jolly Roger has all the games on big screens and awesome food. We So get out there and let the Pura Vida lifestyle set the pace for an INCREDIBLE 2020.

Life is short… GO LIVE IT!!!

I want to thank Paul Gerace for another wonderful cover shot. We are always looking for great shots so please send us your best nature shots for cover consideration to info@Quepolandia.com.

We would like to thank and welcome our new advertisers this month, Dolce Vita, Nauyaca Waterfall Nature Park, Pacific Coast Law, and Pesca Seafood House.

We hope you enjoy our magazine and it helps guide you through this enchanting paradise we call home. You can always follow and share us here or on Facebook/Quepolandia. We appreciate and welcome your comments.

Peace and Enjoy…D


Spanish Sucks – December 2019

Spanish Sucks December 2019

CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE

Manuel Antonio Spanish School logo


Let’s Talk About the Crested Caracara

Crested Caracara

By Paul Gerace

The Crested Caracara has broad wings and a long tail that is white in color with a broad terminal band and black barring. With the help of long yellow legs it can easily run and walk on the ground.

This bird normally stays low to the ground even when they are flying, so it is easy to steal food from other birds. The Crested Caracara also follows automobiles and trains to fetch the food that falls from them.

Just another one of the beautiful bird species found here in Costa Rica. See more bird photos HERE


Fiddlin’ Around

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Guitars hanging on a store wallEvery year at Christmas time I write about getting the Xmas Blues, or about sad, forgotten souls, or depressing songs about hookers during the holidays or melancholy loners or mean ex’s, or stupid songs about reindeer, or sentimental slop about sitting by a fire with a golden retriever drinking eggnog. Me drinking eggnog, not the dog. I dearly love bad Xmas songs—but I do realize that I might have overdone the whole weird Xmas thing in the past.

Well, this year I’m gonna get right to the materialistic point, and tell you guys what you should get us musicians for Christmas! Keep in mind we have all spent more of that sacred holiday in bars playing for you guys than we have eating turkey at your dinner table. Usually we don’t even get any leftovers! I don’t know why I’ve always gone to the dark side with the Xmas thing, ‘cause actually it’s quite a cheery and fun time of year to be here in Costa Rica. Most folks have a bunch of days off, so don’t think you’ll get much accomplished business wise—it’s Xmas! Happiness depends on whether you are paying your employees an aguinaldo or you are the one getting that extra month of pay at the end of the year.
I bet everybody knows or is related to at least one young and inexperienced aspiring guitarist who could use some help getting his musical ducks in a row. So get him a present from a music store this year, but be careful, because even new guitar players can be mighty opinionated about what they like. The array of options just to buy some strings is pretty intimidating—you got your nylon and your steel wound and your light gauge and your electric and your 12 string and a kzillion brands to choose from! Shoot, if you go to someplace like Guitar Center you’ll come out hours later all bleary eyed and still without a clue what to get young Santana. And you can’t assume that the strings you saw inside his instrument case are the ones he would actually prefer to use. Maybe he just liked the artwork on the package and they have been in his case since the last Grateful Dead tour!

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That’s Fishin’- December 2019

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Manh olding large doradoWelcome to the December edition of That’s Fishin’. The peak months are upon us with visitors arriving from all around the world ready to experience some of the best fishing on the planet.

OFFSHORE FISHING

We experienced some truly amazing fishing for Marlin during November with lots of Blue Marlin in the 150-250lb category release by the Quepos fleet. A few Black & Striped Marlin also made an appearance and coveted Billfish Grand Slams started being caught during November, which means 3 different Billfish species released by a boat in one day.

The Mahi/Dorado fishing in November did not disappoint with lots of Dorado in the 15-25lb category being caught at the current breaks found typically 6-15 miles off Quepos. There were a few HUGE Dorado in the 60lb plus category landed, fish of a lifetime stuff for sure!

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Set Your Self Free

A Healthier You headerWhat is it that’s stopping you from setting yourself free?

⁣Free From: ⁣

  • Unhealthy choices⁣
  • Low self-esteem ⁣
  • Lack of confidence⁣
  • Negative people⁣
  • Negative self-talk⁣
  • Toxic habits⁣

2 women meditating on the beachSo, what’s stopping you?

It’s YOU.

YOU are one decision away from making major changes in your life, your mindset, and how you show up for yourself every day. ⁣

It all starts with YOU. The way you talk to yourself. The way you care for yourself. The way you are choosing to fuel your body. The boundaries you set. ⁣

YOU are in control of your own life. Start taking responsibility for your decisions and your behaviors, and decide today to start showing up for yourself. ⁣

Growth and healing come when you decide to push yourself to get uncomfortable. It happens when YOU decide to change, grow, and heal. ⁣

Free Your Self. Stop making excuses and holding back from living the life you want so badly. How do you get there? Decide to make the change, and then TAKE THE ACTION. ⁣

If you’re ready to stop holding yourself back, and to TAKE ACTION—we’re here for you. That’s what our transformational health program is all about.

Drop us a line at hello@sistersthatstray.com, follow us on Instagram at @sistersthatstray or visit sistersthatstray.com. We can help you to take that uncomfortable step forward that’s going to lead the way to shedding the old and making room for the BEST version of yourself.


Surf CR – December 2019

Surf CR logoCosta Rica offers so much for surfers coming to visit. Miles of jungle fringed coastline, tropical water temperatures, and waves for all levels of surfers—from first timers to world championship competitors. It also has all types of lodging close to the coastline, from campsites to all-inclusive palaces. The government enforces a 50 meter public zone so everyone can access and enjoy the coastline. That may be one reason why the locals are some of the friendliest on the planet and why the term ‘pura vida’ is so popular. 
 
Group gettingre ady to surfIt is estimated that over 300,000 tourists come to Costa Rica to surf. In a country the size of the state of West Virginia, one would imagine that the waves get crowded but in reality there are long stretches of empty coastline. Two of the most popular waves in the country, Witch’s Rock and Ollies Point, and in Santa Rosa National Park, so the only surfers there mostly arrive on boats. There is one 4×4 track for the adventurous that leads to camping at Witch’s Rock, but otherwise that whole corner of the country is still empty.

The beaches are amazing. There are dozens of wide, soft sandy beaches with gently rolling waves that are ideal for beginners. You can find one with family friendly boutique hotels lining the beach, or one lined with just coconut palms and almond trees. For the experienced surfers, Costa Rica offers one of the longest left breaking waves on the planet at Pavones. It has another super long left at Boca Barranca, which is only an hour from the airport in San Jose, plus many other point breaks within a day’s drive on the Pacific. The country also has some of the heaviest reef breaks as well, like Salsa Brava on the Caribbean coast.  

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Sighting Felines in the Wild

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Experiencing the sight of a wild feline is about the most exciting thing that can happen to a nature enthusiast in Costa Rica. Most humans share a fascination with cats, whether it be the tiny Oncilla (Leopardus tigrinus) the smallest cat in Costa Rica at 2 kilos, or the enormous Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris), at 240 kg, the largest cat in the world. As they are naturally secretive and wary of humans, seeing a wild feline is not an everyday occurrence. We have five feline species at Hacienda Barú.

Jaguarundi

Jaguarundi

I have lived here for 47 years and have only seen one, the Jaguarundi (Herpailurus yagouaroundi), which I have seen on multiple occasions. One of those sightings was particularly memorable. A neighbor who lived close to the lodge bought some young chicks to fatten for meat for the dinner table. They grew quickly and soon the roosters among them began to crow. I know of no sound more irritating than the crowing of an adolescent rooster. It seemed like there was a competition among them, and each day they started a little earlier and crowed a little louder. Soon the racket began shortly after midnight. Of course our guests complained about it, but the neighbor, Ricardo, was uncooperative. One day I saw two jaguarundis cross the driveway heading toward his chicken coop. Word soon got out that they had killed a couple of chickens. Knowing that Ricardo would try to kill the cats, I called the wildlife department and asked if a game warden could come and have a talk with him. One happened to be in the area and stopped by that same afternoon. He told Ricardo that if anything happened to the pair of beautiful black cats they would know it was him, and that the fine would be enormous. Ricardo killed all the young roosters that same day, and put them in the freezer. I don’t think that these beautiful black cats are seen more frequently than other felines because they are more numerous, rather it is because they are diurnal, less wary of humans, and spend most of their time on the ground. At 5 kg the jaguarundi is the third largest of the five Hacienda Barú species.

Hacienda Baru

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Memoirs of a Masseur – December 2019


Every day I ask people when they received their last massage. For me, it is a prerequisite question before I begin my work. I listen attentively and have come to the conclusion that very few people give back to themselves enough. For some reason guilt exists about maintaining our own bodies. There is no need to wait. No need to have a back out of whack, a tight neck, a migraine, today is the day to loosen up and get yourself a massage. Let experienced hands put you into a trance where the mind and body can heal, can change, can grow. Massage is no longer a relaxing luxury. Therapeutic massage is an effective healthcare approach—a combination of art and science that true professionals in the field have spent years combining technical and academic information along with developing subtleties of palpation and technique. My twenty years of massaging defines my life more so than just my job. Working in my chosen field you could say, has massaged me into a man that goes through life caring about the mental, physical, and spiritual direction of other humans.


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Dudley and Smokey

KSTR Logo

Smokey

Smokey

Karen Moss sloths@kstr.org

Hello again from Kids Saving The Rainforest! As promised in the last issue, I would like to introduce you to two very special baby sloths. Dudley and Smokey are growing up together in our nursery. While their stories of how they got here are sad, they are both healthy and have each other to grow up with.

Dudley came to us on July 23rd, 2019 after KSTR received a rescue call at a local hotel. Dudley had fallen from her mother and she was unable to be reunited by hotel staff. Dudley was very weak and her coloring was off when KSTR wildlife personnel arrived. We had to make the tough choice of removing her and taking her to our clinic. We photographed her mother and noted her location.

Kids Saving the Rainforest header

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Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao)

Chef's Corner logoThe odd name for this alcohol-free recipe must actually refer to that formidable craving for fiery-hot noodles while one is drinking.

This is a more caramelized, saucy, spicy and vegetable-packed version of Pad Thai that can still be enjoyed with a side of chopped peanuts, cilantro, and lime wedges.

Ingredients for up to 8 servings

  • 1 package of Pad Thai rice noodles
  • 1/3 cup of soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons of oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons of honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil 
  • 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1lb of sliced chicken breast, and/or peeled raw shrimp (these proteins are optional)
  • 8 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1-2 seeded chopped hot chili peppers 
  • 4 green onions thinly sliced
  • 4 cups of sliced or julienned vegetables of your choice: carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, bell pepper, broccoli, baby corn
  • 1 cup of roughly chopped fresh basil (Thai or other)

Drunken NoodlesInstructions

  1. Soak rice noodles in hot water for 3 minutes and then drain in colander. 
  2. Combine the soy sauce, fish sauce, sweetener, and 1/3 cup of water.
  3. Heat oils in wok and add the chicken and shrimp if using. Add garlic, chili peppers, green onion slices and cook for about 3 minutes. Add sliced vegetables and cook for about 5 minutes until softened.
  4. Pour in sauce and mix well adding noodles and the basil.
  5. Serve immediately with some sides of chopped nuts, cilantro and lime wedges.