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Pygmy owl

The Costa Rican Pygmy Owl is found in the mountains of Costa Rica and western Panama. This species prefers canopy and edges of highland forests and adjacent habitat. Sometimes even enters pastures and plains with scattered trees. (from wikipedia).

We were so in luck to see this little owl species, only 15cm in height, so close by. It’s a fairly uncommon bird, but can be seen right in the area were we are, above 1200 metres in the Talamanca Cordilleras. This owl is endemic from Costa Rica to Western Panama and is active during both day and night. 

This one just sat on the road. Its about 10-15 cm high

Start of the journey

Saturday 9th of December 
Will I ever see New York??? So many times so close by, but somehow I never made it to this city. And this time it is as close as it can be….. On our way to Costa Rica we have a stop-over in Newark, only a stones-throw away from downtown New York. But the jetlag and a severe headache put once again stop to this dream. We decide to give up on the thought of spending a few hours in the city, but instead do New York justice and visit it proparly for a few days some time in the near future. Instead we decide to get some rest. It will be another early morning as our shuttle to the airport will leave at 5:30 in the morning! Maybe getting some extra sleep is not such a bad idea 🙂 
Sunday 10th of December
A smooth start of the day and of we are off to our flight to San Jose, Costa Rica. A smooth 5 hours flight as well, except for the part that the captain threatened to turn around the plane and land in Miami instead. A man with a dog didn’t want to comply to Federal law and kept his dog on his lap instead of in a travel basket during the flight and he didn’t want to listen to the reasoning of the crew. That such a small thing can ruin a flight and make it turn around felt crazy. We were getting so close to Costa Rica, only 2 more hours to go! But luckily the man gave in in the end and we landed as supposed to in San Jose.
We picked up our rental car and started the final part of todays journey; a 2 hours drive to the south high up into the mountains of Costa Rica, to a valley called San Gerardo de Dota.
Due to some hickups with our GPS system however we had a hard time getting out of the city. After an hour of driving we almost ended up again at the start of our journey, the rental car firm. Sigh! But, in the end we got the GPS thingy working! Second time around we managed to get out of San Jose and we slowly drove our way up into the mountains. The views are gorgeous and the sight of driving through the clouds has something magical over it. The last few kilometres are over an unpaved road, we drive down from the highest point on our route at approx. 3000 metres, into the valley and the Dantica Lodge at 2700 metres. We are now on the Pacific slopes of the Talamancan mountain range, part of the Los Quetzales National Park.
The welcome at the lodge is very friendly as we are shown to our room with a view. A gorgeous view! And a jacuzzi with a view to match. What better way to relax the muscles after a long day of travelling than a long hot bath while staring out over the cloud forest of Costa Rica. 
We decided to take dinner at the main building of the lodge, approx 10 minutes walk from our room. My choice of tonight is the Rainbow Trout from the valley prepared the chefs way, which tasted delicious. Åke went for the Grilled Tenderloin Poivre. After dinner we made it another early night; Jet Lag and high altitude does do strange things to a body.
Monday 10th of December, Dantica
It’s early morning in the Dantica Cloud Forest Lodge. Through the huge windows from our room (no.5) I wake up to the view where the star filled sky slowly gives way to some  morning light. No sunshine yet though, as the sun is still behind the mountains. But around 6:15 the sun reaches the top of the trees and slowly the sun beams move their way down and lighten up the whole valley. A beautiful sight, and so tranquil. In a way it reminds me of that wonderful morning when I watched the sunrise in the Grand Canyon. A totally different landscape, but the tranquillity and the slowly awaking of the landscape by the sun reminds me of that day. The cottages are very private, and the valley is very secluded, the only thing you hear are a view birds outside and sound of the waterfall further below in the valley. It’s cold here though! We are high up in the mountains, around 2700 metres and the temperatures drop considerable at this height, especially at night. When waking up it was only 12C in the room. So we quickly started our eco-friendly fireplace to get some warmth into our room with a view. 7:00 is breakfast time. Maybe I should get up soon…. but the view is just too mesmerizing to let go just yet. I decided to stay lazy and watch the sun creep further and further into the valley instead. Breakfast can wait a few minutes more……

Restaurant in the morning

I trädgården

Winter has started in Sweden for real this week with a snowstorm. The photo above was taken last weekend when we got the first dusting of snow. And with winter there come also the deer, visiting the garden to nibble on the last bits of green.
It has been quite the week, with both Åke and I having the flu, but we recovered just in time to pack our bags and catch our early morning flight. But we made it! We are having a pitstop in New York this afternoon and will be flying on to Costa Rica early tomorrow morning. From the capital of San Jose we will be driving south to the Dantica Cloud Forest Lodge, high up in the mountains of the Talamanca mountain range.