Baja Desert Birds

As I approach my 100th checklist submitted to the Villa del Faro eBird hotspot, I’ve been putting together video compilations of footage taken over the last seven months here. The one in this post happens to be about birds, and most of them are, but I’ll also be sharing some whale breaches, ray jumps, and non-avian desert animal behavior. In the video below you can see two Greater Roadrunners (filmed months apart), a California Quail, and a Gray Thrasher (endemic to the Baja Peninsula) recorded at or ten minutes from Villa del Faro.

Make sure you have the volume up for the Greater Roadrunner section in particular, as the first individual engages in some interesting bill-clacks, and the second one was vocalizing in a low toot that I’ve only heard the one time so far, but seems to be a mating call.

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Shout Out To Friends In India

Good chocolate was impossible to come by in our early years in Kerala. So when we see this video we think wistfully about the progress on that front. The same film maker who worked with Amie on the series of shorts we wanted for the various Xandari properties–who we adored working with and whose final product was as good or better than what we had expected–has shared a link with us. It is a client in Kerala who, in a few minutes, has the chance to tell their story visually as well as verbally. We look forward to meeting the folks at Liso next time we are in Kochi.

The Little Things

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Tastemade

Thanks to Jessica Leigh Hester for her article in the upcoming issue of the Atlantic–Big in Japan: Tiny Food, The joy of cooking in miniature–which helps us put 2016 into some kind of perspective (we cannot articulate the perspective, just that this is as good as any other story to help us make sense of it):

The broth sizzles in a tiny pot hung over a flame on a miniature irori, or “hearth.” A knife the size of a pinkie finger nudges minuscule cubes of tofu from a palm-size cutting board. Flakes of seaweed tumble off a spoon pinched between a thumb and finger. A couple of minutes later, a tiny ladle dishes the finished miso soup into bowls no bigger than a thumbnail.  Continue reading

Birdsong – Making Visible the Invisible

We recently posted on artist Xavi Bou‘s creative use of chronophotography, a series of photos that capture the illusion of movement, to craft still portraits of birds in flight.

Australian artist Andy Thomas specializes in creating ‘audio life forms’: beautiful abstract shapes that react to sounds. These videos were created using computer program to activate particle effects from digitally captured bird sounds. Continue reading

Meander

 

Welcome! Walk barefoot in the sand…you know you want to!

Stroll through the meandering pathways and wander past curated views of trees rustling in the wind.

Fundamentally, Xandari Pearl is an invitation to relax and rest, pearl-like, in the arms of curved walls, to the lullaby of the sea.

Come see for yourself…

 

Float

The ocean stirs the imagination and inspires the heart. In its frolicking waves and every grain of sand is a story of the earth. And the beautifully timed crash of the waves whisper about nature’s simple treasures. For the sea and its tales along the land are a continual miracle. – Rosanna Abrachan

The tale we hear is thrilling – of knowledge passed down for generations, of artisanal fishing practices that grace us with sustenance from the Arabian Sea without depleting her waters.

Come sea!

Roots and Anchors

Anybody can welcome you to a destination. Tell you about the must-do and the must-see. Weave you through its facts and fables, seat you through its culinary journey. At Xandari, we welcome you to our people. And the living stories they are. From what’s cooking to an effective cure for colds, good ol’ ways of growing with the land to dreams by the beach, we hear them loud. And, are part of them.

Here’s to our pride. Here’s to our people. Here’s to our family.

Rosanna Abrachan

Community, Collaboration and Conservation are the “3 Cs” that we stand by, and crafting these videos felt like a large family gathering with a smorgasbord of experiences to choose from. Thank you Anoodha and the RAXA Collective –Xandari Pearl teams!

Stay tuned for more!

We All Like a Good Lek

There’s a couple places where we’ve mentioned leks on this blog before–primarily where grouse have been involved–but the first happens to be from 2012, when I was sharing about another bird from the same family as the species shown in the video below. That was the Club-winged Manakin, which I caught on video with a small point-and-shoot camera looking through a guide’s spotting scope. As I explained back then, lek is a Swedish word that has come to mean competitive displays between males of a species to become the breeding choice of one or more females of the same species, most often in the avian world. This time, I got some video from my hand-held (and a tad shaky) Canon Powershot SX50:

In the video above, you can watch one, and then two, male Long-tailed Manakins call and flutter together in the woods just off-trail at Xandari Resort, perhaps as a display Continue reading

You Are Here

You Are Here.

Three small words found on map boards from metros to malls around the world, usually accompanied by a red dot. Existential words to be sure. Words whose underlying message begs us to live with intention.

The RAXA Collective team crafted the Xandari Harbour walking map with the same deliberateness.

Come explore with us!

Step out from Xandari Harbour’s red door. Go right. Go left. You can’t go wrong!

 

click below to view the map!

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What We Are Made Of

 

Water and light… History and tradition… The patina of layered paint on classic four-part doors, and sun-faded signs help inspire the Xandari Harbour color palette.

The design brief was simple: honor history, but be not a slave to it. Embrace the fresh language of Indian aesthetics while celebrating the materials of the past.

Two entrances are here to welcome you. Choose classic – Choose modern. They both lead inside.

Come see!

Where We Stand

 

There’s something beautifully timeless about Bazar Road in Mattanchery. The classic counting methods and long-standing relationships between the stevadores and shop keepers. The ebb and flow of commerce as merchandise moves through the streets. The noble patterns of fishermen setting their nets or going out to sea.

Experience a portal into those journeys here…

Wildlife at Carara and Manuel Antonio National Parks

napping Two-toed Sloth

napping Two-toed Sloth at Manuel Antonio National Park

In 2014, I went to Carara National Park with James, and we saw lots of birds and also a bunch of reptiles and mammals. Some of these I got photos of, and others I was able to catch on video. This last weekend I went to Carara again for a morning of birding, and the next day went out to Manuel Antonio National Park for the first time in over a decade. Carara was as fruitful as ever, although there were many birds that I only heard and couldn’t identify since I don’t know my Pacific coastal bird calls very well. Manuel Antonio proved extremely crowded with tourists, and with a couple mammals so accustomed to human interactions that they brazenly robbed unsuspecting visitors, like the raccoons with a pack of chips (which aren’t allowed in the park due to their crackling package that attracts raccoons, coatis, and monkeys) in the video below. I saw a White-faced Capuchin Monkey bare its teeth and snarl at a tourist for trying to take back an empty plastic grocery bag that the monkey had snatched from his backpack webbing, and, in a more peaceful scene, a Two-toed Sloth napping calmly while a horde of tourists snapped photos a meter or two below (pictured left).

In the following video, you can watch Continue reading

The Sea Inside

What is it about the sea? The fact that it changes, and the light changes, and the ships change. The feel of being entwined with the ocean? That when we go back to it – whether it is to sail or to watch it – we are going back from whence we came.

– Rosanna Abrachan

The teamwork involved in crafting the videos that help define the guest experience at Xandari Harbour was as satisfying as creating the property itself. Thank you Anoodha and the RAXA CollectiveXandari Harbour teams!

Stay tuned for more!

Bird Behavior at Xandari III

For the first two installments of this video series, please click here and here.

With footage filmed between late October and early December of this year, the compilation video below features twelve different families of birds, not including the domesticated chickens we have as egg-suppliers on property.

First, a Rufous-tailed Hummingbird scans its territory for trespassers; next, a female Yellow-throated Euphonia eats some tiny fruit from a local tree, and a male of the same species sings his bubbly song, which includes a mimicked phrase from the Rufous-breasted Wren toward the Continue reading

Insect Behavior at Xandari

Over the last month or so, I’ve been recording videos of animal behavior at Xandari, and I finally have enough to share a small compilation of insects doing their thing on property. Sometime during the next week, I’ll also upload a video of new bird behavior observed here.

In the video above, you’ll see a small colony of leaf-cutter ants Continue reading

The Gray-necked Wood-Rail

Last month, I was using our most unique room at Xandari, Villa 20, as an office for a while. I say most unique — despite the fact that we have a Star Suite (Villa 27) — because 20 is constructed in a completely different way from all of Xandari’s other buildings. It is a round structure with a natural thatch roof, and it has huge windows affording about 180 degrees of view into the wooded gardens above the orange orchard. It so happens that this vegetated spot, not too far from the river that creates the southern border to Xandari’s property, is one of the stomping grounds for the Gray-necked Wood-Rail, a resident species of bird that is more often seen than heard, not only because it is extremely secretive and suspicious, but also incredibly loud.

As you can see in the final footage of the solitary individual above, they move cautiously while looking all around them for threats, and they move quite quickly when they perceive one. Continue reading

The Montezuma Oropendola

A week or so ago, Jocelyn discussed the Montezuma Oropendola’s song as heard on Xandari property in Costa Rica. As you could hear from the linked vocalizations in her post, the bird makes an incredibly strange, gurgling/bubbling sound, recently described by a Xandari guest as “the sound of pouring water from one jug into another.” James and I have put up photos of the oropendola as Bird of the Day posts before, but I realized after reading Jocelyn’s thoughts on the bird that we haven’t featured any video of this common resident species at Xandari in the past. So I went out with my camera this weekend and was lucky enough to capture a minute of behavior footage to share here. The main thing missing is what the male often looks like when he’s vocalizing: perched on a branch, he typically leans forward as he calls, bending down so far that it appears he might suddenly fall off. At the end of his call he swings back up, and starts the process again.

Although the Montezuma Oropendola is a species commonly seen (or at least heard) from Xandari on most days, they don’t appear to have any nests on property. And you’d notice Continue reading