Soda y Mirador is a small restaurant or "soda" in Cinchono, Costa Rica. The back porch is a hotspot for viewing many species of hummingbirds including two Costa Rica endemics: the Coppery-headed Emerald and the Black Bellied Hummingbird. Other birds such as tanagers, toucanets, barbets and guans also feed here, making this a not-to-be-missed destination for birders and photographers.
There is also a fantastic view of the San Fernando Waterfall, which plunges over 70 meters (250 feet ) as it empties out of the Barva Volcano.
Soda y Mirador has a very interesting history. Probably the biggest disaster in Costa Rica in recent history was the 8.1 magnitude earthquake that struck right under the La Paz Waterfall and this little town of Cinchona on January 8, 2009. 34 people were killed and 369 tourists had to be evacuated by helicopter due to a giant landslide near the waterfall. The Soda was a well-known eatery and it, as well as the rest of the town, was completely destroyed by the quake.
A new town was built a few kilometers away, but the owner and his family chose to stay and rebuilt on the same steep slope and rise again from the ruins.
We walked out to the back to find the hummingbirds and I was immediately greeted by one of my target hummers. A male endemic Coppery-headed Emerald was sitting right on the railing as if to welcome me!
Because of the unique setup, many of the hummingbirds are perched below you while they guard the regular feeders. This provides an opportunity for some interesting photos.
Male Violet Sabrewing
The porch is set up so that you can't see the hummingbird feeders, as they are hung below the floor level which hangs over the hillside. There are baskets of flowering plants and potted bromeliads that are kept filled with a sugar solution, so the hummers would come to them and utilize them as feeders. The surrounding foliage provides plenty of perches. Papaya and bananas are also put out on boards for the numerous other birds.
I caught a Black-bellied Hummingbird dining on a chunk of papaya. Hummers are able to utilize fructose (fruit sugar) directly as an energy source. We humans sadly cannot. We must first convert it to glucose in our liver.
William and I ventured underneath the porch, negotiating the slope so I could try to photograph a green hermit that kept coming to a low blooming banana plant.
I also took a photo of one of the hidden feeders that was currently occupied by a male and female Green-crowned Brilliant.