Friday, March 22, 2013

Did We Just Have a Moment?

3/10/13    El Zota Biological Station

Well my wish came true.  I woke up this morning to the sound of howler monkeys.  It's actually pretty creepy.  That was around 5 AM.  Our first hike was a pre-breakfast one around 6 AM.  We went down the road again, looking fr early morning species.  We spotted some Spider and Howler monkeys, an Agouti, and some fun birds like the Broad-billed Motmot and the Collared Aracari.

About 1 hour after breakfast we went on our second hike, seeing another Motmot and a Buff-rumped Warbler.  We met up with Israel at the entrance to a trail that goes near the lagoon we visited yesterday.  He had already taken the other group through the one way and was taking us back in the other direction.  This trip was really fun as it did not rain and this trail had a lot of interesting things along it such as: walking alms, strangler figs, and white tent bats!

The previous group actually encountered a caiman sunning on a board over a marshy area and startled it, which then startled one of the girls, who freaked out and broke one of the boards.  Near the very end of the walk we also spotted a White-faced Capuchin.  Normally they travel in groups but this female was a little far out of the group- snacking in the banana trees.

When we returned we were informed we wouldn't be going on an afternoon hike because tomorrow is going to be a long day and he doesn't want us to be tired out.  Instead we lounged about for a couple of hours before eating lunch.  Fresh pineapple today!  So delicious.

As I was heading over to wash my dishes, Dr. George pointed out a troop of capuchins right outside the kitchen.  I spent about an hour taking pictures of 6-7 adults.  And these critters can get pretty crafty.  They were actually throwing things (nuts/branches/etc) at us!  One of the females had an adorable baby on her back.  The workers here were just as excited about them (especially the baby) as we were.  They even gave us a couple plantains to toss to them.  It was quite the experience to be able to interact with them.

A short time later most of us decided to go on a stroll around the grounds again, trying to find some more fun critters.  We saw a Chestnut-mandibled Toucan and some collared Aracari eating some berries.  Not a whole lot of exciting happenings- probably because we were talking and laughing.  As we returned to camp the other group was heading out on a second hike.  Dr. George told us he was going on a walk and we were welcome, but not required, to come.  We all went.  We even had a moment as a group where Dr. George commended us on being willing to go on another walk where previous years claimed to be too tired.

This time we took the Banana Trail (a lot of it was lined with banana trees) that ran parallel to a stream and the gravel road for quite a ways.  It was definitely a fun hike.  Plenty of steep/slippery slopes to try and not fall down.  The end of the trail parallels a farm.  Let me just say the cows down here have funny accents.  It sounded like we were about to be overcome by dinosaurs.

Our next adventure was our night hike looking for herps.  We found five species of frogs, including a red-eye treefrog.  It was a fun hike but a little scary at parts because it's so difficult to see the path/ where it might be slippery.

Tomorrow we go to the primary forest.  I hear there's an army truck involved...

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