Tuesday, August 4, 2015

First Full Day at La Selva

Today was our first full day at La Selva.  After breakfast we started the day in the classroom with icebreakers and introductions to TEAM protocols and Conservation International.  
The lesson was quickly interrupted with our first sighting of a peccary.  It is a hoofed mammal, rare most places, but plentiful here.  By the end of the day we were really used to seeing them roaming around the field station. Still, we all had to go out for a photo opportunity.  
We also saw this Great Curossow while we were out.  This one is a male, though we saw a female later in the day and she was a much lighter shade of brown.  Apparently this bird tastes like turkey and is therefore most common in preserves.   
Next we had time to go out and start placing our camera traps.  We placed 4 in old growth forest and 4 in new growth.  Working together, we marked the trail location and GPS coordinates of each camera as we put it out in the jungle.  
At one point while we were busy working on the project a peccary shot out of a hollowed log, kicking up mud and scaring us all as he sprinted across the trail.  I can't remember the last time I was so startled.  After getting past the jumping and screaming we all thought it was hilarious.  
When the traps were all in place we slowed down to enjoy the hike back to lunch.  That is when we started spotting the blue jean frog.  Once we got the hang of it we saw them almost everywhere we looked.  He is also called the Strawberry Poison Dart Frog, though he isn't poisonous enough to be toxic to humans.  
We also spotted a few butterflies like this Great Owl Butterfly.  The inside of his wings were a bright blue color, though he seemed happy enough to sit with them closed while we waited.  
On the way back to the classroom after lunch, we saw a family of Howler Monkey's.  This was one of the babies hanging out in a tree next to the bridge.  
His dad was sitting on one of the cables holding up the bridge.  He didn't seem at all disturbed to have us stopping and taking pictures of him.  
We did vegetation sampling after that and a classroom quadrat sampling activity.  We were going to have a movie night tonight, but instead we has a special guest speaker.  The former GIS coordinator of the property was back to visit and spoke about his research project doing hyperspectral analysis of carbon sequestration in peat moss ecosystems.  It is only 9 here, but it is already 11 back home and we are all ready to call it a night.  Teachers in our district go back to school for preplanning tomorrow.  Instead we will be out climbing a canopy tower and learning more about camera traps.  


  1. I don't think I would choose that way to spend my vacation, but it will be fun to follow along from home. Have fun!

  2. What an adventure! I'm sure there will be so many interesting bits of information to bring back to the classroom when you do return. You're much braver than I would be but then I was never much of a camper - more a hiker, canoeist, fisherman- and let's get back to the motel or home and some civilization..