Today was sort of our first real day (they keep telling us that, and then we have another “first real day”- yesterday was our first whole day in Costa Rica, today was our first day in the field, tomorrow we have a full day of lectures and prep for work, and the day after we actually start on projects). Essentially, we continued to dive into our plans and prep for the trip, arriving at Palo Verde, our first field site, just before lunch.
Interesting language note: a “ferretería” is not, in fact, a store that sells ferrets. (A panadería sells pan or bread, and a zapatería sells zapatos or shoes, getting the pattern?) So my dreams of a big store full of nothing but ferrets and supplies for their care were dashed, but I learned that a ferretería is, in fact, a hardware store.
Palo Verde is fairly distant from any such frivolity, in any case. We’re a bit remote, at this first OTS field station, in the largest preserved area of dry tropical forest in Mesoamerica. Dry forest is more or less what it sounds like- not a rainforest, but a super diverse deciduous forest of trees and lianas, populated by monkeys, coatis, agoutis, curaçaos, ocelots, snakes, ctenosaurs, a million types of birds (that might not be an exaggeration… it is unclear) and bugs, bugs, bugs. Among the highlights were the spider monkeys, capuchins, and howler monkeys we heard and saw in the trees, giant ctenosaurs (black iguanas), and a boa constrictor that we caught slithering along the path.
We headed from the dry forest then down toward the marsh at the bottom of the hill. At the beginning of the dry season (now-ish, I think) there are fewer mosquitoes (but they’re still here…) but still water in the wetlands, where we saw more birds than I could count and a few crocodiles who were given a wide berth by all. We stuck around the observation pier and tower there until sunset, which wasn’t actually too buggy and was definitely very beautiful.
More to come soon on Costa Rica in general, and the way it it pretty much the coolest place to study all of the things!