It is more or less a place of biblical beauty, especially to a bunch of sweaty, bug-bitten scientists staggering out of the wild jungle- Las Cruces Biological Station and the Wilson Botanical Gardens.
We spent two days recuperating from chiggers and watching birds in the gardens, taking a bit of time to learn some plant taxonomy and work on papers. My favorite hours there were spent just exploring and then finding somewhere to sit and contemplate among the plants.
Lots of cool stuff to see:
This weirdo spider-
This very suspicious nest-building parrot-
And this ethereal-looking butterfly-
It was good to have a bit of time to chill out and be comfortable- hot showers, clean sheets, no mosquito nets necessary, and some other undergraduates from a non-Dartmouth, OTS course in tropical biology to chat with. I also found out what our mystery evil-plant is! It’s in the family Loasaceae, an old group sort of related to thistles (thus the bristles) and magnolias (thus the flowers). The species name is Nasa speciosa. It’s nice to have a name to put to at least one of the two Cuericí study organisms! Apparently all of the specimens of this plant (and there aren’t many) were collected within a mile of where we found ours.
I’ve been gone for a while, but I am now back into fairly-constant wifi and hot shower territory!
It’s been a heck of an adventure since I posted last, and the catch-up posts will take at least a few days. General outline: we spent several days in Cuericí, a high montane primary and secondary forest reserve in the Talamanca mountains, right on the continental divide of Central America (not sure about the term “continental divide” here, but that’s how it was described to me), and then hiked 23 km in to Sirena Station in Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula, a huge tract of primary lowland rainforest. Each place was “jungle” like you’d imagine from books and movies, though one was fairly high and cold and wet while the other was low and hot and damp (and buggy beyond belief).
Those posts will soon follow this one- just to catch you up, we have all just had nice hot showers at Las Cruces Botanical Gardens (an OTS station) and are checking our oodles of emails and messages. Glad to be back in contact with the world- the jungle was getting pretty surreal. Find out why SOON!