Cajun Traveler 2


Cajun Traveler 2

Arriving in Palo Verde, it was quite evident that the climate would be quite different than the aircondidtionless beach of Cabo Blanco. This seasonally dry wetland lived up to its name with its vast stretches of flooded plains that attracted a huge variety of water birds, one of which being the Jabiru. This elusive bird escaped the cameras of our birders, so the picture will be provided by the internet


Jabiru in flight

Pic taken from;_ylu=X3oDMTBtdXBkbHJyBHNlYwNmcC1hdHRyaWIEc2xrA3J1cmw-/RV=2/RE=1403690859/RO=11/

Air-condition and Internet was a pleasant change from Cabo Blanco, the mosquitoes were not. Although being swarmed by mosquitoes are not uncommon to me, everything has its limits and I found myself actually using insect repellent in frequent and increasingly large intervals, something I rarely do. The first day started with a hike up to La Roca to reveal a stunning view of the wetland area.


The view from La Roca

The second day kept us indoors for lectures, 5 hours of statistics with Costa Rica screaming at you from the window its as close to torture as I’ve ever been, but although it was tough I learned many useful statistical tools such as Estimate S that will definitely be used in not only my thesis but countless other projects in my future. After the stats day we were released for Faculty lead projects. The project I chose to work on was a diversity of tent building caterpillars in relation to the amount of yearly precipitation (rainfall) of the region. I had the chance to work with Cezar Nufio an orthopterist from the University of Colorado who patiently worked with me while I learned how to compare diversity and predict how many unfound species exist in the area. Collecting insects for a day was a much-enjoyed day of fieldwork.


Collecting Caterpillars                                                                          Free living Limacodid

Besides the variety of pest species seen running around the building, again, not much time was allowed for roach hunting. One charismatic species Blaberus craniifer (Deathead Cockroach) was found on a night hike. Being in the family Blaberidae Saussure 1864, it is ovivipirous and does not produce an ootheca. Ootheca is the capsule like egg-case that roaches produce when they give birth.Deadhead Cockroaches can be found at lights, on trees, in caves, and is difficult to miss. A 3-inch cockroach tends to jump out at you. The defining character of this species is not only its large size but also the unique pattern on its pronotum resembling a face and the dark band on its forewing.


Blabers crainfer

Palo Verde came to an end faster than we expected and before we knew it we were off to Monte Verde for what our directors described as a few days off. Monte Verde’s beauty is unmatched and I had serious considerations of not leaving. Most of our time was spent writing and editing papers with lectures and scheduled walks peppered in between. These walks included a very knowledgeable tour of the Children’s Eternal Rainforest and giant humming birds that felt comfortable enough to land on my hand while they fed. We heard rumor of a strangling fig tree that had killed the tree it was growing around and was hollow on the inside. At the sacrifice of our shopping time in town we proceeded to find in and climbed inside. I feel the correct choice was made


My view as I ascend the strangling fig tree


A humming bird on a Forest in a Cloud Forest

Although my definition of free time has forever changed from being able to do whatever I was to actually getting writing done, the view wasn’t to bad


On the last day in Monte Vered we took a hike to a secluded field station where our view of the ArenalVolcano was breathtaking as the clouds moved in and surrounded us as we lay in the hammocks that hung on the back porch of the station. The hike back was truly an experience. A 5 km hike up a mountain within a heavily clouded Cloud Forest while rain continuously soaks you to the bone is one experience Ill not soon forget The beauty was breathtaking and the accomplishment of finishing was quickly replaced by the desire for the hike not to end.


Hiking up the mountain in the clouds and rain

I did find moments to sit out and play some music, 6 weeks without playing is to difficult for me to do so during our breaks and during lunch Cajun music was played on the back porch of the cabin. Tomorrow we head to the highly praised La Selva. The hype of the Disney world of field stations has been on everyone’s tongue since the beginning of the trip. I’m looking forward to seeing if the super abundant diversity of La Selva overshadows the ecstatic beauty the cloud forest of Monte Verde


Playing music with a view                                                           I really don’t want to leave


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