Monteverde encompasses a cloud forest which houses about 2.5% of global diversity with 50% of the fauna and flora within Costa Rica being found here. The station we stayed at is at the highest part of this area, between 1400-1800m above sea level.
After some amazing locally grown coffee we began our first morning in Monteverde by hiking up the mountains to the continental divide between the Caribbean and Pacific Oceans. We really felt like we were in a rainforest being surrounded by clouds and torrential rain. The afternoon was much sunnier and we visited the Children’s Eternal Rainforest Reserve where we found wildlife such as a tarantula and a long-tailed manakin. Following this a trip to the local bakers and coffee shop was a nice treat after a full day exploring. We then spent the evening doing a mock dragons-den where we presented ideas for research projects to our lecturers and received guidance.
The next couple of days were spent conducting research projects within groups. We had the opportunity to explore numerous locations around the area with some groups conducting their projects in a butterfly garden or a hummingbird cafe. My group studied the diversity and abundance of spider webs between 2 different types of forest, finding over 500 webs in one afternoon of searching! We spent our evenings learning about local amphibian declines and having a talk from tropical ecologist Karen Masters, the director of CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange) in Monteverde about the conservation strategies and successes they have had in the area over the past 30 years. She also explained how CIEE are committed to reducing the climate impact of our travel to Costa Rica through their tree nursery, which is pivotal considering our global climate emergency. On our final night in Monteverde a night walk spotlighting yielded the exciting finds of an olingo and kinkajou, both arboreal mammals.
This morning our guide Moncho was able to show us a Mexican deer mouse and female Alston singing mouse from mammal traps he had laid out, both of which were released unharmed following examination. Following this, today we have travelled from Monteverde down south to Sierpe. We had a chance to visit the hummingbird cafe on the journey which was incredible. They had sugar feeders set up around the outskirts so you could sit with a coffee and watch the hummingbirds feed right beside you. We also stopped on our travels to have a look at the massive crocodiles that reside under a major bridge. Tonight we had an inspirational talk from Randall Arauz about his endeavours to protect sharks and turtles from the brutal fishing industry, emphasising how important government support is to implement change.
Tomorrow we’re heading off on a boat through the mangroves to Jungla del Jaguar in the Osa Peninsula for 3 nights. Don’t be concerned if you don’t hear from us we will have no signal or WiFi so we’re going to be enjoying a screen detox!
Photo Credit: Jack Ashton
Photo Credit: Joel Stevenson
Photo Credit: Bethan Roberts
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blr211 January 12th, 2020 Costa Rica