Day two happened to get even more rainy with water levels quickly rising reaching 1 inch from the bridge to access our accommodation. This was the day to move on to our next location, Tirimbina, but not before another walk around the station keeping our eyes peeled for any exciting species, such as a male green iguana which is ironically rather orange during mating season.
The flooding at La Selva resulted in a precarious barefoot crossing which was in theory a road but more like a small river, while our luggage got the luxury of a boat ride.
Once at Tirimbina, a private non-profit reserve, we proceeded with an introduction to the centre and a talk about antbirds and army ants cooperative relationship. This was a great session focusing on the dominance interactions of ocellated antbirds, which are obligate ant followers taking advantage to grab a meal. It was shown that individuals that happened to be dominant in an area eat 60% more than those from far away, but the dominant bird also allows adjacent birds to eat, which is an example of reciprocal tolerance (be nice to neighbours, eat more tomorrow!).
The next stage of the day was a walk to our new accommodation, beginning with what is the longest suspension bridge in Costa Rica. We used this vantage point to catch views of montezuma oropendola, more green iguanas and kingfisher, and we saw another rare sight the sun!
However, this lovely weather was extremely short-lived…
What began as a hike to spot some cool wildlife soon became like an adventure with Bear Grylls. Climbing up a hill with only tree roots to grasp upon while sliding around covered in mud isn’t the usual midday hike but definitely is one to remember!
A couple of hours in, soaked after trudging through overflowing streams, we made it to our new home for the next few days, with the promise of dry clothes and a shower.
Sufficiently dry we sat down for the last class of the day, aposematism and mimicry. Aposematism is a signal such as colour, which is utilised as a warning to potential predators. The signal is easily detectable and memorable, enabling predators to learn to avoid species that exhibit a signal advertising their toxicity (e.g. the strawberry poison dart frog). On the other hand there is the phenomenon of mimicry, this can either be batesian, where a palatable species copies the colouration of an unpalatable species, or müllerian, where 2 or more unpalatable species have the same colouration.
The first couple of days of field course Costa Rica hasn’t failed to disappoint, although rather wet this hasn’t stopped us getting stuck in. With a huge diversity of species already spotted we can only hope this continues for our time in this wonderful country, but fingers crossed for a little more Costa Rican sunshine. 🌞
Keep following our Costa Rican adventure:
sf343 January 18th, 2017 Costa Rica, Costa Rica archive antbirds, aposematism, army ants, climbing, Costa Rica, Field Course, flooding, green iguana, green iguanas, kingfisher, La Selva, mimicry, montezuma oropendola, poison dart frog, river crossing, sunshine, Tirimbina