We have made our way around the beautiful country of Costa Rica, and arrived 2 nights ago in Nosara, on the Pacific Coast. What a different and amazing place … with many of the animals we have seen elsewhere, like Howler monkeys Alouatta palliata, but new and distinctly different species, like the birds and ctenosaurs. Butterflies were very abundant, so the group had a great time trying to identify them using Mark’s lepidoptera book!
Yesterday course participants had the opportunity to walk through a coastal reserve and learn the unique aspects of the dry forest and mangrove ecosystems. What a treat! Info from Mark’s presentation on mangroves will be posted later. Students also had a fun and informative kayak excursion yesterday afternoon through the mangroves here in Nosara, with a stop at the beach to eat fresh pineapple and drink coconut milk. What a special place this is!
Today we head to the tide pools of San Juanillo to explore beach ecology, and then head to Ostional to hear a presentation on turtle conservation and nesting of the Olive Ridley Lepidochelys olivacea marine turtles. We will probably miss the Arribada, or ‘great arrival’, where thousands of turtles come up on the beach to nest at one time. Locals are expecting this to happen around the 15th of August. This process is usually in sync with the high course tides. However, there have been about 5 turtles nesting per night, so we hope to see the nesting process tonight with our Ostional turtle guide.
Below are pictures from the last few days, which include the San Gerardo field station, Monteverde activities including a presentation on the Three-wattled bellbird Procnias tricarunculatus by Victorino (see amazing Bellbird pics below), and a bird inventory project we had the opportunity to watch and participate in, being done by a group of students from Duke University on an 8-week service & action study abroad experience (along with local bird expert Louisa), and our walk yesterday in the dry forest. Pura Vida!!!
On the way to Nosara course participants also had the rare opportunity to see some large wild cats, macaws, monkeys (monos) and other animals up close, at Las Pumas Wild Cat Sanctuary (Centro de Rescate Las Pumas). These animals were brought to the rescue center with injuries, and most spend the rest of their life there, as they would most likely die if released back into the wild. Students saw beautiful jaguars, an oscelot, mountain lions (pumas), a jaguarundi, Scarlet macaws Ara macao cyanoptera, a Grisson, and many other animals. It was definitely worth the stop. Special thanks to our amazing MVI guide, Mark Wainwright!