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Palo Verde Day 4

The less lazy/tired people in the group went for an early morning walk at 5:30. We did some bird watching  on the way to see the white-faced capuchins in the mango trees near the station, but saw so many interesting birds we never even made it to the mango trees! We saw caracara, turquoise motmot, cuckoo, whistling ducks, cattle egrets, roseatte spoonbill, common ground doves, jacanas, limpkin, a moscovy duck flying in the air above us, several cinnamon hummingbirds, rufous-naped wren, manakin, oriole, kisskadee, and a great currasow. We also heard a laughing antshrike. We saw an agouti running through the woods. The early wake-up time was definitely worth it!

After breakfast at around 8:15, we hopped on the bus and drove to the boat for our mangrove tour on the Tampisque river. It is a tidal river that leads into the Nicoya Gulf. The tide fluctuates about 4 meters every day! It was about a foot below high tide when we started off and we could see the water mark on the vegetation on the bank. 

We saw black mangrove and collected some samples of the leaves and flowers. Unfortunately, because the tide was so high we didn’t get to see any pneumatophores. It was interesting to see that there were no mangrove trees in the areas in which the agricultural lands (mostly cattle) could be seen from the river. We collected samples from many other types of vegetation for identification later. 

We also saw many birds - muscovy ducks, tiger herons, green-backed herons, spotted sandpiper, great-tailed grackle, mangrove swallows, and Amazon kingfishers. We heard the distinctive call of howler monkeys and the boat driver backed up so that we could watch them for a while. We also saw Jesus Christ lizards, many crocodiles, and green iguanas. One of the times we neared the shore while taking a sample from a tree, we were surprised to see that about ten green iguanas ran towards the boat. Rafael told us that they have changed their behavior as a result of humans feeding them. 

When the tour ended and we got off the boat, someone saw an africanized bee swarm and so we had to quickly and quietly load onto the bus. All in all, it was a pretty exciting trip!

We spent the rest of the afternoon in the classroom. Team leaders gathered data and prepared their presentations while the rest of us identified plants and insects and prepared herbarium samples. 

© Cardelús Updated September 2018