May 28, 2014 - La Selva Biological Station
Birds, Bullet Ants, and Capuchins
Photo by Yeraldi Loera
Today began as any morning would for bird-lovers worldwide, with group strolls around the clearings at La Selva. While the morning started too early for some, others were enchanted by the brilliantly colored birds present. Social Flycatchers flew around, carrying food to their nestlings; small Bananaquits flitted through the trees; Lesser swallow-tailed Swifts glided high above; and Buff-throated Foliage-gleaners, Black-throated Wrens, Orange-billed Sparrows, and Rufus Motmots came out from hiding in the forest. Throughout the day, other bird highlights included the stunningly blue White-necked Jacobin, Keel-billed and Black-mandibled Toucans, Gartered Trogons, and Green Honeycreepers.
After breakfast, the class split up into our independent study groups to continue conducting research and collecting data for our projects. Our group set out excitedly to see if the pit-fall traps we set out yesterday collected any invertebrates overnight! Our study looks at the difference in abundance and diversity of invertebrates in a primary-secondary forest gradiant, and pit-fall traps were our measure for collecting those invertebrates. After tromping through the forest and understory to collect our cups, we were excited to see that we had in fact caught some insects! After much sorting, identifying (thanks Dr. Braker!), and counting, we had our preliminary data ready for analysis for our first replicate!
The afternoon saw us setting out to put our pit-fall traps out again, to increase the amount of data we’re analyzing. Everything was going well and all was normal, until Kristen noticed a Bullet Ant crawling along the rim of her baseball cap. Experienced in all things tropical-rainforest-related, Kristen was quick to discard the hat (and ant!) and continue safely through the forest.
Tired from our long day hiking through the forest, the sound of falling sticks excited our group as Yeraldi looked up and spotted our first siting of White-faced Capuchins for our trip! The group of 6 to 8 monkeys swung through the trees and watched us carefully as we gawked and exclaimed at the site of these beautiful white and black creatures.
As we made our way to analyze our preliminary data, the moths, beetles, and other insects congregating around a new black-light made our day a little brighter.
- Group La Selbug – Connor Lewis-Smith, Emma White, Kristen Treat, and Yeraldi Loera