Today was so exciting! On our hike this morning we were able to observe Brown Capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella), Saki monkeys, Titi monkeys, and Saddleback Tamarins!
The Capuchin’s are my favorite and we were lucky enough to be able to watch them for about an hour the first time we encountered them and about 15 minutes the second time. They are so cute! We even got to see a mother nursing her baby. Most of the time they were foraging for either fruit or insects. When they are looking for insects they sometimes bite the bark and look for them underneath or they break off small branches and eat the insects off of the branch like an ear of corn. We saw several of the fruits they were eating but I’m not sure what they were. They were all small and most had large seeds in the center. My neck is so sore from looking up for so long! I thought about laying down but the chance of being bitten by ants (especially bullet ants!!!), chiggers, ticks, and spiders kept me on my feet.
The Saki monkeys were so pretty with their dark fluffy fur. The few that we saw today were not habituated to people and started growling as soon as they noticed us. The Titi monkeys were so small and cute. They were so close to us! Just when we thought the day couldn’t get better we walked back to the station’s dining hall for lunch and in the tree right outside the door was a whole group of Saddleback Tamarins! They are about the size of a large squirrel and are pretty adorable.
Aside from watching monkeys we learned out to use our GPS units and practiced navigating using our maps and compass so that when we start going out alone we don’t get lost. 😉
The jungle is much less treacherous than I had imagined. The wildlife is not as dense as I thought and it is not as swampy, at least on the trails that we’ve been on so far. That is not to say that there is not plenty that can hurt you out there but I find it to be quite a pleasant walk. I am surprised at how few flowers I have seen, maybe it is just not the season for them. The trees, vines, and fungi are all beautiful.
We typically have field work in the mornings from about 630-1200 and then readings and lectures in the afternoons so that keeps us pretty busy but sometimes there is an impromptu game of volleyball or soccer just before dinner. I think my group is playing soccer on Sunday in a mini world cup. 😉 It should be fun.
I am completely in awe of this beautiful place. It is so amazing.
Photo disclaimer: I thought it would be better to have a small camera to slip into my pocket and I didn’t want to get my nice camera wet so I brought a little point and shoot… it was the wrong choice. The forest is so dark that my wee camera can’t take decent pictures. The photographer in me is so upset but I am forcing myself to stop thinking about all of the shots I am missing and instead focus on the moments I am experiencing… that said, most of the images I am posting here are from various others in my group.
Overlooking the Rio de Los Amigos.
Saddleback Tamarins outside the dining hall.