Tuesday, November 13, 2007

ENS Field Trip the Sequel: Cerro de la Muerte

This second Environmental Science field trip was very different from the previous field trip for several interesting reasons. First, it was much colder on this most recent field trip because we travelled to a tropical cloud forest instead of the tropical rain forest from the last field trip. Also, we stopped along the way to hike in the mountain bog, which is just a wet as it sounds. We had to be extremely careful to not fall into large seemingly harmless, giant holes of watery mud (unfortunately one of the group still had the misfortune of stepping into a deep hole and getting very wet). The rest of the first day we went looking for flowers that hummingbirds feed on for our lab work, and then spent a very cold night in the hotel (apparently people just don’t use heaters in Cerro de la Muerte).

The second day we set up our nets and caught some hummingbirds, which is both easier and more difficult than it sounds. The easy part was having the hummingbirds fly into the big nets and get entangled. The hard part was getting the birds out and then carrying them to another location. It is an interesting feeling to hold a hummingbird, one that I didn’t really enjoy simply because I thought I was going to break it the whole time, but other than that really cool. In case you are wondering, they pee a lot, but it doesn’t really get on you it just kind of shoots out. Later, we observed hummingbird feeders to see what kinds of hummingbirds visited the feeder and how many there were to aid in our lab reports. The rest of our time we spent identifying pollen on different slides and packed up to go home. We were supposed to do a second hike on the way back to San Jose, through a type of forest called the Paramo, but it was too rainy. Overall, it was a very different second field trip in that it was less comfortable for me because it was so cold, but more interesting because we got to work with and observe hummingbirds.

-Nicole Olavarria

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