Brief updates from a busy third field day in Gamboa. The daily routine is settling in. Accommodations are spacious and comfortable, and the Schoolhouse meals are excellent. It has been very humid and overcast since we arrived, with significant afternoon rains and occasional rains at night. The new environment takes some getting used to but is becoming more familiar each day.
Posts tagged ‘report’
Day 2 – early morning update. Select pictures will be posted in the “Panama 2014” album on Flickr, linked here.
This morning we proceeded farther down the Pipeline Road, to the 5.8 km stop – Río Limbo. Dale located a young fer-de-lance snake right along the riverbed. Toucans and iguanas were also sighted. More photos of plants, animals, and the expedition group are coming on-line. The spectacular caterpillar in the featured image is likely a species in the saturniid moth genus Automeris Fabricius (resembling A. zugana, but the genus is diverse). The branched cuticular projections are not pleasant to the human skin.
The afternoon lecture gave us an overview of the climate in Panama in a global context. Around 3 pm it started raining cats and mice – good time for some down time in the Schoolhouse.
Our Tropical Field Biology – Panama 2014 course is officially underway! Eighteen students arrived yesterday at the Tocumen Airport, some after lengthy travels. We picked up our transportation late in the evening and proceeded to the Gamboa School Building. There were welcome sandwiches and coffee/tea waiting for exhausted but happy travelers.
After a good night’s rest and the first (hearty) Panamanian breakfast we started exploring the rainforest. Our first, short but impressive destination was the nearby Pipeline Road, a storied lowland rainforest trail into the Soberanía National Park. It took us about 2 hours get maybe 0.5 km into the trail – a testimony to the forest’s diversity and our excitement. Heavy rains started around 12:30 pm. This was our signal to return for lunch.
The first of about 10 course lectures is starting in the afternoon. Topic: Tropical Biodiversity & Biogeography.
I will post and link to pictures periodically.
Night update: After dinner we split up into two groups; one driving towards the “frog pond” near Gamboa, the other returning to Pipeline Road to look for frogs and arthropods. Highlight of the night: the pictured tarantula which was perched on the wall of a small storage shed by the trail entrance gate. Possibly this is the species Psalmopoeus pulcher Petrunkevitch, 1925. It is also known as “Panama Blond”. Both scary and beautiful, and a fitting end to our first day in Gamboa.