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Conservation and Environment in Costa Rica: Monthly Updates

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Conservation in Costa Rica - Monthly Update May 2011

Conservation volunteer

We have been working hard as usual in Barra Honda this month and we have been having a great time doing it as well! This month has been one of the wettest on record, which you can see on the weather data section from our website. This shows that from the middle of May it has rained almost every day! This has meant that we have been doing a lot of work making preparations from what is probably going to be one of the wettest rainy seasons on record.

High point

One of the largest jobs we have at this time of the year is clearing the drainage ditches along all of the roads...as those of you have visited the park know we have some long roads which have some steep inclines which causes the rainwater to flood down the hillsides, washing away parts of the roads. We’ve been digging along the road and filling in areas that have already been washed out. It’s been a long month but it’s been great fun as well, getting muddy and sweaty and coming back with a great sense of feeling tired and having completed something important!

Along with the drainage ditches we have also been working really hard clearing the green areas of the park, with all this rain, the hot and humid sunny conditions make everything shoot to life and grow so quickly. This month we have cleared the football field, the parking area, the camp site and along the roads and because of all the heat and rain a lot of it is ready to be started again!

Milk Frog

The rain has been very helpful though with wildlife sightings, there have been some great sightings very close to the camp, Eduardo and I have seen 3 different types of snake and 4 different types of frogs and toad just outside our rooms! It’s been great! We have spent many nights just sitting outside waiting for wildlife to show up, one night in particular was great, with us seeing 2 different types of frog and 2 different snakes, an anteater and an armadillo! All from the comfort of our own rooms. We managed to take some great photos of these animals as well. Here we have a red tailed boa coming across the floor outside my room! Just shows that luck is a big part of seeing things here in the park but the rainy season is very important in bringing wildlife back to the main areas of the park.

During one of our activities, putting up the butterfly traps, we found the highest point in the park which gave us a great point to view 360 degrees of the park. We had to spend about 2 hours walking to this point and when we finally arrived the clouds cleared and we could see the gulf of Nicoya on one side of us, the office on the other side of us, the distant hills of El Flor and far off into the distance we could see the fields of some of the local towns near the park. After such a long and tiring walk we took quite a long break to take in the view just before we set off again to finish the butterfly traps when of course it poured down with rain and got us all wet! Nice and refreshing!

It hasn’t been all work and no play though, we took an afternoon off and had a nice Barbeque, then went down to the pool and had a few drinks and a dance. One of our Volunteers, Stefan Theisges took his guitar down to the bar as well and we had a good sing along...even though it was in German we had heard the songs so many times that we all knew the words anyway! It was a good chance to unwind and have good time with the volunteers outside of the work environment which doesn’t happen as much as we would all like to do unfortunately.

Red tailed Boa

Among other things we have been continuing our investigation projects, Our camera project has been bringing in the normal results, Agouti, Coati, Ocelots and other reptiles and birds. The butterfly project has been bringing in a lot of different species over the last few weeks as well and we have been struggling to complete a full session of the Bat project for about 4 weeks now as well...every Thursday at about 6pm it starts raining really hard...so we thought we would change the day to Wednesday but it started raining every night at about 6pm now!

We have also been working hard on planning our special weeks in July when we get a lot of volunteers arriving for short periods of time. It’s a hard job squeezing in the best parts of the park and unfortunately we have to cut a lot of the best things out and only focus on the biggest things, Caves, Waterfalls, Bat project, cameras and things like this. Look out for more information in July’s update when we will have a lot of photos and news!

Richard Munday
Conservation Coordinator
Barra Honda National Park
May 2011

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