Notes from the Field: Concert at La Selva

It’s five AM, and I am writing from the La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica.  I am listening to a howler monkey outside in the forest letting everyone know he is awake and hungry.  His bark is long and low and seems to roll across the forest like a shiver of wind.  But, there is no wind.  It is hot and sticky.  Two-shirt-days, another at night.   The last couple of days I have gotten up early and gone hiking with a guide to see the most spectacular birds (even though, personally, I wouldn’t know a bird from a bush).  La Selva is an incredible site, with iguanas in the trees, peccaries eating unafraid less than three paces from my feet, a troop of spider monkeys crossing in the canopy overhead.  A little bit of paradise in a tropical rain forest.  Yesterday, I climbed one of three metal towers recently built out in the forest that allowed me for the first time to emerge above the canopy.  It was beautiful with a sea of tree tops as far as the eye could see and three volcanoes hovering in the heat off in the distance.  I thought of how there was so much to describe, but I was speechless.  Today it’s off, once again, as the guide is waiting for me at six.  A pre-breakfast concert of motmots, tanagers, toucans, and hundreds of other brilliant birds before a long journey that returns me to the U.S. by week’s end.  Breathe it, smell it, feel it, bask in it… it will be gone that fast.

Categories: Travels

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