After some intermittent bird watching, the real work began! The first day started off with an introduction to the property and its boundary lines. Totaling 200 acres, the Toucan Ridge Ecology and Education Society (TREES) is comprised mostly of fruit orchard and pristine rainforest. We walked trails and mapped out some new trails that I will be clearing later on in the month. We also set up a couple camera traps to monitor wildlife on the property. We observed signs of deer and peccary, so who knows what we will get on the cameras!
While in the forest I discovered a friend clinging to my body! This is a pseudoscoprion. These are totally harmless and little is known about this group of animals.
On the hike, we even found an amphibian egg mass! We are thinking this species is Lithobates vaillanti. Thoughts?
The forest is truly beautiful, but the orchard has its charm as well. Banana, coconut, lime, clementine, orange, grapefruit, mango, and papaya grow on the property. There are also many species of plants that provide spices, like turmeric and ginger.
Looking up into a stunningly awesome mango tree.
These orange blossoms are absolutely beautiful.
In the afternoon, we worked on various construction/carpentry projects and outlined some other tasks that I will complete during my stay.
Carpentry and construction is not within my skill set, but I feel pretty proud of this frame that I helped build.
Various jobs to be completed are as follows: clearing and mapping trails, creating wood terrariums for temporary capture of reptiles found on the property, harvesting fruit (if someone wants to buy it), monitoring wildlife using camera traps, keeping a bird list, carpentry work, landscaping work, making sure the pets survive, and guarding the pineapple plants in front of the house from the neighbor’s pigs.
Yes. This really does happen, as seen in this photo. This photo reveals an angry Vanessa, TREES co-founder, chasing off a sow and her piglets as they are gobbling down pineapples. Ha ha ha, I am looking forward to my position as station manager of the Toucan Ridge Ecology and Education Society!
As usual, strange and exciting creatures graced me with their presence in the evenings. Typical housemates include large scarabs, grasshoppers, scorpions, and lots of geckos.
Lastly, my body is already deteriorating. After two hours of clearing trails with the machete, my hands are blistered. I am totally covered in fly bites that now itch like crazy. I am tired, inflamed, and sore… but I couldn’t be happier. With that, I will conclude this entry. Internet is pretty spotty, so updates may be a little less frequent than I previously expected. Tonight we are going out into the field. I expect good things.