My ASA Schedule
There’s been some demand to hear what a day at Fincas de las Piedras is like, and I’ve been waiting to do so until I had some nice pics to accompany. So here’s a brief outline of what goes on for me at the station:
Sometime around 4:30am: Wake up. Get a last look at the fading stars.
5:00am: Head down to the kitchen with primatologist Alli and several of the interns. Fill up my water bottle, grab a quick cup of coffee, and each of us sets off in a different direction on the trails.
5:00am-5:30am: Bushwack in the pitch black, alone, sometimes with a dying headlamp. Where am I? Jeez, what was that sound? I think something’s following me….
5:30am: Get to my destination. Ok, time to settle in and listen for some monkeys….if only that damn white-throated toucan would stop yelping.
5:30am-8:30am: Titi monkey vocalization surveys as part of Alli’s primate census study. When a troop of titis calls, I’ll record the direction and approximate distance in order to understand how large their home ranges are. But sitting in a single spot in the forest not only results in listening to and seeing dope monkeys; I’ll have lots of interesting wildlife stumble upon me: hummingbirds, toucans, puffbirds, agoutis, squirrels, the sort. Not to mention another unreal sunrise. Here’s what it sounds like:
9:00am: Refill water coolers for drinking/cooking/washing hands, grab some breakfast that José (our cook) has left out for the monkey crew. Listen to music with José, attempt to communicate en Español with José, fail to do so, brush teeth.
9:30am: Begin late morning activity. Examples include:
–tending to shadehouse crops such as cacao trees
–leading interns on hikes through forest to work on note-taking skills, naturalist knowledge, etc.
–helping construct the station’s next project (butterfly flight house, passionvine trellis, drift fences, etc.)
–collecting butterfly adults and larvae for Lepidoptera collection
12:00pm: Some down time to hang out at la Casa.
1:00pm: Lunch, another good one from José. Refill water buckets.
2:30pm: Begin afternoon activity. Usually similar to the set of morning activities, but generally either not as long or not as intensive (the hottest time of the day is around 2-3pm so you’ll be hallucinating if you don’t get your siesta in).
5:00pm ~ 5:30pm: Head back to la Casa to hang out for a little. Hopefully then take a bath in the stream.
7:45pm: Staff meeting to recap today’s events, revise tomorrow’s schedule, and look ahead to the rest of the week.
8:30pm: If not exhausted, go for a night herping walk down by the stream, by the road, or off deep into the forest. Catch some frogs or snakes. Or alternatively, start watching one of our many movies with Erik and Alli, but get too tired only partway through. Spend the next 10 days attempting to finish the movie.
9:30pm: Call it quits for the night, but maybe have una cervasa first. Look at the endless stars and brilliant Milky Way.
Tiring sometimes, but you really can’t complain too much when your daily regime revolves around the rainforest.