January 9: At the Station

Steven Dutch, Professor Emeritus, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay

At Carara, the timing of the trip and local landscape limit views of the Southern Cross. You have to view it just before 5 A.M., and it gets light immediately after, you have to position yourself just right to avoid the branches of a tree, and the trees hide Alpha and Beta Centauri. The thick, bright Milky Way is visible to the right of the Cross. You don't want to try going out into the fields.

A month later and the Cross and Alpha and Beta Centauri would be much easier to see.

Looking north, the Big Dipper is easily visible. Polaris is the lowest bright star at lower center, a mere ten degrees above the horizon.

The one constellation best known in the Northern Hemisphere is the Big Dipper. The one constellation best known in the Southern Hemisphere is the Southern Cross. You can see them both from here. How sweet is that?

Agoutis are big rodents that look something like tailless muskrats. They're slow and not especially afraid of humans, but though close approaches are common, good pictures are hard to get because they stay in deep shade out of flash range, requiring slow shutter speeds.

Does this rain forest make my butt look big?
Left: an Amieva lizard

Below: Poison dart frog

Left: Morpho at rest
Left: Morpho taking off. They fly slowly (the great Life classic The World We Live In uses the perfect word: "languidly") and almost clumsily but it's close to impossible to get pictures of them in flight.
Mural at the Carara Visitor Center
Future road sign?
Fred the ctenosaur is a permanent fixture at the Visitor Center.
Fred, up close.
Termite mound
This is your eye in the sky. We have severe congestion on the leaf-cutter expressway...
This guy is a ghost bat. He roosted every day in the same tree.
If a bat can be cute, this one is. Even my wife, who had never before used the words "bat" and "cute" on the same day, agreed - as long as he stayed in the tree.
On the trail

Below: Now this is cute: White-faced capuchin monkeys. We saw howlers and capuchins but no spider monkeys. Some students hit the trifecta, however.

A bridge, courtesy of Southern Illinois University.

The bridges, built by several universities, including ours, were made with the best of intentions using low-tech methods, but are proving not to be very durable. The park plans to replace the more vulnerable ones with contractor-built bridges.

Shawn posing by her greatest triumph, the tree where she found the fer-de-lance.
Afternoon relaxation time.

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Created 18 January 2008, Last Update 11 June 2020