The class was eager to get the day started and hoping to catch a glimpse of the sunrise on the beautiful Costa Rican Pacific Coast, we all woke super early in the morning and took a quick walk down to the beach. Some of us only realized until we got to the beach, that the sun rises in the East, and since we were on the West coast, were not able to actually watch the sun rise. Despite this minor flaw, we were welcomed with a nice low tide, exposing some infaunal species and gorgeous colors in the early morning sky. After walking around, taking pictures, and taking time to relax before our first day, we headed back to camp to enjoy our first Costa Rican breakfast. After breakfast, we met with our new UNA biology students friends. We will be working hand-in-hand with these research partners during our stay in Playa Grande. This is an incredible program offered to us since we are able to truly connect with people from other cultures and learn about their country from them personally. Since they are also mostly our age, it's nice to have other peers to explore with. Once all settled in, we took an afternoon hike where we trudged through a maze of mangroves and learned the field methods that we will be working with tomorrow. We were able to see the estuary, where we will be doing our bird monitoring, and also got a feel for the camp site and where everything is located so we're aware throughout the week.
Up next: a cultural experience in the town of Santa Cruz!
Fun fact: Whistling-thorn trees house a species of ants that seem to share a symbiotic relationship. If the tree is threatened, the ants may act viciously- so beware!
Please enjoy some of the photos in our blog photo gallery throughout the course of this trip. Above are only a few of the photos that show us meeting our UNA peers, hiking through the brush near the estuary, and learning our field methods.