Environmental Education, Volunteers and Visitors / 16.08.2012

By Bob Mason, Liz Lucas, and Kate Cleary   On our first day at the Cerro Osa Station, we met Max Villalobos, our Internship Coordinator. He led us on a hike through some of the beautiful trails between the Cerro Osa and Piro Biological stations. Along the way, Max taught us about the native wildlife, briefed us on Osa Conservation's mission to promote biodiversity and awareness, and explained how we would be able to lend a hand. Our contribution would be to survey the secondary forest and create a baseline of data for their reforestation efforts, which are now in their third year. After a day of photographing several patches of forest to help document changes in the landscape, we began our surveying project with a staff member, Agustin Mendoza. Without Agustin’s expansive knowledge of the Peninsula’s flora and fauna, not to mention his prowess with a machete, our work would have been almost impossible to complete. Over the next three weeks, we marked 117 12x12-meter subplots and took notes on the planted species within them. Additionally, we documented the percent canopy cover of each subplot and the number of Pachote trees, which are now remnants of the previous plantation here. With this data, Osa Conservation will be able to track their reforestation progress by pin-pointing the best locations for individual tree species.
Uncategorized / 08.08.2012

Escrito por Hansel Herrera Vargas Hansel Herrera Vargas, un biólogo costarricense con un bachillerato en Biología y un Diplomado en Química de Universidad Berry College, Georgia, Estados Unidos, es el coordinador de voluntarios nuevo de Conservación Osa. El siguiente es su relato de primera mano de su traslado a la Península de Osa. Hansel estado muy ocupado este verano, como la Tortuga Marina Programa de Voluntarios de 2012 está en marcha. Solicita hoy esta oportunidad para experimentar la maravillosa Península de Osa! [caption id="attachment_4049" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Mamon Chino (Photo: Mario Melendez)"][/caption] El primer vistazo de Osa sucedió justo antes del atardecer en una tarde lluviosa de julio. A la orilla del camino, poco a poco se asomaba un mundo nuevo y mágico; una tierra que mezcla la selva con el mar. Rápidamente se llenaron mis pulmones con decenas de olores nuevos: el dulce aroma del Mamon Chino (Nephelium lappaceum), el suave olor de la Carambola (Averrhoa carambola), la hediondez del Nonis (Morinda citrifolia), el pudoroso Mimbro (Averrhoa bilimbí), la Guaba (Inga edulis), el cacao (Theobroma cacao), y otros mas. Ay, que lugar de ensueño pensé, y pronto olvide como había llegado hasta allí.
Miscellaneous / 08.08.2012

By Hansel Herrera Vargas Hansel Herrera Vargas, a Costa Rican biologist with a Bachelor's degree from Berry College, Georgia, USA, is Osa Conservation's new volunteer coordinator. The following is his first-hand account of his move to the Osa. Hansel  has been very busy this summer, as the 2012 Sea Turtle Volunteer Program is well under way. Apply today for this opportunity to experience the wonderful Osa Peninsula! [caption id="attachment_4049" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Mamon Chino (Photo: Mario Melendez)"][/caption] I embarked on my first journey to the Osa Peninsula just before sunset on a rainy July afternoon. The road south brought glimpses of a magical landscape where the  jungle mixes with the sea. My lungs filled with dozens of new scents: the sweet smell of Mamon Chino (Nephelium lappaceum), the soft smell of Carambola (Averrhoa carambola), the stench of Nonis (Morinda citrifolia), the Mimbro fruit (Averrhoa bilimbí), guava (Inga edulis), cocoa (Theobroma cacao), and many others. The road to Puerto Jimenez brings one across many rivers and many histories. There are dozens of towns and cities dotting the road from Costa Rica's capital to the Osa, and the nine hour bus ride is filled with sightings of beautiful mountains and valleys, exotic birds, and ancient trees.
Miscellaneous / 07.08.2012

In an effort to prove that it is better to be armed with a keen knowledge of the forest and the movements of animals than with a hunting rifle, hunters from several communities in Osa joined photographers to capture wildlife (on film!) as part of a celebration that took place for International Wildlife Day (Día de la Vida Silvestre) which took place on July 29. With the theme, "Wild Peccaries and My Community," they announced the winners of the photography contest, in which the communities of Los Planes, Progreso,...

Uncategorized / 03.08.2012

Escrito por Pilar Bernal El 29 de Julio celebramos el Día Nacional de la Vida Silvestre en la comunidad de los Planes de Drake, con el tema: “Los Chanchos de Monte y Mi Comunidad." En el evento se dieron a conocer los ganadores de los concursos “Rastreadores de Fotografías” y la “Manta Estudiantil” Los participantes del concurso “Rastreadores de Fotografías” pertenecen a las comunidades de los Planes, Progreso, Los Ángeles y Drake, y son reconocidos por sus habilidades de cazadores. Ellos realizaron un recorrido de un día en diferentes senderos y usaron sus habilidades para rastrear manadas de chanchos de monte, huellas de felinos, dantas y otras especies de fauna silvestre. Los participantes iban acompañados de un fotógrafo profesional quien tomó fotografías del proceso de rastreo.
Miscellaneous / 24.07.2012

By Andrea Johnson [caption id="attachment_4002" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="A mango tree in the Osa"][/caption] Mango season arrived for Osa Conservation in June. The trees at Greg Gund Conservation Center have been dropping their luscious fruits for several weeks now in a display of bounty almost reckless to those of us from northern climes who grew up with scarce and pricey supermarket exemplars. Sometimes the mangoes drop unprompted, perhaps with a light push from the breeze. Often they fall half-eaten and accompanied by a telltale rustle of leaves as white-faced capuchins (Cebus capuchinus) take their pick of the crop, or flocks of red-lored parrots (Amazona autumnalis) and chestnut-mandibled toucans (Ramphastos swainsonii) descend for another feast. Best for those of us consigned to wait below, every new rainstorm (for the rainy season has arrived as well) also brings a rain of whole, perfect fruits.
Community Outreach, Environmental Education, Volunteers and Visitors / 20.07.2012

[caption id="attachment_3980" align="alignleft" width="269" caption="Chess in the Schools students holding hands on the beach"][/caption]

Last week, through the high school study abroad program AFS, a group of students from New York City visited our station on the Osa Peninsula with the support of Chess in the Schools, a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to improving academic performance and building self-esteem among inner-city public school children.

“My favorite part was climbing the mango trees,” said one of the students. “I got to understand what nature is for the first time.”
Birds / 17.07.2012

[caption id="attachment_3961" align="alignleft" width="257" caption="A Black-cheeked Ant Tanager. Photo: Norbert Sayberer"][/caption] By: Carolyn Sedgwick Imagine being woken up each day by the sudden deep howl of a troop of howler monkeys and the positively curious sound of a singing Gray-necked Wood Rail. Time for work! This spring, I was lucky enough to spend a few months working at Piro Biological Station, Osa Conservation’s research center. My main objective was to get a better understanding of the habitat use of the Black-cheeked Ant-tanager (Habria atrimaxillaris), an endangered bird found only on the Osa Peninsula and the Golfo Dulce of Costa Rica. These birds have not been extensively studied and their population appears to be declining due to habitat loss. I set out to see how Black-cheeked Ant-tanagers used habitat around Piro—were they found in primary forests? Secondary forests? In transition zones? What were the characteristics of the zones they used during the time of year when I was there? I set about this by walking routine transects through different forest types around Piro each day and when I was lucky enough to encounter a Black-cheeked Ant-tanager, or even a small group of three or four, I took the opportunity to gather as many observations as possible and map where groups were found with my GPS.
Birds, Volunteers and Visitors / 03.07.2012

Spend this holiday season where the rainforest meets the sea, in the most spectacular and underbirded corner of Costa Rica. [caption id="attachment_3853" align="alignleft" width="204" caption="A Gartered Trogon sits perched atop a tree in the Osa Peninsula"][/caption] The Osa Peninsula harbors over 460 species of birds including the healthiest population of Scarlet Macaws in Central America, three species of leking Manakins, Yellow-billed and Turquoise Cotingas, King Vultures and the Osa endemic BCAT. Migrant birds that frequent the Osa Peninsula include the Golden-winged Warbler, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Prothonotary Warbler and the Baltimore Oriole. Home to the largest remaining tract of tropical lowland rainforest and intact mangrove ecosystems along the tropical Pacific coast of Central America, the Osa Peninsula is the wildest and most magnificent region of Costa Rica. To get an idea, check out our 2011 Christmas Bird Count summary.
Marine Conservation, Science and Research / 19.06.2012

[caption id="attachment_3816" align="alignleft" width="315" caption="A video still of a Pseudorca, or false killer whale, in Golfo Dulce"][/caption] Brooke Bessesen conducted Marine research at the Osa in 2010 and 2011 as a recipient of the Greg Gund Memorial Fellowship. Check out her Golfo Dulce report on our website. Jorge and I were always thrilled to see dolphins, as they are icons of the sea. Luckily, sightings were relatively common (only sea turtles were seen more frequently) and these graceful cetaceans graced our bow almost every day we were on the water....