Well, it’s been a few days since my last post. I’ve spent most of that time sick in bed – yup, some kind of nasty bacteria got me. But, I’m feeling much better now and I’m glad to be back writing to you. Let me start off with my last post that I never got to send . . .
Today we were divided up into our research teams – I’m on a team with Mrs. Perkins, Ms. Shluger, and Mr. Magee (another teacher from Oregon). One of the tasks our team must complete is a bird inventory, so we spent the morning in more classes, learning all about birding. There was a lot to learn and I still can’t really tell the difference between some of the birds, hopefully I’ll get better with more practice. There were so many birds to look at and try to learn – here’s a list of just a few: Tropical Kingbird, Great Kiskadee, Social Flycatcher, Belted Kingfisher, Green Kingfisher, Yellow Crowned Night Heron, Black Crowned Night Heron, Green Backed Herons, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Cattle Egret, White Ibis, Neotropic Cormorant, Anhinga, Roseate Spoonbill, Boatbilled heron, and Great-tailed Grackle. Yikes!
p.s. I’m sure everyone in my homeroom will be glad to know that there is lots of coffee here for me in the mornings!
In the end, I didn’t get a chance to go birding, I was too sick. But, I did get to go to the school in La Manzanilla and plant trees. We planted about 40 trees all around the soccer field and basketball court of the school. It was hard work! First, we had to dig holes in soil that was super compacted so that we needed to use pickaxes to even get a hole started. Then we had to lug big buckets of water around and make sure the trees had enough water. It was a tiring day, but I think it will be really nice for the kids to have some shade while they are out playing.
Today was our day off. I spent the morning sleeping in, still recuperating and then went with Mrs. Perkins to Cihuatlán where we bought tons of sports equipment for the school in La Manzanilla. The store was very small and it took a long time to decide what to buy, but the woman who helped us was so nice. All the stuff should be delivered to the school on Monday. After that we went to another town called Barra de Navidad. The whole town is built on a sandbar! Does anyone in my classes see a potential problem with that? The town and beach was beautiful – there were even people surfing there. Too bad I wasn’t feeling my best or I could have taken a surfing lesson! We wandered around town and bought a few souvenirs, but I think the highlight for me was when we found a coffee shop that served iced coffee! When it was time to head home, we looked at the bus (which we could have taken for 10 pesos, about $1) but decided that it was worth it to pay for a taxi (which cost 100 pesos, about $10).
Mrs. Perkins buying sports equipment.
This is Barra de Navidad, the town where we spent our day off.
Tomorrow we are going to be snorkeling and counting fish, so that should be a really awesome day. I’m so glad that I’m feeling better and that I get to participate in all this neat science. The scientists here are wonderful and don’t mind taking the time to explain things to us. They care so much about the town and the mangroves and they’re working so hard to make sure that all of this beauty is conserved as the town develops – it’s really awesome to see them working.
I miss you all!
To answer some of your questions:
Samantha, I haven't seen any oysters stuck on the mangroves. I'll be snorkeling tomorrow so hopefully I will be able to check that out for you, but I'm thinking that this type of mangrove doesn't have the oysters. There are lots of other animals that live in their roots and in the land around them though, that's why it's so important for us to be here learning about them and making sure that they're around for a long time!
Ms. Torigian, thank you so much for taking care of Wally while I am gone. I love reading your comments!
Sra. Welch, I'm still mostly eating crackers since I'm getting better, but I will try to eat some delicious Mexican food for you.
Ms. Heaton, We planted almond trees and something else that I couldn't identify. I will try to find out for you tomorrow. The soil was terrible - check out the description in my post! And yes, I started to feel very carsick on that long, unairconditioned ride, but it was totally worth it to get here. The crocodiles mostly lie about and they eat pretty much anything they feel like eating: fish, birds, really any animals they can catch. One of the guys here said that he once saw one eat a dog :(
Mrs. Reedy and all of 6Z, I'm sorry your other post didn't go through . . . We've seen lots of animals: crocodiles, lizards (I just saw a gecko as I was writing this), snakes, birds - lots of birds, there are even hummingbirds right outside our bedroom. I think that I will be seeing a lot more now that I'm feeling better. I'll try to get some pictures for you tomorrow. I haven't seen any volcanoes yet, I'm not sure if this area is very volcanic - I did see some really great landforms from the plane on the way here, I'll try to get some pictures on the way home. As for the mangroves, they are mostly near the coast. There are two types here: red mangroves and white mangroves. The red mangroves are more inland here and the white are along the coast. The red mangroves have really long prop roots. I think there were some pictures of white mangroves in the photo of the crocodiles. I will get some good pictures for you all tomorrow.
Rebecca Walker, Thanks so much for your questions! Mr. Magee is pretty much doing the same thing as we are since we are all on the same team. Mrs. Perkins and I get to sleep in a room that has walls, but Ms. Shluger sleeps in a room that doesn't really have walls or a door. I think Mr. Magee is roughing it the most though - did you see the picture of that thing in his bathroom? We haven't seen any live snakes, but before we got here the researchers did catch a yellow-bellied sea snake that is poisonous and a moray eel, which is not poisonous. They were keeping them in ziplocs in the freezer - not where I like to keep my dead animals, but hey . . . I haven't really seen anyone playing soccer here, but today Mrs. Perkins and I did go to buy soccer balls and nets for the school, so maybe a lot more will be played now.