What a memorable morning. Charlie and I hiked into a stand of primary rainforest with Dr. Adrian Forsyth, founder and President of Osa Conservation (www.osaconservation.org) to look at a towering tree that might be a perfect candidate to host an observation and listening platform. The tree is on the side of a steep ridge overlooking a deep draw, which would make the deck hundreds of feet above the forest floor. As we macheted our way through the undergrowth it was fascinating to listen to Adrian illuminate the intricacies of rainforest ecology, from the relationship between fungus and tree roots, to medicinal uses of sap and seeds, to pointing out that the fur in the puma scat we almost stepped in was probably from a sloth.
The proposal is for Charlie to set up a listening station that would stream the cacophony of rainforest sounds live over the Internet. It’s a fantastic goal. When the live feed capability is established, I plan to set up a webcam on a mature leafcutter ant colony. Being one of the few species with a home address and a network of well-maintained superhighways, they are easy to spy on. A parade of leafcutters ants, carrying bits of leaves and flowers in their jaws, looks like a colorful line drawing flickering across the forest floor.
The tree under consideration is in the background of these two pictures. It might not look impressive (though the two Canadians with machetes certainly do) but scale is hard to capture with a point-n-shoot.