3/8 Bosque Rio Abajo and Gueva del Agua

march 2016 083

“The River Underneath the Forest” and “The Cave of Water”

We got rained on the whole time, but even through all the puddles and slippery mud, our hike through the rainforest was awesome. The smells of rain, decaying leaves, and rich soil was so refreshing, and I enjoyed listening to the frogs and birds chirping throughout the afternoon. I actually found the first Coqui frog of the day, and he was so little! About the size of a corn kernel. We also found a bunch of anolis lizards all over the trees, and I even got to hold one!  I was surprised to find a snails all over the trees too, and we spotted many termite nests within the branches and trunks.

We did our first sketching exercises once we made it to the cave, and we also got to try out our watercolor paints and pencils for the first time since receiving our art supplies in the morning. I really want to practice more with watercolors and inks because I love the aesthetics they can create together.

After sketching, we made our own bioart installations using the natural materials around us (leaves, palm leaves, vines, shells, flowers, etc). I learned that Andy Goldsworthy’s specialization is making bioart installations like what we were doing. The whole bioart installation concept was actually inspired by bowerbirds, which are amazing artists themselves.  Look them up, they are so cool!  The bowerbirds we learned about in the documentary we watched included Scenopoeetes dentirostris (Tooth-billed bowerbird), Archboldia papuensis (Archbold’s bowerbird), Amblyornis macgregoriae (MacGregor’s bowerbird), Amblyornis inornata (Vogelkop bowerbird), and Ptilonorhynchus violaceus (Satin bowerbird).

For dinner, we went to a local Puerto Rican restaurant called Metropol. I tried the shrimp omelette and Cuban rice, both of which were really yummy. I also tried flan for the first time, which tasted similar to vanilla pudding 😀

All in all, a great day! We accomplished so much, and I look forward to our next adventures!

Notes, Observations of life and habitat

  • Raining a lot on and off, puddles, very wet, mud all over the trails
  • Shells on ground
  • Apple fruits on ground
  • Seed pods
  • Many large and colorful leaves (reds, oranges, yellows, greens, browns)
  • Flowers on ground (fallen off of trees)
  • Guy jogging on trail
  • Phototaxis – the movement of an organism in response to light
    • positive phototaxis (similar to phototropism in plants) – toward light; water skimmer bugs
    • negative phototaxis – away from light, toward darkness

Animal species

  • Snails on trees, under leaves, on the ground – Tree Snails and Ground Snails
  • Anoles on trees
    • Anolis cuvieri – baby Treetop Anole
    • Anolis evermanni
    • Anolis gundlachi
  • Coqui frogs on ground – Eleutherodactylus coqui, the Common coqui
  • Malachite butterfly
  • Termite mounds
  • Amblypigids (order Amblypygi) – cave dwelling Tailless whip scorpions (harmless)
  • guppies in cave water, reticulated guppies
  • Water Strider, Cave Cricket
  • heard a Bananaquit bird – Coereba flaveola
  • saw a Puerto Rican morning dove
  • Mockingbirds
  • minnows in the cavern pools

Plant species

  • Bamboo (invasive species) – HUGE!
  • Mother-in-law’s tongue
  • Elephant grass
  • Vines growing all over trees (invasive species, choking out the trees)
  • Fungus, mushrooms
  • Ceiba (genus) trees – beautiful roots above ground, older trees have more intricate roots
  • vines growing in rock walls of the cave