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Panamania Just another Weblogs at Harvard Law School weblog

April 26, 2005

Locks, stocks and two smoking barrels

Filed under: crofootStories — crofoot @ 7:51 pm

It seems like a really long time since I’ve posted anything here, and
there are so many cool things I’ve done in the last couple of months
that it’s hard to figure out where to start.  Time seems to be
speeding up now, which is a sure sign that I’m closer to the end of my
time in Panama than the beginning.  Supposedly the dry season is
over and the rains are on their way.  It certainly seemed like
that two weeks ago, when just about every afternoon seemed to end in a
downpour and I became reacquainted with the meaning of “soaked to the
bone.”  Now, however, the weather gods seemed to have changed
their minds.  This week has been beautiful, sunny, summer
weather—and I’ve been stuck inside writing a paper and staring out the
window longingly.

Bob Lessnau came back to BCI at the end of February to help me dart and
radio-collar a few more monkeys for  my study.  This time
around was a whole lot easier than last time.  We got five monkeys
with relatively little trauma (either emotional or physical, to us or
them).  Interestingly, we only got females this time—the males
just wouldn’t give us a clear shot at their butts.  We even seem
to have gotten better at catching the monkeys in the hammocks when they
fall—we only missed two!

Marcos Guerra, a photographer who works with STRI, came out with us one day and took some nice photos.

Bob and Claudia drawing blood

Ella was named after the demon-capuchin monkey from hell in the horror
movie “Monkey Shine”—high quality cinema if I’ve ever seen it.  

weighing Ella with a Pesola scale.  She only weighed 2.2 kg—the smallest female we caught.  

Measuring her arm length

This was the photo they ended up using in the STRI news story about my
research.  It took me a while, but I kind of like it.  

There was only really one downside to this round of darting:  dry
season means ticks.  We were all covered head to toe in tick bites
after a day of darting.

A small percentage of my hundreds of tick bites.

This spring, BCI has had its very own Christo to compete with the
beautiful but strange installation in Central Park.  Andrea has
been wrapping her greenhouses in shade-cloth, so her seedlings won’t
fry in the sun.  Unfortunately, standing on a ladder in the sun
all day long for several days in a row, sewing together strips of shade
cloth may have fried her brain.  You can’t say it doesn’t look

This juvenile tiger heron has been hanging out around the labs recently too.

I also spent a really fun afternoon last month moored in the lake below
a fruiting fig tree that lots of monkeys were feeding in.  Alex

and I took a picnic dinner, watched the howler monkeys and capuchin monkeys gorging themselves

and then after dark got to see kinkajous feeding in the same fig using the ARTS lab’s 3.5 million candle power flashlight!

We also had an adventure driving out to Fort San Lorenzo on the
Caribbean coast—I’m finally 25 and can rent cars!!  The first part
of the adventure involved getting lost in downtown Colon (not really
someplace you want to be lost!).

Then we got to drive over one of the Gatun locks

Then came the never ending dirt road.  We kept passing signs that
gave the distance to the fort.  Except the further we drove, the
further away the fort seemed to get.  You’d pass a sign saying 9
km to Fort San Lorenzo, and 10 minutes later the next sign would say it
was 15 km to the fort.  (I learned a few weeks later, while
vacationing with my parents, that this kind of confusion about
distances seems to be ubiquitous in Panama).  We did finally get
to the fort however, and it was absolutely worth it.

Oropenola nests near Fort San Lorenzo

The other really cool thing I did before going on vacation with my
parents was visit the Gatun locks.  I had been foolishly blas

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