Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New arrival of volunteers in Jalova!

GVI welcomed eight new volunteers to Jalova this week. They are Isaac, Vanessa, Marcus, Laura and Alex, staying for five weeks, and Nick, John and Vicky, each staying for two. Their first week was full of training, training and more training but they still managed fit in some time off base to start exploring Tortuguero National Park. Our new volunteers went out on the boat and began learning about the canals we survey and the thirty study species for the bird project - some highlights were the Tri-colored heron and several Limpkin. A trip out on the base boundary trail involved some practical training in track identification and photography.

Although several days of rain had put the notoriously flooded trail even deeper underwater, they were still able to ID White Lipped Peccary (Tayassu pecari) and Tapir (Tapirus bairdii) tracks in the mud or, in the case of the Tapir, several inches below the water. The two and five weekers also started nightwalks this week, with the fist one out including a surprise appearance by the critically endangered Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys inbricata). Marcus, who counted the eggs laid in the nest, recalled his first nightwalk as “a once in a lifetime experience. I didn’t now what to expect and ten minutes in we saw the tracks.” Other volunteers first week highlights included crocodiles and purple gallinules on the canals, a snake caught predating a frog (video and story to come) and being able to see the incredible diversity of Costa Rican flora and fauna.