Saturday, May 8, 2010

Tayra-ffic time on BTEC Survey

After the excitement of Agami herons in the morning, BTEC work carried on this week with the Interns taking a leading role on our specially designed Viper Survey. After spending time adapting the protocol developed by last phases Interns, everyone is now taking their turn being Patrol Leader for the first time.

So on Tuesday afternoon, Elliot Pelling lead his team of Ben Neuss, Ruth Stanton-Saringer and Field Coordinator Rich Phillips onto the South Trail expecting to see many Eyelash Vipers (Bothriechis schlegelii). However, everyone got a shock when after 30 minutes of surveying a previously unrecorded mammal was sited crossing an overhanging tree. Elliot indicated to the team that he could see some black fur in the tree up ahead. Thinking it could be a White-Throated Capuchin he moved forward for a closer inspection. Everyone quickly joined up to see the rare sight of a Tayra (Eira barbara) checking out the action on the path (see photo below). Not quite believing what they were seeing, the team stayed still to try and get as good a picture as possible to share with the rest of the guys on base. Unfortunately with everyone’s cameras set up for snake photographing we couldn’t get quite the desired outcome before the tayra scuttled off into the forest.

Nevertheless, this sighting got the camp buzzing and many people returned to the site to try and catch a glimpse of this elusive creature. Even though these searches were fruitless, we are still amazed by the biodiversity the small path between base and the river mouth can throw up!