Wednesday, October 20, 2010

First Survey Week Round-up and the number 1,000

To the shock of everyone on base, the end of week 2 (the first survey week) has come and gone. This week was full of surveys and all of the volunteers were happy to get out and about on the beach and in the forest. We have been active all through the day with turtle patrols still on the beach at night and the canoe out at first light to catch the canal birds at their best.
Highlights of this week certainly include the first jag walk (see post) but also everyone’s first experiences of seeing the majestic turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs in the sand. Such was the impact of this sight that many of the volunteers have been rendered speechless in brief at lunch, leaving everyone else jealous and wanting to get a part of the action. The other big news was the passing of a landmark on the bird survey project. The first survey of phase, on Caño California, heralded the passing of 1,000 individuals seen on survey. To no one’s surprise it turned out to be a juvenile Northern Jacana (Jacana spinosa, see photo below), one of three in a group. This was met with smiles all round in the canoe, lead by Project manager Jonathan Groom, as none of the team was certain they were going to get the required 53 birds to pass the threshold. Despite the Northern Jacana’s efforts, the Green Heron (Butorides virescens) is still the overall sightings leader by a country mile.

And so we move on to week 3 and welcome 5 new volunteers to our group. Brian, Kristen, Aimee, Bernardo and Heather all join us for 2 weeks helping out with the end of the turtle nesting season. With turtle hatchlings hatching left, right and centre we certainly need all the hands we can get!