Thursday, November 4, 2010

Great Green Surprise

It’s been a long time since we last recorded Great Green Macaws (Ara ambiguus) in the vicinity of the Jalova base. This hasn’t been a complete surprise as normally these majestic birds will venture inland around the months of March – October to their breeding grounds. At GVI, we have been eager for their return as every sighting is always a great treat.

Listed as Endangered by the IUCN there are thought to be around 35 breeding pairs of Costa Rican Great Green Macaws. The population in the area that we work is heavily dependent on the neighbouring population in Nicaragua and the Indio-Maiz Biological Reserve. Therefore we are never sure which population of macaws we are looking at! However, due to the status of the bird, the Great Green Macaw Conservation and Research Project has been collecting data on the species since 1994. At GVI, we contribute to this dataset by reporting details of all Macaw sightings that we can.

It was therefore with great shock that our first sighting of the phase was of a great number. Intern Zahra Mohamedbhai and Field Coordinator Richard Phillips were in the boat going to pickup the Jag Walk team. Just past the ‘Wiggly’ Canal about 12 miles South of Tortuguero Rich pointed to a group of 5 birds flying over the canal. Not sure what they were at first, he shouted ‘Macaws!!’ once the long tail feathers were perfectly clear. They stopped the boat to marvel at the birds and 10 further emerged from the inland forest and travelled overhead. Turning just after crossing the canal, meant that the bird’s full colourful plumage was on show in the bright sunlight. It truly is one of the sights of the rainforest!

This is one of the largest numbers of Great Green Macaws that we have ever seen and fills us with hope that this period will be packed with even more.



JoaoG said...

Apparently, there are 16 pairs of them currently in Siquierres. Today chatting away with the Park Rangers, they told me this sweet information :D