Saturday, January 1, 2011


The GVI Canal Bird Surveys of Phase 104 were very memorable. We managed to complete 21 surveys with a good spread across our three survey canals. We would have managed a couple more but for the heavy rains that engulfed us during the end of phase. (photo: survey team on the canal)

The numbers of birds present on the canal has increased dramatically this phase from the last due to the influx of winter migrants from North America. Species such as Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Green Heron, Belted Kingfisher and Great Blue Heron all showed marked increases from last phase and are in fact much more numerous than the resident species that we see all year round. We made a total of 926 records this phase which is actually almost equal to the combined total of Phase 102 and 103.

The Top Ten most abundant species this phase were as follows:

From last phase Species Scientific Name
1 NEW Snowy Egret Egretta thula
2 -1 Northern Jacana Jacana spinosa
3 = Little Blue Heron Egretta caerula
4 -2 Green Heron Butorides virescens
5 NEW Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
6 -1 Anhinga Anhinga anhinga
7 -1 Bare-throated Tiger-heron Tigrisoma mexicanum
8 = Green Ibis Mesembrinibis cayennensis
9 = White-throated Crake Laterallus albigularis
10 -5 Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana

There were numerous memorable sightings. A Purple Gallinule was an unusual sighting in our area and a popular species due its vibrant colours. We recorded the highest number of American Pygmy Kingfishers this year and also the first Belted Kingfishers seen during surveys this year. There were also some amazing non-bird sightings such as a small Spectacled Caiman peering out of the weeds right next to the boat and a pair of playful Neotropical River Otters. Best of all, I’m sure those present when the Jaguar swam across the canal ahead of the canoe will never forget it!