Monday, February 21, 2011

Canal Birds

The start of phase 111 and the New Year have also come with exciting news on the bird front. Our local partners at MINAE expressed to us their appreciation of the data we have been collecting on the diversity and abundance of canal bird species. They have requested not only the continuation of the surveys, but also asked for expansion! We have added another canal, Sierpe Central, to our survey repertoire. Surveys take place four times each week by visiting one of the four canals and recording data on our 30 target species. Additionally, we have begun to record data on canal usage. In particular, we are interested in gaining information about what types of boats are frequenting the canals and what their purpose of travel is. By understanding the ways in which people are using the canals we can gain insight into the conservation needs of these critical habitats.
Volunteers this phase have not been disappointed with the vast array of species we have seen on the canals. Among the highlights, we have seen all six species of Kingfishers, Green Ibises, Sungrebes, and the beautiful Gray-necked Wood-rail. But the most exciting news of all is that we have located nesting locations of two uncommon and elusive species, the Boat-billed Heron (see photo above) and the Rufescent Tiger-Heron. The Boat-billed Herons have returned to their nesting site from last year, and this is the first time we have recorded nests for Rufescent Tiger Herons. This is great news for the area and makes for exciting surveys!

Species List

Green Ibis - Mesembrinibis cayennensis
Sungrebe - Heliornis fulica
Gray-necked Wood-rail - Aramides cajanea
Boat-billed Heron - Cochlearius cochlearius
Rufescent Tiger-heron - Tigrisoma lineatum