Friday, October 21, 2011

Bird Surveys in the Canals of Tortuguero

After passing our bird identification exam in training week we got to test out our new skills for real. We got up at 4 am and were in a canoe on the California canal by 5:30 am to catch the birds at sunrise. We paddled slowly for 3 hours identifying the birds we had learnt and counted them as we went. We counted over 80 birds on our first survey including Little Blue heron, Anhingas that were sunbathing and noisy Northern Jacanas walking across the lily pads.

We also identified some mammals such as some very loud Mantled Howler monkeys and some endangered Central American Spider monkeys. Whilst paddling back we heard a splash by the riverbanks and saw a 10 foot American Crocodile that had just entered the canal. It was heading the same direction as us and we followed it with caution until it dived into the murky below. This wasn’t the only dangerous reptile we saw that day. On our way back to base we saw a beautiful but venomous Eyelash Viper sleeping among some foliage at the edge of the path. It was just an ordinary Tuesday in the Jungle

-Jennifer Sunnfors and Tom Edwards - Expedition Volunteers