Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bird Survey on Sierpe Viejo Canal

Getting up early at 4 in the morning was a challenge for the team as Mark and Karen stayed up all night writing their BTEC assignments. We had breakfast, porridge as usual, then had to get our gear together including water bottles, rain proofs and binoculars for spotting the target species. We walked through the forest to the location where the boat was waiting for our arrival. We gathered and got into the boat and were then driven to the Ranger Station to pick up the canoe. The canoe was put onto the boat and driven up the river to the canal where we dropped off the canoe and started the survey. Once in the canoe, we spotted a few species including the Northern Jacana, Great Blue Heron and a good spot by Mark who spotted a Green Kingfisher, what a guy!

We carried on further up the canal and arrived at a reed bed that we had to row through. This exciting but hard-going section of the canal took 20 minutes to pass through but with Mark and Steven’s unique strength we had the man power to fight our way through the reeds with no mercy (no birds were harmed in the making of this!)

We arrived at the dense and overgrown area of the canal where we had to use Karen’s super sonar navigation eyes to prevent us from getting stuck on the floating logs and fallen trees. We arrived at an area of the canal where we saw 9 Boat-billed Herons, some of which were nesting and building their nests. Karen spotted one Boat-billed Heron that had a stick in it's beak that indicated the building of a nest and was recorded on the survey. After recording the species, we went further on and came to an impassable section of the canal due to a tree that seemed to have been pulled down, blocking our path. We decided to call it a day but the jungle manly madness took over and we decided to find a way through. Assassin Alex pulled his rugged knife from his veiny shin and Ramboed his way through the fallen tree. We all held our breath in amazement and idolized him from the back of the canoe, (what a guy!).

After the passage way was clear, we canoed our way through the humid, compact, jagged and overpowering tunnel under the remaining tree. We got through and with Grace getting a slap in the face by a branch, we were free to meander on through the canal. We had a quick toilet break in the bushes where Assassin Alex encountered a suspected Agami Heron that flew into the undergrowth. We got to the end of the survey and we had to head back. We rowed and sing and made a great rowing team almost good enough for the Olympics with Assassin Alex steering at the back (what a guy!). We traveled back down the canal and headed back through the dense reeds and painfully all the way back to the boat where we met Holly and James. We traveled back to the Ranger Station where we gave back the canoe and Karen almost got decapitated by the boat. (No humans were harmed in the making of this).

-Karen and Mark, GVI Interns