Friday, April 13, 2012

Another Phase Over...

So we have reached the end of phase 121. It’s been an exciting 12 weeks with plenty of interesting results across all of our projects here at Jalova.

Boat-billed Heron Nestlings

The canal bird project has turned out some impressive results this phase with 24 of our 30 target species recorded during survey time. A further 3 were seen at other times, meaning all but 3 species were observed as present during this phase, with some of the seldom seen species such as the Limpkin, the Sunbittern and the Green-and-Rufous Kingfisher making appearances. The avian community has been very active this past couple of months, and it’s been great to witness so much breeding and nesting behavior. We have collected conclusive evidence of nesting boat-billed herons, anhinga, grey-necked wood-rail and bare-throated tiger-herons even managing to photograph nestlings and fledglings of some species.

Leatherback turtle season has begun and although it’s been a slow start, we have witnessed the first turtles of the year coming up to lay their eggs. Whilst nesting females have been somewhat infrequent thus far, I don’t think anyone would dispute the magical nature of encountering these huge and ancient creatures on our beach, and one can only feel awestruck and overwhelmingly fortunate to be in the presence of these critically endangered animals.

The BAS surveys continue to bring in good results too with a total 189 different species recorded during the 130 surveys we managed to conduct. Once again the slender anole came out as the most frequently recorded species with a whopping 813 records! Some more unusual and exciting sightings have included Nine-banded Armadillos, Northern Tamandua, White-whiskered Puffbird, Red-capped Manakin and Mangrove Cuckoo, a species not even thought to be present in this area!
New Jag Diego

There have been several significant developments on our Jaguar projects as well. The camera trapping project has provided us with evidence of a previously unknown male. A lengthy democratic process named the new jag Diego, and he takes our total number of jags known to be using the area to 10, an extremely high concentration, which says a lot for the health of our local ecosystems. This phase also saw us establish a new collaboration with Panthera ( This is great news for us and bodes well for future research. Already, as a result we were able to begin a scat collection project which will allow us to understand jaguar dietary consistency far better.

The incidentals project continues to record anything and everything that we see around the local area and besides the usual suspects, a few more unusual sightings have managed to creep in there too. Good to see the Jaguar making a couple of appearances. Neotropical Chameleon, Central American Coralsnake, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Giant Cowbird are just some of the more interesting sightings. Also noteworthy were the several records of Shiny Cowbirds: Another species not thought to be present here.

Many thanks to the 26 volunteers who have worked here with us during the past 12 weeks: We really couldn’t have done it without you guys. Feels like we have all shared some incredible experiences and had a lot of fun in the process and we hope you have all taken away some good memories.

-Leo, Field Staff