Friday, August 10, 2012

Living in the jungle, it's a hoot!

It had been an odd sort of Saturday. It began with a sad goodbye to the group of volunteers we arrived with here in Jalova. Base seemed eerily quiet without them.  Jessie and I decided to try out a practice monkey survey in the afternoon, and for the hour long survey time we saw not a single monkey. (The first time I have walked through the forest for this long without seeing any monkeys!) The new group of volunteers arrived in the afternoon, but being tired out from all the travelling, they retired to bed quite early. Jessie, Ben and myself decided to unwind in the kitchen, and as we didn’t have to get up early we actually stayed up quite late. We battled with the wind trying to keep our candles alight as we decided to look through the bird book, picking out the coolest birds we would like to see. At the page of owls I said I would like to see an owl, to which Ben replied ‘Nobody ever sees owls here!’

Spectacled Owl on base 

I was just thinking about going to bed, as the bugs bombarding my face were starting to get very annoying, when across base we saw torches shining up in to a tree.  At first we thought nothing of it but when the lights continued we decided to investigate. We wandered over and there up in the tree was a beautiful Spectacled Owl. He sat looking down at us with a peculiar scowl, as though he were pondering why on earth this group of strange creatures was shining lights at him, but seeming quite unfazed. He sat there pondering us for a long time and eventually we turned the lights off and left him in peace. I went to bed with a smile on my face, thinking how wonderful it is to see such beautiful things literally on your doorstep.

-Rachel, 6-month Intern