Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Buena Suerte y Hasta Luego, Leo! (Good luck and see you later)

We at Jalova have recently bid a sad but fond farewell to one of our staff members, Leo.

He started life on base as a volunteer back in September 2011 but his excellent bird identification skills and general enthusiasm for wildlife made him an ideal candidate to run the canal birds project. He became field staff in March 2012.

Leo’s luck with Jag encounters was something all staff and volunteers aspire to possess. During his time here he clocked up 5 Jag sightings, one of which resulted in some spectacular photos of Mario feeding on a Leatherback.

 Mario feeding on a Leathback turtle

His lucky streak continued to include a tapir swimming across the canal, a tamadua and the elusive Agami heron.

As a new staff member myself, I only had the pleasure of working with Leo for two months but during that time I quickly learned that if you were on a survey with him, it was pretty much guaranteed to be a good one.

It wasn’t uncommon to see him sitting, apparently relaxing, and then leap up and run off, binoculars in hand, towards some twittering in the vicinity.

He has a keen eye for even the most inconspicuous of critters and the ability to hear and identify bird calls that are inaudible to most normal human beings.

Not only was Leo our resident bird expert and lucky charm but our handyman too. In a place like Jalova where the ‘make-do-and-mend’ motto is more like a mantra, a practical mind such as Leo’s is most definitely an asset. He was our go-to guy whenever anything needed to be fixed or built.

After a year at Jalova, Leo decided it was time to return to his native England. We wish him all the best for his next adventure, wherever and whatever it may be. Adios amigo!

- Sarah, Field Staff