Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Owl and the....Tapir!?

05:50 rolled around and Sarah, Katy, Sian and I set out into the coconut plantation for our morning BAS (Biological Assessment Survey).
We strolled along the path with a light drizzle hinting at much more rain, looking for anything and everything but mostly seeing birds of a feather.
Stopping every so often, seeing some beauties such as a Bananaquit, Summer Tanagers, Blue-gray Tanager, Tropical Kingbird, Variable Seedeater, Slaty-tailed Trogons and an unidentified hummingbird.
Shortly after we saw a large, chestnut-colored bird fly from a palm tree away from us. Unfortunately we weren’t able to ID it at that moment, but our luck later turned in our favor…. ´A tapir!´, Sarah exclaimed as she pointed toward the forest’s edge. We all turned and gazed upon a trotting Baird’s Tapir! I quickly dropped my stuff to extract my camera from my rain-covered bag and finally got a picture of the creature. The tapir was too far away to get a good shot of it, but the picture is still worthy of proof.

A trotting Tapir (Photo: Garrison)

Excited, we killed time bragging amongst ourselves that we saw a Baird’s Tapir while on survey. Sarah told us a short story of how one had swam just in front of the boat months earlier but not during a survey.
Finally, we realized that we were on survey and we still had time left, so we started off along the path once more.
We saw the large, chestnut-colored bird yet again, doing the same thing. Eventually we caught up to it and it flew in the opposite direction and landed on a palm frond. A barn owl! We saw a barn owl in morning light while on survey – a first for Jalova!

A new resident of Jalova, the beautiful barn owl (Photo: Garrison)

We decided to keep all this to ourselves once arriving back at base, and to build up the suspense before announcing our finds. A great morning indeed.

- Garrison, 3 month volunteer