Summing Up Summer: Week 5

So, as many of you well know, I spent the summer working as an Ornithologist in the cloud forest of Cusuco National Park on the Guatamalan border of Honduras.  During the first half of the season I was based in and out of base camp and thus had access to internet.  For the latter half of the season, I was predominantly based at satellite camps on the eastern side of the camp. Camps on the west being more distant which I did not have a chance to visit.

Week 5, I returned to Base Camp to continue to work with students as we introduce them to the basics of field ornithology.

July 9 – Day  33 – Moved mist-netting to a new location.  Operated 3 nets, but quickly dropped to 2 when a local pup helped itself to some all natural puppy chow from the net.  Or so we suspect.  Upon a net check there was a sizable hole and three fairly happy hounds.   Began net repairs.

July 10 – Day 34 – Point counts along Transect 3.  Four students accompanied us.  The transect climbed up at a reasonable incline and then dropped dramatically as the mosquito swarm density picked up.  They invented tropical sledding and tropical bowling.  Tropical sledding being when you use the slope, mud and gravity to assist you on the way down while tropical bowling is where you use your trailmates to stop your descent.  Then we got to climb back up, but before that we had awesome views of Emerald Toucanets. Continued net repairs.

July 11- Day 35 – Mist-netting along the river. Repaired net not so repaired.

July 12 – Day 36 –   Another day of point counting.  We returned to our training transect.  So much easier this time around.  In fact, we were back for the end of breakfast.  Continued working with students afterwards discussing the science protocol and the objectives as well as giving some hands on experience in working with nets.  Yet another day of net repairs!

July 13 – Day 37 –  Mist-netting with students in a different site, yet again.  This one with fewer dogs.

July 14 – Day 38 – Mist-netting.  No dogs, but also no birds.  First day of absolutely no birds, but great views of the Resplendent Quetzal.  And then off to Guanales again!

Rarely caught Strong-billed Woodcreeper. Cusuco National Park, Honduras. Photo taken July 9, 2015.

Rarely caught Strong-billed Woodcreeper. Cusuco National Park, Honduras. Photo taken July 9, 2015.

Strong-billed Woodcreeper demonstrates how it got its name. Cusuco National Park, Honduras. Photo taken July 9, 2015.

Strong-billed Woodcreeper demonstrates how it got its name. Cusuco National Park, Honduras. Photo taken July 9, 2015.

Advertisements

Summing Up Summer: Week 4

So, as many of you well know, I spent the summer working as an Ornithologist in the cloud forest of Cusuco National Park on the Guatamalan border of Honduras.  During the first half of the season I was based in and out of base camp and thus had access to internet.  For the latter half of the season, I was predominantly based at satellite camps on the eastern side of the camp. Camps on the west being more distant which I did not have a chance to visit.

Week 4*, I traveled to Guanales to spend a week mist-netting and conducting point counts.

July 1 – Day  26 – Traveled to Guanales. Arrived just before dinner. After dinner had my first experience with putting up mist nets along a mountainside in the dark with a fading torch.  While out in the field. we heard a peculiar sound.  A guide informed us it was a mammal. We were quite surprised.

July 2 – Day  27 – First day of mist netting in Guanales.  Caught Red-capped Manakins! Check out this video which explains why this is the one species students knew of before arriving in Honduras.

July 3 – Day  28 – Tackled Transect 1 in Guanales: one of the hardest trails in the park with Jack and Jeff. 2,650 meters up a mountain.  It was grueling!  Had some spectacular falls which Jack was considerate enough to rate.   For some reason the guide continued to increase the distance between us as he shot down the trail…. Spent the night investigating owls.

July 4 – Day  29 – Day 2 of mist-netting. Mosquitoes were less bad than previous day or I was better prepared.

July 5 – Day  30 – Strategy paid off. Did the easier transect today to extend recovery time.  Today’s transect was was only 600m with two points instead of the eight of two days ago.  Back in time for breakfast with great views of a Violet Sabrewing that buzzed us and a Keel-billed Toucan which did not. More owling.

July 6 – Day 31  – Day 3 of banding in Guanales.  Best bird of the day: Golden-crowned Warbler through the Ruddy Woodcreeper was also quite nice.

July 7 – Day 32 – Extra birding with students back on Transect 3.   And then it’s back to Base Camp for another week!

Scrawny looking Golden-crowned Warbler in the hand. Look at that stare down. Cusuco National Park, Honduras. Photo taken July 6, 2015.

Scrawny looking Golden-crowned Warbler in the hand. Look at that stare down. Cusuco National Park, Honduras. Photo taken July 6, 2015.

* Counting has never been my strong suit. Especially when tired.