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Seasquirt

The adventures of Fe & Chris

Sightings and wanderings

Although I have now been doing the OpWall thing for a week and a half it seems like much longer in some ways, but time is also flying. The first week was nice as all the scientists were here so I got to know quite a few of them. Officially we’re not supposed to go out on our own without a guide, but Chris and I managed a a couple of small wanders around along some of the trails.

One morning I managed to get up in time to join in with the mist netting (Chris’s early starts are one thing I’m not missing now he’s elsewhere!). It was great as it I got to hold a Hummingbird - it was lovely and sat on my hand for a couple more minutes once I released it… so cute! We also caught a few other different species during the netting (including a Black-headed Saltator I think), as well as seeing a Highland Guan protecting her(?) nest - a Guan is a partridge-like bird and wakes me up most mornings with its call, which is quite melodic. My favourite song at the moment is the Solitaire, although apparently it’s quite a plain looking bird, its song is beautiful and makes a nice soundtrack to the forest. I have also seen a Trogon, a Quetzal flying far overhead, and today I saw two Emerald Toucanets. There is also a Hepatic Tanager which hangs around camp and is bright red! I’m sure Chris will have plenty more to add to this list when he returns…

As you can see from the newly added photo pages (they’re in alphabetical order, so make sure you check to see the new ones) there are quite a few creatures that can be found in the camp - including the tarantula that I actually found - I thought it was fake to start with! The little snake was also cool, although they wouldn’t let me keep it as a pet! The most common butterfly that can be seen on site (and hangs around the path to the urinals for some reason) is called the ‘88′ because of its marking. It’s very pretty as you can see from the photo below. It’s outer wing pattern is black with an irridescent blue rectangle in the top, but it rarely shows this when it is resting.

88bfly.jpg

Unfortunately most of my newly found friends have now headed off to other camps around the park and base camp is pretty empty, except for the occasional invasion of school children (16/17/18 yr olds). It’s kind of nice, but can be a bit lonely sometimes. I will have to go and visit some of the camps over the next few weeks, but Chris is currently unvisitable as he is on the ‘West side’ which is a day or two’s journey to get there, and not feasible except on moving days, so I won’t see him for another week or so :-(.

Over the last few days, whilst the power is off (the generator usually only runs between 1 and 10pm) I have managed to get out on a couple of the transects near base camp - these mainly follow the tracks that already exist so are not too hard going (or not as hard as other camps anyway) - they’re enough for me to get a wee bit sweaty though! The other day I went out with the small mammal team who set up traps overnight. They caught several mexican deer mice and spiny pocket mice, as well as a pregnant opossum - she was amazing - they are marsupials so their babies are in a pouch. She kept going in the traps - probably for food and protection - this time she was in a small trap so it was a bit cramped - they’re about the size of a small cat!

The other night I walked down to the nearest village, called Buenos Aires - this is another camp for OpWall and the staff usually get to stay in the ‘EcoLodge’ there - the views are amazing (although the walk up for breakfast is pretty steep!) it was nice to get out of camp and stay somewhere else for the night, although we didn’t get the ecolodge luxury (it was still a bed rather than thermarest so can’t complain too much). The hike back up the mountain was pretty tiring though, so when Chris is staying down there, I’m not sure how often I’ll manage the journey! I finished off the day with another, smaller, hike to a waterfall - it involved climbing over a few fallen trees and was definitely more of a jungle experience! The waterfall was pretty though, apparently there’s a more impressive one beyond BA which you can swim in, so once I’m superfit I might venture out that way!

Today I went on another transect with the small mammal team - it was definitely more strenuous than the other day’s transect - the poor team leader has to do it twice a day - glad I’m needed at the computer! Oh yes, so onto my work - after a slow start things are starting to progress and the database is nearly all up and running - I even have some data in there - so exciting!
Anyway, I think I have written far too much now. Hope it’s not too boring!

2 Comments »

  Keir wrote @ July 10th, 2007 at 11:57 am

it sounds like you are almost having a hard life. If ever the challenging hill gets to much for you just remember us poor folk stuck in sunny (or not so sunny) Scotland.

  Dad and Ann wrote @ July 10th, 2007 at 12:48 pm

Sounds an idyllic life, just think of us all stuck in offices staring at computers all day long. the pics are great although the cuddly animals page is blank! Remember these are wild beasties not pets and no we don’t want any bringing home.
Dad.
Has anyone else noticed what a good time Fiona is having since Chris went away?
At least she isn’t disturbed early in the morning!! I was expecting the pictures of cuddly animals would be the photos Chris was sending of Fiona…..
Ann

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