Friday, 15 July 2016

14 July

Can’t believe it’s already been a week since we first arrived at the Cloudbridge Nature Reserve! Louise and Alex had a very long travel by plane, bus, taxi, car and also by foot. And Valerie as she had to travel a distance by foot and over a very bumpy road with the car. The past week we have been learning the trails, practising night surveys and learning the herpetofauna in this reserve by IDing. The trails here are quite steep so it takes some time to get used to this, although we do not notice it yet, I hope we are improving (slowly). The identification can sometimes be very difficult, luckily Jen helps us from time to time. Alex has been photographing these tiny, jumpy frogs and all the other wildlife he could catch on camera. Yesterday, Alex has, just like Louise, become a ‘frog star’ when he suddenly developed an eye to see the litter frogs. So far we have not returned with empty boxes from our night surveys, hoping it will stay like this. Until Saturday we are sharing the classroom with the American high school students. Jen was very pleased that we managed to catch litter frogs (aka rainfrogs) and brought them along with 2 glass frogs for the students to see. In particular the glass frogs are very impressive to see with their transparent body. The group was smaller than we thought: 7 students and 2 supervisors. Jen explained about the herpetofauna and introduced us, then they left to plant trees on the trail Gavilan. We set up our equipment and started identifying the litter frogs. These relaxed, non-jumpy frogs were a lot easier to handle for Valerie, a much better combination compared to the crassidigitus. The 3 litter frogs we found were identified to the same species Craugastor podiciferus and the other Alex caught was an Emerald glass frog. Next we all had time to nap, photograph the coati that lives here and steals food (pineapples) from the birdfeeder or read. After returning the frogs we planned the coming weeks: transects, when to go up to the ‘’tented mountain camp’’ , the pitfall trapping,  and went to Jen to discuss this. There Louise and Valerie had to complete a quiz to assess the skills we have gained so far. Only Alex and Kristina still have to fill out the quiz, so they better start studying! Don’t worry, it is not like we have to leave the reserve if we fail. All tired and a bit too lazy to cook, the American group kindly offered us their leftovers: rice, beans, chili and avocado. We could of course not say no to this. Thanks, now we still managed to get into our beds early.

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