You Never Know What You'll Find
I woke up to my usual bowl of porridge, the standard breakfast! It’s still dark out so we use our head torches and eat by candlelight, giving a romantic feel to camp.
The volunteers are split into groups. Most are going on Mini Jag to prepare for Jag Walk; a 14.5 mile weekly trek along Tortuguero Beach to record turtle and jaguar activity. I am in a smaller group heading out to collect memory cards from the Jag Cams. Jag Cams are motion sensor cameras which snap into action when anything sets them off. Usually footage contains pairs of legs wandering past set off by volunteers during forest surveys. On our way to the camera we come across a Central American Coral Snake, about 1 metre in length. It’s completely still. We debate whether it’s dead or alive. We are just agreeing that it is probably best not to poke it with a stick to check when it moves. A thing tail is protruding from its mouth and it looks as though he’s just polishing off his breakfast too! Memory cards in hand, it’s back to base to review the footage. Once all the volunteers leg footage is cleared we settle down to identify photos and video snippets of passing animals. Agoutis and opossums seem to be the main thoroughfare, although it’s a family of coatis, an ocelot, and some jaguars who are the main stars of the show.
In the afternoon I am on duty which means creating something edible from the camp kitchen. It’s surprising how much variety can be achieved with beans, pulses, and veg!
Wednesday 28th Jan
It’s breakfast at 5:00 before heading out to the canals to spot herons, egrets, kingfishers, cormorants, and other likely locals. Canal bird surveys are both fun and relaxing in spite of the rain. We paddle a canoe up the quiet canals, binoculars at the ready. The sun has risen by 6:00 when we start the survey and it apperas as though the early risers are the northern jacanas who are plentiful in the floating vegetation. On the return leg of the journey we see something make a big ripple across our path. Excited, we stop paddling in the anticipation it may reappear. We are considering what it could be, maybe a dolphin…do the come this far up? Maybe a large fish? But we are sure there were air bubbles after it submerged. Maybe a manatee! (Something I am hoping to see). We didn’t get to identify it in spite of our eager eyes scanning the surface, but that’s part of the fun. There is always a possibility you will spot something you have been hoping to see…plus lots more!
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