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The final week…

By 5 years ago
Categories Yucatan
As the last week of another phase draws to a close we have certainly not had a quiet week to see us on our way! An explosion of baby birds and reptiles has excited us all week long, prompting excursions of binocular-clutching volunteers, armed with cameras, to the various breeding grounds. The most exciting baby boom is without a doubt the long-anticipated Least Tern chicks, most of which hatched over the weekend. The mother Terns are closely guarding their nests, perched on top of their
latest family additions, while the father Terns can often be spotted flying to and from the nests with fish for the brood of chicks. Most of the mothers have two chicks to guard, conveniently nestling one under each wing, while the curious chicks peer out of the feathers into the outside world. Some of the most recently hatched chicks can be spotted still bearing the marks of their 28 days growing inside the eggs, yet to be cleaned and groomed by the mother Tern. Others, a little older, have grown quite large already, and have braved a few steps around their roped-off stretch of beach, giving us the opportunity to snap some great photos.

The second wave of new arrivals surprised us all one morning after a couple of night-long storms. Upon inspection of the well one morning, after a night-long storm, tens of little black tadpoles were spotted lining the walls. Now colonizing the water buckets, hopefully some of them will grow up to join the chorus of frogs serenading us every night with their croaking.

The storms have certainly been raging with a vengeance this week, presenting us with mini-lagoons to sluice away each morning and some quite tempestuous waves. The days when we couldn’t get the boats out were however filled with plenty of activity: our wetsuit rack now has its own hand-painted sign, courtesy of Fergus, and numerous no-net-fishing boards have been nailed up on the bridge. These were partly prompted by some crocodile sightings there, including two 4 ft crocodiles relaxing in the shallows. One even caught and consumed a small fish while we were watching, while another hunting predator, a nearby barracuda, was spotted trying to catch some fish under the bridges’ supports. Incidental sightings under the water this week included three 1metre plus long Spotted Eagle Rays, one of which circled a group of divers for a
good couple of minutes. Lionfish have also been out in their droves, a number of which provided a great birthday dinner for Ben on Wednesday (nicely complimented by some really cheesy pizza…).

Despite the weather, we have had a fantastic week to end the phase. 3 staff and 3 volunteers took on the Mayan Challenge, a 150km cycle ride around the Yucatan peninsula to raise money for the Amigos de Sian Ka’an and the Punta Allen recycling
center. On base we have been steadily progressing with collecting data; Fergus, Dov and Stefan have all been out monitoring adult and juvenile fish, while Jemima and Malin have reached coral monitoring too. Sadly we are saying goodbye to five of us this Saturday, all of whom are greatly reluctant to go. Malin, Emma and Dov are returning home while Jemima and Fergus are continuing their travels elsewhere. We have all had an unforgettable time here in Pez Maya, life-changing and unique. From the science tests to the bucket showers we’ve loved it all and hope one day to return
again!

Jemima