The End of an Era

After over 6 years of intensive research and community development work in and around the Yachana Reserve, GVI Amazon is coming to a close. We have finished our final research project (look forward to our Road Effects paper, coming soon!) and are handing over the project to our partner, The Yachana Foundation. They will continue to maintain and monitor the reserve, using it as an hands-on science education center for students -- we're very excited to see what fabulous things this next generation of scientists find! For more detail on GVI Amazon's closure, and our accomplishments over the years, please read on...
GVI Amazon Closure Statement

Monday, March 29, 2010

Mindo Magic

It’s always a treat to visit new places. GVI Amazon staff training weekend at the end of March brought us up to the Mindo Cloud Forest area, approximately 1½ hours west of Quito, at an elevation of 2200m. While the GVI Amazon staff team may not have any volunteers in country to deal with, there's always something to keep us busy. We stayed at a beautiful birding lodge called Allpalluta, meaning “Land of the Birds”, which boasted friendly staff, tasty meals, a cosy fireplace for cool evenings, and an incredible abundance of birds right on the doorstep. Among the necessary work, there was ample time to check out the birdlife in the area. Ten species of hummingbirds visited feeders on the property. Cloud forest ecology and bird walks with our guide, Robert, brought the forest to life with sightings of Chestnut-crowned Antpitta (Grallaria ruficapilla), Blue-winged Mountain-Tanagers (Anisognathus somptuosus), and Masked and White-sided Flowerpiercers (Diglossopis cyanea and Diglossa albilatera), to name a few. We also saw evidence of the elusive Andean (Spectacled) Bear (Tremarctos ornatus)!

The highlight was a visit to an Andean Cock-of-the-Rock (Rupicola peruvianus) lek. An early morning hike to the lek got us there at 5:30 am, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the first male birds, which we were told would arrive at 6:05. And sure enough, at 6:05 am, we hear the first loud raucous call of a male Cock-of-the-Rock. Then a second, and a third and fourth. For about an hour, we watched up to 15 of these beautiful red birds strut their stuff in hopes to attract a female – at what is essentially, a bar scene. And then, a female showed up, and a full orchestra of calls, ten times louder than they were before, broke out. A truly incredible display by a very unique bird!

Jenn Sinasac - GVI Amazon Field Staff