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

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Laguna Sat-Camp (aka I can’t believe its not porridge)!

Satellite camps are a highlight of everyone time in the jungle. The idea is to spend a night camp far away from base camp conducting essential studies. My group set off in the afternoon and after a tiring trek up to Laguna with our supplies for the night, we set up our things and got the camp fire going.

After some relaxing dusk bird watching, the sun set and we ate our packed dinners. It was then time for my favourite part of the sat-camp, the night walk. The first sightings were a range of frogs and insects, then several glinting eyes of the few caiman, just poking above the murky surface of the Laguna. But the best was definitely saved until last...

Near the end of the walk I heard “SNAKE!!”. Turning around, I realised that we had all just walked past a big fer-de-lance viper (Bothrops sp.). Luckily it did not disappear, but slithered over to the base of a tree only a couple of meters from the path and stayed there, allowing us to get some great pictures!

After the excitement of the night walk we all settled down around the camp fire for baked potatoes, toasted marshmallows and the compulsory ‘real’ scary stories before drifting off to sleep in our hammocks beneath the Amazonian canopy.

The next morning, we woke up at 0530h to start mist netting. Mist nets are large thin mesh nets designed to catch birds to be identified and recorded to add to the data collected by GVI Amazon for its studies here in the Ecuadorian Amazon. After our amazing non-porridge granola breakfast, we managed to catch 12 birds in the morning consisting of 10 different species, including the White plumed Antbird (Pithys albifrons)! Finally after recording our results and packing up we set off on the long trek back to base camp to for a well deserved shower!

Olly Parker - GVI Amazon volunteer, Aug-Sept 2010