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

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My First Woodpecker

I’ve now been in the jungle for around 11 weeks with GVI Amazon. I’ve seen everything from spiders, to crickets moulting, to Coral Snakes, to Opossums, to Smoky Jungle Frogs and giant Earthworms. But something was missing; there was a gap that wasn’t filled and I just couldn’t place my finger on what exactly was missing... until today. A bird walk down to the local community of Puerto Rico revealed an array of birds previously unseen to my Australian eyes. Woodpeckers are not present in Australia and after 26 years I had never laid eyes on a single woodpecker.

I had heard their calls numerous times on point count surveys and heard their drumming over the last 11 weeks, but had never, ever seen a single woodpecker. Not only did I see my first woodpecker today, but I saw two in the space of five minutes! The first, the Yellow-tufted Woodpecker (Melanerpes cruentatus) was beautiful, yet spent the entire time hiding behind a tree branch. But it was the Crimson-crested Woodpecker (Campephilus melandeucos) that sealed the deal. One of the most spectacular birds I’d ever seen. As the name suggests, his head was an amazing crimson colour with a black body, and two wings. It just goes to show that even after 11 weeks you never know when the next spectacular animal will pop out, out of the blue and surprise you.

Timmy Topper - GVI Amazon volunteer and now scholar, Oct 2010-March 2011