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

Friday, February 18, 2011

Is It Small or Just Really Far Away?

It was a somewhat warm Friday morning, mist hung over camp like a wet towel over a shower rail. Base camp was deserted, so entirely devoid of volunteers that even tumbleweeds felt lonely, when a few selected staff, most notably a brash northerner, a quirky midlander and an absentminded Australian sent off in search for a mist-netting treasure trove. Such an early departure was witnessed by none, as the sun’s rays were yet to kiss the leaves of the high canopy. What the trio were to find though, was nothing short of spectacular and impressive, a land where superlatives are looked upon as nothing but understatements.

An early opening saw a small bat bounce awkwardly away from the near invisible net, a fate not shared by the subsequent thrushes, spadebills and ant wrens that entangled themselves in the black mist like an insect snared in the silk web of a spider. Towards the mornings end, we approached the third net and from a distance we saw what appeared to be a small, white bird, sunbaking in the middle net pocket. Our pace slowed, each step bringing us closer to the bird and with each step the bird grew proportionally greater in size. A White-chested Puffbird (Malacoptila fusca) was found relaxing from its morning activities in the net and was surprisingly much larger than our initial size assessment from a distance of thirty paces. A confused look spread rapidly over our faces in disbelief and scepticism. But how?” asked the puzzled Australian. After much debate it was decided that the puffbird remained the same size for its entirety and it was in fact our initial distant position from the bird that led to the presumed and ultimately incorrect estimate of its small size.

Tim Topper - GVI Amazon Scholar, Oct 2010-Mar 2011