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Nature Reserve & Biological Station

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From east to west: The X-mas bird counts 2014 -- Part 2 Mindo

We all had a very short week of work as we came back from the Cosanga count on Monday and the Mindo count already started on Friday. Nicole had a lot of stress in this week, because this year she took over the compiler role from Lani Miller and she had to organize some parts of the bird count in Mindo including the elaboration of the bird check lists. Furthermore this year was the twentieth (20th) anniversary of the bird counts in Mindo.

Therefore we left the reserve on Friday after lunch and arrived in Mindo in the late afternoon. After we had dinner at the pizza place we went to the opening ceremony. Due to the 20th anniversary a couple of people gave speeches and presentations.

Opening ceremony in Mindo

Lani Miller was honored for her work as a compiler and the new compiler Nicole also gave a short welcome speech.

Lani Miller getting honored for her work as the compiler for 20 years

Nicole's welcome speech

Later groups were organized. We arranged one group for the Reserva Las Tangaras for the next day. On the following morning we wanted to search for owls and for that reason we met already at 4:30 am. And luckily the early wake up call was successful as we registered a Mottled Owl on our hike to Las Tangaras. After reaching the reserve and meeting up with the managers we split up into two groups.

The bird count team

While the other group counted in the forest, and saw a Bicolored Hawk and visited a Cock-of-the-Rock lek, our group discovered the mountains and counted on a cow pasture. And besides all cow poop we found and stepped in, we even saw some birds flying around. After this somewhat interesting hike we had a nice dip into the river to cool down a bit.

Path to the Cock-of-the-Rock lek
Nicole, Wilo and the cow pasture
Disorientation in steep cow pasture
Breakfast break with birds

At around 3 p.m. the two groups met up again at the Reserva Las Tangaras. We had lunch together and then we decided to walk one more trail. While the rest of the group relaxed and observed hummingbirds from the porch, Nicole and Caleb compiled our bird checklist for the day. Both weren’t too happy about the results of the day.But luckily we still had to hike 2 kilometers back to the cars. And while the mosquitos were having their Christmas dinner on our skin, on the way back we saw some important birds for the bird count like the Thrush-like Schiffornis, the Esmeraldas Antbird, Bicolored Hawk and one Canada Warbler. Altogether the way back took us more than two hours. We finally finished the bird count at around 6:30 pm. And even after this long day some members of the group went out for the fiesta in Mindo.

Compiler Nicole is putting data together

Except from the compiler Nicole everybody could have a sleep in on the following morning. And while we were enjoying our leisure time; Nicole was responsible for the recount. The compilation of the data from all the routes together took her from 9 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon.

Nicole compiling the species list

After all 464 species were recorded on this weekend in the Mindo count circle and 38 routes in an altitude from 1050 to 3800m were covered.

To sum up the weekends, I think that apart from all the fun we had together, everybody also could benefit personally from the bird counts. I especially liked being part of these events and enjoyed sharing experiences with others.

Intern Vivian crossing the hanging bridge over the Nambillo river: The only entrance to Las Tangaras Reserve

This blog post was written by: Vivian Welzel 3. Semester BSc. Landscape Management and Nature Conversation at the University for Sustainable Development in Eberswalde

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