The bird count in our reserve this year was rather a rainy one. Too bad, given that we even got supported by the local authorities this time. The current mayor likes to promote ecotourism in the area and therefore friends from the Milpe area had asked for support at the municipality of San Miguel de Los Bancos. Thus we were offered promotional materials for our count. A few days before the actual count we met again with the oficials who gave us T-Shirts, hats and water bottles for 30 participants.
Together with some friends of our count circle we had organized 15 different count routes. We tried to cover a wide range of areas and altitudes to count as many species as possible. Five of the routes covered the reserve, three neighboring properties, and a part of the road to Las Tolas. The other routes were located on the other side of the Pachijal river around Los Bancos and Milpe.
As our count had been planned for January 2nd, this turned out to be a rather unfortunate date. A lot of friends who had participated in past years didn't have the time or desire to count birds just a day after New Years. So we were a lot less people than last year.
But the worse this year was actually the rain. Unfortunately, it rained all day apart from two hours in the morning. It was hard to see and identify a lot of birds and the activity in general is a lot lower in heavy rain. Soaking wet, tired and maybe a little bit disappointed, most of us ended the count in the early afternoon. Together we enjoyed a warm meal at the station house with our friends before they headed back to Las Tolas.
Due to the rain the road was very muddy and on the way out one of our friends got stuck with his car and almost slipped into the ditch. It took two hours and a bunch of men who came down from Las Tolas to dig and pull out the car. What an unlucky day!
PS: On the five routes in and around the reserve we counted 159 species this time. Compared to 221 species last year quite a disappointing result. Hopefully next year we'll have better weather and a little bit more support from our friends.