Denis Drouin’s Diary
Climate Change, Canopies and Wildlife in the Ecuadorian Andes

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October 1, 2009: Bird watching -- and listening

AgiMorningBeforeWork  I have to share with you that time goes so fast here, but not for the same reason as at home. The work I’m doing with all the other Earthwatch fellows here is instantly gratifying. Of course we walk long distances and sweat a lot, but for each step, there is an immediate reward of beauty and freedom. Today I’m working with Agi, the Alcoa Hungarian Earthwatch Fellow, and Jorge (Noe) the bird watching specialist here in the Santa Lucia reserve. We have to get up very early because we have to be on the watch spot, many kilometers away, by 6:00 am. At 4:45 I am awake and watching stars in the forest darkness. What a peaceful moment it is. So we start walking in the dark with head lamps. It is quiet but there are many crickets that break the silence. On arriving at the first spot Jorge gives Agi and me a pad to record our observations. So we each record the identification number of the spot and the starting time. One of us will keep records of heard birds, the others of seen birds. This is quite new for me that bird watching is approximately 10 times more hearing than seeing. Noe is amazing! He can tell the name of the bird he is hearing and tell the approximate distance the bird is from us. He can also tell if there is more than one individual. He knows his job pretty well. We stay and watch at the same spot for precisely 10 minutes, then Butterfly  walk to the next one. We repeat this five times, then head back to the Santa Lucia Reserve lodge for lunch. You know the advantage of getting up very early is that you have your afternoon free. Agi and I took this opportunity to relax in hammock on the lodge porch. We talk, write our personal journals and read. I finally use the end of this free afternoon to do some hand laundry. Oh yes, remember that there is no electricity here. Do you want to see these beautiful birds? If you do, click here to access the Santa Lucia Reserve bird photo album.

Click image to enlarge.