Conservation and Environment in Mexico: Monthly Updates
Conservation in Mexico Monthly Update - March - April 2014
With the low season for turtle nesting in full swing we have had a low but steady income of nests over the past two months, bringing the total number of nests found since the New Year up to 190. Including 4 Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) nests and in our most recent nest we have placed a temperature probe so we can really try to get to grips with what is going on in the nesting intricacies of this majestic species.
Lagoon Bird Biodiversity Study
These past two months have seen a lot of bird activity all over the lagoon. Taking our little rowing boat out we have been able to regularly visit all our different survey sights. We have also taken a fun expedition further down one of the channels to see where it leads to. Although we reached a dead end we were able to see a lot of species of birds, including the beautiful Citreoline Trogon (Trogon citreolus), the very vocal West-Mexican Chachalaca (Ortalis poliocephala) and a new sighting of a Grey Flycatcher (Empidonax wrightii). We also saw an adult Green Iguana (Iguana iguana) sitting on one of the bushes along the way.
Another exploratory expedition we have done this past month was to walk through the mangroves themselves rather than paddling in the boat. As we were exploring instead of doing an official survey, we simply took a species list of all the birds we saw along the way. In the hour and a half long trip we found a remarkable five new species to add to our growing list of birds found on and around the Chupadero lagoon. This included the Broad-billed Hummingbird (Cynanthus latirostris), the Dusky-capped Flycatcher (Myiarchus tuberculifer), the Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens), the Tropical Parula (Parula pitiayumi) and the Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher (Myiodynastes luteiventris).
Crocodile Repopulation Project
With Easter coming up this week the work at the crocodile project has been mostly about making the area look as presentable as possible for all visitors. Therefore, we have been mending the path running around the edge of the lagoon where termites have chewed through the wood. In addition we continued our regular work of mucking out the captive crocodile ponds, with the army watching us for a lot of this work. It seems even in Mexico the army needs some time off and where better to go than the local crocodile park? This time of year also yields a lot of ripe coconuts and our resident tree climber, Rene, regularly shimmies up the trees to get us some fresh coconuts as welcome refreshment on our breaks.
The bird survey continues along the outskirts of the lagoon and 2014 seems to be finding plenty of new birds to add to our list for the Colorado Lagoon species list. Including the San Blas Jay (Cyanocorax sanblasianus) which was the first time I personally have seen this bird so it was a great day. On our last trip we also saw some nesting Boat-billed Herons (Cochlearius cochlearius) with two fluffy little chicks.
Beach Clean-Ups and Camp Construction
Our weekly beach clean-ups continue as usual and with Easter approaching, bringing an expected huge increase in visitors to the beach and lagoon area next to camp, the volunteers will be making signs to place along the road entrance encouraging people to take their rubbish away with them rather than littering this wonderful holiday spot.
Camp construction has been moving forwards very rapidly this past two months. We have moved the bunk houses so that they are a further 10m back from the high tide point. As with the hurricane season in July the high tide mark would potentially have moved up into the old bunk house, and no one would welcome that development! We have also moved and enlarged our kitchen area, which was a great improvement, and now with a couple of new windows in place it is a great place for everyone to hang out.
The camera trap project, to see what is roaming around the mangrove forest, is due to start this week. The cameras are arriving on camp later this evening, so the next step is to find spots within the mangroves to place them. Part of the bird exploration walk into the mangroves was to investigate potential spots so we are prepared for this new and exciting initiative.
The mangrove reforestation project has had its budget and greenhouse location approved and so we will be starting to build the greenhouse we need. Once the greenhouse is up and running we can start collecting seeds and saplings to grow before replanting once they have a greater chance of survival. Oliver, our project manager, has also organised for a mangrove expert to come along for a few days a week to teach us all (volunteers and staff alike) how best to undertake this project for the collecting and replanting of the mangrove trees.
Finally our crocodile breeding and release programme will be starting this week with the collection of two nests to incubate at the crocodile project area for the next 80-90 days before we get some little crocodile hatchlings to look after.
As you can see we have been keeping busy on camp and now have a very busy next couple of months, so we hope you can come and join us in our efforts to keep Projects Abroad Mexico Conservation growing and thriving.
Conservation Manager, Mexico