2012 Scarlet Macaw Protection Documentary

Sunday, January 24, 2010

El Peru, Guatemala – Nests, Macaws, Bees and…

Brad and I were able to kick off our field season in Guatemala this past week. We met up with my Guatemala collaborator, Samuel Merida, at the Wildlife Conservation Society office in Flores, Guatemala. From there we picked up food and headed out to Paso Caballo; a Mayan village within the Nacional Parque Laguna del Tigre. I left my Jeep at the house of one the locals who works for WCS. That night we stayed at Guacamaya Camp and were hosted by BALAM.

El Peru field station

Puebla that we cooked on for every meal

The morning of the 14th, we loaded up and drove for another couple of hours to the El Peru field station, our home for the next week. Equipped with luxury lagoon bathing, old mattresses, and a puebla to cook on we were ready to roll.

We spent the next week climbing 20 nest trees, taking measurements and encountering macaws and non-macaws (bees, angry spider monkeys, and wasps). I even lowered myself into a gigantic nest cavity to find a barn owl defending her six eggs.
Taking nest measurments

Brad climbing up a Cantemo (Acacia glomerosa). Cantemo is Mayan for macaw tree (Cante = tree, Mo = macaw).
I was able to climb into this cavity. WCS wanted me to remove the false floor that was installed last year. And what I found underneath the floor was...We worked hard during the day and relaxed in the evening, dipping into the lagoon to rinse off the grime. All in all it was a fantastic first effort at collecting nest cavity and tree data.

The WCS field crew out there were fantastic. Antonio Xol and 'Chus' Jesus Cholom Tec were a tremendous help, guiding us to the nest trees and showing us the ropes in that area.

The Crew: Samuel Merida, Brad Westrich, 'Chus' Tec, Charles Britt, and Antonio Xol

We returned to Flores for a night. Not being tired enough, we joined the rest of the WCS crew for indoor futbol; leaving us completely spent. After meeting with Rony the next day, we headed back to Belize.

On to the Chiquibul!

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