So after getting settled in Gualaco and taking care of some red tape, Catherine and I, along with Isidro Zuniga will be headed out to the field tomorrow. We expect to be doing a bit of mapping, and getting familiar with the territory, after which we will attempt to do a call-playback survey for caracaras.
I managed to score some sweet GIS layers from the ICF guys in Tegucigalpa, and from what I am seeing, the caracaras being followed last year are in a belt of forest with very limited human habitation. Apparently they are seen occasionally all around, even as far as just east of Gualaco, but their stronghold seems to be where the people are not. Of course, we have no data of our own yet, but soon we shall see!
I am hoping the terrain will be workable, the caracaras amenable and the weather enjoyable! Wish us luck!
We did manage to get out on the weekend for a small expedition, to see a working farm/ranch and some remnant oak and gallery forest near Gualaco. This was a muddy undertaking, as there had been some considerable rain the night before. We did see some cool stuff, including this Laughing Falcon (Herpetotheres cachinnans).
The scrubby ranchlands do not have very large trees,
Catherine and I rode this horse, which had a fresh vampire bite wound on its neck, across the river. That is our host, Don Rafael, on the right.
Upon returning home, we did some shooting of insects and spiders. This is some kind of blister beetle (Meloidae). Catherine has more spider photos here.
A nice jumper that we found inside our window.
Tortoise beetles are awesome!
We have arrived (finally) in Gualaco, after a crazy few days passing from Vancouver to San Pedro Sula to Tegucigalpa.
It has been quite hectic getting settled, and I am having difficulty re-adjusting to Spanish. We have an apartment now, and so are feeling a bit less nomadic than when staying at the hotel.
We went out and saw the areas we will be working in yesterday, and they are in really really rugged terrain! The forests are mostly pine (Pinus oocarpa), and the terrain is mountainous and steep in many paces. Much of the region is second growth, and is used for ranching. The forest is rather open, due to periodic burning and grazing, but getting around is still rather difficult due to the topography. We tried some caracara call playback, but had nothing responding whatsoever. This is very different from the situation in Amazonia.
The rolling pine forests northwest of Gualaco. This is right near the are where caracaras nested last year.
We are planning on staying put for the next few days, but will head out to Tegucigalpa next week for permit applications, and then will do a scouting mission starting on the 20th. With terrain like this, we will most definitely be getting our exercise!