Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The trip ends in the city....but ideas to bring home

Costa Rica Bird Observatories have a research station at INBioparque in the capital, San Jose. The suburban setting means a different range of birds to band from those in the tropical rainforest and mountain cloud forest, such as this  Blue-crowned Motmot.
INBio(The National Biodiversity Institute of Costa Rica) is a private research and biodiversity management centre. The station was originally created as a tool for bird banding training and has proved valuable in providing data on how migrant species use a suburban site as a stopover and winter habitat as well as the importance of suburban forest for resident species.
 The park has excellent representations of the different habitats in Costa Rica including examples of residents (at a safe distance when it comes to snakes and tarantulas!)

 The night before I was due to leave I helped put up nets ready for the morning. We were in for a bit of a surprise in one net lane.........
A display of dinosaurs had been set up since the previous banding there so one net less for a while!
So the end of the trip for me but for Richard another 4 weeks ringing at the three different stations. More stories to tell of the trip in January when he returns.
For the rest of the TRG they will be be hearing plenty of ......."in CR we did it this way". Like any time spent with other ringers, a good exchange of ideas was had.
One technique we are definitely going to try is their method for storing nets.
First, spin the bottom four shelves into the top shelf to furl the net.
Thread one handle of a carrier bag up through the loops on the pole then put your hand through the handle grasp the loops and slide the pole out.

Work your way towards the other pole folding the net into the bag as you go.
Run the free bag handle up the loops on the second pole and remove the pole.
Then tie the bag handles together.
Because the loops are held in the correct order, putting the nets up is speedy as you should be able to slide the poles up through the loops on the bag handles without checking they are in the right order. Also if the net is ready furled which saves time if it isnt being used straight away.
(picture courtesy of Tortuguero Integrated Bird Monitoring program manual)
Tying a mist net pole seems to be taught this way across America - see this useful video from Long Point Bird Observatory.
On to looking after poles, this might be useful if the rain continues in West Wales - store poles upside down or they will sprout roots as soon as you turn your backs!
Finally, the banding form- all in Spanish which we won't be copying but good practice to have to record codes for why a bird was aged and sexed. Also on the back was space for extensive notes on less common birds like eye and bill colour, moult formula, percentage striations on humming bird bills etc.
With many thanks to Pablo Elizondo, Executive Director Costa Rica Bird Observatories
and Dr C. John Ralph, Scientific advisor to CRBO, US Forest Service  for their help in making this trip possible and so worthwhile.


  1. What sort of life-size Dinosaur are we going to be erecting in the Teifi Marshes CES site then?


Please feel free to post comments but there may be a delay as they are all moderated to avoid spam