I really cannot believe that my six months are nearly up! It has gone so very quickly and I have done so much. I have a great data set which should give me some really interesting results and I have literally thousands of photos!
So over the past month I have been with an Earthwatch group as well as spending ten days with just my guide getting some final data. We spent two weeks at the mouth of the Samiria just inside the Pacaya-Samiria reserve. This gave me some interesting data which can be compared with data collected further into the reserve. During this two week period it was my birthday! I had a brilliant jungle birthday starting out with eating water melon in the morning and getting a birthday present from Emma, I did a morning frog transect and relaxed for the afternoon then in the evening we went across to the local village and brought some beers and sugar cane rum and had a great night dancing (I have included a selection of photos from my birthday!). The surveys at this site were very interesting showing a real difference in species composition, I even managed to do a night time survey in the village and found two species not yet recorded this year! One of which is often encountered in disturbed areas and around villages (exactly where I found it).
After the Earthwatch group left I continued down to PV2 with Roberto as my guide. We stayed on the Patacia cooking for ourselves and doing morning and night time transects. On one day I decided I wanted to go to the channel to see how it had changed! The difference was incredible bear in mind since I first arrived back in April the water level has dropped by about 8meters! The channel is now very shallow with steep banks and the lake is now a meadow with a channel running through it! It was beautiful I have included a few photos below. During these ten days we found two amphibian species which I have not yet seen this year which was very interesting and we also managed to catch an individual which we have heard calling from within tree holes for the previous 6 months but have not yet caught one! Not only did we see some great frogs we saw many different species every transect resulted in monkeys; squirrel monkeys, capuchin monkeys, howlers, monk saki monkeys, night monkeys and even the occasional Tayra (related to a weasel and not often encountered in the forest). The trips we took in the boat mean we saw a whole range of wading birds as well as 4 different species of kingfisher, many vultures (I even got to see a king vulture) feeding on fish on the river banks.. One of the best bits where the baby turtles on the last day the guard from PV2 showed me the baby turtles! As part of an initiative they collect the turtle eggs and hatch them out on artificial beaches outside the guard station. They then keep them for three or four days and release them back into the river. Unlike marine turtles these do not return to the beaches they were born on (due to the ever shifting nature of the river) so this does not adversely affect their natural behaviour.
We left on the 29th and had a long boat journey in the peki peki boat down the San Martin. We spent the night here and I made friends with lots of the local children, we spent the night in one of the guide’s houses and they cooked us dinner and we enjoyed a few beers. We were up again at 4am the next morning and had a 9 hour boat ride back to Nalta then two hours taxi to Iquitos. Needless to say I was very happy to finally return back to the Casa Morey Hotel!!