Scarlet macaws May 2012

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Photos I took in May, 2012, in the Chalillo Dam reservoir. Located in the Maya Mountains of Belize, Central America.

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  • Thank you for your comment. Local conservationists are working to deter poachers and doing great things with very little money.
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  • Thank you for these photos. After reading the sad saga of attempts to prevent the building of Chalillo Dam in The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw, this provided interesting follow-up. It is however heartbreaking to see how ugly that once beautiful valley has become.
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  • This slideshow depicts my trip to the Chalillo Reservoir May 21-24, 2012. All photographs are taken by me and copyrighted by me unless otherwise noted; all rights reserved.
  • Brief overview of the itinerary
  • Began trip at the Belize airport (BZE)
  • To begin, the roads were pretty good
  • The roads got rougher the closer we got. Roni had to get out to fill holes and guide me.
  • Recent rains had washed away large portions of the track.
  • We used an inflatable boat with outboard motor to haul ourselves and gear to camp.
  • Traveling by boat up the reservoir to camp.
  • Hiking up reservoir bank to camp in the edge of the forest.
  • We slept in Hennessey Hammocks, with personal gear in plastic underneath. It rained heavily.
  • Charles and Roni trained field workers in use of GPS receivers to document nest site locations.
  • Team divided up to patrol areas where poachers seek macaw nests.
  • Charles and Roni coordinate with FCD, a local conservation NGO also patrolling for wildlife poachers.
  • We used GPS receivers to determine our routes each day.
  • We used photography to document macaw nesting.
  • A few snapshots to depict the habitats along the reservoir.
  • Water flowing over gentle rapids into the upper part of the reservoir.
  • Small landslide on bank of reservoir.
  • Stream flows over cascade into reservoir.
  • Cohune palms (Attelea cohune) survive seasonal flooding better than other trees.
  • Scarlet macaws feed on oil-rich nuts of cohune palms.
  • We saw about macaws flying in pairs, in larger flocks, at three locations.
  • We stopped to observe flocks and take photographs to document their behavior.
  • And to enjoy seeing them, and hearing them.
  • They are very vocal and social birds.
  • They occur in pairs within flocks.
  • They are cavity nesters high in trees. This tree had bark scars where poachers had climbed the tree to steal nestlings.
  • We also noted other wildlife, such as group of spider monkeys. This species is rare in Belize.
  • We saw a few Morelet’s crocodiles, an endangered species in Belize.
  • Other wildlife was more abundant, such as these bats roosting on the trunk of a tree on the water’s edge.
  • Dee were scarce. We saw a few tracks, and this doe-fawn pair fleeing into the forest as we approached by boat.
  • Several artificial nest boxes were placed along the reservoir after the dam was constructed. We saw no evidence than any had ever been used.
  • This is the Chalillo dam from the reservoir side.
  • This is the Chalillo dam from the north.
  • This is the powerhouse for the Chalillo dam and the spillway below it.
  • I want to thank Roni Martinez and Charles Britt, the field crew and these organizations.
  • Scarlet macaws May 2012

    1. 1. Scarlet MacawsChalillo Reservoir, Belize, May 2012 Erik Terdal, Ph.D.
    2. 2. Methods• Travelled to site on Monday, May 21, 2012• Rental Ford Ranger 4wd, diesel, 5-speed to get to the reservoir• Inflatable boat with outboard motor to camp• Traveled with Roni Martinez & Charles Britt Erik Terdal, Ph.D., on Chalillo Reservoir; Photo by Roni Martinez
    3. 3. Renting vehicle from airport
    4. 4. Driving to Chalillo
    5. 5. Filling holes in road to Chalillo
    6. 6. Filling larger holes in road
    7. 7. Gear
    8. 8. Charles & Roni
    9. 9. Camp
    10. 10. My accommodations
    11. 11. Training field assistants
    12. 12. Dividing up to patrol Upper Macal & Raspaculo Rivers
    13. 13. Coordinating Conservation Efforts
    14. 14. Navigating by GPS Photo by Charles Britt
    15. 15. Photographic Documentation
    16. 16. Reservoir Scenes
    17. 17. Reservoir Scenes
    18. 18. Reservoir Scenes
    19. 19. Reservoir Scenes
    20. 20. Reservoir Scenes
    21. 21. Scarlet Macaws
    22. 22. Scarlet Macaws
    23. 23. Scarlet Macaws
    24. 24. Scarlet Macaws
    25. 25. Scarlet Macaws
    26. 26. Scarlet Macaws
    27. 27. Macaw nesting tree climbed by poachers
    28. 28. Other wildlife: Spider Monkey
    29. 29. Other wildlife: Morelet’s Crocodile
    30. 30. Other wildlife: bats
    31. 31. Other wildlife: White-Tailed Deer
    32. 32. Other wildlife: Baird’s Tapir (tracks)
    33. 33. Macaw artificial nest box (never used)
    34. 34. Chalillo Dam
    35. 35. Chalillo Dam
    36. 36. Chalillo Dam powerhouse
    37. 37. Acknowledgements• Belize Electric, Ltd. (BEL)• Friends for Conservation & Development (FCD)• Rainforest Restoration Foundation (RRF)• Hidden Valley Inn (HVI)• Coppola Resorts Roni Martinez, Charles Britt, field crew

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