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Feliz 2018! Happy Birding at Las Tangaras

January 8, 2018

Thanks to 9 super-enthusiastic volunteers and our Ecuadorian staff we had a very successful avian monitoring project at Reserva las Tangaras in December.  We recorded 173 bird species during our two-week expedition and netted 419 birds of 71 species.  Volunteers also learned how to use Hall traps to net hummingbirds, make hummingbird bands, and band the little gems. We all participated in the Mindo Christmas Bird Count and racked up 104 species for the count.

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December 2017 Life Net Nature Avian Monitoring Expedition: Team and Support Staff at Reserva Las Tangaras research lodge

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November Update

November 6, 2017

Please support Reserva las Tangaras during the giving season with a donation via the Life Net Nature website.

Reserva las Tangaras will be open with full services for guests starting January 10, 2018.  Meanwhile, contact Dr. Becker (dustizuni@yahoo.com), or call Pascual Torres in Ecuador at 098-680-1316 to organize day visits, overnights, group uses, or internships.

Reserva las Tangaras will be closed to overnight guests for annual winter avian monitoring – December 4-17, 2017.  Day guests are welcome.

Please also note that Life Net Nature is recruiting Bird Banding Volunteers for June 2018 avian monitoring at Reserva las Tangaras.  Contact Dr. Becker for details and Life Net Nature application form.

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Life Net Nature bird banding team  – July 2017

WE WISH YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON!!

 

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Andean Cock-of-the-Rock

Tough Luck at Las Tangaras

September 20, 2017

September 2017.  Sadly and shockingly, our reserve managers were robbed at gunpoint at the end of June, 2017, so we closed the reserve, and are still not back to normal operations.  We are hoping it was a freak event, but we aren’t taking any chances. Police are currently investigating the situation.  We hope to reopen with full services for guests in 2018.  Meanwhile, visitation is limited to day visits and camping, with advanced notice.

If you would like to visit and are in Ecuador, please contact our current stewards, at 099-058-7084 or email them at lastangarasreserve@gmail.com prior to making the wilderness hike into the reserve.  We encourage going as a group, and not alone. For reservations for overnight stays or volunteering, please contact the reserve stewards or Dr. Dusti Becker – dustizuni@yahoo.com. P1000794.jpg

A Rufous Motmot often seen around the guest cabin.

 

Your New Managers! John & Jaclyn

April 9, 2017

Hola!

We are John Whitefield and Jaclyn Knapp, the new seasonal managers of Reserva Las Tanagaras. We are very grateful to be here in such a gorgeous location bursting with vibrant diversity. We are excited to become acquainted with all the other creatures that live at Reserva Las Tangaras.

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While we have not been here long it has been enough to leave a lasting impression and endow a love of the diversity offered in the New World Tropics. Every morning (unless we are doing ACOR tours and monitoring) we awake to a symphony of voices, singing for love or the morning sun. We attempt to spot where all the voices come from and identify them but we have yet to find them all! All the birds are very quick, sneaky and do not like to stay put for long, adding an extra challenge for us. The pictures below are a good example of how difficult it can be to spot wildlife amongst all the crazy diversity of plants. Try to find the Creature!

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A Golden Tanager (Tangara arthus) hunting for it’s breakfast.

 

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Choco Toucans (Ramphastos brevis) saluting the morning.

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An Ornate Flycatcher (Myiotriccus ornatus) on it’s perch

The reserve offers many gorgeous subjects for photography both male and female, avian and mammalian.

On the right we have a common agouti (Dasyprocta spp.) enjoying some fruit. On the left we have a Plain Brown Woodcreeper (Dendrocincla fuliginosa) hunting in the moss.

The most common visitors to the reserve can be quite demanding in the mornings, but are soon satisfied once their sustenance has arrived (below).

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A White Whiskered Hermit (Phaethornis yaruqu) approaches on the right, to the chagrin of a Green Crowned Woodnymph (male) (Thalurania fannyi) and Purple Bibbed Whitetip (female) (Urosticte benjamini).

Of course we shan’t forge the main attraction, available every morning and evening for your viewing pleasure!

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Two male Andean Cock of The Rock’s (Rupicola peruvianus) perch and call as they perform for perspective mates at the lekking site. The lek is truly a spectacle of sound and color. Well worth the early rise or late return!

This is a snapshot, pun intended, of our first week as new managers of Las Tangaras. Stay tuned for further updates!

J & J

Desde la cabaña

March 21, 2017
By Luis e Inés  (Reserve Managers Jan- Mar 2017)

 

Estando sentado en el porche de la cabaña no es difícil darse cuenta del privilegiado lugar en el que nos encontramos. Tras recorrer durante 45 minutos el sendero de entrada se llega al puente colgante que da acceso a la Reserva Las Tangaras, al otro lado del río Nambillo. El tramo final de escaleras en subida requiere un último esfuerzo que se ve recompensado al llegar al bonito jardín de la cabaña de madera. Una vez sentados en el porche llega el momento de relajarse y disfrutar del verde paisaje que invade nuestro campo de visión.

El murmullo del río y el canto de los pájaros ayudan a recuperar la serenidad aunque hay que mantener siempre los ojos abiertos. Si eres un apasionado de la naturaleza y los animales existe la posibilidad de observar una gran variedad de especies simplemente estando sentado en el porche.

Los colibríes son visitantes permanentes desde primera hora de la mañana pues acuden puntuales a los bebederos de agua con azúcar que colocamos alrededor del porche. Las especies que pueden avistarse varían según los meses aunque entre las más comunes se encuentran el Brillante Coroniverde (Heliodoxajacula), el Zafiro Coroniverde (Thalurania fannyi) y el Colibrí Punta Blanca Pechipúrpura (Urosticte benjamini). Así mismo, tal y como indica el nombre de la Reserva, también pueden observarse gran cantidad de Tangaras de pequeño tamaño y de todos los colores.

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Colibríes en el bebedero

Además contamos regularmente con la presencia de Momotos Piquianchos (Electron platyrhynchum), también  conocidos como  relojeros debido al movimiento de su larga cola como el péndulo de un reloj de pared cuando se posan. Su gentil y silencioso vuelo capta la atención de cualquiera pues poseen un colorido patrón que hacen de su avistamiento un evento espectacular. Más ruidosos son los Tucanes, las Pavas y los Gallitos de la Peña que dejan oír sus cantos por todo el valle y permiten desvelar su localización en la densa vegetación verde.

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Pareja de Momotos Piquianchos

En cuanto a mamíferos, tenemos otro pequeño vecino que anda siempre merodeando en busca de comida por el jardín. Se trata del Aguti o Guatusa (Dasiprocta puntactata), un pequeño roedor de unos 35cm que tiene por habito esconder los frutos que encuentra para volver a por ellos cuando escasea la comida. Suele olvidar donde entierra su despensa  por lo que contribuye así a la dispersión de semillas en el bosque. Cierto es, que suele hacer el mismo recorrido para encontrar su almuerzo a diario pero es además porque tiene su madriguera cerca de la cabaña. También se pasean por el jardín sin ningún temor el Coatí (Nasuella olivacea) y la Paca (Cuniculus paca) aunque esta última tiene hábitos nocturnos y hay que madrugar para poder descubrirla antes del amanecer. Otro mamífero que escarba en la oscuridad buscando raíces, bulbos e insectos es el armadillo de nueve bandas (Dasypus novemcintus) y deja continuamente el rastro de sus agujeros por el jardín y los laterales de los senderos.

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Coatí paseando por el jardín

Los múltiples senderos con lo que cuenta la Reserva ofrecen caminatas para todos los niveles. Partiendo de la cabaña a unos 1400 metros hasta llegar a los límites del bosque protector Mindo-Nambillo a unos 1800 metros de altitud. Por ellos se puede caminar cerca del río y disfrutar de varias pozas de agua para bañarse con agua cristalina procedente de las siete cascadas que recorren el río Nambillo a su paso por la Reserva. También cerca del agua pueden observarse variedad de aves acuáticas como el Cinclo Gorriblanco (Cinclos leucocephalus) que vuela de roca en roca capturando pequeños gusanos y, el Pato Torrentero (Merganetta armata) que suele posar en las piedras en medio del río. Además, si se tiene suerte, puede observarse la Nutria de río (Lontra longicaudis) pescando y disfrutando de las olas que crea el agua en su encuentro con las grandes rocas del río.

Si comenzamos a subir un poquito en altura podemos ver como la distribución de aves va cambiando ligeramente hasta llegar a los 1500 metros de altitud donde se puede disfrutar de una de las maravillas de Mindo: el LEK o zona de exhibición del Gallito de la peña (Rupicola peruviana). Los machos se reúnen dos veces al día, al amanecer y atardecer, durante todo el año para realizar una serie de sonidos y danzas para llamar así la atención de las hembras.

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Gallo de la peña, macho

Sin duda alguna a lo largo de los senderos de la Reserva se puede disfrutar de cientos de aves diferentes, desde pequeñas Bataras a los increíbles Trogones y Quetzales. Pero incluso sin moverse de la cabaña puede apreciarse la gran diversidad de flora y fauna que caracteriza la región del Chocó en la que nos encontramos.  Una maravilla de la naturaleza a poco mas de una hora a pie de Mindo y a dos horas en Bus de Quito.

Annual Bird Monitoring at Reserva las Tangaras

February 12, 2017

By Dr. Dusti Becker (Co-director Life Net Nature)

In December 2016, Life Net Nature volunteers working at Reserva las Tangaras, completed 1050 net hours of mist netting, four afternoons of Hall trapping of hummingbirds, avian surveys in 3 habitats, and also participated in the Mindo Christmas Bird Count (CBC).

p10008092016 Cloud Forest Birds Monitoring Team at Reserva las Tangaras, Ecuador

Here are a few highlights from the bird-monitoring expedition:

  • 437 birds netted representing 71 species
    • 31% recaptures
    • 69% first time captures
  • 26 hummingbirds sampled by Hall trapping – 10 different species
    • Purple-bibbed Whitetip – surprisingly the most common
  • 112 bird species recorded during the CBC on & near the reserve
  • Pale-vented thrush netted for first time – a new record for the reserve
  • Canada warbler & purple honey-creeper netted for the first time
  • 172 different bird species detected on & near reserve during the project!

P1000647.jpgMike Walker and Galen Dolkas at the “Pasture-Edge” banding station and a Zeladon’s antbird (alias – immaculate antbird) in the hand.  

Given that we were a team of bird-science enthusiasts,  we each evaluated an aspect of the team data and presented findings to each other at the end of the project.

P1000814.jpgVolunteers with scientific posters they made about avian monitoring at Reserva las Tangaras

From left to right in the above photo: Clarice Clark presented data showing that not surprisingly male club-winged manakins were particularly abundant in pasture-edge nets (near where they lek), but in contrast, on the other side of the river, in thick second growth sites, breeding females and hatch-year birds were more often netted. Galen Dolkas compared species diversity in different years and sites, and Megan Zagorski presented information about the diversity of habitats used by hummingbirds.  Savannah Robinson  reflected on some of the challenges associated with aging tropical birds having found several species that were clearly adult (by brood patch or other indicators), but that lacked fully ossified skulls.  Mike Walker compared average capture rates of commonly netted passerines over the past 4-years of monitoring.

Dr. Dusti Becker compared mist-netting results before and after an illegal road and clearing were made near the monitoring site called “Low Forest”.  As shown in Table 1, compared to the three years before the habitat damage, capture rate, species detected, and indices of diversity all declined in the 2016 sample.

Table 1. Mist netting results at Low Forest banding station (Reserva las Tangaras) before (2013-15) versus after (2016) illegal deforestation for a road and a clearing. 

 MEASURES 2013 2014 2015 2016
Captures/150 nh
41 43 44 36
Species Richness (SR)
19 25 20 16
SR/Captures/150 nh
0.46 0.58 0.45 0.44
D (Simpson’s) 10.42 11.24 10.10 7.04
H (Shannon’s) 2.55 2.86 2.65 2.33

Want a copy of the final field report? or results of the Mindo CBC? Contact Dr. Dusti Becker at dustizuni@yahoo.com and she’ll send you PDFs.

BTW – The next avian monitoring session at Las Tangaras will be July 15-29, 2017.  Want to join this exciting expedition as a cost-share volunteer? Contact Dr. Dusti Becker for application forms and more info – dustizuni@yahoo.com

Bottom line – high avian diversity site, great birding, lots of fun, great way to learn how to mist net and band birds and add to your professional resume and connections!

Here are a few more photos from the 2016 avian monitoring project, and more can be found at the Life Net Nature Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/LifeNetNature/

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Above: “Eye candy”:  Red-headed barbet, green-crowned woodnymph, purple honey-creeper (female), &  flame-faced tanager.

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Above: Our resident broad-billed motmot – often seen near the Reserva las Tangaras research cabin.

p1000815Above: Yellow-throated Toucan (previously chestnut-mandibled toucan) is often seen on forest edges along roads and pastures.

Acknowledgments

Many thanks to intrepid Life Net Nature volunteers: Dr. Larry Vereen, Mike Walker, Clarice Clark, Megan Zagorski, Debbie Brown, Savannah Robinson, Galen Dolkas, and Tom Roher for their assistance with and funding for the 2016 annual bird monitoring at Reserva las Tangaras!  Y gracias a nuestro equipo de Ecuador: Pascual Torres, y Mauricio Torres (Research Assistants), and their lovely wives Jessica Medina y Alicia Torres, who prepared our meals and kept the research cabin tidy.

Introducing: Reserva Las Tangaras on Instagram

September 26, 2016

Hello, fans of Las Tangaras!  We, the managers, are trying a new experiment, and we hope you’ll help us with it.

Las Tangaras now has an Instagram account, so that everyone in the Las Tangaras community can share beautiful photos they’ve taken at the reserve.  We, the managers, will post photos that we take while we are living at the reserve.  Follow our account, reserva_las_tangaras_mindo, by clicking here!

You’ll see photos of moments we’ve managed to capture at the reserve, like this one:

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According to this blue morpho butterfly, hummingbird feeders aren’t just for hummingbirds.  Maybe sugar water tastes better upside-down?  #reservalastangaras

Now, here’s where we’d like your help.  We would love to see photos taken by past guests, former managers, bird banders, and anyone else who has visited the reserve.  Do you have an Instagram photo you’ve taken at Las Tangaras?  (We know that some of you do!)  Please add the tag #reservalastangaras to your photo.  We may ask you if we can repost your photo on our page, to share it with the larger Las Tangaras community.   Thank you!

As we get our Instagram page up and running, if you’d like to see other photos of the reserve, visit our Photo Gallery by clicking here!

(By the way, this is the last post from Annie and Skyler.  By the time you read this, our time as managers will have come to an end, and we’ll be traveling on, full of fond memories of this truly special place.)