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Surveying in Suriname

October 17, 2012

by Brian O’Shea

We are back after a long interruption — the cable providing internet service to our camp was severed somewhere between here and Paramaribo, and it took days for crews to come from the city to fix it. I’m not exactly accustomed to having internet in the forest, so any access at all is a luxury!

On this morning’s transect, we came across a mamma spider monkey and her baby. She was not happy to see us! In typical spider monkey style, she broke off several dry branches and hurled them down at us before moving off. Watch out for these guys — their aim is excellent!

monkey in the canopy

Today’s bird transect was in an unlogged portion of the concession, and featured some really nice big trees. Many tropical trees have buttressed trunks, and these buttresses can be truly massive. Here I am sitting on one:

Bjo buttress

Here is another, twisting across the forest floor:

Wavy buttress

And another, featuring a perfect passageway for an agouti:

Buttress with agouti-sized tunnel

We had about 50 bird species on our hour-long transect survey before continuing our veg plot work. Since our plots are placed at predetermined, random points along the transect, we can’t simply choose the easiest places to measure — so we sometimes end up in places like this:

Tree-fall plot

We dread these “tree-fall plots”, but tree-falls are what give the forest such a rich and varied structure that can provide living space for so many bird species. One of the variables we are assessing for each plot is the canopy cover, which we will estimate later from photos taken from the middle of the plot. Here’s an example:


These tree-fall gaps are great places to encounter wasps, and our last plot of the day had not one, but TWO wasp nests in it! Serano almost walked right into this one before I yanked him back:

Wasp and nest

And just a few meters away, tucked under a boegroemaka palm leaf was this:

Wasp nest #2

It’s very easy to hit these nests without knowing they’re there. I was just about to cut that palm leaf before Serano pointed out the nest. That’s teamwork!

We are almost done with this round of fieldwork — subscribe to be notified about our final post!

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 1, 2012 3:14 pm

    Reblogged this on NC Museum of Natural Sciences Blogs.

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