Another hot day and the ichthyologists return from a second sampling point on the Madidi River with a Symbranchus fish increasing the #IDMadidi species list to 105 fish at this Alto Madidi site. No wonder there are several fish predators including a beautiful Amazonian Kingfisher captured in the ornithological nets. The biggest news of the day is the confirmation of confirmed bird species number 1000 for Madidi – the rufous hornero (Furnarius rufus) – registered earlier in the campaign through the observation of its distinctive nest.
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Last night a spectacled caiman (Caiman yacare) got caught up in a bat net set across a forest, but the bat team are able to save it – perhaps it was after one of the moths that get caught in the nets. In the late afternoon the traditional #IDMadidi team photo on the beach of the Madidi River.
The black-faced black spider monkey (Ateles chamek) is the symbol of Madidi National Park and is as such featured in our #IDMadidi logo and on our Facebook page. Alto Madidi is an amazing place to see this most fabulous of Bolivian primates and the team is treated to multiple encounters including today when a mother is photographed with her infant and a second expectant mother. Spider monkey females are some of nature’s super mums giving birth just once every three to four years. Youngsters receive intensive maternal care for three years and stay with their mother until around five years old. This low reproductive rate makes spider monkey populations especially vulnerable to hunting and Madidi and other protected areas are hugely important for their long-term survival.
Much of the work is taking place within the rainforest where landscapes closed but forest details abound. Life is all around. Overall, a slow day, but another frog is registered – Pristimantis altamazonicus increasing the herpetology list to 50 species for the site.
A camp tradition in the face of no bread: “buñuelos”. For almost thirty hungry people this is a four person task, so the camera trap team, Maria Viscarra, Guido Ayala and Herminio Ticona, assist camp chef Fernando Beyuma. In the evening some of the #IDMadidi team relax with a game of “Cacho” while others retire early to catch up on sleep. Of course, the evening is action time for the bat team and tonight brings another Madidi surprise: Eptesicus brasiliensis is a new record for Madidi and Bolivia.
After stellar success at the High Andean sites, Nuria Bernal is having to be patient at this tropical forest site, with just one species of small terrestrial mammal registered after almost a week of sampling, a spiny rat (Proechimys cf. brevicauda). Her traps are also being raided by a variety of ant species forcing Nuria to bait them at night. The entire team is treated to a gorgeous sunset after an afternoon thunderstorm provides the first rain for a week.
Luck lucky day for the communication team. As Andres Ramirez is filming a stream landscape a jaguar (Panthera onca) steps out in the stream and briefly saunters up the stream apparently oblivious of our #IDMadidi cameraman. Meanwhile, along the same stream we are able to photograph a beautiful juvenile Agami heron (Agamia agamia), one of the Amazons most elusive water birds.
The ichthyology team continue to add to the fish list – a particularly striking addition today is the first bumblebee catfish (Microglanis sp.) for the trip. Freddy Zenteno is busy in the forest collecting fertile plant material for the National Herbarium – the flowering season is coming to an end but several species are bearing fruit. The Madidi park guards leave Alto Madidi to attend a workshop at headquarters – they will return in a week.
An amazing amphibian – an unusually large and ornately crested version of the Rhinella margaritifera toad complex is photographed by the team and will be a longer-term taxonomic challenge for #IDMadidi herpetologist, Mauricio Ocampo from the Bolivian Faunal Collection. At the same time a blue-throated piping guan (Pipile cumanensis) visits camp.
Six species of amphibians are registered. Madidi´s official list of amphibians is now well over 100 species and is expected to increase further during Identidad Madidi.