October 29, 2014
We spent a lot of this month continuing work on the CenJaguar project (Censo de Jaguar), a short-term national census of jaguars initiated by CONANP and coordinated through Anta-Balam. The Northern Jaguar Reserve participated in the census by having 25 motion-triggered cameras on the reserve for a five-week period. The hikes to these sites were long and physically draining. We were glad to have Laqui and Luis Alberto’s help with both these and our own regular cameras we maintain on the reserve.
During our visit to Los Pavos, a strong rain cooled the air and filled the arroyos with plenty of water. The rains have been frequent this year, and they are continuing even though the summer rains typically end in mid-September. We noticed a change in weather on this trip to our benefit. The drop in temperature has made our work less tedious. During the day the temperature can still reach 95° Fahrenheit, yet the nights are cool. Everything is full of life and the grasses continue to grow because of the rain.
We had several sightings of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and observed the velvet-covered antlers they carry this time of year. We also observed four American kestrel (Falco sparverius), a raptor we had not seen for at least three months. We are hoping to see more kestrels on our next trip. Another bird we heard while en route to the Arroyo Los Pavos was the military macaw (Ara militaris). The macaws arrive every year to nest at a site called Cajón Los Pavos, and this year was no exception. Even though there is an abundance of birds on the reserve, once winter comes, many of the migratory birds that arrived in the summer will head south. For now, we are enjoying their presence.
We next went to visit the Viviendo con Felinos ranches to check the memory cards and batteries for the motion-triggered cameras. During our trip, we discovered that the roads on a few of the ranches have deteriorated a great deal from the recent rain and access was difficult. Going toward Los Alisos, we came to an arroyo that was filled to capacity. We had to make a detour because the water was so high it would have been extremely dangerous to cross.
On the last two days of checking cameras, I had some health problems. I had a fever, and even though I was taking medicine and drinking herbal tea, my health was not improving. Fortunately, this was near the end of the trip and soon we were in Sahuaripa where I felt better and the fever did not return. I still don’t know what caused this, and I hope that it doesn’t happen again.
That is some of the news from the reserve and surrounding ranches this month. We look forward to bringing you more adventures from our next trip.
Until then friends,
Javier Valenzuela Amarillas has worked on the Northern Jaguar Reserve and Viviendo con Felinos ranches since 2012. As a jaguar guardian, he helps maintain an extensive network of motion-triggered cameras, inventory the ecological health of the land and water, and work with ranchers to support local wildlife.