June 17, 2012
During this month’s trip, our vaquero Laqui went with me to all of the ranches. We left La Ventana in the morning, yet due to the high afternoon temperatures, we did not check cameras that day – since it’s preferable to check them in the mornings.
The trips to the ranches were a little more difficult due to the weather, however we set out earlier with each day and were able to accomplish our work at every ranch. We began with Rancho Las Sabanillas, which is in close proximity to La Ventana so that we could return there to sleep and meet up with Miguel and Carmina. They were having problems with their truck, and I drove them so they could reach Tesotas and Dubaral, where it is extremely hot. This also gave me the opportunity to deliver wood from an old corral that is no longer used to La Ventana. Laco is going to use it to build a shed for the new tractor that will arrive this summer.
Continuing with our rounds to the ranches, Laqui and I next went to El Puerto, Los Alisos, and Mesa Rica over several days. We traveled in the afternoon to take advantage of the truck’s air conditioning during the heat of the day and hike to the cameras in the mornings.
While at El Puerto, we were able to talk with the vaquero who works on the ranch. He told us that he had seen tracks in a creek behind the house, so we decided to move a camera to that location. Woodpeckers woke us up early the following morning, so we decided to hurry and check the cameras, since the return trip is tiring and all uphill.
Later that day, we went to La Tinaja, where we took photos of the gabions that have been constructed this year to help restore the local watershed. The photos are for us to use as a baseline in monitoring vegetative recovery. That’s when our water supply ran out, and we had to cut our visit to the gabions short.
Laqui handled these pre-summer conditions well, but I was feeling dehydrated, so I decided to return to La Ventana for more water.
We next spent the night at Bábaco. I have had problems with the owner’s roosters before, and these continued – since they crow at dawn and do not let me sleep. The roosters sleep up in a mesquite tree, and besides their crowing, they continuously flap their wings and wake me during the night. I am not very fond of them. I did not take a photo of the roosters, but next time I am there, I promise to show you evidence of why I could not sleep.
I had the good fortune of running across a Gila monster. He was a little annoyed because I got really close in order to take a photo with one of our motion-triggered cameras (as I didn’t have my regular camera with me). He made a move as if to bite me, and I moved away a little, so the photo is blurry.
Another reason why I often wake up during the early morning hours at La Ventana is Laco’s dog, “Loco.” Because Loco and I get along so well, he comes by in the mornings to shake my tent so that I will get up. Because of Loco, I always wake up with a smile and enjoy playing with him in the mornings. He is a great companion. Even though he sometimes wants to go with me to the ranches, I leave him with Laco so that Laco doesn’t get jealous (don’t tell Laco that Loco likes me more than his owner).
Lastly, before signing off, I want to tell you that I hope to have some news soon about the gray fox skull that I buried at Los Pavos a year ago. On my next trip there, I will go to the site, dig it up, and see how clean it has become. I hope I remember where it is!
Greetings to all and talk to you next time,
Daniela Gutiérrez began her position as the Viviendo con Felinos field technician in March 2011. She works with ranchers surrounding the Northern Jaguar Reserve monitoring wildlife, particularly the area’s four large felines, and promoting habitat restoration.