Well I’ve survived my first month at Laguna Blanca and I have to say I have LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT! We have had two wonderful volunteers; Aurelien and Sara from France. They stayed for a month and have not only been great in the field they have also been a tremendous help with my not so brilliant Spanish (I’m trying!).
The work we have been doing has been so varied and interesting. I have found some new areas that I’ve been exploring for frogs, with reasonable success (apart from the leaky wellies that is) and have added a new species to our inventory list. Aside from frogging (my favourite of course!) we have been out smammal (small mammal) trapping for 2 weeks of the month – at new and full moon - and today we went to check the traps on horseback (yippee!). We also helped a couple of interns from Paraguay; Rodrigo and Johanna to dig in some pit fall trap lines. This was especially rewarding for me as when I was a volunteer I was taught how to build trap lines and now I’m the one teaching the volunteers. And a very good job they did of it too!
I had a very exciting find the other day too. When I was out checking the smammal traps in the cerrado I found a very interesting snake which is only the second specimen to be found in Paraguay – the first was found by our intern Anna in February. This is great from both a biological and conservation aspect as it means that the range of this species is a lot wider than was first thought. Plus it adds to the list of species present at Laguna Blanca Reserve and demonstrates how valuable the cerrado habitat is.
Its not all been work work work though, we have still managed to find the time and energy to have a few drinks in the evening and even a couple of parties, including a Royalty themed fancy dress dinner party in celebration of the royal wedding back in the UK – all very silly and highly amusing.
It is surprisingly cold here at the moment and so we are all walking about wearing all our clothes and drinking copious amounts of tea, coffee and mate – a Paraguayan hot drink. But the mornings are crisp and beautiful and it is far preferable to a winter back home!