Apologies to all you folks in countries heading into winter, because spring has definitely sprung here at Laguna Blanca! We may not have lambs frolicking in fields and daffodils but we do have a rather unique blend of wildlife which, if we are lucky, allows us a brief glimpse of their new arrivals. Around camp the southern lapwings have a couple of tiny babies (exact replicas of their parents but sooo small) – adorable but don’t make the mistake of getting too close, their parents are pretty feisty! We also have a pair of burrowing owls that live in the garden and the other day I spotted, for the first time ever, one of them leaving their burrow. I think they may have young in there…!
The frogs aren’t letting us down either - it’s definitely the breeding season for some species, which means I also have several tadpole projects running. At our new and exciting frog pond in the local village we managed to gather about 25 tadpoles of various sizes and stages of development (catching tadpoles is surprisingly tricky by the way!). So little work has been done on tadpoles that any data we can gather is vital. We have no idea what species they are (or even if they are the same species) until they morp into froglets, so I have to stay patient and keep them alive (and fed well enough to stop them eating each other!). Not the easiest task but a lot easier than caterpillars I can tell you! I also have 2 funnel traps full of eggs from 2 species that laid in captivity. Neither I have much hope for though, as the eggs seem to be really sensitive and may not hatch - but nothing ventured and all that, so fingers-crossed. I’ll let you know how I get on! Finally if you remember last time I told you about the new pitfall trap line we dug into the flooded forest? Well it hasn’t disappointed. Within days we had not 1 but 2 toads that are new species for our collection. This is great as we are on a real drive to see how many new anuran species we can add our inventory at the moment.
Another project that I meant to tell you about last time but didn’t have the space for is our recycled vegetable garden. We are having another bash at growing vegetables and so far melon and squash are the most successful contestants. “But why is it called a recycled garden?” I hear you cry. Well, because everything, from the exterior fence, to the borders, the compost heap, and the scarecrow are made from 100% reused materials. In fact the only thing that that has been bought new is a longer hose pipe and the seeds themselves. I’ve never had the opportunity to have a go at growing fruit and veg before so it’s all trial and error – the best way to learn though I reckon (well as long are we aren’t too hungry!).
That’s all for now folks thanks for reading!