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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Guyana 2012!

Dominic, Ian and Joe are already at CEIBA! They have found plenty of roaches, and an emerald tree boa! Will and I are meeting Karl Kjer's graduate student Paul and heading to Guyana tomorrow. Can't wait!

Final 2011 Guyana blog post

Ware Guyana Trip 2011
After it all we had to come back to NJ. Our legs need rest from mosquito bites and our backs need breaks from the tropical sun. Landing in JFK airport was bitter sweet indeed. We go back to the routine and safety of everyday life but leave behind the beauty and color of South America. I think we can all say that we want to go back. Technology and western civilization seem silly and pointless, but there are always advantages I suppose.  We definitely are grateful to Godfrey,  Joyce, Mr. and Mrs. Chan-a-sue, Samantha, Elvis, Waja, Splashmin’s, the children on the farm next to CEIBA, and everyone else for giving us a safe and eventful trip. We can’t wait to go back to Guyana soon!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Past Guyana Trip 8

Ware 2011 Guyana Trip
Georgetown again...
Today Jessica, Dominic , Manpreet and I (Melissa) went to University of Guyana to get the final verification letter for the EPA export permit. The campus was big and the Biodiversity Center Building was full of amazing paintings on the wall.  Ms. Gyanpriya Maharaj helped us and showed to us their dry and collection they have, it was amazing! Then we came back to our hotel the Tropical View and picked up Nicole and Ian; and then we all went to have a final guyanese lunch  in the Shanti’s Restaurant. Afterwards, we went to the most “dangerous” market in Georgetown: Stabroek. We all looked people in the eyes as this is what we were told was the safest way to carry ourselves.  We saw fruit, an amazing diversity of groceries, clothes, shoes, etc, but not knife fights :( . Our final destination of the day was the Zoo... but Manpreet can describe better...

hello every body .. i guess this the first time i am writing in this blog. well jessica , dominic and melissa had been to the zoo before but this was the first time nicole and I got to see it.

One of my favorite things to see in Guyana is the taxi driver using the remote to change the channel on the TV in the dash!!!! HOT The zoo was awesome!! shook a monkey’s hand:)) One again I would like to thank the lovely Jessica Ware for inviting me on this adventure!!!! --Nicole

Dominic: Starbroek Market was cool. I didn’t get stabbed. I’ll lie to myself and say it’s because no one would dare mess with me. It was probably luck. 

Jessica: Yum! Today was a day filled with good eating! Shanti’s had pumpkin curry, and it was amazing.....

Monday, August 15, 2011

Ware Guyana Trip 2011
Emerald Tower

Day 14:    I found our FIRST snake of the trip.  Unfortunately, I only saw its tail end for about one second before it disappeared into the leaf litter.  
Once we got to the Emerald Tower Hotel area, after the ninety minute long walk, we found a lot of cool bats in the broken down buildings.  A little bit later we came across some people fishing with sticks and line in the stream.  

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Past Guyana Trip 6

Ware Guyana Trip 2011
Deadly Adventures in the Guyana Shield
Dominic here. I’m going to discuss our adventures over the last few days. 

Since our trip to Santa mission the vertebrate diversity of Guyana has revealed itself to us. Two new species of monkey have been seen. The first, the Squirrel Monkey, we only saw briefly but their cuteness was obvious in our short meeting. The other is the Guianan Saki. If I were to anthropomorphize this species I would say they were stern and proud, but wary. Their bushy black bodies make them look beautiful and their white poofy faces give them their character.
In addition to the primate fauna we accidentally forced ourselves into a crash course on how to handle bats. Let’s just say that leaving a mist-net up over night is not a good idea. In the morning, Ian and I went to check on the net before their daily pitfall trap checking and saw three bats stuck in the netting. Unfortunately our mist net was especially fine threaded and this resulted in three bats that were in quite a pickle. We all felt guilty for putting the winged trio in danger and we were very determined on getting them out. After contemplating the relevance of our rabies shots, and mentally rehearsing our irrational fears we tried to get them out. Luckily, Manpreet turns out to be very skilled at untangling things and displays a good bit of dexterity with surgical tools. When the first one was cut free with all involved (including the bat) unharmed, a breath of hopeful air was exhaled from our lungs with the sound of a sigh. Ian, a faithful fan of Batman, was quite enthused at being able to handle a live bat. The second bat had another happy ending, despite being significantly more tangled. The third bat was the most tangled of all and happened to be a smaller species. Whether or not you know bats you might correctly guess which species this individual was. It was a vampire. By this point we were significantly more confident in our bat saving abilities but we were hurried by the bat who seemed to be weak from a night of struggling. It lost consciousness numerous times in the course of our efforts. In the end, we could not say that there were no casualties of our lack of mist-net-foresight. The third bat did not make it. However, in the near future someone will have the halloweenish present of an alcohol-preserved vampire bat.

As a climax to our tales of danger I have saved the best, and most recent, for last. It has been a nightly task of some of us, especially Ian, to inspect the spring ever since our first encounter with the Caimen. However, it wasn’t until last night that our efforts were fruitful. As Jessica led Ian and I out of the wooded trail, we were looking to get back to CEIBA. Along the way we were to pass the spring. As we approached we saw a glowing orange orb in the distance. You see, when you walk around at night with a headlamp on, orange orbs usually mean the glowing eyes of a night bird or a perched bat. However, this time it was our crocodilian adversary, the Caimen. We were all interesting in seeing the Caimen, but to Ian this was number two on the list of things to do. Since we have yet to see any signs of an Anaconda this ended up being number 1. It was my job to shine the light at it to keep it visible. Ian approached from behind. His plan was to pounce at it and grab it behind the head. His first strike was unfruitful. The water was to deep the the caimen retreated into shallower water. We all circled around it, Ian perched himself on a conveniently placed log behind the reptile. Before he could do anything the Caimen took a defensive pose, it was not going to run anymore. Ian stood up with the toothed prey between his legs. The growl of the 3 foot long beast was intimidating, no doubt. At this point I thought that Ian was in a compromised position, the Caimen was facing him and he had nowhere to move. The reptile is definitely faster than any of us. After a few mental calculations I made the decision to strike. My gloved hand pounded down on its neck. It immediately twisted its body and bit my glove, luckily not my hand. Ian instinctively reacted to this interaction by grabbing its torso and tail and lifting it out of the water. I felt very prepared when I realized the rubber-band I keep around my wrist would be prefect for keeping its mouth shut. Jessica and the others were enthralled when we called everyone down to inspect our bounty. The reptile was thick skinned and its dwarfed stature was preceded by its intimidating demeanor and growl. It was truly an organism deserving of all of our respect. We felt guilty for disturbing the caimen and voted to return him to his home. If it could understand us, I think we would apologize for taking liberties with it for the sake of our own naive curiosity.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Past Guyana Trip 5

Ware Guyana Trip 2011

Santa Mission
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Today we got up early and checked our pitfall traps, cone traps and did laundry. We walked down the road and met Waja for a car ride to the dock where we were to start our day trip to Santa Mission. All 6 of us were able to sort of fit in his car, and we went down to the river. Byebye’s son, Rocky, met us there and we got into his motorboat. We collected a lot of dragonflies and damselflies along the river on the way to Santa Mission, including some new taxa that we had not yet collected. Rocky was an amazing collector too, and he used one of our nets along the way to Santa Mission. We also stopped at somebody’s property along the way home where there were dogs, and what we estimated to be over 100 Pantala flying over a recently burned field. 

The trip down the tributary was absolutely inspiring.  After a few hours of frantic collecting near the river banks, we sat back and relaxed and Rocky accelerated us through the refreshing rain and toward the Amerindian Reservation.  On the way back to Ceiba, Waja showed us how awesome he is.  He packed the six of us into his cab then cleverly maneuvered and shuttled us passed the cops’ road-block. He said it wasn’t the first time he has skirted the fuzz.  It was an unforgettable day.