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We spent the majority of the day at Tandayapa Bird Lodge engaged in habitat management.  When this lodge was first built some nine years ago, the surrounding land was open cattle pasture and it was always Iain Campbell’s dream that it should return to natural forest.  The first step in this process was to plant fast-growing shade trees which would inhibit the growth of the grasses.  This allowed native forest plants to colonise in the open shade beneath these non-native trees, and growth has been impressive in such a short time, a reflection of the fast growing conditions here on the equator.  In fact, there’s been so much growth that it was time for the non-natives to go.  So while Ruth tried to photograph more hummingbirds, Alan, Nick and Iain spent their time ring-barking these alien trees so that they will slowly die and eventually fall, allowing the understorey to flourish, returning the area to its natural state.  Of course, boys being boys, it was never going to go smoothly as Iain decided that some of the trees should be cut down immediately rather than left to fall, the idea being that this would be safer as we could control where they fell.  But none of them being lumberjacks, this didn’t go quite as smoothly as planned as the very first tree felled came crashing down on the roof of the lodge itself with a loud crack!  Luckily no serious damage was done, just a few bruised egos!  Possibly attracted by the sound of hammering, a more professional carpenter came in, a wonderful Powerful Woodpecker who showed off in the trees overhead, another species we didn’t see in 2008.  Maybe we should have another go at a big year this year after all??
3rd January, Tandayapa


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