Saturday, January 19, 2013

Funny looking birds and slime

Hi all!  I know it's been a while since we've written on here, but internet is not all that in the cloud forest :-)  And, truth be told, we've been spending more time on this little blog:  We're actually contractually obliged to do that one...  But here's a little update of today, just for you, dear readers:

We left the house a little before 5:30 am, and went up to the Andean Cock of the Rock lek, where the boy birds go to dance for the girl birds.  Right now, the girls aren't coming by much, but the boys are still dancing around - practicing, I guess.  We go up once a week to take a little data that goes into a long-term study by the owners of Life Net Nature, the organization that owns the reserve.  Anyway, the little buggers don't seem to like having their picture taken, but I got this:

 That's the funny looking dude that we're looking for.  So one guy will be hopping around on what's called a "mating perch," and there will be other guys around who are theoretically helping him attract the lady birds, but most likely are just waiting for him to kick the bucket so they can have the perch - wingmen, you could say.  Once in a while, they go a little crazy at each other:

And we write it down.  Most of the time, in fact, what we see is this:

Jeff's in on it, too, doing the same thing at a different spot than me.

Today was a little weird, though.  First, the birds started late, and went on forever.  They seemed to know that I really needed to get going to town...  Second, as I was getting into my bag to get my binoculars, I got slimed.  There was some nasty snotty stuff on my backpack, and I didn't know where it was from.  I wiped it off, went about my data taking business, and when I was leaving, I found it all over my poncho.  Then I saw it - right where I had been sitting:

And now I see it everywhere.  It's all over the place - but I hadn't noticed it before.  Could it have something to do with the nearly two inches of rain we've gotten per day on some of the days this week?  Hmmmmmm - I'll let you all with Google powers figure it out.  Meanwhile, I'll head back to my hidey hole, and watch out for slime.