July 2019

A beautiful photo of a Talamanca Viper sent in by Ariadna Bach who visited Cloudbridge.

We welcome Carrie Visintainer the new manager of the Cloudbridge Nature Reserve. Carrie’s just arrived at Cloudbridge from Colorado. With a background in communications and non-profit management, she’s taking on responsibility for the overall management of the reserve, working closely with the volunteers and local employees. She has a deep love for wild places and is happy to be working with this dedicated team to conserve our natural resources for future generations. 

Research and Volunteers

Congrats to Kendal DeLyser. for her recent publication as co-author on this new paper about the impacts of forest management and disturbance on soil carbon! Kendal DeLyser is a past researcher at Cloudbridge. Here is a link to her paper. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378112719304451

I’m Jenna and I’m a sustainability student from England. I am a volunteer at Cloudbridge which means I get to do a bit of everything, from getting muddy planting trees to going on bird surveys and setting up camera traps. Cloudbridge is a great place to learn about the wildlife here. I’m excited to get involved with the owl and bat surveys and paint some cool designs on the walls around the dormitories and classroom. 

Hi, I’m Greg, a professional Arboriculturalist and Conservationist from the South coast of England. I’m a six month conservation intern and have been at CloudBridge for six weeks. I work on the reforestation program where we are monitoring the growth rates of the trees in the newly planted, naturally regenerated and old growth sites. I have also be given the position of Volunteer coordinator, which involves taking out groups of base volunteers and school and collage groups to help with tree planting programs. Other things I do on base are look after the volunteers, maintainace, building furniture, organizes and plan projects, and I am also working as a tour guide. The reserve here is an amazing place with beautiful scenery fantastic wildlife and a great bunch of wonderful people. 


Greg out in the forest with another volunteer

My name is Fergus Jackson, I am from the North of England. I came to Costa Rica with GVI (Global Vision International) to do a 6 month internship. Having spent the first 3 in Tortuguero, I moved to Cloudbridge and am a bird researcher here, and I lead the bird point count surveys every week.

Fergus, seen here on the left is apparently a part of the ‘Forest Lichen Trio’

Hi, I’m Bert from Belgium. I’m here for 6 months helping out in Cloudbridge. I help with making bamboo bridges, trail maintenance, and tree planting.

Bert on the left enjoying a board game night in the welcome centre.

Ryan Andrews and Martin Stankalla finished up three month internships at Cloudbridge in July, where they had been working on the bird monitoring study. Ryan’s final presentation discussed the benefits and difficulties of using audio data in bird studies, in particular at Cloudbridge. Many birds are more likely to be detected audibly rather than visually, and in the dense forest of the reserve, this can be of great benefit in recording the presence of these species. However, while both audio and visual identifications are currently recorded during the bird monitoring study, only the visual data is used for analysis due to several issues associated with the reliability of audio data. First is the difficulty of identifying and learning the bird songs, as with a species list of 300 birds and each bird having several different kinds of calls, this is a massive undertaking, and difficult for short-term researchers to do. Second, some songs or calls are quite similar making a verifiable ID difficult. Third, there is a strong bias in audio data towards species that have very distinct calls, which can skew the data. One day Cloudbridge hopes to attract a long-term bird researcher to the reserve so we would be able to include audio data into the results, as this would bring a lot of value to the study!

Martin conducted an analysis of the results of the bird study since 2016. Overall, the most common birds found in the reserve were Common Chlorospingus and Slate-Throated Redstart. These birds are very versatile generalists and are also resident in the reserve year round. Their presence in the data compared to other birds may also be somewhat inflated as they are very vocal and active birds, making them easier to spot and record. Some of the other more abundant birds include several migratory warblers (Wilson’s Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, and Black-and-white Warbler), Northern Emerald Toucanet, a hummingbird (White-throated Mountain-Gem), and Sulphur-winged Parakeet. 
Looking at the habitat preferences of 4 of the most abundant birds: -Common Chlorospingus showed a preference for the mixed Planted/young naturally regenerating sites, -Slate-throated Redstart was found more in the mixed planted/regen and planted sites, and was not much present in the old growth sites,-Silver-throated Tanager showed a preference for the young naturally regenerating sites, and-Black Guan showed a preference for the planted sites.While these results were statistically significant, additional study is now needed to determine if the forest type or other factors (such as food availability, predation, inter- and infraspecific interactions, etc.) is driving these preferences.

As a side project, Ryan Andrews also photographed and attempted to catalogue some of the moths in the reserve. By simply leaving a light on on a white wall during the evening, Ryan was able to photograph around 500 different species of moths in around 2 weeks worth of observations. At the time he left, he had managed to identify around 138 species from his photographs. Identifying the rest of the them could be the work of a lifetime!


Cloudbridge hosted 3 study abroad groups in July, including 2 from Broadreach https://www.gobroadreach.com from the US.  We also had Lord Williams School through Outlook Expeditions.  https://www.outlookexpeditions.com from the UK.    

  Broadreach groups were given a basic introduction to the cloud forest, worked with camera traps, had a local cooking class of traditional Costa Rican foods, participated in a climate change presentation and discussion, and spent a morning planting trees. 

The Lord Williams School (Outlook Expeditions) was a totally student led expedition who came to focus on service to the environment.  The group hiked while being presented with a Cloud forest introduction, studied camera trap images of our fauna and participated in the climate change discussion.  They spent the majority of their time and energy working on trail enhancement, building stairs on our principal trail and then they tackled a challenging tree planting day. Credit is due to the hearty ones who were the transporters carrying concrete blocks and crates of trees. Everyone slept well after their days of work. 

Broadreach students on the Introduction to a Cloud Forest hike.

Broadreach & Outlook Expedition groups team up for an awesome new enhancement planting.
They named every tree they planted!
Outlook Expedition students building stairs on the principal trail for improved safety.

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