Sept 2017

We are once again the midst of rainy season.  This is what sustains our new planted trees, provides the tropical forests with moisture and sustenance, and is a period of growth and renewal.




Amy Sutley, one of our bird monitoring interns, presented a summary of the bird data that has been collected at the reserve in July and August. During that period, 105 bird species were identified through a combination of point counts and walking surveys. During point counts, the five most abundant species were Slate-throated Redstart, Common Chlorospingus, Silver-throated Tanager, Brown-capped Vireo, and White-throated Mountain Gem. When looking at species richness between regenerating habitats in the reserve (naturally regenerating, planted, old growth and combinations thereof), the highest species richness was found in naturally regenerating habitat greater than 30 years old and at the stations with a combination of planted and younger (under 30 years) naturally regenerating habitat. The lowest richness was found at the stations of only younger naturally regenerating or planted habitat.
Amy also kept track of all the monkey sightings in the reserve during the summer. She combined this new data with historical data and mapped them within the reserve. She found that the White-faced Capuchins were mostly found at lower elevations and near the river, while the Central American Spider Monkeys were found throughout the southern part of the reserve, but primarily in the old growth areas.
Amy giving her presentation

Monkey sitings


Baley Good, partner in birding to Amy, presented an analysis of the effect of habitat type, habitat age and altitude on the abundance of birds within the reserve in July and August. Looking at the 9 most abundant bird species, she performed a multiple regression analysis to determine which of the three factors had an impact (if any) on the birds’ abundance. She only found one significant relationship, that the hummmingbird, Lesser Violetear, preferred planted habitat over naturally regenerated, old growth, or mixed habitats (p = 0.007), with 82% of all sightings occurring in planted habitat.

Baley also managed to capture a couple great photos (through her binoculars) of a juvenile Barred Forest Falcon sunning itself and a juvenile Ornate Hawk-eagle.


Ornate Hawk Eagle
Barred Forest Falcon


Prisca Pfammatter, had been studying the influence that deforestation and farming activities have on tropical soils. She gave a great presentation teaching us all about the properties and importance of soils (soils are more than just dirt!). She looked at soil profiles from three types of habitats (3 sites each): primary, naturally regenerated, and planted forest, and made hypotheses regarding the influence that deforestation, farming activity and slope had on a variety of soil properties including topsoil thickness, organic content and water retention. While no statistically significant conclusions were drawn from the data due to high variability, she identified several trends that could be explored further in future study. These included higher soil temperatures in planted areas, a trend of a smaller O-horizon (organic layer) and a decrease in soil moisture with increasing slope, and a tendency towards the primary forest to have a finer soil texture and a larger A-horizon compared to the other two habitats.
Presentation day

Maria Camila Giral has been with us working on our camera trap project. Besides accomplishing the mammoth task of entering our backlog of camera trap images into a database, she conducted an analysis on the activity patterns of the animals found on the camera traps and whether camera trap captures were evenly distributed throughout the reserve. Of the 10 species that were seen in more than 20 independent events on the camera traps in 2016 and 2017, 6 were diurnal (active almost entirely during the day), Collared Peccary was mostly diurnal (mostly active during the day), the Common Opossum was mostly nocturnal (mostly active at night), Paca was nocturnal (active almost entire during the night), and Dice’s Cottontail was cathameral (sporadic and random intervals of activity during day or night). She also found that camera trap capture frequency (number of images per days set) was significantly higher in the wet season when compared to the dry season and the transitional period between the dry and wet season meaning animals are more active/present in the reserve during the wet season.

When looking at locations, there was a significantly larger amount of captures at two locations. The location with the highest captures was located along a ridgeline, in forest that was transitioning from younger regenerating habitat to primary forest, and was located at a pinch point on the trail, where animals had to pass to one side of a large boulder. She theorized the 2nd location was near dens of Dice’s Cottontail and Common Opossum due to the large number of those animals seen on the camera trap.





Black Guan
 New Interns and Volunteers
I’m Timothy Carlson from San Diego California.  I got my degree in history from the university of Colorado.  I’m really excited to be in the mountains studying butterflies trying to expand our species list and just enjoy being in the wilderness in this beautiful place
 Jordan Chambers
My name is Jordan Chambers.  I’m 23 years old and I am from San Diego (but spent my whole life living in Dubai). I am currently pursuing an evironmental studies degree at Santa Barbara City College, with plans to transfer to UCSB in the next year. Lately I have been spending whatever free time i have volunteering at different wildlife rescue organizations.
I plan on further building my knowledge experience of man’s complex relationship with our environment, starting here at Cloudbridge by learning how to properly collect and assess data. I hope to apply this experience to some sort of wildlife management and conservation work in the future so we can work towards a mutually benefical relationship with Earth, rather than to take from it and give nothing in return.
At Cloudbridge, I am of course studying the interactions and relationships between migrant and resident warblers, as well as the migrants’ interactions with other resident bird species. We will also be observing the perching preferences of the many flycatchers of Cloudbridge!

Annika Flink

Hi! I’m Annika and I’m from Menlo Park, California. At the beginning of this year, I started a veterinary school program in the Caribbean and despite enjoying the experience of living on an island, I realized vet med wasn’t for me. Instead I chose to pursue what I studied in undergrad- wildlife biology. I came across the tropical bird monitoring internship through Cloudbridge and decided to apply. I’m currently participating in a fieldwork collection and data analysis study looking at how the arrival of migratory Warblers changes the behavior and distribution of resident Warblers in the reserve. I’ve been here for a little over a week and have had an incredible time so far. We’ve seen many different species of birds and get to experience the Costa Rican cloud forest first-hand!
Jordon and Annika



Alice Martin-Walker
A couple of years ago I left my job running a charity bookshop in London so that I could travel. I found myself in Costa Rica, where it was really driven home to me how I am happiest when I get to spend most of my time outside, surrounded by wildlife, alongside people who are as passionate about it as I am. On my return to the UK, I moved to Scotland and I just completed an MSc in Wildlife Biology and Conservation. I still can’t believe how lucky I am to have the opportunity to do all this. I’m really looking forward to gaining experience on the camera project, by extracting and analysing past data and implementing a new standardised camera trap protocol that will allow us to collect more robust data of the terrestrial mammals on the reserve.

Brianna Powrie

I am from British Columbia, Canada, and graduated from Quest University Canada with a degree in Environmental Studies with a main focus on Marine Biology. Although I focused on marine ecosystems in school I have a keen interest in learning as much as I can about our natural world and have taken up birding as a hobby back home, which led me to apply for the birding internship. It feels like paradise out here and I’ve enjoyed spending my days exploring the reserve and learning a lot about the birds and habitats in Cloudbridge, and also experiencing first hand what an ecosystem can look like after restoration

Cloudbridge Entertainment – there is no limit to the kinds of entertainment we provide our volunteers.

Everyone got a bit creative this month for a fancy dress party. It’s amazing what people can come up with with just what they can find lying around. Back from left to right: Beth, Heinz ketchup (57 varieties); Oli, a Scot; Ramon, Justin Bieber; Jennifer, a boxtroll; Amy, Cloudbridge. Front from left to right: Camila, a well-endowed Tayra; Baley, Ornate Hawk-eagle; Prisca, Pippy Longstocking. Frank also made an appearance as a caecilian.

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