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left arrowPrevious ........................................Newsletter No. 96 July, 2009 Nextright arrow

Hola Volunteers, Supporters and Friends
It looks like another big season. By the end of July we recorded 130 nests; 19% more than last year at this time.   Seventy-ninety were placed in the box nursery, twenty-one in the beach nursery, nine moved to better locations along the beaches, and eighteen taken illegally (poached).  The first nest is due to hatch on August 6th.
July volunteers include Andreas from San Pancho, Riikka from Finland, Lindsay, Rosie and Oliver from New Zealand; Jamie, Gale, Adrienne, Ashley, Bethany, Christo, Elizabeth and Emma from the USA; and Rhiannon and Jamie from Scotland.  We are urgently looking for one or two volunteers to join us from August 23rd to mid-November.
Within the last eight days of June and the first five days of July, we received about twelve inches of rain, a large amount for so early in the season.  During this time, temperatures were well below normal, sending many for the blankets.  Despite the earlier heavy rains we’ve had less than 4 inches through the remaining 26 days of July.  In any case, the early rains washed the river clean with enough force to open the lagoon to the sea, months earlier than normal. Thus, the July 4th river cleanup was literally a washout.
We thought the flooding would have covered the beach with trash but little debris could be found anywhere.  Although what happened in the next two days makes you wonder if the effort spent cleaning our river is worth it at all.  For over a hundred years, communities along the Ameca River (to the south of us) have dumped trash in and along the banks of the Ameca.  When the river undergoes heavy flooding, this debris is conveniently washed out to sea but not out of sight.  The currents carry it northward along the coast, around Punta de Mita and up to San Pancho, depositing tons of floating debris, plastic, trash and one 42 inch cockatiel on our shores.  (See photos below.)
Seeing that cockatiel made me wonder what this coastal area must have looked like thousands of years ago. It must have been a landscape filled with an array of flora and fauna of every color and size imaginable.  The population of each species would have would have startled today’s imagination.
When I arrived here in 1991, you could see red and gray fox, wildcat, boa constrictor, juvenile pigs, armadillos, five-foot Iguanas, a sea covered with shellfish, acres of pelicans sunning themselves on the beach, schools of small fish that turned the sea black, whales, dolphins, manta rays, snakes, parrots, and thousands of birds along the shore, in the lagoon and filling the skies.  A small remnant of these near-endangered and endangered species can be seen in the deep jungle and at times on the edge of town.  Although for the most part, their populations have put them out of sight to most humans.
The buggy has a new heart. Or, should I say, a new electronic ignition distributor. No points, condenser, etc., to go out in the middle of the night.  The ignition spark is ten times more powerful than the standard distributor.  The first night it was installed, the buggy sunk to its axle in soft wet sand and was being hit by small waves.  In the past, salt water would have made it impossible to restart the motor until it had been rinsed with fresh water and fan dried.  Now, it started up as if it was perfectly dry even though it was being hit by waves.  On August 1st, we are planning to have the buggy’s engine repaired (rings, pins, valves, etc), hopefully, a one or two day job.
On July 23rd, around sundown, San Pancho was hit with a lightning storm, with thunder loud enough to wake the dead.  The storm produced little rain for a night that was set to receive one of the highest tides of the months.  At 11:12pm, we were expecting waves 4.3 meters above average sea level.  Normally, the highest tide is of little concern “except” when you have larger than normal waves to go with it, and we did!!!  By nine o’clock, 95% of the entire beach was under water, including the beach nursery (see photo.)   The next morning, we found that all the nest rings and stakes were washed behind the nursery and most the front fencing was destroyed.
Of the sixty-five applications received this year, only eleven enlistees have agreed to join us this summer.  I have the feeling that at least 83% of these applicants were fishing to find the best location with multiple applications.  There’s nothing wrong in looking for the best place to volunteer, although, I do take issue when an applicant finds another job and fails to let us know.  In most cases, they fail to return our calls or even answer our e-mail, which delays us from selecting others.
During the winter, we are faced with the urgent task of renting our two volunteer apartments.  We do not own these apartments, so, to make sure they are available for our volunteers during the turtle season, we must keep them rented year-round or take a loss. These beautiful, furnished, two bedroom apartments are available from November 1st through mid-June. They come with all utilities paid for $800USD per month.  If interested, please, make your reservations early.
Frank D. Smith
Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde, A.C.
Tel. 311-258-4100

America Latina #102
San Francisco, Nayarit, México



...... Jamie with four foot cockatiel .. .........Waves destroyed the beach nursery fence


... .. Volunteers Bethany, Rhiannon, Jamie and Lindsay ................. ...Back row: Rosie Jamie, Rhiannon, Adrienne. Lindsay & Gale
.......................................................................................................Oliver, Riikka and Elizabeth

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