Camp Condor

We left Ezequiel to monitor the King Vultures (Mayan Condors) in Veinte de Noviembre and headed out to Nuevo Becal, an Ejido with some of the highest jungle in the area. Mauro says that even though the Calakmul region gets the most rainfall of any other place in the Yucatan Peninsula, it is also the driest because the water just runs downhill and away from the highest part of the state.

We picked up Nico, a local guide who has begun to specialize in guiding biologists through his ejido. He worked with Rafael on white-lipped peccaries, and has worked with Mauro on several past projects. We decided to pre-rot our cow guts* this time, so we drove through town emanating terrible smells from the bucket strapped to the back of our Suburban.

We spent the afternoon and the next morning making a new trap with an even bigger net from scratch, so we got pretty good at tying tiny nooses. Nico hated this nit picky work whereas Mauro and I only greatly disliked it. He told us that he would rather be macheteing any day.

The common vultures and Mayan Condors began circling even before we were finished and had an opportunity to finish the trap and set the bait, so we hurriedly finished the last few knots and began the waiting and the checking.

We never did catch anything that weekend. We spent Saturday and Sunday checking the trap every hour or so, usually scaring the birds away upon our arrival. While we waited, we had plenty of time to build a sweet campsite, dismantle a rotting chiclero field house for firewood, and enjoy Nico's amazing jungle cooking.

Oooo, and photograph spiders!


*Wow, how often do you hear someone say that??? Condors will only come to rotting food, so in our last run we spent the first two days essentially just waiting for the cow guts we're using as bait to rot. FUN!

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