On the June 17 2014 we returned to Las Guacamayas and the Tropical Humid Forest of Laguna del Tigre National Park. We were excited to see what we would find there, especially as this would be the first time we would be there at a similar time to a previous expedition – would we see the same species, would we see anything at all? It was also the largest group we had taken there, 10 of us in total, and we were excited to see what we could achieve.
All our fears of not finding very much were allayed when at the end of the first evening we had totalled 20 species of reptiles and amphibians. We had been at Las Guacamayas for about 10 hours, it was going to be a good expedition!! Obviously, some of the species we had seen were the common, almost ubiquitous, species such as Gulf Coast toads (Incilius valliceps), Baudin’s treefrog (Smilisca baudinii), ghost anole (Norops capito), and the rose-bellied spiny-scaled lizard (Sceloporus teapensis). It would be very unusual indeed not to see at least these species in the first 24hrs.
We did have some really nice surprises… three of which spring to my mind. It has on previous expeditions taken us some time to find red-eyed treefrogs (Agalychnis callidryas) often because they high in the canopy rather than at eye level. This time however, I found a red-eye on leaf outside the VIP bedrooms on the way back from our evening meal! Then during our first walk in the forest to familiarise ourselves with the habitats we would spend a lot of our time in we found a male helmeted iguana (Corytophanes cristatus), only one of these had been found in the previous year.
“For me one of the most exciting species we found that night was a small leaf litter frog called Eleutherodactylus leprus”
It was the first time to my knowledge that it had been recorded in the National Park. All of this and it was still Day 1!!!
The rest of the expedition continued in the same manner. The sheer number of animals we were seeing was astounding.
“By the end of the 13 days we had seen over 50 individual snakes and recorded 57 species of reptiles and amphibians. A record for Indigo”
Many of the species were old friends, but several were rarely seen species and some were new friends and new records for the National Park including Schwartz’s skink (Mesoscincus schwartzi), two-spotted snake (Coniophanes bipunctatus), salmon-bellied racer (Masitgodryas melanolomus), and ring-necked coffee snake (Ninia diademata). I won’t tell you too much about them now as they will feature in their own blogs in the near future, so keep your eyes posted…– Rowland Griffin