Preparing for the Blue Mountains

A friendly caterpillar I found crawling around my tent’s rainfly on one of the last days in Jamaica.

We just finished our first week back in Ithaca, where temperatures have stayed below 0ºF most of the time and therefore we have stayed indoors most of the time. Mostly we’ve been writing up all our observations from the first expedition, digitizing our paper field notes and organizing our photos and videos; playing around with bird data in Excel, eBird, and ArcGIS (a mapping-data program); and looking at maps of the Blue and John Crow mountain ranges.

Our total count of checklists submitted to eBird ended up being 386, which we hope is a helpful contribution to the dataset for Cockpit Country. Unfortunately, some of the checklists included in this densely forested and remote area from past years include mistaken entries from popular coastal regions like Montego Bay or Runaway Bay. These types of errors in location can lead to useless and even troublesome data, so we made sure to include very specific latitude and longitude information as the names of our checklists to prevent any confusion. One fun effect of submitting all these checklists at once is that Jamaica is now in the top ten list for most submitted checklists this month, even topping the UK! As you can see in the screenshot, the US has the most checklists by an overwhelming margin, likely as a result of the GBBC; it’s great to see that Costa Rica and India are high on the list as well.

I found this spider on the tent rainfly within an hour of finding the caterpillar above.

Today John, Justin and I did all our food shopping for the second trip and also purchased other supplies like insect repellent that had run out by the end of the last trip. A week from today we’ll be on the road in Jamaica again!

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