Visiting Scientist Presentation Thursday, February 28
Exploring the Mysteries of Cuvier’s Beaked Whales

Photo courtesy of Christian Torres

Plan to be at Eco-Alianza’s CenCoMA headquarters on Thursday at 5 p.m., as Marine Biologist Christian Raúl Torres Romero recounts details of his six research trips to the Biosphere Reserve of Isla Guadalupe, 220 miles southwest of Ensenada.

Now a licensed marine biologist, Christian participated in research on Cuvier’s Beaked Whales and other cetaceans as a volunteer and field technician for the UABCS Program of Marine Mammal Research and the Interdisciplinary Institute of Sciences. He now works as a field instructor and environmental educator for nonprofit organizations in La Paz.

Photo courtesy of Christian Torres

This research project on beaked whales since 2016 is establishing a baseline for marine mammal population and other criteria in the Isla Guadalupe area, which is thought to be a region of worldwide significance for beaked whales because of the very deep ocean canyons that exist near the island. Cuvier’s Beaked Whales are known for their particularly deep diving habits, regularly taking squid and other prey at depths exceeding 1,000 meters. In 2011, a tagged member of the species was documented in a dive to 2,992 meters of depth, lasting 2 hours 17 minutes. This was both the deepest and longest dive ever documented for any mammal.

Cuvier’s Beaked Whale (Ziphius cavirostris) is the only member of its genus, and has evolved specific adaptations for deep diving. Prepare to be amazed, as this Visiting Scientist presentation will explore biological and ecological characteristics of Cuvier’s Beaked Whale, as well as the methods used for the study and results of the investigation.

The presentation at 5 p.m. is free and open to the public. The program , with slides, will be presented in both Spanish and English.

One Ocean Film Festival Slated for March 29 and 30

Mark your calendar for the last weekend in March for a cinematic delight.

Over two evenings, Eco-Alianza’s second annual One Ocean Film Festival will celebrate and enhance our connection to the oceans with four feature films, several shorts, and brief comments by individuals involved in creating the films. While watching the films beneath the stars in CenCoMA’s outdoor courtyard, you’ll enjoy free popcorn, with drinks and other concessions available. Each film will be presented bilingually (either in English with Spanish subtitles or in Spanish with English subtitles).

Tickets for the film festival will go on sale in mid-March. Thank you to the IMDb website for brief descriptions of the feature films. Film selections are subject to change.

Watch the Eco-Alianza Website and Facebook page for information on ticket sales.
Seating is limited.

 

Join Us for Highway Litter Pick-up Thursday, March 7

Photo courtesy of Hayde Natalia Ambriz

Eco-Alianza’s Volunteer Task Force will team up with the Nopoló Association of Property Owners as well as Loreto Bay homeowners for a highway litter clean-up the morning of March 7. No need to sign up in advance – just show up at 8 a.m. at the big orange Fonatur sculpture at the north entrance to Loreto Bay. Wear sturdy shoes, brightly colored clothing, a hat, and sturdy gloves if you have them. Feel free to bring a drink or a snack – we do take breaks, and we will be finished before 11.

As participants from last year will tell you, it’s a lot more fun than you might imagine, and your neighbors (and the local environment) will thank you. Bring a friend! If you have questions, email Alois Suter at Al.Suter@gmail.com or Mark Hufford at Mark_Hufford@yahoo.com.

Learn about Eco-Alianza Programs March 27 in Loreto Bay

Eco-Alianza staff members will present a program at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27, in Loreto Bay’s newly refurbished Community Center. Topics will include current and developing Eco-Alianza programs including local and regional environmental education, Coastkeeper water testing, cooperative programs with the Bay of Loreto National Park, marine and coastal conservation, solid waste management, and more.

Join the staff and Eco-Alianza volunteers for this free, informative program in English about the various activities of this Mexican-registered AC (nonprofit asociación civil). Thank you to the Loreto Bay Homeowners for providing the space for this program.

“Nature Notes” is a monthly short feature detailing some of the wondrous, seasonal activities taking place around us.

Photos courtesy of Tom Haglund/BCS Birds
Photos from top left, clockwise:
Spiny-tailed Iguana (Ctenosaura hemilopha)
Desert Iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis)
Desert Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus magister)
Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides)

Ahh, basking in the sun, many of us enjoy it, including these four fairly common local reptiles. They are completely out of sight when it’s too cold for them to get cranked up for action because they cannot regulate their own body temperatures. They wait until the weather warms enough for them to perk up and venture out, usually in the spring. Then they start doing some serious basking to get even warmer. Along about March we start seeing them in midmorning taking on some rays, sprawled on sand, rocks, or tree trunks and limbs. Heated up, they then begin their day of hunting for food. The four discussed here are all omnivorous at least to some degree. You may see them in your yard, or when walking, cycling, or driving; in town and out. Sightings aren’t rare if you look for them.

The biggest of the four, at as much as 60cm, the Spiny-tailed Iguana can be seen on sunny mornings on the rock wall that leads into San Javier; considered to be the northern limit of their peninsular range. The Desert Iguana, skinnier and shorter at maybe two thirds that length, is at home either on rocks or sandy soil and is a common sight here in Loreto. Desert Spiny Lizards are shorter yet and look as though they would be very difficult to swallow. That, great climbing ability, and crypto coloration combine in their perpetual race to stay out of hawk bellies. The smallest of this group, at not more than about 20cm, is also coveted by a wide variety of predators and answers the challenge with wariness, blinding speed, and an ability to burrow quickly into sand for hiding. They are frequent victims of stealthy Greater Roadrunners who often outsmart what they can’t outrun.

There are lots of other legged reptiles in the area, but these four are the most conspicuous and require very little effort to get a look at. And, as with most of nature, the look is its own reward. Check out the colors under the Desert Spiny Lizard and the Zebra-tailed Lizard.

Spanish names of animals mentioned in the order of appearance. There are multiple common names for many local creatures:

Spiny-tailed Iguana – Iguana de Cola Espinosa – Iguana de Palo
Desert Iguana – Iguana del Desierto – Cachorón Guero
Desert Spiny Lizard – Lagarto Espinoso del Desierto – Bejori
Zebra-tailed Lizard – Areñera – Cachorita Blanca – Cachimba
Greater Roadrunner – Correcaminos Norteño

2019 Blue Whale Festival to Be Held March 21, 22, 23

Eco-Alianza staff photo
Young artists on the Malecon got an idea of a Blue Whale’s size during last year’s festival.

As of “press time,” activities for this year’s Blue Whale Festival are being finalized by the event’s planning committee. Please watch the Eco-Alianza Facebook page for details as activities are confirmed. In addition to many events around town and in the Bay of Loreto National Park, possible events include the election of the Blue Whale Festival Queen at CenCoMA (tentatively the evening of March 9); a scientific talk about Blue Whales March 21; educational visits to schools to talk about Blue Whales March 22; and a Blue Whale Workshop for children at CenCoMA March 23. Please check the Eco-Alianza Facebook page and festival posters for details/confirmation.

2018 Eco-Alianza Annual Report Coming Your Way

Both the English and Spanish editions of our 2018 Annual Report, featuring beautiful photography by Rick Jackson, are now available. Click the link below or check your Inbox shortly, and please join us in celebrating all the impactful programs that Eco-Alianza has developed, with the help of folks like you! Feel free to forward the Annual Report to a friend, and thank you for your support.

Click here to view the Eco-Alianza 2018 Annual Report
2019 Calendars Almost Sold Out – Now Half Price!

This is your last chance to get Eco-Alianza’s beautiful 2019 calendar, featuring stunning wildlife photography by Richard Jackson. Stores around town have dwindling supplies, now available at half price.

Eco-Alianza Happenings