From the National Geographic Sea Bird in Baja California

Jan 06, 2011 - National Geographic Sea Bird

The rare cactus saramatraca, Peniocereus johnstonii, on Isla Monserrat

Isla Monserrat & Isla del Carmen 

Immediately after breakfast we landed on the little-visited island of Monserrat. Hikes were organized and off we went into the dry arroyos to visit and see the lovely vegetation, which is greener here than on the hills. Cacti loomed above us, and a great variety of trees, almost all in leaf, greeted us as we wended our way into the island. We even found a rare cactus, “saramatraca” (Peniocereus johnstonii), which almost escaped our detection due to its grayish color. A very lovely morning!
On board ship again, we had lunch while the ship repositioned to the eastern side of Isla del Carmen, where we anchored off Arroyo Blanco. There we had a good session of kayaking, as well as some snorkeling. The afternoon was lovely, and the beach contained a good series of interesting seashells. Off to one side of the small bight we found a series of small crevasses and holes high up on the white sandstone walls, home of the unique Mexican fishing bat (Myotis vivesi) which at this time of the year is feeding on the red pelagic crab (Pleuroncodes planipes)! There are so many interesting things to be found, if you know what to look for!
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About the Author

William Lopez-Forment

William Lopez-Forment


William Lopez Forment studied biology at the National University of Mexico, obtained his master's degree in ecology and evolutionary theory at Cornell University, and finished his doctoral studies at the National University of Mexico. He has worked on the biological control of vampire bats with the Mexican government at a research center established in Mexico City to pursue the ecological study of vampire bats while attempting to manage their habitats. In 1976, he was invited by the FAO of the U.N. to represent the Gray Whale and Mexico, in Bergen, Norway, at the international meeting, Mammals in the Seas. William currently studies wild mammals in Mexico at the Institute of Biology at the National University of Mexico.

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