This week the Mountain Chicken Project team played host to a film crew and were successful in getting our star players to shine. Stewart McPherson (Director) and Simon Vacher (Cameraman and Editor) have taken on a filming expedition project where they plan to cover the wildlife and human stories of existing conservation projects on each of our own UK Overseas Territories. And here in Montserrat, mountain chickens were top of their list.
The first site we took them to was our release site where sure enough, 10 minutes into our survey we bumped into one of our release frogs hiding under a rock. We demonstrated in front of the camera how we measure and weigh the frogs and take swabs to test for levels of chytrid fungus. Stewart was most interested in the affects of the fungus on the mountain chicken as this is the first project they visited that was focussed on battling the deadly disease.
The second site we visited was an area where we regularly find two large males. Stewart’s face lit up when we described the wild frogs as often weighing in at over 400g. After hauling some very heavy camera equipment up the steep side of a mountain we rested on top and waited for signs of calling. No calls were heard and our hearts were sinking that it may not be our lucky night. Then we got a call out from Blacka who had spotted one of the males. Stewart and Simon were both in awe of our fabulous wild male mountain chicken weighing in at 405g and showing signs of breeding. They could not get enough film footage of the impressive frog and after a star performance our male even hopped out of shot for us perfectly.
We were so thrilled to be able to show our visitors the full glory of this amazing species and we look forward to viewing their finished documentary sometime next year. Good luck with the rest of your project guys.
By Sarah-Louise Smith, Project Coordinator