April 2013

Hello, and welcome to our latest update from the jungle in Ecuador!

We were delighted to have Jennie Burns join us on the land this month and below is her report on her time spent with us. Thank you so much for your patience, good humour and expertise.

For our part, we continue to work on the land – we have marked out and cleared around the pathway to be constructed leading into the Centre and to the site of the proposed water supply.

Currently, we are looking for a small team of local people to assist us carry the materials into the land and to build the pathway. We hope that this will be both started and completed within the next weeks. The water system itself cannot really be constructed until the dry season later in the year, so we plan to develop an interim supply until then.

Otherwise, all is well and much progress is being made with the many administrative tasks the Fundacion needs to carry out – thank you, Gloudina, for your hard work and endeavours!

Here is Jennie’s report and a small selection of her photographs……………Hurry back, Jennie!

My two weeks as a wildlife photographer for Fundacion Fauna de la Amazonia.

For the last two weeks, I’ve been happily exploring the jungle looking for anything that moves and photographing it, or more appropriately as the case may be, trying to photograph it. I volunteered to document the animal life present at the “finca” of the Fundacion Fauna de la Amazonia, as it is a newly-purchased plot of land and it’s important to know what kind of life is present before conservation work begins.

I spent my days getting up before dawn and walking for two to three hours to see what I could spot. I watched the sun rise from my favorite bird hotspots and watched it glint off the spectacular blue and green feathers of Paradise Tanagers. As hawks preened quietly in the nearby trees, and butterflies flitted lazily in the morning sunshine, I photographed hummingbirds, parrot flocks flying overhead, kites circling high, and the many songbirds that wake up on the forested slopes.

Flycatchers

During the day I either sat in the middle of the forest and quietly listened for life, or walked up the only rocky road leading through the project area to look for animals which venture into more open habitat. At night I took walks to look for frogs, and found them in abundance. I photographed five species of frog, two of them unknown, an unknown lizard, and discovered three species of birds not previously documented on the land. I also witnessed a land crab carrying away a giant millipede at least as big as its own body, a clutch of lizard eggs that hatched shortly after being discovered, and two juvenile hawks newly fledged from the nest .

Ecuador 2013 044a

Much to my chagrin, I also found myself photographing lots of giant spiders. Colorful and sometimes amusingly-patterned insects abound in the area, and when they are not busy biting you or sucking your blood, they do make for a great picture. My favorite was a small beetle that looked like a piece of gold sitting right atop a leaf, reflecting the sun like a bright piece of metal.

Spider 1

With each new photo snapped, more information about the area becomes available. This information will be useful in the area’s future conservation. Some of these animals are endemic to this area, and are not seen anywhere else in the world, and it’s important to document them to raise awareness of the area and its need to be preserved. I not only enjoyed my two weeks in this jungle immensely, I have hopefully helped and will continue to help keep it around for many years to come.

Bluegreen bug