June 2014

More news from the Ecuadorian jungle and its surrounds….

Well, today, in Puyo town, three young local girls were spotted with a very large beetle that they had found on a small tree in the centre of the main square. This beetle measured approximately 8.5 cm (3.35 in) by 6.00 cm (2.36 in). The girls did appear to be at a loss to know what to do with their find, so it was very positive that they were happy to be part of a ‘rescue plan’ with their parents’ agreement. Beetles like this one, are fast-disappearing from the local habitat and so, after discussing some of the environmental and conservational issues with them (of which they were actually quite knowledgeable), they agreed to be accompanied to the edge of the nearby wooded area and the animal was released on to a tree from which it would be able to access other appropriate habitat. Well done Karol, Leslye and Fernanda!

On the land, tiny hummingbirds (3.00-4.00cm) continue to be spotted, the larger Grey-chinned Hermit hummingbird amongst others, also. Most days, woodpeckers can be heard rapping away on the older trees, and hawks, vultures, kites and many, many other birds are seen and heard. Night birds are abundant and certain species of night jar and the potoo are especially noisy around the time of the full moon.

The night sky is regularly very clear and although affected somewhat by the city lights of Puyo in the distance towards the South-East, it is possible to see just so many stars………..and, of course, there are nearly always the flying sparkles of the ‘glow-beetles’. Amazing multi-coloured spiders, stick insects, and other fascinating night creatures have been seen, and strange snuffling and rustling sounds heard, around the ‘base-camp’. This just makes it even more frustrating that it is not yet possible to set up the trap cameras. A large Basin Tree Frog (around 9.5cm or 3.74 in) was spotted one night recently by Laurence Duvauchelle, our very helpful and knowledgeable neighbour, on the margins between the two areas of land.

During the day, bright red, blue and yellow Damselflies and Dragonflies are seen dipping in water or landing close by, and many other iridescent insects are spotted.

More grass-clearing has been happening, and the areas of the tall (sometimes of over two metres long!) African grass are noticeably in decline now. One issue that we need to investigate further is how many other non-endemic species exist around the Centre, as there are many such species that can be spotted along the road to the land from Mera, and it is highly likely that some of these have entered the margins of the land from there.

Basic maintenance work has started on the large animal trap cages, and when time allows they will be properly cleaned and repainted.

Finally, many thanks to all who have been involved in helping to raise funds for the conservation work here – it looks like it should be possible to restart the work on the quarantine/clinic in the not-too-distant future. Although not yet quite enough to complete the work, it should help well along the process…………… Now we need to find the maestro and his assistant!

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