Welcome to the latest from the Fundacíon, here in Pastaza, Ecuador…
Well, sadly, robbers were back on the land again and managed to fell at least two more Sangre de Drago trees on the Fundacíon land before they were chased off after some stealthy pursuit by Glen and the team. By now we hope that they have learnt that we are on the land and will not allow trees to be randomly poached in this way. This happened in the first week of the month, not long after the first trees were cut, and so far they have not been back………………
Otherwise spotted on and around, and near the land this month, have been three Spotted Chachalacas (Ortalis guttata) – (a bird species similar to the currasows, and small pavas); the Tamarin Monkeys have again been seen – this time a group of over ten individuals, which is one of the largest groups that has been seen nearby! The toucans have been around regularly – both the White-throated and the Black-mandibled; a flock over twenty parakeets has been seen flying past on more than one occasion.
Another unusual sighting recently was a medium-sized bright-blue-breasted bird seen in a clearing by the road on the edge of the Fundacíon’s land. It appears to have been a Turquoise Jay (which generally live at slightly higher altitudes than our land – usually above 2000 metres) or a Black-collared Jay. It was not close enough to identify clearly nor was there long enough time to photograph. This may be the second time one has been seen on the land though, as something very similar was seen roosting in a tree on a night-walk a couple of years ago.
On the ground, land continues to be maintained and cleared of the unwanted ‘pasto grass’. More materials have been carried up; more orchids and bromeliads re-attached to trees; a few more trees planted – including two in memory of a young girl, Sasha, who drowned in a swimming incident shortly after New Year. Sasha was the niece of some very good friends of ours and was often in our company when in town. We felt it appropriate to rescue a couple of saplings from the garden where she lived to raise and grow for her. These trees are fast-growing and produce lots of fruit and we hope will attract many birds and other animals in the future.
One of our other responsibilities as a land-owner in the Colonia 24 de Mayo, is the clearance and maintenance of the roadside alongside the land at the foot of the hill. We have started this process and are working our way up to the next neighbours. There were a few specimens of Cecropia (of which there are 65 different species in South America!) leaning dangerously towards the road, so we felt we had no option but to fell them before they might cause an incident. This particular species is very common and very fast-growing fortunately. So far four have been removed – we have to take down a few more soon.
Recently, we had a very positive visit from our great friends and colleagues at Merazonia Animal Rescue Centre (http://www.merazonia.org/en/) who are very interested in continuing to work with us to release appropriately rehabilitated animals on our land. This a very positive development and we look forward to continuing this work, some releases having taken place in the past.