November 2016

Hola a todos y todas (Hi, everyone),

Another month has swiftly passed by and here is the latest news (and for those who don’t receive the photos), views, on our Flickr page …

Well the big news this month, is that work on the new entrance to the land and the quarantine/clinic has finally started! The machinery rolled off its delivery truck and started work straight away last Thursday – opening up the high bank at the side of the road and leveling as much as possible of the way up the hill for future access to the Centre. Many thanks and appreciation are due to the Alcalde (mayor) and Prefecto (prefect) of the Consejo de Pastaza (Pastaza Regional Council) for their support – it is much appreciated. Carlos, the skilled plant-operator has been doing an excellent piece of work and the trucks are now rolling in with the materials to backfill the roadway and complete the turning area at the top.

glen-and-dave-at-the-new-entrance

Glen and Dave at the new entrance to the land

There will be much work to do once this first phase is complete: there is a small bridge to be built over the river; the pathway to be stone-filled; native plants to be placed at the side of the works where they can grow to replace those lost. The plan is to replace with and re-introduce those trees and plants that will provide food and habitat for future generations of endangered species. Seeds have been planted in bags and many have germinated awaiting transfer………….. We have also received many plant donations from Omar Tello, the Director at CENTRO DE RESCATE DE LA FLORA AMAZÓNICA Jardín Botánico “Las Orquídeas” who is also a member of our Equipo Directivo (Management Committee)… Muchas gracias! (Many thanks), Omar!

Glen has, at last, been able to start work in earnest on his own land adjoining theFundación’s – and so far he has cleared a lot of the unwanted grass originally grown for cattle (and rabbit) pasture, planted many trees to encourage future use by endemic animals and plants and started work on planning out the rest of the land for his own use, as well as protecting the vast majority as a conservation area.

Giant Land Snails (Gastropod sp.) have been spotted recently in the area around the Fundación’s land. So far, we have not seen the invasive African Land Snail (on our land) which has spread throughout much of South America originally introduced as a ‘new’ food source and business opportunity to Brazil in the early 1980’s. It is present in much of Ecuador now, and carries life-threatening diseases and destroys much of the habitat of the endemic species. African snails are listed as one of the top 100 most dangerous invasive species worldwide. And still they are advertised for sale in Ecuador on internet websites!

Several different species of orchid have also been flowering this month – frustratingly, sometime they are spotted at night, and when visited the next morning for daylight photography, they have disappeared or have shrivelled to a mere shade of their former selves!

Some very small white flowers seen recently cannot have been much more than one or two millimetres in diameter – the camera lens just didn’t do them justice! They were on a small-leaved climbing plant near the dike. These had also disappeared by daylight hours!

Other definitive sightings over the last month include the Amazonian Umbrella Bird (Cephalopterus ornatus) at the top of the large palm tree outside the front of the clinic, as well as elsewhere; the Slate-Throated Whitestart (Myioborus miniatus); the Crimson-Crested Woodpecker (Campephilus melanoleucos); a Drab Water Tyrant (Ochthornis littoralis) – a species of flycatcher; several Land Crabs were also seen – both at the dike when we were cleaning it out of debris and silt brought down by the heavy rains, and also at the land disturbed by the digger creating the new entrance way.

There was also a couple of recent unidentified sightings:  a tanager-sized green-headed bird ( possibly a Swallow Tanager); and an unidentified hawk  – a small raptor with striped tail.

Well, onwards to the next prime number…..2017, that is…