Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Trogan nest

The remains of a black-tailed trogan egg down in the dark cavern of a termite nest. I used the flash for light.

Wasp nest

I found this wasp nest on the ground. I assume the stem to which it was attached up in a tree must have broken off in the wind. There were a lot of ants on the paper-like nest, so I assume there were still remains of some edible inside.

Ants on Capparidaceae

I posted an image of this plant with flowers and fruit recently and marked it as an unidentified tree or shrub. I thank Giovanni Signorini for identifying it as a member of the Capparidaceae family. Mostly ants on the fruit, but notice the other small insect on the bottom left.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dryness, continued

I get the impression that this skipper is also a bit under the weather. That droopy look!


This past week I was "shooting the bull" with some of our woodsmen under the shade of an old jack fruit tree, when I spotted José Garcia passing by with a string of horses. About fifteen minutes later he passed us again and headed off on another trail. "What's he up to?", I asked one of the woodsmen. "He looking for grass" he responded. I guess there was none around. It's been very dry in this part of the Amazon. Only one good rain in the last two months, which occurred at the end of October. Prior to that we had gone a full two months without rain. Although we got a light rain last night, the weatherman says it's going to be the middle of January before we get wet.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Wild passion fruit, continued

I've included this image to show the leaves on this wild passion fruit vine. I don't know the species, unfortunately. I know that there are at least four different ones at Bosque Santa Lúcia.

Wild passion fruit, continued

I forgot that I had taken a picture of the wild passion fruit vine from another angle. If my eyes are playing tricks on me, all three stages of development are on the same vine. Click on the image for an enlargement.

Wild passion fruit

This scene was a bit unusual. Passion fruit in three different stages of development, the bud, the flower and the fruit. All on the same vine? I thought so at the time I took the picture, but it's possible that there's more than one vine. I'll have another look.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ground orchid

I can't find the name of this ground orchid in my files, but I remember it was given to me by a neighbor, who brought it from a tropical savanna environment near the Tapajos River. This is the first time that it's bloomed. It'll be producing better flowers in the future, I think. Dust is a major factor right now.


A closer look at the fern.


The Portuguese lace fern with its rhizome in the background.


Rhizome from a Portuguese fern snakes its way up the tree.

Bloom and fruit

Unidentified bloom and fruit in the woods.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Last Saturday I received a busload of passengers from a cruise ship moored in Alter do Chão, some 33 kilometers from Santarém. As the bus came to a halt at the entrance to the Bosque, I heard the sounds of a guide speaking over a load speaker system, but at a higher pitch than normal. Suddenly, Nelis, the English speaking guide, jumped off the bus with his 16 passengers and they all headed across the road, a route never taken on our tours. From a distance I saw everyone looking up into the trees. "Hum, monkeys", I thought. As it turned out, Nelis had spotted a sloth, right from the bus. Some of the woodsmen took the animal from the tree and brought it over to the reception center, as seen in the image. A beautiful sloth. Look at those nails!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Young parrot, continued

Here's another look at our young friend. She's standing on a barbecue pit next to the back porch of the Bosque reception center. Later she climbed down and then up a relatively high hibiscus plant. At some point I looked over in that direction to see the parrot being dive-bombed by a family of social flycatchers. It was quite a show and I'm sorry to say that I didn't get a picture of the event. The poor parrot didn't stand a chance, so she flew down to brush some meters away.

Young parrot

One of our neighbor's kids brought his new pet over for me to see yesterday, a young parrot. At first I thought it might be a festive parrot, but now I have my doubts. I'll have to do some research. Interesting that the kid's nickname is "Pagagaio", which means parrot. He came by that name because when he was younger he was never much for talking, but he was attentive like a parrot, moving his head from side to side as he watched others. That's Papagaio in the background.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Brazil nuts, continued

A closer view of Carlos opening a Brazil nut. That's the pod next to his shoe.

Brazil nuts

That's Paulinho, one of the local guides assigned to the cruise ship, showing off Brazil nuts. Down below in the red shirt with a machete is Carlos, one of our woodsmen. Hew doesn't talk much, but it's not an easy job opening those pods.


Visitors from a cruise ship following their guide over to my "getaway house" to see some young tarantulas which have made their home behind a painting.


Robber flies, I would assume.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Frog on painting

On this past Saturday, I turned an oil painting over to see how my spider farm was coming along. Not to my surprise, there was more than spiders. There was this little frog, plus a large gecko, which quickly disappeared. There was only time to get this image of the frog.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Iguanas, continued

And here's an older iguana munching on a ripe mango fruit. When not down on the ground after fallen fruit, they stay up in the mango trees. They're fun seeing as they climb up into the branches.

Iguanas, continued

Here's a young iguana with its very long tail. When they move about on the ground, the tail leaves a very distinguished mark in the dust. Click on image for an enlargement.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


The choice of a parking lot for waiting for my wife at the Maternidade Hospital in Santarem is in the back lot, where some old mango trees provide some shade from the very hot sun. The trees also provide food for families of iguanas living there. Last week I took several pictures of the animals lunching on ripe mango fruit. What caught my attention was the tail on this iguana. I've never seen one of these before, but I would assume that it is a regenerated tail.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Passion fruit tendrils

An image of the passion fruit vine attaching itself to the wire that Cleuson strung up to support it. Those tendrils are something else. They run ahead of the plant itself, attaching themselves to whatever they encounter. By the time those large leaves get there, they are secure from winds blowing them all over the place.

Passion fruit leaf

One thing I've learned about passion fruit plants is that they need a lot of sunlight. I've planted the vines in places where I fantasized they would attract a lot of attention from visitors, but they never made it. They do like sun! The one in the image seems to have found what it likes the most. It's grown a lot since I took this picture. Cleuson rigged up a long piece of barbed wire for it to latch onto. Coming up. By the way, this is the commercial variety of passion fruit, Passiflora edulis. Not to be confused with the wild varieities of passion fruit found at Bosque Santa Lucia. They grow up in the shade of the forest and then sneak out into the sunlight to flower.

Jacaranda copaia

The purple flowers of Jacaranda copaia fell from sky to decorate the environment below. The tree puts on quite a show with an explosion of purple and it's said that the dry season is over when this happens. In reality, it's rained only once since the trees bloomed. Nevertheless, nature's show is spectacular.


When I first posted the image of these flowers, I identified them as the genus Senna. I had mistakenly confused them with other yellow flowers in the immediate area, which had been identified by Mary at A Neotropical Savanna as Senna. Sorry for the confusion. Refer to our
exchange posted under comments. Back to the drawing board.

Fuzzy plant

The new shoots on this small tree certainly get some attention, given they are so different than others around it. I haven't the slightest idea as to the species. That's biodiversity. Never an end to learning.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Rural dogs

Local dogs around Bosque Santa Lucia are always noteworthy. It's been my experience that they don't live a long happy life. Generations of dogs have come and gone since I've been here. Some follow their owners out to the highway, BR-163, where they are unexpectedly run over by speeding vehicles. Others die of snake bites; some die of disease; some starve to death and some just disappear. And then there are some that settle in with neighbors, who feed them. Yes, that's me. I shouldn't do it, because in reality they belong to other people. I remember one dog I nurtured back to health from a total state of starvation. One day I arived at the Bosque to discover that she had been killed by the true owner because she had eaten some duck eggs. I promised to never get a attached to another dog belonging to others. Hum, so be it. The dog in the upper image established residence at the Bosque some months ago, also a case of skin and bones. I refuse to get attached to her emotionally, but I do feed her and she seldom leaves the Bosque premises. She pays for her expenses by performing as a watchdog when I'm not there. The dog in the lower image belongs to the neighbors across the road, Sr. Carlos and his family. There are a pack of kids there and they seem to take good care of the dog. Nevertheless, he is quick to cross the road when I arrive at the Bosque and he has a voracious appetite. I have to keep an eye on where I place food because he will climb upon tables, or wherever, to get to the goodies.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Summer fungi

The nomenclature is mine. I don't think there is such a name, "summer fungi". It came to mind because we are at the end (I hope) of a long hot summer and these fungi give that impression. Reminds me of dried flowers.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Spiders, continued

Someone mentioned that these spiders might be aranha armadeira (Phoneutria reidyi), but I haven't found anything to prove it. Hairy as they are, I suspect that they are baby tarantulas.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Not easy weaning the young spiders from their former nest.

Spiders, continued

Another look at the egg sack of Madame Spider. This picture was taken yesterday. I get the feeling that it's hardening up. A week ago it was much more like a fluff of cotton.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Domestic spiders

No, I don't raise spiders out at Bosque Santa Lucia, but it appears that way. A few days ago I was moving some paintings around in my small wooden house, when to my surprise I discovered these spiders and their egg sack on the backside of a Marcio Dizencourt canvas. There must have been more than 100 of these spiders and I assume that they were a few days old, since they couldn't possibly all fit into that egg sack. I didn't see Mama around either. I took some pictures and put the painting back on the wall. I look forward to having another look tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Guaraná fruit

Fruit of guaraná (Paullina cupana), which is classified as a stimulant and aphrodisiac. The main ingredient is caffeine. Five times more than coffee!

Saturday, November 07, 2009


I discovered this flower at the end of a small branch coming off a regenerated tree that had been cut for bringing in electrical wiring to the reception center. A very nondescript tree, had it not been for the bloom.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Vanilla flowers, continued

Another vanilla flower closes down with the reduced sunlight at the end of the day.

Vanilla flower, continued

A diffused view of a flower with buds in the background.

Vanilla flower

Well, having paid tribute to the lone wasp building its nest, it was time to photograph flowers from the vanilla vine. View from the front, looking into the flower.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Paper wasp, continued

A better look at the nest. Isn't it a beauty? I'll be checking on it again to see if there are other individuals involved.

Paper wasp

I was up high on a chair shooting pictures of a vanilla vine in bloom when I came face to face with this beautiful wasp. There were times when it stared at me, but it didn't seem too worried about having to pose for my camera.

Sunday, November 01, 2009