Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lacre leaf

A newly forming lacre (Vismia sp) leaf.

Lacre, flowers and leaves

The lacre trees (Vismia sp.) are now in bloom. This tree is noted for two-colored leaves, green on the top and copper brown on the underside. In the attached image, you can see both colors.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Tarantula nest

This picture of a tarantula was taken with a flash. Otherwise, I wouldn't have seen the spider in the very dark hole. That's a fairly elaborate entrance to the nest, one designed for catching the prey by suprise.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Skipper 84

Another skipper of perhaps the same species, this one with complete wings. Taken within minutes of the other skipper shown below.

Skipper 8

Looks like this skipper met up with an accident, maybe a hungry bird. The missing part of the wing didn't seem to slow it down.

Assassin bug

I've never seen this species, but I believe it to be an assassin bug. Maybe it was looking for the characters who ate up this leaf.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I found this cocoon very interesting in more than one way. First of all, it was attached to a board on the ground next to a small wooden house we recently constructed. The roof of house extends out from the walls about 50cm, so it was more or less protected from any possible rain. I have no idea what material was used to build the cocoon. It looks very much like fiberglass filaments. After taking the first photograph (lower image) I lifted the cocoon from the board. It was empty. Whoever had occupied the neat little womb, had left. In the top image, the space inside.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wasp nest

It's amazing how things appear out of nowhere. Some weeks ago I was hanging an orchid from a timber on the porch when I noticed this wasp nest neatly place under an imbê vine. It's really quite large, maybe 6 inches in diameter. And full of wasps. It's high enough that it shouldn't present any eminent dangers to me or visitors.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wild flowers, continued

I thought these flowers were from a young tree, but now I'm not sure. Maybe there were from a vine climbing up a young tree. Regardless, beautiful.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Neighbor's dog

Although I entitled this blog entry the "neighbor's dog", I have to say that in reality, I've become the owner. Not that the legitimate owner has transferred the rights over to me. It's that the dog made the decision. She adopted me and refuses to leave the Bosque Santa Lucia reception center. You see, it's a question of something basic, called food. When she showed up at our place she was still a young pup and on the verge of starving to death. I could count every bone in her body. You guessed it. She's now older and fattened up, so to speak. She's also a good watch dog. Anything that moves, gets barked at, which might explain why wild animals aren't seen around the center. Man's best friend!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Frog in palm

This little frog was safely tucked in behind an old sheath of a palm. It's a way of staying in the dark .. and away from the snakes.

Brazil nut pod

Sunlight filters through the trees to light up the stage around a Brazil nut pod.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ferns on palm

I took this picture of the ferns on the Inaja palm back during the rainy season, when things were still green and fresh.

Red sawdust

I'm not really sure what's going on here. I assume termites eating the remains of this tree trunk, but I'm not sure why the large amount of sawdust coming out of the piece, or why it's red.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Colors of Inga

The contrast in colors of these new inga leaves is impressive. Both red and green are new leaves, but the red is the newer of the two. In the background you can see some older green leaves. Botanist explain that the color trick is to distract leaf eating insects, which are more turned on to green. Within a few days the red leaves will be green too. By then they will have hardened up a bit.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Passion fruit flower

Wild passion fruit plants love this summer weather, which is noted for high light intensity and heat. The vines are all over the place, but not all of them bloom. The leading vine must snake its way out of the darkness of the woods to find the light. This vine is within 10 meters of the dirt road leading into Bosque Santa Lúcia, which means its not very sensitive to the dust thrown up by passing vehicles.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Another silvery marmoset

Another silvery marmoset on a tree next to the Bosque reception center. They are known to survive this time of the year (dry season) by drilling into the trunks of select trees for sap. Leftover sap quickly turns into resin, which is also appreciated by these monkey.

Silvery marmoset

The urbanization of the area around Bosque Santa Lucia has taken its toll on the monkey population. Sightenings of at least four different species was a daily occurence in years past. Now it quite common not to see one monkey in an outing of 2-4 hours. The ones we see most often are the silvery maromosets (per image). The ones we hear most often are the howlers.

Black stink bug

This stink bug looks like it came out of a sack of charcoal.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Lichen a bug

Another lichen, this one on the edge of a leaf. Check out the bug above it. The outer shell is completely transparent.


Lichens are fond of small tree stems and leafless vines. In a world of fungi, they try to find a place of their own on the stage of the forest.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Charcoal stove

Another interesting stove used by the rural people here in the Amazon is the one you see in the attached image. Butane gas is available locally, but most people prefer their small charcoal stoves because they are much cheaper. When you live in the woods, there is no lack of wood to make charcoal. This is a two burner job, each one using about a liter of charcoal. Get the charcoal going, put the pot of beans on the top and let it go. The smell of the cooking beans will get you hungry long before lunch time. This particular stove was constructed only recently by Cleuson, our caretaker at the Bosque. You can see that only one burner has been used.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Cook out at Bosque, continued

Also joining us for barbecued fish at Bosque Santa Lucia were Nathan and Valerie, colleagues from work at Fundacao Esperanca. They both hail from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Nathan, Valerie and Cheryl didn't know that they were going to have to work for their lunch. Together they watered all my thirsty plants and young trees, more than an hour of hauling water. I didn't plan it that way, but I sure appreciated the help. We're well into our dry season and the sun is hotter than Hates. By late afternoon, there's no sign of the plants having been watered.

Cook out at Bosque, continued

Joining us for the fish lunch was Cheryl, a reporter and film maker from Toronto, Canada. She is here in Santarem this week doing some filming of the street kid program at Pastoral do Menor. Check out the fish on the barbecue pit next to Cheryl. Hum, I'm getting hungry again.

Cook out at Bosque, continued

After taking the fresh fish home, Dona Everalda marinated them in a solution of lime juice, salt and garlic. Then I stashed them in the frig for safekeeping. This morning we were off to the Bosque, where I cooked the fish on this very unique barbecue pit made from a truck hub. The thing weighs a ton and once the charcoal gets going, it heats up fast and stays hot for a long time. I cooked two portions of fish from one small bag of charcoal.

Cook out at Bosque

It's seldom that we prepare food at Bosque Santa Lucia, but it was time to try my hand at barbecuing fish. Early Saturday morning I bought these fresh fish from a small shop down the street. While the owner scaled and cleaned the fish, I overheard other customers talking about the abundance of fish this month. I wonder if it had something to do with the record flooding of the river system this year. The rivers are going down now. As a general rule of thumb, the lower the water, the greater the catch. Imagine two months from now.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Bosque reception center, continued

Picture taken from the side porch of the reception center.

Bosque reception center, continued

Looking out on an assortment of flora from the front porch of the the Bosque Santa Lucia reception center. Picture also taken at the beginning of the rainy season in February of this year. We're now into summer (dry season), which means more light intensity, less green and many trees shedding their leaves. Also much hotter!

Bosque reception center

The backside of the reception center at Bosque Santa Lucia. This picture was taken in February of this year, at the beginning of the rainy season.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Old sign, new paint

Over the years I've tried to keep record of major events at Bosque Santa Lúcia , but I guess this sign didn't make it into the files. It should have been featured because it's our only public sign and it's a real beauty. It was carved out of solid wood slabs around 1988, by David Richardson, an American artist living in Santarém at that time. Poço Branco is the name of the community, where the Bosque is located.

Flower in the dark

Actually, the sun was high up in the sky when I took this picture of a lone flower in a forested area. I was surprised that the background turned to night.