Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I was down at the waterfront to see our health team off to Juriti when I spotted these black vultures next to the riverboat. They didn't look too happy with the rain.
This colorful butterfly wouldn't let me get close enough to take a closeup, so I got more leaf than butterfly. Click on the image for an enlargement.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
I joked about this being a mean grasshopper because when I was getting ready to photograph that so-called leaf-footed bug, it flew in on the same leaf as the bug. The latter was very fast to move out to find another place. Click on image for a better view of this little character.
I promised Ted MacRae at Beetles in the Bush that I'd enter these images of what he thinks might be a leaf-footed bug. I published an image of another one a few days ago, but it was more a silhouette. These will give him and my readers more details.
Friday, January 23, 2009
And here's a better view of that helioconia butterfly on Cleuson's bicycle seat. Nothing like a shot of salts and minerals.
Check out that helioconia butterfly on Cleuson's bicycle seat. It just kept coming back. I joked with Cleuson that the butterfly liked the smell of his rear end. A closer shot of the butterfly coming up.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
When the electric company put in the power lines, most of the trees bordering the dirt road got cut in the 15 meter swath. In recent months I had the tatajuba logs (Bagassa guianensis) cut into sections to serve as benches around a pau Brasil tree (Caesalpinia echinata), as well as a pau rosa tree (Aniba anelillia rosaeodora). In the image, we're looking at the young pau Brasil tree. Some sidewalks have been built on one side of the reception center.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I ran into this naked character in the forest a few weeks ago. I think that she/he/it was showing off a beautiful suntan.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Well, I seemed to have gotten a better picture of the leaves than the butterfly. The genus of the plant is miconhia.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
This spider is so cryptic, it was almost invisible. Check out the posterior part of the animal. It looks exactly like a face, or a mask.
This black bug stayed around long enough for me to take some pictures. I didn't notice at the time, but it seems to be missing part of one antenna. The pebble is embedded in cement walkway.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Our visitors arriving from the ship. English speaking guides, Mr. Alex (facing the passengers) and Mr. Amilson (in yellow shirt) divide the group in half for the walking tour. It was a good day for everyone.
It is good to have the road to Bosque Santa Lúcia open again because it allows passengers from some of the cruise ships to visit us for a nature walk. Yesterday we received 30 visitors from the Pacific Princess, plus two ship staff. It was a very lively group of people interested in seeing everything we had to offer in the forest and also our small museum of woods. I took this picture of the ship when I returned to the city. I couldn't help noting the lack of activity at the Santarém pier. Normally it is full of buses, taxis, guides and lots of passengers. Maybe the "crisis" has struck the cruise ship business too. I didn't ask, but I couldn't help from noting the low ebb.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
I'm tired of photographing and describing mud holes. Let me get back to what counts, flora and fauna of the Amazon. I never get tired of seeing caladiums. There's such a variety of them and they always look different from season to season.
The next day, Áurea and I made a test drive to the Bosque in our small Fiat car. Here we are about to enter the area that I've often referred to as Lake Maria. Over the last year it has almost swallowed the car on every trip to the Bosque. Then it got so bad, even big trucks and buses were forced to take the detour you see to the left. Then it closed down too. I had to cancel all my private tours to the Bosque and finally the buses taking ship passengers also had to cancel out. Although the road is still makeshift, it's passable. I look forward to doing ecological tours again!
Sr. Jaci's red farm tractor has been a blessing in getting the road to Bosque Santa Lúcia open again. That blade on the front is perfect for spreading out dirt and also for the construction of drainage ditches. Right after we left him here, five truckloads of gravel (clay with some rock) was dumped at this site. When we returned from the Bosque, Jaci was already spreading the material over that section of the road. I should add that all this hard work, and some expense taken on by a few of us, is very makeshift. To do the road construction right, it will require a lot of heavy equipment. That's where the mayor's transportation department will come in, we hope. As I mentioned, the change in local politics may make this possible.
Good news at last. The road to Bosque Santa Lúcia is now open to traffic. You can see what remains of the granddad of mud holes in the attached image. There's still plenty of room for reverting the picture of access, but more help may be on the way. The folks in the red pickup are from the mayor's office of transportation. Because of some unexpected changes in local politics, they are suddenly available to help. I was asked to accompany the road engineer from the city to the Bosque and then around the corner to the local community of Poço Branco, pointing out the most urgent of repairs. The fellow in the foreground is Sr. Jaci, who owns one of the largest soybean farms in the area. He was instrumental in doing a lot of the roadwork as we see it in the image. His presence had nothing to do with our visit. He was there waiting for a load of gravel (clay with some laterite rock) that would be put on top of this fill dirt. Off to the right is Bimba and his son. They live next to the Bosque. Next image.
Sunday, January 04, 2009
Some traffic is getting through the mud holes going to Bosque Santa Lúcia and the small communities beyond, but mostly trucks and vehicles built higher off the ground. Áurea and I decided to try our luck yesterday in our small Fiat. Just to play it safe, we took the back route, which means the soybean fields further down the road. We made it, but I would not want to try the trip after a rain. It's easy to get stuck and difficult to get out. Our tours continue to be canceled until such time the road opens up again. As noted in previous posts, the most difficult of the mud holes was repaired by volunteer help from a neighbor on the highway. We then established a "kitty" of resources for filling up major obstacles with gravel (clay with laterite rock). That was quite a few days ago and as of date, no gravel. Lots of excuses, but no dump truck and no gravel.