All posts by Nicholas Locke

Long-billed Wren

Walking by the wetlands at REGUA along the Yellow or Brown trail, a small bird can surprise many with its fierce song of bravado.

One has to peer through the tangles of brush to catch a glimpse of the melodious Long-billed Wren (Cantorchilus longirostris), one of the Atlantic Rainforest endemic species. Though the call is well known, its intensity is surprising but it is merely reminding us that we are entering his territory.

Long-billed Wren (© Adilei Carvalho da Cunha)

The Yellow and Brown trails at REGUA pass through the middle of replanted lowland forest, and the presence of this species indicates the forest has provided a new home for many avian species.

This is what we want, a new habitat we created that now provides many new homes for its true inhabitants.

Caiman with Quills!

Adilei, REGUA’s resident Bird Guide, was walking the wetlands on his usual patrol when he spotted an unusual Caiman.

Peering through his binoculars, he saw that either one of REGUA’s adult Broad-snouted Caiman (Caiman latirostris) had developed far too many bristles or had wrestled with an Orange-spined Hairy Dwarf Porcupine (Sphiggurus villosus).

The Caiman’s head and neck was completely covered in quills, resembling a dragon.

Adilei could not understand the motive that induced the Caiman to eat such an unappetizing animal and now wonders what will happen to the Caiman!

Broad-snouted Caiman with Quills (©Adilei Carvalho da Cunha)

Although it was not easy to get a clear view of the event with the camera,  Adilei got this photograph, which shows the quills quite clearly.

We are keeping a close eye out for any more sightings!

New Scorpion for REGUA

Scorpions are predatory Arachnid of the Scorpione order.   Triggering fear and respect, scorpions are in fact difficult to find in this region of the Atlantic rainforest, and here at REGUA, we have only photos of the common yellow scorpion, Tityus serrulatus which are still relatively uncommon.

Professor Renner Baptista of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro was therefore surprised with this latest find.

Unidentified Scorpion (© Nicholas Locke)

Whilst searching for other Arachnids along with students Hector and Gabriel, they came across an unusual scorpion, their first for REGUA.   Found lying under a log at night, this 6cm long little fellow still has to be identified. Promising!

 

Post-graduates at REGUA

REGUA was delighted to receive 35 students from Rio de Janeiro’s Federal University undertaking their first MBE field trip.

This is a renowned business post-graduate course in Environmental Management aimed at preparing students to face the world of green responsibility in industry and government.

The Post-graduates at REGUA (© REGUA)

The group was able to learn about REGUA’s reforestation programme and see all stages of planting progress.  They enjoyed the day and returned to Rio with a valuable experience in the efforts needed to restore the Atlantic Rainforest.

 

CEO of SAVE Brazil visits REGUA

REGUA was delighted to receive Pedro Develey, the CEO of Birdlife International Brazil partner “SAVE” (Sociedade das Aves do Brasil) at REGUA.   His visit was partly to discuss the future reintroduction of the Black-fronted Piping-guans (Pipile jacutinga).

Pedro Develey with Nicholas Locke (© REGUA)

Pedro’s stay at REGUA was also an opportunity to show off our current tree planting area and the success of the wetland restoration.   Pedro had a great time and returned to São Paulo with a decent bird list and was especially pleased to see the variety of avian species in REGUA’s two year old forest.

He left us happy and content with the news that the reintroduction project is still ongoing. It’s crucial that a project of this importance develops slowly and steadily and all the pieces are being placed firmly in position. Thanks Pedro!!

Ruy creates feeders for the release pen

Ruy’s creativity never ceases to surprise us and yesterday he brought down the feeding stations that he personally built for the Black-fronted Piping-guan release pen.

These small constructions will be suspended inside and outside the aviary as part of a “soft-release” method.

Nicholas, Ruy and João Rafael Marins from Desengano State Park with the Black-fronted Piping-Guan feeders. (© REGUA)

The birds can eat their ration and after the period of quarantine the aviary door will be opened for them to wander into freedom and around the reserve.

If they feel like returning and eating their ration, the stations will be waiting for them, but generally after three days they make a run for it as the instinct for seeking their natural preference for fruits and insects kicks in.

Well done Ruy, what would we do without you!!

 

David Nemazie of University of Maryland visits REGUA

We were fortunate to receive birders David Nemazie and René Santos at REGUA recently. David is chief of staff for Environmental Science at University of Maryland USA, and René is a super bird guide who brought him here.

The State of Maryland is twinned with the State of Rio de Janeiro with both Chesapeake Bay and Rio’s Guanabara Bay having geographical and environmental similarities. Both coastal bays have similar environmental issues due to large populations and associated problems with waste water treatment, storm water, and habitat degradation.

In 2014, the Governor of the State of Rio concerned with the Olympics in 2016 approached Maryland’s governor and asked him and the University for guidance in cleaning Rio’s Bay following their success.   Rio’s governor obtained support from INEA (RJ Environmental State Agency), UFRJ (RJ University) and other partners to provide the first step, the elaboration of the “Guanabara Bay Report Card”

David Nemazie with Nicholas and Raquel (© REGUA)

The report cards (https://ecoreportcard.org/report-cards/guanabara-bay ) have been successful in other regions and offer a snap shot of the state of the Guanabara Bay as it is today.   It gives ‘scores’ on health and condition, identifying the issues at heart.

It now is up to all of us to engage the wider public with programmes in awareness and education to help the Government define priorities and actions that will contribute to a better care for our Guanabara Bay, home to river dolphins and seahorses.

We are ready to help and do our part.

 

Half-collared Sparrow

One of the species everyone anticipates on REGUA’s excursion to Mt Caledonia is the Half collared Sparrow, or Pectoral Sparrow (Arremon taciturnis).

Half-collared Sparrow (© Nicholas Locke)

This stunning Sparrow is not an endemic to the Atlantic Rainforest for it occurs in the Amazon basin, but here in Rio state it can be seen only in the mountain regions of the Serra do Mar.

Its typical high pitched “bis-bist” gives it away and play-back can draw it in.   From then on, it flies quickly around the birder perching occasionally on an open branch to help the photographer.

When that happens one can glimpse its exceptional colours and beauty –  What a gem!!

 

REGUA’s Trees are reaching for the Sky!

We are delighted to report that the donation from the Danish Travel Fund that led to the acquisition of Anderson’s property in 2014 has resulted in a dramatic change within the Matumbo Valley.

The highly degraded and eroded area is on the road towards the Waldenoor trail on the way to Matumbo.   Until last year cattle were being grazed there and it is amazing how quickly birds and insects come into land after planting.

REGUA planted 25,000 native trees on this 13 hectare site between November 2016 and January 2017 and the weather has been most favourable.

The trees are growing very well.   Thank you Danish Travel Fund for helping to acquire this strategically important area and to the World Land Trust through their “Plant a tree Fund” for financing the tree planting.

Pai Velho July 2017 (© Nicholas Locke)
Pai Velho November 2016 (© Nicholas Locke)

Voluntary Forestry Brigade visit REGUA

REGUA received members of the Rio de Janeiro voluntary Forestry Brigade, a grass roots organization made up of professional people from Rio city who are committed to conservation.

The Team arrived on a lovely Saturday morning to enjoy a walk around the wetlands and discuss opportunities to support REGUA’s work.   Among the issues discussed during the day were potential for help in combatting hunting and forest fires, first aid courses and community engagement through education programmes, these are all issues which could be used to support landowners across the globe.   With REGUA’s successful Ranger Team, Community, Young Ranger and School education programme we were delighted to host the event and share our own experiences.

The Forestry Brigade with Nicholas and Raquel Locke (© Jorge Bizarro)

The Brigade would like to include REGUA as a place where they can stage weekend events including hiking on the forest trails on the prowl for any hunters.

Many members are retired but totally committed to forest protection and very keen to support REGUA activities.