One of the newest projects at REGUA is the creation of an orchid and bromeliad garden at the lodge. This is a small area to the side of the lodge veranda and was the brainchild of Nicholas Locke, REGUA’s President.
Huge rocks were delivered earlier this year and moved into place. There are also some well weathered orchid posts which have proved very effective in the front garden of the lodge so we are hopeful that they will soon house flourishing exotics. Bromeliads are already in place – all found on fallen branches around the reserve.
Over time more plants will be added, including ferns, and will provide an excellent opportunity for lodge guests to easily see plants that are only too often found high in the canopy.
The garden is sited along the north wall of the lodge ensuring that the plants are in a shady environment. Netting has been added to give further protection. House Wren and Masked Water-Tyrant are already using the area to search for food and a Yellow-headed Caracara has found a good look-out post!
Introducing the Guapiaçu Grande Vida Team for their second project at REGUA. Following the successful reforestation of 100 hectares of cattle pasture along the edge of the River Guapiaçu in 2013-15, the second project is now underway.
This time a 60 hectare plot is being planted, on steep and highly eroded land along the road on the way to our Waldenoor Trail.
From left to right, they are:
Patrick, Environmental Education Officer
Carol, Financial Administration Officer
Nathalie, Social Media Officer
Aline, Forest Restoration Officer
Tatiana, Environmental Education co-ordinator
Gabriela, GGV project co-ordinator
Lorena, Geographic Information Systems Officer
Carlos, Environmental Education Officer
Ever wonder what the loudest bird on Earth is? The outrageous Bare-throated Bellbird (Procnias nudicollis) is certainly a top contender! While hiking up the Green Trail here at REGUA, singing males can be heard from over a kilometre away.
The call each male belts from his featherless blue-skinned throat sounds like a mallet striking an iron pipe, and echoes down the valley in rhythmic series. As we climb higher up the mountain trail, the boinks and bonks of competing males get louder and louder, but we can often only catch glimpses of them perched high in treetops.
Today, volunteer bird guide Bobby found our lucky visitor group, front row seats to an ear-splitting performance by a young male singing close beneath the canopy. Bare-throated Bellbirds are endemic to the Atlantic Forest, found nowhere else on Earth. These large, fruit-loving passerines perform crucial seed dispersing services for many lowland and montane trees. Unfortunately, drastic logging of the Atlantic Forest for development, combined with illegal poaching for the caged-bird trade, has led to declining populations of this spectacular species and a Vulnerable designation by IUCN. But thanks to REGUA, the forest home of these contending males along the Green Trail is safe into the future. And they can return the favor by dispersing their favorite fruit trees throughout the reserve, helping the forest to grow!
As I was patrolling the Brown Trail today, I noticed a pair of Silvery-flanked Antwrens (Myrmotherula luctosa) gathering dry leaves and taking them into the branches of a small tree. I carefully followed their lead and discovered a little cup nest taking shape! In order to avoid disturbing their work with my observation, I set up my camera on a tripod and left.
This short highlights reel reveals that male and female team up to weave a safe place for raising a family.
Volunteer Bird Guide
If you would like to volunteer at REGUA, see our Volunteer page for more details
Kaitlin and Bobby are currently volunteering at REGUA. Their main project is to help Adilei and Cirilo show the wonderful bird- and wild-life to visitors, but they still find time to do some exploring . . .
“Today Bobby and I were asked to survey a potential trail that winds through an area reforested in 2011-12 with the help of Petrobras. We were amazed to see such a dramatic amount of growth for such a short amount of time, as well as the diversity of tree species used to jumpstart this section of forest which was once open pasture. Most of the trees were well above our heads!
It was a hot and sunny day, which can effect bird activity, but we still managed to count over 40 bird species using the area already! It will be exciting to see how species composition changes as the forest progresses.
On August 24th, Regua hosted the Inaugural RPPN(*) or “Reserva Particular do Patrimônio Natural” Scientific Seminar in Rio de Janeiro state.
INEA – Rio de Janeiro State Environmental Agency – encourages land owners to create their own private reserves which are officially recognized by the state government. RPPN status allows no direct use of the land but allows activities such as environmental education, sustainable tourism and scientific research to be carried out. Much of REGUA’s land has been granted RPPN status and three new areas were finalised last August.
There were over 100 participants attending the event that started in the morning and continued until the evening.
Studies on forest ecology, flora and fauna inventories were presented to a very interested audience.
Land owners, university professors, undergraduates, post graduates, state and municipal authorities enjoyed this seminar which enriched everyone´s knowledge on the Atlantic Forest.
*The nearest English translation would be Private Natural Heritage Reserve
Andrew Proudfoot, REGUA Volunteer, reports on research work at REGUA.
“The two men in the middle drop in onCaio Missagia (right) who, helped by his friend Juan, is working towards a doctoral thesis on the intricate relationship between Heliconiaspathocircinata, three Hummingbirds (Violet-capped Woodnymph, Reddish Hermit and Saw-billed Hermit) and a Hoverfly (Syrphidae) and Soldierfly (Stratiomyidae) species.
Who benefits, who loses and by how much? Heliconia needs pollination visits from the hummingbird and could provide a plentiful nectar reward. Larvae of the two fly species are kleptoparasites, gorging on the sugary tissues deep within the protected bracts of the plant’s familiar boat-shaped flowers. If only those paired bracts were more open, marauding ants might rid the flower of its freeloading flies.
The Amazonian species has no hiding place for Diptera larvae and perhaps it has no trouble supplying its pollinators with nectar. Natural selection could have driven the development of a less enclosed host plant flower. As the Heliconia provides less resource for the hummingbirds, what is the impact on pollinator behaviour and fitness? Fewer birds are recorded visiting infected flowers.
As yet, Caio has no clear answers to these important questions and whether or not Heliconia spathocircinata might be pushed to control these unwelcome freeloaders? An unfolding story; at REGUA we await the next instalment with excitement!”
Michael Patrikeev has been working on the identification of species he found at REGUA during his stay and has more news for us.
“I have identified another species for the reserve this time it is a giant black-blue spider-hunting wasp, which has very likely been seen when it was busily looking for its prey in the forest understorey. The size is impressive, 50-55 mm, and its sting is very painful, apparently scoring 4.0 on the Schmidt sting pain index, next to the bullet-ant (4.0+).
The species is Pepsis inclyta Lepeletier, 1845. It is “commonest in southern Brazil to central Argentina, but ranges over most of South America” (Vardy 2005).
Sylvia and Chris Knight recently stayed at REGUA with their two children. They opted to stay in the relaxed environment of the research accommodation, and here is their review of their stay with us.
“We have just returned home after four wonderful days at the REGUA reserve. As a family with two primary school aged children, we knew that having the chance to spend time at the reserve was going to be incredible, but was slightly concerned about how long the girls would last before they got tired or bored. We needn’t have worried!
The combination of incredible birds, mammals, insects, plants and reptiles together with the most wonderful swimming spots we have ever encountered meant they were totally engrossed and as sad to leave as their parents were.
Having visited two other places in Rio state before arriving at REGUA, they particularly appreciated the amount of space and the freedom that gave them – for example being able to go and visit the capybara group on their own before breakfast. A mini ‘project’ for the visit was to make a seed collection – we were just short of 100 types, but I’m sure it could have been much more.