3rd Dragonfly and Damselfly Tour a resounding success!

An eminent group of European Dragonfly and Damselfly specialists converged at REGUA this month to see their beloved species under the professional guidance of Tom Kompier from the Netherlands.

Tom Kompier leads a successful team (© Raissa Knupp)

Tom (dressed in the National garb above) visited regularly over two years under the auspices of Rio de Janeiro National History Museum, and wrote the definitive guide book on Dragonflies and Damselflies of the Serra dos Órgãos region, identifying an amazing 204 species, one of which is new for science and will named after REGUA!

This is the third organised dragonfly and damselfly tour at REGUA and the group saw 147 species in their eight days here.   The weather in the first two days wasn’t helpful, but the group not only cherished seeing their species but loved their time enjoying the REGUA hospitality.

Thank you for coming and sharing your enthusiasm of these quality habitat indicator species!

Southern Tamandua seen at REGUA

Southern Tamandua
Southern Tamandua Tamandua tetradactyla (@copy; Adilei Carvalho da Cunha)

Southern Tamandua Tamandua tetradactyla are not often seen at REGUA, with previous records including one in the lodge garden and another found dead in the forest at the wetland several years ago.

But last November our bird guide Adilei Carvalho da Cunha was lucky enough to find one on the Red Trail and managed to capture some excellent video of the encounter.

This member of the anteater family is found in a variety of habitats from mature to disturbed secondary forest and arid savannah, although it is thought to prefer living near streams or rivers. Feeding on ants and termites they will occasionally take bees and honey. A solitary species, Southern Tamanduas are mainly nocturnal, although as can be seen here, they are sometimes found during the day and this individual seemed to be completely at ease with Adilei’s presence.

It’s great to see this enigmatic creature in the forests at REGUA and this sighting is another indicator of the improvement our reforestation has made to the biodiversity of the forest environment.

Increasing the link in the Lagoinha Valley

(© REGUA)

After many months of negotiations several important pieces of land were finally successfully negotiated with former Lagoinha valley land owners during 2017.   REGUA has been slowly acquiring land in the Lagoinha valley to consolidate a forested corridor between the Primatology reserve and REGUA land.

The valley has been traditionally farmed for over a century and many years ago it was considered inconceivable that REGUA could even embark on the challenging process of acquiring the land owned by over 50 families for the purpose of conservation. Ownership was identified, property limits mapped and the acquisition of each property was negotiated with each of its owners.    What appeared a dream many years ago is now reality and REGUA has acquired over 25 small holdings that will now be permanently protected. This has a been a real success story and much is owed to REGUA ranger Messias whose grandfather once owned this large farm as well as his brother Claudio.

REGUA wishes to thank its benefactors Urs Peter and Lindsay Bury who once again provided the valuable funds and with matched funding from Rainforest Trust we secured another area in this precious habitat.

 

Arrival of the tapir!

Lowland Tapir Tapirus terrestris at REGUA about to have a radio transmitter collar fitted, 12 December 2017 (© Nathalie Horta)
The travelling cases are carefully positioned to release the animals into the specially built pen at the REGUA wetland (© Thomas Locke)

After five years of planning we are delighted to announce to arrival of three Lowland Tapir Tapirus terrestris at REGUA, a male, female and calf.

This reintroduction project has been carried out in partnership with Professor Fernando Fernandez of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and his team and Rio de Janeiro State Environmental Department (INEA).

The tapirs arrived yesterday afternoon after a tiring trip of over 1,000 km from the State of Minas Gerais. Their travelling cases were unloaded and taken to a specially prepared pen created in a secluded landscape where the animals can become accustomed to their new environment.

For a while we will provide fruit and vegetables for them to eat – up to 8 kg per animal per day. During this stage strict guidelines will be followed to ensure they do not become habituated or reliant on the provision of food.

The Lowland Tapir has been extinct in the state of Rio de Janeiro for over 100 years and the arrival of these animals at REGUA represents the very first reintroduction of tapirs in Rio de Janeiro state.

Our forests have lost their largest land mammal and one responsible for spreading the seeds of many trees and ensuring the strength and health of a forest – often referred to as the ‘Gardener of the Forest’. With the return of the tapir, REGUA will have great help in the regeneration process of the forest. Here’s wishing our new tapir family a successful future!

Orchid and bromeliad garden

The orchid and bromeliad garden under construction at the lodge (© Sue Healey)

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!

Want to see Atlantic rainforest endemics?

Visitors coming to stay at REGUA can enjoy an excursion to Pico de Caledonia, a granite peak located just two hours drive from REGUA near Nova Friburgo.

Serra do Mar Tyrant-manakin (© Nicholas Locke)

Atlantic rainforest endemic species can be found all along the cobbled road that climbs to 2230m above sea level.    This is home of the ultra-rare Grey-winged Cotinga (Tijuca condita) found only on trees tops of this mountain range, but probably the eeriest call heard is that of the Black-and-Gold Cotinga (Tijuca atra) a high pitched lonely whistle mixing in the mist.

You can see the Large-tailed Antshrike (Mackenziaena leachii) hopping in the undergrowth as it comes to investigate the visitor.   As it reveals his speckled black plumage, it is well camouflaged for such a large bird.

Another rare bird to be found in the area is the Serra do Mar Tyrant-Manakin (Neopelma chrysolophum).

Whilst this species may not be as quite as flamboyant in colour as many of its Manakin ‘cousins’, its series of random short resonant notes and wonderful prominent yellow crest makes this yet another truly enigmatic species.

The higher altitude of Pico de Caledonia is a marvellous place to visit all year round.   However, during our summers when the lowlands can sometimes be hot and humid the altitude here brings a fresh and cooler feel.

Large-tailed Antshrike (© Nicholas Locke)

Many of these species are known to be in the inaccessible higher elevations of

REGUA’s land, so it is great for us to be able to take our guests to a more readily accessible area.

Caledonia hides many endemic residents but with patience and REGUA’s excellent bird guides they are all there to be seen.

Introducing the GGV II Team

GGV II Team (© Raquel Locke)

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

Brazilian Antthrush

The Brazilian Anthrush (Chamaeza ruficauda) has also been known as Rufous-tailed Antthrush, it has also previously been confused with Cryptic Antthrush (C. meruloides) but the song differs. See here for further details. 

It is a relatively common bird locally, but a restricted-range species and can be difficult to locate until it sings.   It occurs in protected areas, such as Serra dos Órgãos National Park, which is a lovely day trip out from REGUA.

The call of this bird is an unmistakable ascending stanza that evokes the high altitude mist-laid forests which they inhabit.

I was delighted to hear one calling recently at Macae de Cima and decided to follow it.

Brazilian Antthrush (Chamaeza ruficauda) (© Nicholas Locke)

After only a few minutes could I see an adult guarding the entrance of its nest, these being hollows in tree trunks which can be quite deep.   Standing back and with a zoom lens I was able to get a photograph or two.

Let’s hope they are successful in breeding their young and continue their guard of the forests.

 

 

 

Water Monitoring

A windy and cloudy Saturday full of activities as the Education Officers of the Guapiaçu Grande Vida team held a student training course.

They are being taught to use the water-monitoring kit which they will use in the Macacu and Guapiaçu rivers.    Arriving in the morning for breakfast they left after lunch with a certificate acknowledging they had completed this twenty hour course in three sessions.

Water testing

The syllabus included topics such as river basin management, mapping, environmental education and it’s relevance as a tool for conservation,  use of trails and open public areas with an educational approach, water cycle and water sampling for physical and chemical analysis.

Another successful day with enthusiastic students and tutors.