Stingless Bees Nest Guarding

Michael Patrikeev, a long-standing friend and supporter of REGUA, sent this amazing photograph of stingless bees, Scaptotrigona xanthotricha, also known as Yellow Mandaguari.    Along with this explanation of the behaviour taking place:

“This species, restricted to the Atlantic Forest of the south-east Brazil, inhabits primary and mature secondary humid forest, where it builds nests in cavities and crevices in trees.

The image shows the bees guarding the elaborate structures at the entrance to their nest. These structures, resembling tree fungi, are made of wax.

Nest of Scaptotrigona xanthotricha (© Michael Patrikeev)

Note the claw marks below the nest on the left.    These bees are known to produce a good quality honey, and perhaps some mammal raided the nest earlier.”

This is just one of the multitude of forest species protected in REGUA.   Each piece of information we find continues to reinforce the importance of the work which the REGUA Team and its supporters make possible.

More info can be found on Michael’s website:

http://www.wildnatureimages.org/Insects/Hymenoptera/Apidae-bees/Scaptotrigona-xanthotricha.html

 

7th Annual visit for Miraflores School

Having children visit is what keeps REGUA going, for they are the ones that one day will inherit the responsibility of caring for this World.

Nicholas with pupils (© Raquel Locke)

The Rio de Janeiro Miraflores bilingual school made their 7thannual visit this year, expressing their keenness to learn about Nature and helping to plant native trees.

Miraflores’ School’s director Luiz makes sure that this event is given the right importance for he sees in this excursion, an activity that awakens the pupils to environmental responsibility.   This year REGUA received 65 children between the age of 6 and 7, divided them into smaller groups to walk them around the reserve showing flora and fauna, from insects to reptiles and mammals to the trees growing.   Being a bilingual school they demand the talking in English enjoyed by all.   They visit the nursery, fill the individual plant bags, plant seeds and transfer seedlings to understand what is involved in the entire process to start a forest.

Children planting trees (© Raquel Locke)

Their walk shows that forests can be started and provide habitat for a multitude of species. They feel responsible and connected, and learn that restoration is only about effort.

The school has been visiting annually since 2011 and I always remind them that they are the reason why we want to continue planting trees. It is a true privilege too offers these children the opportunity of sharing this unique experience here at REGUA.

Thank you Luiz for providing the opportunity to share our work with you; your staff and your children.

Tribute to GGV Gabriela Viana

Gabriela Viana is a dedicated conservationist who has helped project REGUA with her knowledge, experience and dedication.   Gabriela  lives in the municipality of Cachoeiras de Macacu just 15 miles away from REGUA, and her professional life led her to work at the Golden Lion Tamarin project,  ITPA and IBIO, all successful conservation organizations in Rio de Janeiro State.

Gabriela with her team (front centre) (© Nicholas Locke)

Gabriela helped REGUA develop its Agenda 21 action plan in 2005, and she always wanted to work and further conservation efforts in this municipality.    When Petrobras signalled its interest to fund a project, Gabriella came to our rescue and helped write a proposal, but after two unsuccessful attempts we were less keen to submit a third.

With much insistence Gabriela then suggested we focus our expertise on compounding our education and reforestation programmes, and she prepared a project based on those two lines.   We were ecstatic that out of 600 projects submitted, REGUA was approved and the overall results were considered excellent by Petrobras, leading to an invitation to submit a sequel last year.

REGUA then introduced an important component along with education and restoration; that of monitoring water quality engaging local school children.   Not only was this perceived as important by Petrobras, but it sparked off a huge awareness by the local population of the importance of water quality for its towns.   This led to a photographic competition that resulted in further promotion of the project.

GGV Team relaxing with Nicholas and Raquel Locke (© Jorge Bizarro)

Gabriela is the personification of dedication, quality and perseverance and she was recently head-hunted by WWF to direct their “threatened” species programme.  Gabriela helped put REGUA on the map and believed in the capability of her team.   She taught us quality and style in the quest for project results that have shaped REGUA into a major player in the local Conservation world of Rio de Janeiro.

A big thank-you Gabriela for the time you have dedicated to REGUA.

Great Horned Owls found breeding at REGUA!

Great Horned Owls, REGUA, 19 August 2018 (© Adilei Carvalho da Cunha)
Great Horned Owls, REGUA, 19 August 2018 (© Adilei Carvalho da Cunha)

In October 2017 our bird guide Adilei Carvalho da Cunha heard a Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus at the village of Matumbo, situated at the edge of REGUA. With a large range covering much of North, Central and South America, Great Horned Owl had long been predicted as a future addition to the REGUA bird list, but this was the first record for the reserve.

Tantalizingly, there was no further sign until just a few days ago on the 18 August 2018 when Adilei finally saw a bird – the first sight record for REGUA. When he returned the next morning with his camera he found not one bird but a pair! Then while watching and photographing them he was amazed when they mated right in front of him!

What an incredible record and yet another owl species for REGUA. The addition of Great Horned Owl takes the REGUA bird list to an incredible 479 species! Well done Adilei for finding and documenting such a great record.

Great Horned Owls, REGUA, 19 August 2018 (© Adilei Carvalho da Cunha)
Great Horned Owls, REGUA, 19 August 2018 (© Adilei Carvalho da Cunha)
Great Horned Owl, REGUA, 19 August 2018 (© Adilei Carvalho da Cunha)
Great Horned Owl, REGUA, 19 August 2018 (© Adilei Carvalho da Cunha)

REGUA’s 12th British Birdfair

The REGUA UK Team at Birdfair 2019, from left: Sue Healey, Lee Dingain, Alan Martin and Rachel Walls (© Dan Bradbury)
The REGUA UK Team at Birdfair 2019, from left: Sue Healey, Lee Dingain, Alan Martin and Rachel Walls (© Dan Bradbury)

This was the 12th year in a row that REGUA has attended the British Birdwatching Fair, and what a successful Birdfair it was!

Held each year at Egleton Nature Reserve at Rutland Water in England, the Birdfair is the world’s largest conservation fundraising fair and this year (the 30th Birdfair) is helping to fund the creation of the Ansenuza National Park in Argentina.

Our stand was once again organized and manned by our dedicated volunteers, Rachel Walls, Lee Dingain and Sue Healey, with assistance from Alan Martin, and Ken Sutton and Stuart Housden also both helping out for a day. It was good we had so many people helping because we had a large number of visitors to the stand, new faces, past visitors and volunteers and volunteers signed up to our volunteer programme.

Birdfair is also a great opportunity to catch up with our supporters and friends at the World Land Trust, Puro Coffee and Serra dos Tucanos.

REGUA is now well and truly on the birdwatching map and we are a firm believers that international birdwatching tourism is crucial in helping REGUA carry out our urgent conservation work protecting the Atlantic Forest of the Guapiaçu valley.

A huge thanks to everybody who visited our stand and also to all the Birdfair volunteers for making the event run so smoothly. We would also like to give a special thanks to Guto Carvalho of Avistar (the Brazilian Bird Fair) for mentioning REGUA in their excellent talk, and to Rachel Walls for all her hard work behind the scenes organising the REGUA stand each year and for baking her amazing cakes!

We look forward to seeing some of you at REGUA soon! If you have any enquiries about visiting REGUA then please drop us a email.

Shrike-like Cotinga

Even though it’s just a year since we published our last note on the sighting of the Shrike-like Cotinga in the recent news section of the web site, once again, birders are seeing this species on the lowlands in July.

We have the distinct feeling that it seems to staying longer on the lowland part of the reserve, before making its way up the mountains to disappear in January when presumably it is breeding.    Both Adilei and Cirilo, REGUA’s Bird Guides, have taken many guests to see this Neotropical species, one of the most iconic species of the Atlantic Rainforest.

Shrike-like Cotinga (©Adilei Carvalho da Cunha)

Please come along to visit us at the British Bird Fair Rutland Water, UK from 17th to 19th August we shall be in Marquee 1, stand 37 where you can speak to our UK team to find out more about this and a host of other species and plan your visit to see them for yourself.

White-bellied Tanager

Though the IUCN states that White-bellied Tanager (Tangara brasilensis ) is considered of “least concern” it really is a stunning bird.

Flying in small flocks, up to 10 strong, this Atlantic Rainforest endemic can be found at REGUA even close to houses that make up its local villages.   It is very responsive to its call, and raises the neck feathers in retaliation to Adilei’s speakers.   It seems to like tree canopies at mid-elevation, but with the two tone powder blue plumage, black mouth parts and white underbelly it is unmistakeable.

White-bellied Tanager, (Tangara Brasiliensis) (© Nicholas Locke)

As they appear quite mottled, one is left intrigued if the colourful feather arrangements are identical to all members of this species.

Recently renamed the White-bellied tanager; it has been split from its Amazonian cousin, Turquoise Tanager.    Those wishing to photograph this bird will not be disappointed.

 

Brown Tanager

The “Near threatened” Brown Tanager  species  (Orchesticus abeilli) like many tanagers, is an arboreal species generally associated with higher altitude forest where occasio

Brown Tanager (Orchesticus abeillei) (© Adilei Carvalho da Cunha)

nally one can find it feeding with in a mixed tanager flock.    Seeing one in tree canopy is quite usual, but viewing one by the REGUA tower at lowland altitude appears a little out of place.

It is an uncommon tanager and habitat loss has not improved things for it, Serra dos Órgãos National Park, just two hours drive from REGUA, is one of several protected areas where this species has been found, but the risk of deforestation outside of the safety of Reserves such as REGUA and the National Park mean the species is becoming more isolated.

The Brown Tanager can be confused with the Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner, the same rufous supercilliary line, but the typically “tanageresque” thick bill is the giveaway.   These birds like insects but will eat small fruit.

Brown Tanager (Orchesticus abeillei) (© Adilei Carvalho da Cunha)

So why is it around? Another of Natures mysteries, but it certainly was thrilling to view from the tower offering great sightings and photographic opportunities to those with cameras and binoculars.

 

 

Tanagers

Whilst birders pack their binoculars, telescopes and long camera lenses to photograph the wonderful Neotropical birds at REGUA, we often reflect on why these colourful tanagers are found at different altitudes, as if the bird’s territories are indeed stratified.

Brassy-breasted Tanager (Tangara desmaresti) (© Nicholas Locke)

In my garden, at low elevation, we often find the Green-headed tanager flying in mixed flocks together with Violaceous Euphonia and Blue Dacnis.

Occasionally a woodcreeper, xenops, ant-tanager and even a White-barred Piculet will share the flittering spectacle as they look for insects between leaves, for small fruit and any other tasty morsels.

However we do not find the mid-elevation Brassy-breasted Tanagers, whose busy flocks are only to be found at the higher altitudes.

Where can we see the Gilt-edged Tanager?   Occasionally they will be seen at the very top of the mountains or on the drier leeward slopes of the deciduous Mata Atlántica.

This shows us that these colourful beauties help to indicate the altitude, that tanagers aside from their natural colourful plumages are “stratospheric”  in more ways than one.

Gilt-edged Tanager (Tangara cyanoventris) (© Nicholas Locke)

Nicholas Locke

 

Long-tailed Potoo

Though Birdlife and IUCN state the Long tailed Potoo (Nyctibius aethereus) occurs across all South America, it also warns the population is declining.

Long-tailed Potoo (Nyctibius aethereus)(© Nicholas Locke)

The species refined distribution map suggests that in some time the Atlantic Rainforest and the Amazonian species might well be split.  This magical bird is rarely seen and highly desired by most bird observers around the globe.  With its nocturnal habits, its call is a long loud “Raaauuulll…” and the local population is scared by its unexpected call.

It is usually found perched on snags and high stumps and although it’s a large bird, it is well camouflaged and slow to move that often one just misses it.    This species requires good habitat and we are lucky to have one that doesn’t mind being photographed.

Lee Dingain spent lot of time observing this species and wrote an excellent paper that was published in http://regua.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/nb10-ltpotoo-dingain.pdf