Category Archives: Uncategorized

Insect life Research

REGUA received a visit by the eminent biologists Dr. David Redei and his colleague, Dr. Qiang Xie from Nankai University last December.    Working in partnership with Brazil’s Fiocruz (Oswaldo Cruz Foundation) and invited by Dr. Felipe and Dr.Elcio, they spent a day looking at REGUA’s insect life.

Dr David Redei inspecting the Conservation Centre Moth Trap (© N Locke)

David and Qiang are working on phylogeny using morphological and molecular characters used in establishing taxonomic differences.   David is classifying insects according to tribe, family and genus.   Their interest in South America is evident once one knows that the continent has its own endemic and specialized insects.   David’s specialty is Hemiptera or Stink bugs, but he became very excited to learn that REGUA has its fair share of Phloeidae, a family existing only in the Neotropics of the Atlantic rainforest.   These are barnacle like insects that can be found mainly lurking on tree trunks in quality forest.

Now we will keep our eyes peeled to photograph and send images to these fascinating visitors. Thank you both for visiting and sharing your interests with us!

Accessibility in the Atlantic Rainforest

Caroline Begg on the Waterfall Trail

Staying at Regua over the next 2 weeks, we have a guest Caroline Begg staying at the Lodge.  During her time here, Caroline will be advising us on improving accessibility around the Lodge. Caroline has a disability called “Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia” and uses a mix of crutches and a wheelchair to get around.  Two wooden ramps have been fitted, one up to the veranda and one leading into Room Three as well as a grab rail in the shower area. These improvements enable Caroline to get around the Lodge independently.

During her first week, Caroline accessed the Yellow trail around the wetland on her wheelchair with some assistance over tree roots and where there are slight inclines. We bird watched along the way, taking a leisurely 3 hours to complete the trail.  She also participated in the weekly fitness class being held for REGUA staff at the conservation area. This class has been started to help staff member Lisa, who had her legs amputated last year to gain strength and improve her general fitness. During the week, we drove up part of the green trail and visited the new reforested area, the Protestant Land.

Caroline says she is impressed with the outstanding beauty of the reserve and the friendliness and willingness of the staff helping her to get around. Following Caroline’s visit, we will be looking to provide a room which is accessible for disabled visitors.

Tiger Beetle

Tiger beetles are always exciting to watch as they prowl about searching for food before flying off like a jet fighter to disappear out of view.

Tiger Beetle [possibly Cicindelidia politula] (© N Locke)
They have characteristically large bulging eyes and large mandibles for crunching up their food.

Tiger Beetles come from the Cicindelinae family, originating from the Latin word of Glow worm since most are brightly coloured.    Whilst this example looks similar to a Limestone Tiger Beetle, it is one of many different Cicindela sp.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Micaela, Nicholas, Sue, Adilei, Rachel, Alcenir, Lee, Raquel & Tom in the Lodge garden July 2016 (© REGUA)

In spite of scandals of corruption and the scares of Zika, Brazil is working hard to improve it’s image and the Olympics and Paralympics showed the world that Brazil has much to offer the world community.

Conservation of the world’s natural heritage is a concern that involves us all and REGUA is an example of dedication and care for our corner of Brazil.

Results from 2016 show that with the support from our UK team, our staff on the ground and our many supporters worldwide, we can and have made a huge difference. Forests are growing where seedlings were planted and children are learning about the importance of conservation from their visits to REGUA. Researchers reveal Atlantic Forest secrets and our rangers ensure that REGUA’s forests are respected.

Our visitors continue to leave impressed with all that they see, and into this mini Eden, tapirs will be released next year, engaging more people and promoting our efforts. None of this would be possible without your support and therefore Raquel and I on behalf of REGUA’s team, dedicate this Christmas to you all!

Help us to keep up the good work and we will show you the changes that make REGUA a very special place.

Tree Planting begins!

Planting has resumed at REGUA for the 2016 season, we have started just before our summer rains in a grassland area in a property supported by the Danish Travel Fund.

Planting begins (© Nicholas Locke)

Although REGUA had only a World Land Trust grant to plant 5000 trees we decided to take action and plant a much larger area as a result of a grassland fire a month ago.    The scorched grass gave us a head start in preparing the planting of our trees.   REGUA had close to 80 native tree species ready to plant and then purchased a further 20 species from local INEA nursery to add to the tree diversity.

Extra hands were found in the local community and equipped with one petrol driven digger we have already planted half the area.   A road was also made to acccess the higher areas.    Tomorrow Famath University workshop students have requested the opportunity to plant 300 trees a offer we accepted with pleasure.

Replanting trees needs every ounce of help!

P.S since this article the sun has come out and the rains have stopped so our planting is on hold for a few days until the next rains come.

Tufted (Brown) Capuchin

A troop of 20 Tufted (Brown) Capuchin were seen on our Casa Anibal/ 4 X 4 trail on 7th November.

Tufted (Brown) Capuchin (Cebus apella)
Tufted (Brown) Capuchin (Cebus apella) (© Paul Duffner)

Cirilo (one of our resident bird guides) was walking with Paul Duffner and his family when they happened across these delightful creatures.

Paul’s daughter Clara had volunteered here in March 2012 and was amazed by the changes in the forests and the growth of the trees.



The Theodora Trail

Few people from REGUA visit the Theodora Trail which is a shame as it has some great birds and is probably the easiest trail for walking.

The trail starts beside the main road from Cachoeiras to Nova Friburgo at about 1,200m and follows the route of a long-gone railway line – so it has a very gentle downhill gradient ending back at the main road only a few hundred metres lower.

Black-throated Trogon
Black-throated Trogon (© Alan Martin)

In October I walked the trail with Adilei and amongst the good birds seen were great views of Shrike-like Cotinga, Spot-winged Wood Quail, Black-throated Trogon, Bertoni’s Antbird, Sharpbill, Greenish Schiffornis, Bellbird, Eared Pygmy-Tyrant, Barred Forest Falcon and many many more.

Young Rangers meet snakes

Vital Brasil Institute produces antivenom, for snake, scorpion and spider bites.  Guilherme Jones, a young biologist working at the Institute, was invited by REGUA to give a talk on venomous snakes of the Crotalus, Bothrops and Elapidae genera.

REGUA’s Young Rangers were thrilled to have the opportunity to get a close-up view of some live snakes which were carefully and diligently handled by Guilherme.

Tom Locke

Guilherme Jones shows snakes to the Young Rangers (© REGUA)

A poem about REGUA

A beautiful poem written by two of our guests.

Regifting farmland to nature
Replanting thousands of tress
Training, investing, employing
And other good works such as these.
All make the Guapiaçu Bird Lodge
A centre of hard work and hope,
As Nick and Raquel (and their family)
with challenge continue to cope.
Thanks to the girls in the kitchen
As breakfast, lunch, dinner they bring.
They clean, sort and tidy our bedroom
And cheerfully whistle and sing!

With guide Lelei all our birding
was exciting, worthwhile and fun.
They charmed birds from the trees like magicians
Though they wanted a little more sun.

David and Dor Merriott, Oxford, England
October 2015

Jacutinga at Funchal School

Jacutinga model
Jacutinga model

Funchal school recently organised a Science Day in which the Black-Fronted-Piping Guan (Aburria jacutinga) was the star of the day.


The reintroduction project of this species at REGUA will soon take place and Livia Dias, the biologist in charge of monitoring them was present with her young son, Artur.


With models of the bird and information on the re-introduction process,  and the part that these arboreal birds play in the overall biodiversity of the forest, the day was a great success.   Both Raquel Locke and Prof. Carlos from REGUA were delighted to attend.

Livia Dias, Raquel Locke and Staff at Funchal School
Livia Dias, Raquel Locke and Staff at Funchal School (©REGUA)


Meeting with local members of the community and especially education in local schools is a vital part of the re-introduction project and also fits well with REGUA’s mission to further environmental education work in the area.


Congratulations to the headmaster, teachers, pupils and staff for this wonderful event.

Tom Locke

Guanabara Watershed Committee

REGUA have been invited to attend meetings of the Eastern Bay of Guanabara Watershed Committee (held in Niteroi city) which is gaining momentum and reputation.   The Group discuss and plan the future requirements of water use for the general public, government and industry.

This is an important committee to have representation in, as the concept of payments for ecological  services is gradually being discussed and could possibly soon be implemented.   REGUA may be eligible for future payments as we protect the water of the Guapiaçu river and restore forests in the watershed.

Raquel Locke, REGUA’s Vice President and Lorena an independent mapping consultant working with REGUA, will attend these meetings.   The Rio de Janeiro Government accepts and understands the strategic importance of the eastern Guanabara bay area for the provision of clean drinking water to eastern Rio de Janeiro and its metropolitan areas.

The Guapiaçu and Macacu rivers have their sources in Cachoeiras de Macacu Municipality.   Together they provide water to over 3.5 million people in Metropolitan Rio de Janeiro and the inclusion of REGUA within this initiative enables us to encourage the replication of our model within this vital area.


Caça na REGUA

Uma Paca Cuniculus paca morta encontrada na REGUA (© REGUA)
Um Tatu-Galinha Dasypus novemcinctus morto a tiro encontrado por um dos nossos guarda-parques (© REGUA)

Embora a caça tenha sido severamente reduzida na REGUA, como resultado do patrulhamento pelos nossos guarda-florestais, ainda ocorre esporadicamente.
A Caça na região é cada vez menos popular – os caçadores mais velhos estão desistindo e os mais jovens não estão tão motivados por este “esporte” e, como resultado do desenvolvimento do nosso sistema de trilhas e uma década de educação ambiental, esta ação perniciosa tem sido em grande parte eliminada e em geral a população de animais dentro da REGUA aumentou. Armadilhas fotográficas com câmera de vídeo flagraram a Onça Parda Puma concolor e bandos de queixadas Pecari tajacu forrageando nas trilhas.

Habitualmnte, os caçadores têm respeitado os limites da REGUA, e tiros à noite são uma coisa do passado, mas muito ocasionalmente vemos evidência de algumas armadilhas e tocaias. Como a área da REGUA aumenta de tamanho, os guarda-parques são sobrecarregados de forma a cobrir toda a área, e foi bastante desconcertante que um membro da comunidade local tenha recebido esta fotografia de uma Paca Paca cuniculus morta em uma área remota pertencente à REGUA.

É doloroso o abate a sangue frio deste animal e nos lembra que há aqueles que não respeitam os esforços da REGUA para impedir este tipo de matança sem sentido. Recorda-nos que, embora a biodiversidade esteja se recuperando de dias distantes, existem pessoas por aí que não compartilham nossa paixão e não se importam. Isto deveria nos encorajar a manter o rumo e usar nossas ‘armas’: que estamos ganhando terreno, que as florestas estão se tornando mais saudáveis e que o nosso objetivo merece todo o esforço.

Um dos nossos parceiros do Reino Unido, o World Land Trust, está fazendo campanha para levantar £40.000 de modo a permitir que a REGUA compre uma área de floresta no vale do Guapiaçu que se encontra sob a ameaça de caça, bem como de urbanização descontrolada. Ao acrescentar esta área de floresta à reserva, seremos capazes de patrulhar a floresta e dissuadir os caçadores. Por favor, ajudem, fazendo uma doação para o World Land Trust patrocinando o Olympic Forest Reserve Appeal. Obrigado.

REGUA’s new minibus

REGUA has finalised the exchange of its Renault minibus for a brand new Mercedes model to transfer guests to and from Rio de Janeiro airport and other destinations.

This minibus – with reclining seats, armrests, air conditioning and loads of space – is perfect for a comfortable ride from pickups in Rio de Janeiro and also for our offsite birding excursions. Our driver Alcenir is pleased as punch and looks forward to meeting new friends from around the world and giving them an introductory insight into Brazil and it’s bird life along the way to REGUA. The journey from Rio de Janeiro to REGUA is just under two hours and there are a couple of refreshments stops along the way. See you soon!

Alcenir with REGUA’s new Mercedes minibus (© Nicholas Locke)
Alcenir at the helm (© Lee Dingain)
The Mercedes is very roomy (© Lee Dingain)
Plenty of seats in the new minibus (© Lee Dingain)

Mosaic of Parks and Reserves “Central Fluminense”

The Mosaic of Parks and Reserves known as “Central Fluminense” is one of the most experienced Groups in SE Brazil.   Representatives have travelled all over Brazil sharing their experience of this umbrella organisation which represents all of the Parks and Reserves in the Serra do Mar mountains of Rio de Janeiro state.

As a Private Reserve, REGUA is a member of this Group along with some of the oldest and most important Parks in the country.

Mosaic meeting,
Mosaic meeting (© Nicholas Locke)

Being a representational platform is always a challenge not least as funding is needed in order to promote success.

When it was created a decade ago, the Government gave much importance to their regional Mosaics and they became increasingly active in challenging industries being created in the region.

This month there will be an exhibition in Brasilia where all the Mosaics will be participating to show their conquests and successes.

In a world where the need to conserve green areas is not always in harmony with socio-economic needs of development, this Group needs to retain its independence – representing the environment and providing a voice of calm to stand against inappropriate industrial development at all costs.

Schools Conservation Conference

REGUA at the Schools Conservation Conference
Carol and Prof. Carlos with Students (© Tom Locke)

REGUA recently participated in a School Conservation Conference.     This is run under the “Knowing Uçá” project.

The Conference was held in Cachoeiras de Macacu, in partnership with the Tres Picos State Park , the Department of the Environment, the Department of Education, local State Schools and the municipality of Cachoeiras de Macacu, UPAM and Uçá Project.

This is a great opportunity for REGUA to continue its outreach education programme with the local community, and raises the profile of the project with the various authorities who are promoting the event.


A wet weekend for this year’s AVISTAR, but everyone is making the most of it with children helping to build a huge Hornero nest.

Building a Horneros nest at AVISTAR 2016
Building a Hornero nest (© Raquel Locke)

There are over 30 stands and we have been have been talking non-stop to the many visitors present.

It is positive to see everyone so enthusiastic.

The 6th Annual visit by Miraflores School

In the Tree Nursery
In the Tree Nursery with Nicholas (© REGUA)

REGUA celebrated its 6th annual tree planting event with Miraflores Bilingual School from Rio de Janeiro.   The children are up to around 8 years old and they have often woken up at four in the morning in sheer anticipation of their day visit to REGUA.

The children are very excited and most interested in the activities presented.    One can easily reach them by holding their attention.   Miraflores requires that the entire visit is conducted in English and the children readily follow the explanations.

Arriving at REGUA they have breakfast and then depart for Amanda’s hide followed by a walk to the observation platform.   Although they are looking for caimans and capybaras in the wetland, they make a lot of noise thereby frightening off all wildlife!

They then walk around the yellow trail which can take another half an hour and we explain the importance of trees as we walk along.   Eventually they reach the Conservation Centre very thirsty.

Planting Trees
Planting the Trees (© REGUA)

After refreshing cold water they are taken to the tree nursery where they learn about our tree planting programme.   They learn that the seeds are collected from the forest then planted in seed boxes and nurtured.   The young plants are later transferred to earth filled plastic bags.   Then the fun comes when the children are taken to our tree planting area where they help to plant the saplings out, creating a new forest.

The children complete each process agog with interest and compete to water the plants in the field.     Even the teachers and headmaster get teary-eyed as he explains that the forests around him are fruit of earlier groups visiting REGUA.

We are so pleased to be able to offer them this area which they cherish and call their own forest.

REGUA is an outpost

In 1971, UNESCO launched the ‘Man and the Biosphere Programme’ (MAB).   This is a global programme aimed at improving the relationship between people and their environment.   The idea is to promote an innovative approach to economic development based on social, cultural and environment sustainability.

In 1993 UNESCO included 290,000km² of remaining Atlantic forest as a “Biosphere Reserve” an outstanding area of biodiversity.    The unique ecosystem made up of microhabitats that include mangroves, salt marsh, paramos and the changing forests at various elevations face constant anthropic pressure.

REGUA Biosphere
REGUA Biosphere (© Nicholas Locke)

Under the primary objective of conserving biological diversity, it provided status and targets for habitat protection, ecological restoration and the development of sustainable practices within these areas.

In 2015 REGUA applied to be formerly recognized as an “Outpost of the Biosphere Reserve” based on its consistent work in protection, education, restoration and research with low impact tourism since 2001.   We are delighted to announce that REGUA was unanimously awarded the status.

This title provides REGUA with the recognition to help with its objectives and a statement about its commitment to the conservation of the Atlantic Rainforest.

“Vem Passarinhar” at RPPN REGUA

“Vem Passarinhar” means “Come Birding” in Portuguese and for the first time we were able to stage this important event of the calendar year here at REGUA’s private reserve.

This is a marvellous opportunity to show the birdwatchers from Rio de Janeiro city and its environs what we are doing to protect their bird habitat in the reserve.   Fortunately our brilliant  bird guide Adilei was available to treat the bird watchers to some stunning birds with great views and photographic opportunities."Come Birding"

Indeed Adilei led the entire group to the Schincariol trail to see the White-bibbed Antbird, Southern Antpipit and long views of the Shrike-like Cotinga amongst so many other species.
This is a great commendation where REGUA is seen as a committed conservation project with a keen team.

The staff cooked terrific food and everyone was very happy with the event. There were many visitors of all ages with the adults especially keen to see their children get involved in the day’s action.

It is certainly that, an action packed two day event but worth every moment if all these people begin to see the fauna as something beautiful and to be proud of.

We are cultivating the tender feeling of environmental care and next year I am sure we shall see more people visiting.

Tree Planting in Cachoeiras de Macacu

Pope Francis is very popular in Cachoeiras de Macacu the nearest town to REGUA.   The Catholic Church wanted to celebrate his recent encyclical on nature by planting 1,000 trees  in Cachoeiras de Macacu’s Municipal Park located at the entrance of the town.

Tree Planting in Cachoeiras de Macacu
Tree Planting in Cachoeiras de Macacu Park (© Nicholas Locke)

REGUA had seedlings available and offered them to the Park.  The excited tree planters appeared promptly at 10.00 am and after a brief thank you sermon, everyone walked to the area to plant their trees.    Children and their families participated in the event and within 90 minutes the work was done.

This was a great job and the afternoon rain came to bathe the trees. The Forest Police also celebrated the act by releasing some cage birds and the children were delighted making further plans to reopen the overgrown paths in the Park.

Releasing caged birds in Cachoeiras
Releasing Caged birds (© Nicholas Locke)

Where there is a will there is a way !