Last month we went for a weekend trip to Balbina, the main attraction was fishing for tucunare in the Balbina dam. I didn’t go fishing though. I stayed in the town, Balbina, and went for a walk around, until the edge of town. I could see the lake formed by the dam, and the dead trees on the lake. The dam was built to provide energy to Manaus, as a renewable source, however it emits so much methane that it turns out to be worst than a coal plant. I’ve written about that before (Weekend trip to Balbina). There is another view of the tree trunks on that post.
While looking at the lake, I could also hear a lot of parrots, and eventually saw a few of them. Blue-headed parrots (Pionus menstruus) were flying around, and some were resting on the canopy of nearby trees.
Last Sunday we went on a day trip to Presidente Figueiredo with a group from Fotografia Manaus. It was a great trip, we discovered some new sites and had a great time. Here are a first set of photographs from the trip.
As we went into the forest last week, we stopped a couple of times to photograph trees and flowers. In one spot, we saw tracks on the road. I think they were from a jaguar, but it could also have been a mountain lion. A big cat for sure! Very exciting. My husband saw a black jaguar crossing the road near that spot a few months ago.
We saw many flowers like this, however most of them were up on the trees where the vines tangle around and go up into the canopy. This vine was growing on the floor next to the dirt road and we could take a close look at it. Many ants were on the flower, and some bees were visiting it too.
Last weekend we went for a walk to the Bosque da Ciencia. It was a short visit but we found a beautiful beetle, a blue weevil! It is a broad-nosed weevil (Curculionidae: Entiminae) with some blue on its legs and antenna.
This weekend we went for a walk to the Reserva Duke, in the northern part of Manaus. Part of the reserve is a botanical garden (Jardim Botanico) with nice trails in the forest and new exhibition areas in the forest. I really liked the little pirarucu we saw, it was just a few months old, and about 20 cm long. I will write a post about them later on. While we were looking at the exhibit about frogs and toads, I saw a beetle on the floor. I stopped paying attention to the frogs at that point. Here’s what I saw:
On our way to the research site. It is a long road through the forest. When one is lucky some animals can be seen crossing the road, ant eaters, wild boars, and last week a black jaguar! I wish I had been there.
Amazon or South American manatee (Trichechus inunguis) is commonly hunted for meat and oil along the Amazon River. I don’t know how people manage to find them, but they do, and it is common that little ones are left without their mothers. They also get hurt by the boats. There are programs to help manatee populations recover and to reintroduce them in some areas with support of the local people. Researchers at INPA are also working on this. This photograph was taken at the Bosque da Ciencia where some manatees are brought in for recovery.
Last year, on my birthday, I went on a boat trip on the Amazon. We made a stop at a floating restaurant, and nearby we saw a group of brown pale-fronted capuchins (Cebus albifrons (Humboldt, 1812)).
Two weeks ago I saw a couple of Guan on the mango tree in our garden. We’ve identified them as Spix’s guan (Jacu-de-spix)
Penelope jacquacu. The one on the left was cutting leaves of maracuya and giving them to the one on the right. After a while they each rested on separate branches of the tree. It was the first time I saw them, and I haven’t seen them back since.
I went to spend a couple of days out in the field, that is the Amazon forest, as there was going to be a good churrasco and fishing the next day. Both were delicious meals! This beetle was floating on a little stream, we took it out and I took some pictures of it. It was complicated because of the color and it was so bright out. Different light conditions provide with a challenge when taking pictures. It was a good practice, I think it came out very nice.
Since I’ve moved to the tropics, I’ve learned that there are two-toed sloths and three-toed sloths. I just recently found out that they each belong to a separate family, Megalonychidae (two-toed sloths) and Bradypodidae (three-toed sloths) and they are not closely related.
Sloths are arboreal mammals, the live up in the trees and their limbs are adpated to hang from trunks and branches where they sleep or rest for about 20 hours a day. I find it very interesting that they have to go down from the trees to poo about once a week. It’s also quite interesting that they have algae living on their fur.
There are four species within Bradypus, two of which can be found in this area, Bradypus tridactylus (pale-throated sloth) and Bradypus variegatus (brown-throated sloth). The pale-throated sloth (Bradypus tridactylus) has a more resticted range east of the Andes and south of the Orinoco River, occuring in the Guyana Shield region including northern Brazil south to the Rio Negro-Rio Solimoes region (where Manaus is located). The brown-throated sloth (Bradypus variegatus), on the other hand, can be found all the way from Honduras to northern Argentina.
A week ago, we went for a walk at Bosque da Ciencia, and we saw a sloth eating young leaves up on a tree. I’m still not sure which species we saw, the pale-throated sloth or the brown-thrated sloth. Can you help me identify it?