Documenting nature in the Amazon through photographs and sketches

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Amazon blue insects

A couple of pictures of blue insects that I saw while visiting some waterfalls near Presidente Figueiredo, about 100 km north of Manaus.  While others were happily swimming and refreshing themselves from the tropical heat, I took some time to look around for insects (as I usually do) and was happy to found two blue ones.  I like blue insects, as my blog name suggests.  This photographs were taken in April last year!  I finally got to upload them to the blog.  I really have to keep up with this.

alguns insetos

A few insect photos taken during my most recent visit to Bosque da Ciencia, INPA.

Algumas fotos de insetos tiradas durante a minha mais recente visita à Bosque da Ciencia, INPA.

Algunas fotos de insectos que tomé durante mi más reciente visita al Bosque de Ciencia, INPA.

Cheia 2012 – The highest water level registered in the Rio Negro.

I went downtown Manaus last sunday to walk around the market and to see what was going on with the water level.  It is so high that the streets next to the river, by the port, are completely flooded.  You can see the boats on port at the level of the street.  There are little bridges to cross over from one side of the street to the other.  Lots of people gather around to see the phenomenon, and like me, they want to document it.

We’ve been living here in Manaus since October 2010. We missed the day where the highest temperature has been recorded (38.3°C on the shade*), as it was in September that year.  Soon after we arrived, we witnessed the lowest level of the Rio Negro.  The level was at registered at 13.63 m*, the lowest since the measurements started 110 years ago.  Last year, in August 2011, the lowest relative humidity of the past hundred years was recorded with an index of only 18%*, whereas in a hot (32.3°C) day like today we have 57% (according to our weather station). This has been recorded by my husband who maintains the weather station in our garage as well as others in the field sites where he’s working. A graph of the low relative humidity and other climate data from Manaus can be found at: https://www.bgc-jena.mpg.de/bgp/index.php/NorbertKunert/WeatherStationManaus

*  data obtained from: Portal D24AM  http://www.d24am.com/amazonia/meio-ambiente/clima-de-manaus-passou-por-cinco-fenomenos-extremos-em-tres-anos/59249

Weekend trip to Balbina

Ara macao - Scarlet macaw - Araracanga - Guacamaya roja

Ara macao – Scarlet macaw – Araracanga – Guacamaya roja

I saw this macaw, along with many others at the Centro de Preservação e Pesquisa de Mamíferos Aquáticos (CPPMA – Preservation and Research Center for Aquatic Mammals) near Balbina, Amazonas.

Sometime in the 1980’s a hydroelectric dam was constructed on the Rio Uatumã, north of Manaus.  A great extension of land was flooded due to the dam.  This construction has been defined as an economic, social and ecological tragedy, as much more methane is released than the amount of carbon dioxide expelled if they had continued to use thermoelectric plants burning oil as was previously done.  It has been categorized as the most inefficient dam in Brazil.

Lago Balbina

The energy company from the hydroelectric dam sponsors the CPPMA in order to promote the preservation and research of aquatic mammals.  The main focus of the center is on amazon manatees (Peixe-boi), they have projects on rehabilitation of orphan or injured animals, reintroduction into natural habitat as well as education programs.

The Center is located near Presidente Figueiredo, land of the waterfalls (A terra das cachoeiras), as they say in their town brochure.  During our day trip we also visited one of the many waterfalls on the area, Cachoeira Pedra Furada. It was very nice to go for a swim there.

Cachoeira Pedra Furada

Argiope sp.

Jardim Paulista, Manaus

 

I saw this spider outside, next to the chicken enclosure. I think it is from the genus Argiope.  After I saw several smaller ones on the fence.

dragonfly

dragonfly emerging in our little pond in the garden

Blue-and-Yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna)

I made this sketch while visiting the zoo at the Tropical Hotel in Manaus.  I really like macaws, sometimes I see scarlet macaws flying by, usually I see a couple of them.  Blue-and-Yellow Macaws are not considered endangered, however, as with other macaws and parrots, their numbers are diminishing gradually.  The main reasons are habitat loss and the capture for use as pets.

dancing jumping spider

Garden, Jardim Paulista, Manaus

The courtship behavior of jumping spiders is amazing, the male dances and produces noises to impress the female. The male in this photograph is dancing in front of the female, he extends his legs, moves them quite rapidly, tiptoes to one side and the other.  These spiders are in the subfamily Lyssomaninae and are usually found on the underside of leaves, where they blend with the surroundings.

Garden, Jardim Paulista, Manaus

Garden, Jardim Paulista, Manaus

just emerged

Just emerging after developing on the little pond in the garden.

I think it’s a species of Orthemis, in the Libellulidae family. The males are very territorial and usually red or purple colored, whereas the females are dark brown.  I’ve seen females laying eggs in the pond, and the male looking over his territory from some branches nearby.  This dragonfly was seen on Eichhornia, the water hyacinths we have on the pond, Saturday October 15, 2011.

a few sketches

I’ve started sketching insects from the garden, here are a few.



We have a few floating plants in the garden pond.  The flowers only last for a day; they are pretty purple with a yellow spot in the middle (I will try to do a sketch with color next time there is a flower).


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