Balbina and the blue-headed parrots
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.
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.
Weekend trip to Balbina
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.
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.
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.