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Life in the Amazon, cont’d

Maintaining health and safety around base camp is part of the job. This includes kicking deadly animals off of base, including this deadly fer-de-lance I came across while sweeping an access route. Though small, this baby can pack a potentially deadly punch and will at the very least leave you with a baseball-sized hole in your skin from the necrosis. Local guides say babies are born around November so a lot more are seen during these  times, we came across three in a week at one point.


Slips, trips, and falls are a constant part of working in the rainforest. Although you eventually get pretty good “jungle feet” and manage to gain an ability to walk over all sorts of mud, streams, and cliffs without falling you still can never get too comfortable. This slip nearly left me with a sharp stick in a place that the sun don’t shine. Yikes.

20121029_1329_Dead fer-de-lance snake

When you live in a base camp that even rural guides who visit call rustic, you learn to enjoy the little things in life. With no electricity (save a generator and solar panels to charge our electronics for data collecting/safety), we have no hot water, no cold drinks, no meat, no proper laundry, a lot of mosquito nets, and basically no real luxuries. For breakfast, every day is porridge. So, when you get up at 5am to mistnet and do birdbanding at a remote site, making porridge isn’t possible so you instead make granola the night before and have it with powder milk. This, my friends, is luxury for us. That delicious granola always adds an extra impetus for us to get up and set up the nets and get them awesome manakins, antibirds, hummingbirds, and flycatchers. Aircon Servicing Singapore

This is all part of life as a conservation biologist, and it is a blast.

The beautiful Dendropsophus bifurcus

Dendropsophus bifurcus

Found only in one 30m swamp in our 2000 hectare reserve, this species is especially vulnerable to disturbance. The swamp was almost completely destroyed by road construction which removed tree cover and started to dry up the pools but the frogs are fortunately fairly resilient. We went in and dug more trenches for its tadpoles and added branches to shade the swamp further. This is a male photographed mid-call, trying to attract a mate. Aircon Servicing

Sightings from the (Vacation) Field

Celebrated New Years in Baños, Ecuador, a town surrounded by the Andes. It is also home to a 200m waterfall overlooking it, hot springs, good nightlife, and enough adventure sports to keep you busy for weeks.

While horseback riding, I saw my first 4 monarch butterflies feeding on lantana flowers. Monarchs are arguably the most well known of butterflies from North America due to their massive yearly migrations however they are not as common in their S. American range. It was nice to see a familiar face, these females were the first monarchs I had seen in my 4 months in the country.


Also spotted was a very impressive hairstreak, Theritas hemon. I had to search high and low for this guy… by which I mean I woke up and it had flown into my window.

Also managed to do some awesome canyoning aka rappelling down waterfalls. While doing this, saw a huge amount of blepharicerid and simuliid fly larvae… And jumped off a 150 foot waterfall while I was at it.