Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Posted by Bejat

Our dear friend Carl back home in Austin, TX sent us a wonderful haiku that I would like to share with ya’ll.

They went to find frogs
Climbing trees with stinging bees
Learning what matters

-Carl Teixeira

We are finding frogs. Just the other day I found Edilorina perezi. What a fantastic find amongst the leaf litter, so difficult to see. Only our second time to find this species here at TBS. Charne found yet another Nictamatis rugaceps. This time it was a juvinile. She’s got the eye and she’s quick with the hands. Noah has been going to the volleyball court every night, which is loaded with frogs, to find elusive frogs we have yet encountered. The rainy season is here and the frogs are abundant so he is trying to curb the itch of catching everything in sight. The other night he caught Hyla marmorata and Hyla parviceps.

We have only one more tree to climb. Shawn is so good at climbing and gets up there so fast. He has become so agile
with his spider-webbing climbing system, it's amazing. Luckily our last tree to climb is close to camp with no serious flooding to wade through. The river is rising and the trails are beginning to flood, which can only mean one thing, MORE FROGS! Of course there are other species reproducing, but the frogs are in heaven right now, calling day and night.

There is a small turtle that lives by our cabin, a species of side-necked turtle (photo at right). Shawn found him and we processed him and decided to move him to a safer location (so he wouldn'
t get chewed up by the wed-eater, which was evident). Shawn placed him in a cabrada on the other side of camp and in a few days he returned to the open space next to our cabin. We decided to leave him and hope for the best. We notified the workers here, but it's hard to see what is under the grass when you have to deal with sweat-bees, wasps and other biting things. Plus, Lucha, the pet trumpeter loves loud noises and runs to the weed-eater to try to hang out right next to it. It is the strangest thing. And it's not just the weed-eater, but also the chain-saw, generator, music, people and just anything that makes noise. She seems to get depressed when there is not a lot of people in camp. That bird is the best pet, but I would NEVER take her out of the jungle. She would be so unhappy and surely die if she were not in the jungle. She is an insectivore and loves to follow people around to not only hang out with them, but eat the insects they stir up along the way.

We did catch an Anaconda (photos located above) a few days ago. It was about 7 or 8 feet long (6 1/2 meters). It seemed to have eaten something fairly recently since it had a large lump in it's mid-section (photo located at left below). Don Mayer, one of the guides here said that it may have eaten a Squirrel Monkey. After we took photos, Shawn proceeded to lunge at the head, capturing him safely just behind the head. This constrictor was basking in the sun on a large log along the Tiputini River and as Shawn had a grip on his head the boat began to slowly drift away from the log. At this point Diego, the manager here at TBS, straddled the log to grab the hind end and Noah went for the mid-section. SUCCESS! The Anaconda was pulled into the boat and ready to be processed.

We took a scale clip for DNA, measurements, weight, photos and videoed the entire process. It was our first time to catch and Anaconda and it was so very exciting. This non-toxic constrictor is elusive and mystical. There are may indigenous stories about Anacondas and in many cultures they are thought to posses powers and have spiritual qualities. What was so remarkable was the eyes. They possess the sense of darkness and strength. They appear to have two pupils, but the structure of the pupil is for vision above and below the water at the exact same moment. What a truly phenomenal specimen. I felt so honored to be in it's presence.

Noah and Charne leave in two weeks and Shawn's other assistant, Travis, arrives on Friday. Tower I is near the tree on the Matapalo trail that we will be climbing next. We have saved this tree until last so that I could video the climb from this tower. We hope that it will be complete by the time we climb this tree. That will be some phenomenal footage because I will be parallel with the tree.

exerpt from the journal of Bejat McCracken:

"Many times a day we are graced by the beauty of Scarlet and even Yellow and Blue Macaws flying over head. Their brilliant color and graceful flight can only be matched by the Morpho Butterfly. It makes you stop in awe of the vision before your eyes as if you can't even imaging a more beautiful sight. It's like a dream into reality. That waking dream that keeps you wanting more so that you drift in and out of concisenesses. It is this breath of life that keeps one sane and pure in heart and soul."

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