Friday, February 26, 2010

Frog Songs

Morning Downpour

I did not know that frogs can sing. This evening the sounds of the cicadas are drowned out by the croaking of frogs, which somehow sound like birdsongs or perhaps like ducksongs. The cicadas have drifted into the background while the frogs are loud and insistent. Perhaps they are here tonight because of the incredible downpour we had last night. Sometime in the early hours, thunder and lightning woke us up from our sleep, and blasted our part of the jungle and brought rain which lasted until about 11 AM. Unfortunately that meant that animals were hiding and did not show themselves to us, so our hikes through the jungle both in the morning and the evening were uneventful.

Jungle Beehive

More Jungle Bees

Jungle Colour

It is evident that we are far more observant and appreciative of the plants and animals we see here than anywhere else. At home, I do not stop at each plant and bird and animal I encounter and comment on its species and habits. We walked with ' Bolivar', our young Houarani guide, who spoke some Spanish and no English, and when coaxed told us about some traditional uses of plants and vines. He found a stem, which when grated and cooked in warm water for ten minutes or so, will cure stomach ailments in less than two hours, or at least before modern medicines will work. He showed us another tree root which worked as an anitvenom from snake bites, and yet another which worked for arthritis and sore joints. Bolivar was not very talkative and never smiled, but he explained the use of several plants for medicinal treatments and cooking techniques and explained that these traditions are passed down from generation to generation.

Jungle Frog


Luscious Colour

Tame Tapir

I told him we wanted to see monkeys, so we did run into a group of squirrel monkeys, but most of the animals stayed away after the rain, so we focused more on plants and plant uses. I find that it does not matter if I see alot or a little, I simply like to hike through the forest and look at what I see. Bolivar was able to identify bird species though their birdcall, and we tried to follow the sound of the toucans and the parrots and perhaps even the harpy eagle, hoping to see each of the species, but were not successful in our efforts. The most emotion I saw from Bolivar was when we crossed a stream close to a small waterfall, and he almost jumped up and down for joy when he saw a bunch of fish in the water. He rushed us back to the research station after that; I believe he planned to return with a fishing rod or fish poison to collect his dinner.

We found some frogs and millipedes and insects, and added to the plant information, feel reasonably accomplished after our first day in Yasuni, one of the most biodiverse spots in the world. We are reminded over and over that the animals hide after the rain, and will return if it does not rain tomorrow. We are up at 5 AM tomorrow to see the sunrise and the morning birds at the tower.

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