25 Januar 2015

RPPN Mãe-da-lua, a private nature reserve near Itapaje.

Dr. Hermann Redies, a German biologist has set up this private reserve of more than 700 hectares.
See details on his website: http://www.mae-da-lua.org/mdl_presentation.html
We are grateful for his hospitality. He gave us a much deeper insight into the ecology of this dry "Caatinga" area than we could have got on our own. His help in identifying birds that were all strange to us was crucial!
The bullet holes on this signboard are an indication, that the hunting prohibition is not easy to enforce!
The area has very poor soils and slash-and-burn-agriculture seems to be destructive but little productive. The local rural population can not survive on what they produce and depend on social welfare.

The reserve is not intended to be touristic but offers a clean bedroom and bathroom and Hermann
prepared excellent food for us.


We made one evening and one early morning hike in the forest. High temperature and humidity made  these difficult enough, but around noon any kind of activity seemed impossible to us Europeans.
The rainy season had not really started and the trees were still mostly bare, so birds were certainly easier to see than a few weeks later.

There are termite colonies of different forms on practically every tree, mostly built of clay .

A wonderful Golden-Green WoodpeckerPiculus chrysochloros (male)

And another member of the woodpecker group: the tiny Ochraceous Piculet (Picumnus limae)

Woodcreepers are a big family resembling woodpeckers in their climbing lifestyle but with different bills and feeding habits. Here Straight-billed Woodcreeper (Xiphorhynchus picus)

 These are female (red-crested) and male of Planalto Slaty-Antshrike (Thamnophilus pelzelni).

We only heard some monkeys but we found many places where they had used stones to crack the nuts
they feed on.

In the evening we sat looking through the books, watching the geckos, listening to the owls and played some birdsongs over Hermann's self made loudspeaker.

Hermann showed us the way back to the main road and we left with a feeling that here a man with a mission had found the right place to live and work.

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