One of my favourite things to do in Payamino (not least because it requires almost no effort to find cool stuff) is to fix the macro lens to my Nikon and potter around the edges of the research station’s clearing. Interesting finds have included bullet ants patrolling, weevils with noses as long as their bodies, caterpillars … More THE CLEARING


Another bird post? You betcha. Apologies for the taxonomic bias, but when in the Tandayapa Bird Valley, one must make allowances. I recently watched the Andes episode of the NHU’s Mountains series (should still be on iPlayer), which spent a few minutes with the hummingbirds I talked about in the last post. They were utterly … More TROGON


Let us leave the anoles of Pahuma behind and carry on to the field course’s next stop- the Andean cloud forest. Or, rather, a small part of it on the eastern slopes of the mountains in Pichincha, that captures the imagination in a way that few other habitats can. The first five days or so … More BELLAVISTA


Well, as Samwise Gamgee would say, I’m back. As I explained in my last post- way back at the beginning of July- these past few months have involved a lot of time away travelling and working in Ecuador and Colombia. I’ve been over high paramo, to steaming jungles, to remote islands, and to the heady … More PAHUMA


Heavens- it’s been a while, hasn’t it? As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I’ve had to put my blog on the back-burner for the past couple of months. May, June and July featured both my PhD thesis deadline and the opportunity to demonstrate on Manchester’s Tropical Ecology field course; a double-whammy that has seen most … More LIFE, LATELY


One of the highlights of this year’s Christmas viewing has been this gorgeous little video by Snake Buddies, featuring Jürgen Otto’s incredible footage of peacock spiders – anyone who isn’t acquainted with his work should immediately follow this link to his YouTube channel. While I don’t have anything remotely as impressive, I agree that salticids (aka jumping spiders) … More AN ODE TO SALTICIDS


Here I am on another plane, writing blog posts when I should really be planning how I’m going to be spending my next few days in primatology nirvana. We’re on our way to Chicago for the joint meeting of the International Primatological Society and American Society of Primatologists (ooh err), the program is 82 pages … More ARMY ANT


So, as promised, here is something to counter all of last week’s eight-legged offerings (not that spiders can’t be adorable in their own right). There are lots of different species belonging to Phyllomedusa, but they all look like they have been plucked straight from the pages of a children’s book and deposited into the jungle … More PHYLLOMEDUSA


‘South America is the home of some of the strangest, some of the loveliest and some of the most horrifying animals in the world’. So reads the first sentence of David Attenborough’s Zoo Quest books, which I would highly recommend you try and get your hands on (they’ve been out of print for a good … More NIGHT WALK


Well, I’m back. And not counting an outbreak of V&D that took out most of the field course for a couple of days (now affectionately referred to as the vompocalypse), I have had an awesome month away. Ecuador is famous for having an incredible diversity of habitats despite its small size- and though I still … More MONKEY FACE