Few places loom as large in the naturalist’s mind as the Galápagos. To me, they had reached near mythical status as the volcanic islands that Darwin had visited, teeming with endemic species that had no fear of humans. Every year I was in Ecuador on fieldwork I toyed with the idea of heading out to … More GALÁPAGOS


I realise the blog has been travelling around the jungle for quite some time now, so before we head to the next destination (the venerable Galápagos islands), I thought I’d head back to Norfolk for a bit of appreciation of how gorgeous this time of year is in the UK. These were taken on a … More AUTUMN


I’ve been sitting on this post for quite some time, having started it when I was writing up my thesis. Seen as I’ve reached a natural break in the Ecuador and Colombia posts from this year’s mammoth trip, now seemed like a good time to put it up. As regular readers may know, in September … More 10 BITS OF PhD ADVICE (FROM SOMEONE WHO’S JUST FINISHED ONE)


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


And so we head on to Payamino, where the field course stays for around 10 days. After living here for the best part of 2014, the Timburi Cocha research station feels like home; but I still get a thrill every time the canoe turns the corner and I see the sweeping view of the pebble … More GECKO


I hope you’ll excuse the lack of images in this post- I know that most on this blog are image-heavy, text-light- but for this beauty, I mean to make an exception. This is a tayra- an animal that very few people outside of South America have heard of, but an absolutely gorgeous creature that became … More TAYRA


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