Archive for the ‘PHOTOGRAPHY & IMAGES’ Category
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LATEST UPDATE (Dec.2/2010)
Volcanic activity has been reported in the Tungurahua (Throat of Fire) volcano in Ecuador, the second case sighted in the past few weeks. The volcano spewed molten rocks and large clouds of gas and ash near Banos, south of Quito, Reuters reported on Tuesday. The Tungurahua’s volcanic activity follows last month’s eruption, when a column of gas shot up seven kilometers into the sky. No casualties have been recorded so far, but flight re-direction is being considered.
Tungurahua is located approximately 150 kilometers southeast of Ecuador’s capital, Quito.
RECENT CHRONOLOGY ….
After almost 6 months of relevate calm, Mount Tungurahua seems to be reawaking in the first days of 2010.
DEC.30 2009 – long-period earthquake followed by fumarolic activity with a steam plume reaching 300 metres above the crater.
JAN.01 2010 – beginning of emissions with low ash content, accompanied by rumbles that have gradually increased their intensity.
JAN.03 2010 – crater glow visible, lava fountaining begins, with the projection of incandescent material onto the upper slopes and intense rumbling sounds
JAN.04 2010 – increased ash emissions with eruption columns reaching as high as 2 km above the crater, ash fall reported to the west.
MAY.31 2010 – explosion (see photo series below)
Tungurahua volcano eruption process last night (May 31). Photo credits: Armando Prado/El Comercio
NOV.22 2010 – A sudden eruption of the Tungurahua volcano in the Ecuadorian Andes sent a column of ash more than 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) into the sky.
APR.27 2011 - A significant explosive eruption occurred, prompting evacuations of schools and villages near the volcano. Tungurahua produced a 7 km / ~23,000 foot ash plume, which is a bit surprising considering that last report from Instituto Geofisico in Ecuador from January 2011 reported ”activity at Tungurahua continued to decrease and ash was absent from plumes.” Hugo Yepes, a geologist from the IG, was quoted as saying (Spanish) this eruption was one of the largest at the volcano in the past 11 years and that the IG expects that this eruption might gone on for “several days”. The Ecuadoran government placed the volcano on Orange Alert status, meaning mandatory evacuations for a number of villages near Tungurahua. Some air traffic in and out of Quito has also been effected by the eruption.
(Photo by Cecilia Puebla/AFP/Getty Images)
COTALO, ECUADOR – The Tungurahua volcano spews ashes and lava on January 11, 2010, in Cotalo, Ecuador, 135km south of Quito.
This tradition dates hundreds of years ago; and it is almost impossible to know its exact origin. But without a doubt it is a result of the syncretism of indigenous rituals and traditions brought by the Spanish with the Catholic religion.
Recipes for Colada Morada can vary from region to region and family to family. Almost all versions contain basic ingredients like:
- mortiño (i.e., “Blueberry of the Andes” or myrtle berry) [link]
- mora (i.e., very similar to blackberry)
- piña (i.e., pineapple)
- naranjas (i.e., oranges)
- canela (i.e., cinnamon)
- clavo de olor (i.e., cloves)
- panela (i.e., unrefined whole cane sugar)
- maicena – corn flower base (i.e., cornstarch, black flour or purple corn flour)
- ishpingo (Ecuadorian spice)
- pimienta dulce (i.e., sweet peppercorns)
- bundle of aromatic herbs (huerba buena, arrayan, orange leaves, lemon verbena)
… some will include strawberries, blueberries, naranjilla juice (an Andean fruit), babaco (champagne fruit), allspice and even raisins.
Ishpingo (from the Quechua ‘ishpinku’) is the native Ecuadorian cinnamon tree Ocotea quixos (Lauraceae), found only in a small region of Amazonian Ecuador and Colombia. It is in the same family (Lauraceae) as the common Cinnamon and has a similar aroma. It has been used locally as a spice and flavoring agent since pre-European times.
Colada Morada has its roots in ‘El Dia de los Difuntos’ or ‘Day of the Ancestors’ (November 2), a time to celebrate and pay respects to one’s ancestors. In the small villages, families dress in their finest clothes and carry a meal to the cemetery. It is generally customary to leave one plate for the dead ancestor. This traditional meal includes guaguas de pan and the colada morada.
Guaguas de pan literally translated means ‘bread babies’. The word guagua, pronounced wa-wa, is Quechua for baby or young child.) These bread babies can be up to 12 inches long and are decorated with icing and may have jam or some other sweet filling inside.
In the larger towns and cities, families no longer eat with their ancestors. They spend the day visiting the cemetery and laying flowers on the graves. They may make guaguas de pan and colada morada, but only for eating with their family at home. Nevertheless, the spirit of the Día de los Difuntos carries on as one of the important traditions of Ecuador.
The BBC does a spectacular job of capturing the Galapagos Islands in their series, “Galapagos: Born of Fire’.
Part 1 ….
One of the major highlights of any visit to the Galapagos Islands – and most that have already been will agree - is the wide variety of fascinating and seemingly fearless wildlife. For this reason a fancy telephoto lens is not absolutely necessary (with the exception of such birds as the Galapagos hawk) when taking your personal photographs of the interesting animals.
I still fondly remember my first visit to the Island over ten years ago …. and particularly remember how most of the wildlife seemed oblivious to the presence of human tourists – almost as if they had been trained to go about their daily activities in almost complete ignorance of the presence of daily tourists walking the various marked trails of the Galapagos Islands.
Some creatures (males Sea lions pop to mind) actually have turned the table, so to speak. It is not unknown for male sea lions to assert their dominance by occasionally trying to chase or herd tourists along the trails and away from their territory. I had a similar experience while snorkeling …. a male sea lion chased me off a secluded beach I had drifted on to and started to nip and nibble at my fins as I calmly (but rather quickly) made my way back out to sea.
Other situations frequently occur with such creatures as the Espanola Mockingbird, which are know renowned for landing on your arm (or any convenient spot) to try and drink water from your water bottle as you meander down the trail. Some land iguanas on (South) Plazas, for example, almost crawl over your hand while seated on a rock as you listen intently to your guide goes through a discourse about cactus, evolution or the such.
TAME airline has just renovated their logo and started a new ad campaign:
For the Galapagos Islands ..
For Quito ….
For Guayaquil …
For Macas ….
For Portoviejo ….
For Loja …
For Tulcan …
For Cuenca …
For Manta …
Sangay Touring provides readers with a diagram (and associated instructions) for the check-in procedure for Galapagos Islands flights from the Quito airport:
The food in Ecuador is as diverse as the country is, varying with altitude and associated agricultural conditions. Pork, chicken, beef, and cuy (guinea pig) are popular in the mountain regions and are served with a variety of grains (especially rice and corn or potatoes). A popular street food in mountain regions is hornado, consisting of potatoes served with roasted pig. Fanesca, a fish soup including several types of bean, is often eaten during Lent
During the week before the commemoration of the deceased or “día de los muertos”, the fruit beverage “Colada Morada” is typical, accompanied by “Guaguas de Pan”, which is stuffed bread shaped like children.
The food is somewhat different in the southern mountain area, featuring typical Loja food such as “repe“, a soup prepared with green bananas; “cecina“, roasted pork; and “miel con quesillo” or “cuajada” as dessert.
A wide variety of fresh fruit is available, particularly at lower altitudes, including granadilla, passionfruit, naranjilla, several types of bananas, uvilla, taxo, and tree tomato.
Seafood is very popular at the coast, where prawns, shrimp and lobster are key parts of the diet. Plantain- and peanut-based dishes are the basis of most coastal meals, which are usually served in two courses. The first course is caldo soup, which may be aguado (a thin soup, usually with meat) or caldo de leche, a cream vegetable soup. The second course might include rice, a little meat or fish with a menestra (lentil stew), and salad or vegetables. Patacones (fried green plantains with cheese) are popular side dishes with coastal meals.
Some of the typical dishes in the coastal region are: ceviche, pan de almidón, corviche, guatita, encebollado and empanadas; in the mountain region: hornado, fritada, humitas, tamales, llapingachos, lomo saltado, and churrasco.
In the rainforest, a dietary staple is the yuca, elsewhere called cassava. The starchy root is peeled and boiled, fried, or used in a variety of other dishes. Many fruits are available in this region, including bananas, tree grapes, and peach palms. It’s also used as a bread and has spread throughout the nation, most notably, to Quito where a company sells the native pan de yuca in a new sense; different types sold with frozen youghurt.
Aguardiente, a sugar cane-based spirit, is probably the most popular national alcohol. Drinkable yogurt, available in many fruit flavors, is popular and is often consumed with pan de yuca, a light bread filled with cheese and eaten warm.
Even today, the geographical regions of this small country are isolated from one another, as the towering Andes and expansive Pacific Ocean make it difficult to communicate. This has led to a great variety in local cuisines.
This region runs along the western edge of the country, bordering the Pacific Ocean. Due to colder currents, a variety of fish and shellfish can be found in this part of the Pacific, and therefore this region’s cuisine tends to be dominated by seafood, (although other non-seafood dishes, such as guatita and seco de chivo, are also popular at a national level).
Ceviche: One of the most popular and well known South American seafood dishes worldwide is ceviche. Ecuadorian ceviche is different from the more widely recognized Peruvian ceviche, and the recipe varies throughout the country. Served cold, it is made from cooked fish, conch, or shrimp (or any combination), with lots of onions, tomatoes, ketchup and lemon. It is generally served with fried plantain chips (chifles) and popcorn.
Cazuela: a plantain-based casserole dish with fish or shrimp, and sometimes peanut sauce.
Guatita: cow stomach cooked in a hard-boiled egg and peanut sauce and served with boiled potatoes.
Aguado de gallina (chicken rice soup): The flavors in this thick soup are very concentrated. It is cooked (and served) with chicken pieces on the bone. Sometimes vegetables are added, but traditionally the soup only has chicken and rice.
Seco de chivo (goat stew): stewed goat (or lamb) meat served with rice and plantains.
Dividing the country in two is the Andean region. Typical ingredients in this region are corn, potatoes, fava beans and pork. As with the Coastal Region, each city or town has its own variations for each dish, but some of the more popular are listed below:
Llapingachos: fried potato cakes filled with cheese and topped with a fried egg and a side of chorizo sausage, atop a salad of lettuce, tomato, and cooked carrots and beets.
Helado de paila: fresh fruit sorbet.
Mote con chicharron: hominy served with fried pig fat.
Hornado: tender roasted pork served with agrio (a vinegary parsley and lemon sauce) and llapingachos and/or mote (hominy).
Fritada: fried pork meat.
Locro de papa: thick potato and cheese (or egg) soup.
Cuy: roasted or fried guinea pig served with potatoes topped with a peanut sauce.
Good restaurant & site for Ecuadorian cuisine: LA CHOZA
UPDATED ARTICLE FOUND HERE (click)
PUERTO LOPEZ / MONTANITA
This region is famous for the Humpback whales that are present in the waters (especially in the Machalilla National Park) between June and September. The Humpback whales (megaptera novaeangliae) migrate from the Antarctic South Pole to tropical waters to mate and give birth to their calves.
The humpback whales are easy to recognize because of their extremely long pectoral fins. These whales can measure up to 16 m of length and weigh up to 40 tons. Humpback whales are the most acrobatic of the bigger whales. They like to breach out the water or hit the surface repetitively with their flippers or flukes.
To reach Puerto Lopez, in the coastal province of Manabi, there are 5 bus companies that make this journey (aprox. 5 to 6 hours) and cost between USD $6 to $9 one way. Breakfast & lunches in Puerto Lopez run from USD $1.50 up to USD $15. Whale watching tours run from USD $20 to $50, as do trips to Isla de la Plata. Accommodation runs from USD $10 to $100. Recommended good alternatives near Puerto Lopez are: Mantaraya & Hosteria Alandaluz (http://www.alandaluzhosteria.com/index.html). Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
This is not to mention the pristine white-sand beaches … many of which are ideal for surfing and para sailing. Another attraction in this region is Los Frailles National Park, with its peaceful and soft sand beach cove.
SOURCE: CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL
DATE: June 16, 2009
BY: Molly Bergen
A glass frog whose organs can be seen through its transparent skin. A smiling bat. A hideously ugly salamander. These are just a few of the discoveries unearthed on a recent CI RAP expedition in Ecuador.
A Refuge for Species
Located in southeastern Ecuador, near the Peruvian border, the Nangaritza River valley is mountainous, heavily forested and relatively inaccessible to most people. The upper river valley is known for its Tepuyes, or tabletop mountains, which are home to many species that are found nowhere else on earth, as well as other species whose populations are threatened in other locations but remain plentiful here.
Nangaritza’s isolation has not only helped to protect the mountain ecosystem from destruction, it has also long posed a challenge to detailed scientific study. Part of the region is under the protection of the Nangaritza Protected Forest, but wildlife experts believe that more land must be protected for this unique environment to thrive.
The Shuar indigenous association and a local farming organization have been granted management over much of the protected forest, but these groups are proposing that the lands be upgraded to a higher protection status, where they will be more sustainably managed. Before this step can be taken, however, more scientific data is needed.
Rapid Assessments, Exciting Discoveries
In-depth biodiversity surveys can often take years to complete – a frustrating reality when many of the world’s ecosystems are constantly under threat of destruction. CI’s Rapid Assessment Program (RAP) conducts quick biodiversity surveys all over the world to identify species and make recommendations for conservation action.
During April’s three week survey of the Nangaritza region, more than 16 researchers and support staff from CI and partner organizations from Ecuador and the U.S. hiked, measured and photographed their way through the steamy Tepuy forests in search of wildlife. Despite endless rain, flat tires and other inevitable obstacles of field work, they had great success.
Among the hundreds of species documented, the RAP team found four species of amphibians, one reptile, at least seven katydids, at least two plants, and possibly one rodent species thought to be unknown to science. In addition, several bird species were found outside of their known ranges, possibly indicating the existence of larger bird populations than previously thought.
Researchers also found a healthy population of Atelopus toads. The toads’ presence is very promising, as other Atelopus populations throughout Central and South America have faced massive declines due to the chytrid fungus.
Taking Conservation Action
How does finding a healthy toad affect human well-being? The absence of the chytrid fungus in the Nangaritza Atelopus population indicates a thriving ecosystem that must be preserved for the survival of future generations of people as well as animals. Further study of local amphibians, as well as other key species like birds, will be necessary in order to continue to monitor ecosystem health.
IN PHOTOS: Discovering Species in Nangaritza, Ecuador
In response to the RAP survey, CI-Ecuador and partners including Fundacion Arcoiris and the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador plan to produce a booklet to educate locals about their region’s biodiversity and the value conservation will have for their own lives. CI also hopes to involve more communities in the Socio Bosque (Forest Partners) Program, developed by the Ecuadorian government with support from CI, which provides financial incentives to communities in return for forest stewardship. They also plan to survey other Tepuyes in the region to determine if they also have healthy ecosystems supporting Atelopus.
The survey’s findings provide strong support for local communities’ proposal to strengthen environmental protection and plan for the management of research, ecotourism (particularly bird watching) and other economic alternatives.
By presenting alternative livelihood choices that benefit communities while promoting conservation, we not only improve the lives of many people today, but also preserve our resources for tomorrow.000000
The Long-wattled Umbrellabird, Cephalopterus penduliger, (Paraguas longipendulo in Spanish) is a bird found in the humid forests of the Chocó of western Ecuador. It is sensitive to habitat destruction, and its large size make it easy to hunt. Furthermore, only a few of the populations live within protected areas, so the bird is now considered vulnerable.
The long-wattled umbrellabird gains its name from the rather bizarre and striking features of the male of the species. The male bird has a large crest, composed of hair-like feathers, extending over the bill, and a long, black feathered wattle hanging from the middle of the chest. The wattle reaches a length of up to 45 centimeters and can be inflated during courtship, when it resembles a large, open pine cone. During flight, it is retracted and held against the chest. The female and juvenile resemble the male but are smaller, and both the crest and wattle are greatly reduced. The long-wattled umbrellabird is usually silent, except during displays, when the male makes a protracted grunting noise, as well as a low-frequency booming call that is audible to humans at a distance of up to one kilometer away.
Their diet is of insects and fruit. Their nest was first seen by scientists in 2003. In breeding season, the males shout a loud call. Long-wattled Umbrellabirds form small leks where males display with their long, pendulous wattle while sounding off with their far-carrying, fog-horn-like call. It is considered globally vulnerable and, mostly due to hunting pressures and habitat destruction is considered endangered within Ecuador.
According to a recent article in El Comercio on May 6th, 2009, a recent census taken in the central and northern Ecuadorian Andean Sierra (or highlands) only 27 condors (El Kuntur) were registered. The main reason for the drastic decline in their numbers is that these birds do not find sufficient food easily and their natural habitat is being reduced. Subsequently, birth rates have decline and is putting the Condor at risk of extinction.
In 2002, research conducted by Aves & Conservacion anticipated a reduction in condor numbers when they counted only 60 or 70 condors in total.
The Condor [vultur gryphus] lives in the Andes from Venezuela down to Magallanas (Argentina). They are generally found above 3000 meters above sea level.
Lifespan: roughly 50 years
Weight: between 11 & 13 kg
Wing span: 3.5 meters
Diet: dead animals
Incubation: 55 days
Birth: 1 egg each two years