Photo Gallery: Norwich photographer Jonathan Lewis captures the colourful wildlife of the Amazon
Each month, we are following in the footsteps of Norfolk wildlife photographer Jonathan Lewis. Every August, he travels to the Amazon rainforest to photograph exotic wildlife so this month's extraordinary pictures come from further afield than usual.
The rainforest is a hostile environment for a newcomer – fire and bullet ants are aptly named, given the chance families of tiny mites eat their way up your legs and mosquitoes become your best (and worst!) friend.
The constant humidity rots everything unbelievably fast and mould can grow on bags and equipment within a few days. In the forest giant trees compete for sunlight leaving the forest floor in constant twilight.
Larger animals are surprisingly hard to spot; the dense tangle of vegetation means that you can be a few metres from a jaguar without spotting it.
But, despite these challenges the rainforest has much to offer to anyone who has a love for wildlife and ecology.
Close to the research lodge I stay in is a beautiful oxbow lake. This was formed over hundreds of years and as the river changed course a lake was left behind. In the lake live a family of giant river otters, similar in many ways to our native otters but enormous and spanning up to 2.4 metres in total. This theme for extreme size runs amongst many inhabitants of the rainforest; everything from ants to pigs are several times bigger than their equivalent in Norfolk.
But, the real fascination of the rainforest for me is not the larger animals, but instead the smaller majority. An abundance of insects, spiders, frogs and lizards inhabit seemingly nearly every niche of the forest in such diversity and densities that it boggles the mind to even begin to try to comprehend it. With such amazing patterns, shapes and colours they are more than enough to keep a photographer happy for a lifetime.
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Next month I'll be returning to write about our local wildlife here in Norfolk. Autumn will be starting and many animals will be preparing for the tougher months ahead.
September wildlife to watch out for:
-The appearance of giant puffballs and other fungi
-Migration of some of our summer bird visitors
-The appearance of wasps around picnic tables
-Hedgehogs with a second litter of young
Jonathan Lewis in a wildlife photographer based near Norwich. He runs a variety of courses and tours both in Norfolk and further afield. For more information visit his website www.norfolk-wildlife-photography.co.uk or www.facebook.com/norfolkwildlifephotography