Friday, July 30, 2010

Seasonally Inundated

This is what a seasonally inundated forest in Gallon Jug Estate looks like. Normally there is no standing water here but with the seasonal rains and hard packed clay soils, this depression fills up rapidly and stays for awhile. There is a lot of floating forest detritus ... and you may have noticed that the water looks like dark tea. In a sense, that is exactly what it is as the tannins leach out from the leaf litter staining the water. The red-flowered bromeliad is growing on the side of the tree above the water makes a nice touch of color

Now you know where mosquitoes breed!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Bachelor Party

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What a great sequence of a bachelor group of Great Curassows (Crax rubra) near the frog pond just a few kilometers from the Gallon Jug Farm. The males are really handsome in black and white. Note there is one "multi-colored" individual that appears to be an immature male to me (rather than a female) just beginning to get his adult plumage.

As I've mentioned before, this species is a favorite with hunters and in many places, it has grown scarce. Thanks to Gallon Jug Estate's good protection, this bird is readily seen on the property and near Chan Chich Lodge. It is a real pleasure to see it in such numbers.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Twice an Ocelot

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Thanks to Ben at Chan Chich Lodge, we have this nice sequence of a female ocelot. Actually, if you look carefully, you can see that this is actually two sequences about 40 minutes apart on the Bajo Trail. I'm guessing it is the same individual passing back through the same location. As you may have noticed in other images, the scrotum on a male cat is normally easily visible, especially in profile. No such thing here as well as the lighter, sleeker build make this a female.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Chick Flick

After weeks in hiding, the hen Ocellated Turkeys (Meleagris ocellata) are finally bringing their chicks out into the world. These chicks were spotted over the weekend and while the hen was cautious, she did permit a few photographs. In total, I counted a dozen young, which is a pretty good result. Turkeys are among those species that have an abundance of young which are subject to predation from a wide variety of animals. So while the hen may start with 12 chicks, she may only manage to raise one. Still, that is good enough to make this endangered species prolific here on the Gallon Jug Estate. The Ocellated Turkey has become scarce in most of its range due to hunting pressure where it is not protected.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Gibnut by frog pond

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Turns out the seasonal frog pond where I recorded the amazing chorus (see 5/28/10 post) was a good spot to place a camera. Where there are resources, animals of all kinds are attracted.

In this sequence, the nocturnal paca (Cuniculus paca) passes by, swings back for a closer look at the camera. The paca, known in Belize as the gibnut, is a large member of the rodent family. With its spotted pattern, individuals could likely be distinguished if there were enough images of them for comparison. I've found them to be photographed only sporadically. It may be that the seasonal flooding has driven this one out of the forest and onto the trail.

The paca occurs mainly in tropical forests and feeds primarily on fruits and seeds. It is considered a delicacy and heavily hunted throughout its range. I've never tasted it but I understand it is a rich and delicious meat.