Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Forest Headlights

This is how we know it is late dry season: click beetles with headlights! We were recently doing bat surveys near Laguna Seca in Gallon Jug Estate, and the night was lit with these interesting large beetles. It is amazing how much light is put out by them!

In the family Elateridae, click beetles have the ability to make a snapping sound thought to help them avoid predation. If the beetle finds itself upside down, the ability to click pops it up and over, right side up.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Laguna Seca morning

How many Belize Field Notes readers (that are former Lodge visitors) have visited Laguna Seca? It's a wetlands system that extends northward across the Gallon Jug Estate property. If you are visiting Chan Chich Lodge, be sure to take the excursion from the Lodge for a leisurely Laguna Seca walk. There is a nice path wending its way through fairly extensive Maya ruins. Both spider and howler monkeys can almost always be seen there. For birders, specialties include the Agami heron, Northern Jacana, Least Bittern, and Black-collared Hawk. Of course the surrounding forest is filled with the "usual" cast of tropical birds.

There's more. Not long ago I posted about a "procession of peccaries." That video was taken at Laguna Seca. Last night when we returned to do a survey, there were the peccaries again, in the same spot. I could see they were attracted by the low water levels and nice cool mud wallows. Next project: get a photo of them wallowing...

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Waiting in line

Thought you might enjoy seeing the drink queue at our pond. Of course, not everyone is interested in the water!

Apologies for delayed posting ... It seems Google Blogger had some problems 11-12 May and deleted quite a few posts and comments. This blog was affected. They claim they will restore everything and I've filled out the appropriate maintenance request forms but here it is a week later, and my posts are still among the missing. I'll try to get things back on track for next week. Have a great weekend!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Veranda Bird Viewing

Is this a cool bird or what? Thanks to Jim Wright for sharing his Masked Tityra (Tityra semifasciata) image. This bird was, Jim says, "viewable from the veranda" at Chan Chich Lodge. Apparently it was a long sought bird, and then suddenly, there it was. This snowy white bird is a male while the females are more gray/buffy on the back and head.

If you don't readily see it, you certainly can hear it, even if you think you are not good at recognizing calls. This one is very distinctive although you could be forgiven for mistaking it for a frog or an insect... Take a listen here.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Procession of Peccaries

Gorgeous morning today in Gallon Jug, sunny, breezy, about 80F. We like to walk on Sundays, so we headed out to Laguna Seca, a vast wetlands system extending northwards across the Gallon Jug Estate property. The great thing about Gallon Jug is the sense that, even after our 25 years in Belize, anything can happen, that the jaguar is just around the next corner.

In this case, it wasn't a jaguar but rather, a procession of peccaries. White-lips, or warrie, to be exact (Pecari tajacu) . This is the "big" peccary and a species that requires large forested areas to forage for their preferred food items. I was able to get out of the car and approach them slowly on foot in order to get this video. You can see that they were fairly unconcerned. I didn't push it by going too close or attempting to make them scatter. They tolerated our presence for a long time before easing off into the bush when we finally slowly moved the car forward.

By our estimates, there were about 6o of them that crossed the road, a good sized herd. And I'll repeat my mantra: because of good protection here on the Gallon Jug Estate, this large herd of a heavily hunted species, appears to be thriving. Believe me when I say they are wiped out in many areas of Belize, Central and South America.