Thursday, February 23, 2012

Shower of Gold


The skies are clear, the sun is shining with gentle easterly breezes.  Yes, dry season is a upon us and it is one of the nicest times to visit Belize and Chan Chich Lodge.  And the Shower of Gold orchid is blooming! This particular one was photographed in our back yard. Since this was a "rescue orchid" found on the forest floor, we tucked it in the crotch of this spanish cedar tree.  It's taken hold quite nicely and just beginning to flower -- a great sign of "spring."

Thursday, February 16, 2012

More Fun with Time-lapse

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Here's one of our hummingbird feeders and you can see it is doing a brisk business.  We have five species that use it, though not on a regular basis.  The Rufous-tailed Hummingbird and the White-belled Emerald are year-round users.  The Green-breasted Mango and the White-necked Jacobin are seasonal, appearing sometime after Christmas and staying until October or thereabouts.  Finally, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, familiar in many parts of North America, is an infrequent seasonal visitor.

When we first put out the feeders 20 years ago, we had no takers.  We dumped out the spoiling nectar weekly.  It took a Ruby-throat, familiar with feeders in North America, to show the way.  It's amazing that a tiny bird on migration recognized a feeder, but it did.  Once the Rufous-tails saw the Ruby-throats cleaning up at the feeders, they were quickly on board.  And from there it just grew and grew.  These days we often go through a quart of nectar daily ... and that is conservative!  If we kept the feeders constantly topped up, it would be twice that!  When they are ready for more nectar, the hummers fly to the doors ... or the windows ... or bombard us to make sure we get the message!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Butterflies by the Dozens!

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For those of you in wintery areas, you may especially enjoy this time-lapse clip I did recently.  This time of year is beautiful here in Gallon Jug/Chan Chich.  These vivid red flowers line our driveway.  You may recognize them as a variety of kalanchoe.    Kalanchoes are recognized as "medicine" in Belize, though I've never tried it myself and am not exactly sure what they are supposed to cure.  Being succulents, I like kalanchoes as they thrive in our rocky soil and don't require much care. As you can see, they are in bloom this time of year and must be nectar-rich -- they have attracted butterflies by the dozens!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Tiny Tiny Gecko

I was so delighted to find this little creature on my kitchen floor recently.  It is a hatchling gecko,   Sphaerodactylus glaucus to be exact.  Geckos in the genus Sphaerodactylus are the tiniest reptiles in the world with the adult S. glaucus  not a great deal bigger than the baby pictured here.  They do seem to like being in houses.  Every place we've lived in Belize, there have always been a couple on hand -- we call them "house geckos."  Sadly though, there is a much larger introduced species of Asian gecko that has become common in Belize, and even in Gallon Jug.  They are voracious, and while I appreciate that they eat roaches and other creatures I'd just as soon not live alongside of, I'm afraid they also eat this tiny lizard.  Certainly their numbers have diminished in recent years, so it is a rare pleasure to be able to photograph this little fellow.