Saturday, October 3, 2009

Our place in Belize

Today (Oct 3) has begun as a dreary, wet, and cool day. The rain may ease up a little later, but will remain cool with highs not even reaching 50F. Thus far the morning has been spent sleeping in (a rare treat for us), puttering around the house, and working a bit more on photos from Belize.

Our cabana overlooks the Caribbean Ocean. As I explained in a post about the earthquake that hit the area earlier this year (http://southenglishtown.blogspot.com/2009/06/earthquake.html), our cabana is built on 12 foot high concrete pilings. Below is view of the cabana from the end of the dock. The water is quite shallow here, barely 4 ft deep at the end of the dock.

A closer look shows the 30x10ft screened-in veranda that runs full length of side of the cabana facing the ocean. We spend most of our "indoor" time on the veranda. We have our dining table on the veranda and hang our hammocks there too. Just under the stairs that lead to the veranda is a big black vat that collects graywater from the kitcehn that we use to water the plants in the dry season.

Below is a view from the top of the stairs to the veranda looking toward ocean. The big tree on the right is a seagrape tree. It has great tasting purple fruit in bunches like grapes. The fruits each have a large central seed pit covered with a fairly thin layer of juicy flesh. Birds and other animals (including people) eat the fruit.
Below is the same view at sunrise. Sunrise is different every day and each is beautiful in its own way.

Some days are clear enough to see large cargo ships way out at the horizon. You can barely make one out at the center of the picture below.
And some days you can see the Maya Mountains to the northwest. The photo below was taken from the back veranda. Beyond the roof and bamboo pole for the TV aerial at our caretakers' cottage, you can see the distant mountains.
We are situated on a narrow strip of solid ground between the ocean to the east and a marsh that edges Black Creek to the west. The narrow strip of solid ground grades from sand at the beach to sandy soil at the jungle adjacent to the marsh. The picture below was also taken from the back veranda, this time looking south/southwest. About 4 years ago we cleared out the dead and damaged trees and understorey plants that were leftover from hurricane Iris and had room to plant bananas and other food plants. We kept all the healthy jungle trees like gumbo limbo, craboo, acacia, and others I still don't know the names of. This site had been cleared decades ago when the original Englishtown was there. We also found some domestic plants from that time including a huge mango (just behind the bananas in the photo below) and a cashew tree.I started out this post today with the intention of showing some of the very few birds I photographed on this trip, but it evolved into something else. The only birding I did was on our little patch of jungle and beach. We haven't built any bird blinds or hides or observation platforms yet, unless you count our tiny back veranda that is about 12 feet off the ground. Still, I got a few shots of some lovely birds, usually from a great distance. I'll finish up with the beautiful black-headed trogon that live in the area. I love its blue eye-ring and bright yellow underparts. Although they were around most of everyday, they were usually flitting around in the dense canopy. The pictures below are from the only time they were situated so that I could get a clear shot of them. It is a fairly common bird at the edges of jungles and woodlands in Belize.

I'll do more birds and other wildlife in a later post. I think this one is long enough already!

12 comments:

  1. What a wonderful place to live, Wilma. You are so lucky, despite the hazards ( earthquakes etc ).

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  2. What a paradise Wilma. Truly beautiful. Thanks for showing us around.
    And what a stunning bird that Black-headed Trogon is to have around.

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  3. Wilma,

    Meg's daughter spent 7 months in the jungle there last year. She had lots of fun but got 11 yes 11 Botfly larvas embedded under her skin. What a beautiful place to stay.

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  4. Dean -- absolutely sheer-blind lucky, no doubt about it. :-) Hazards are relative anyway.

    Keith -- thanks for visiting and commenting. I am thrilled that the black-headed trogons live there.

    Nan -- I think so too. Thanks for visiting and commenting. When we are both in Belize at the same time you will have to come visit us in person down Beyond the Edge.

    Randy -- I have not yet had the pleasure of experiencing botfly larvae inhabiting my body! Poor girl; I hope she managed OK. I imagine it must have been fairly traumatic. I have been stung by a scorpion and gotten bitten/stung by more than 50 jungle ants. The scorpion wasn't so bad, but the ants nearly killed me. Dennis was considering trying to get me medivaced when I regained some semblance of control of bodily functions about 12 hours after the bites. But I recovered with no lasting ill-effects. Thanks for visiting my blog. I will definitely follow yours; it looks right up my alley.

    cheers to all,
    Wilma

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  5. Hi wilma. It looks like paradise to me!! Looking forward to some more bird photos

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  6. Your piece of paradise looks wonderful Wilma. I shall think of that lovely place during the gloomy depths of our Winter and of course I won't be at all envious....;)

    I loved seeing the Black-headed Trogon, a very striking bird!

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  7. Tony and Jan -- thanks for the comments and for visiting. Thoughts and images of Belize will also help me get through the upcoming Minnesota winter. Can you believe there is a 20% chance of snow here Friday night? I will have to ration out the Belize bird photos to last until February when we go there again for 2 weeks.

    cheers,
    Wilma

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  8. Hi Wilma,
    Thanks for showing us around this beautiful place. Good sunshine, crystal clear sea and beautiful wildlife.
    Love the Trogon, we don't have that species here.

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  9. Hi Wilma. What a fabulous location. Jealous..not half but not sure I could cope with the high temperatures. FAB.

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  10. A fantastic place to relax! Wonderful shots!!

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  11. Frank - this most recent trip was the hottest weather we have had there. Too hot for us to work in the sun; we've been in Minnesota too long! Heat was never a problem for us in Georgia and it gets hotter in Georgia than it does in Belize. The sea breeze usually cools us down pretty well, and if that fails there are always fans. I guess I would rather sweat in paradise than not be in paradise ...

    Sammy - thanks for your kind comments and for visiting. It is a great place to relax and reconnect with the natural world.

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