(yes, this what we'll be doing all summer)
here is a beautiful Boa constrictor from BFREE in March.
a Morelet's crocodile that we thought was a log at first.
"Man, that stick looks like a.... CROCODILE!!!"
June 3rd, 2005
In the airport with way too much gear (but honestly, how much would you take for 77 days?)
After arriving in Belize City at noon, we sat
at the bus "station" as the
center of attention with all of our stuff, then took a 6 hour (school) bus ride.
(normally it was much more crowded, this is after 5.5 hours on the same bus)
finally, after dark, we made it to the entrance
road to BFREE,
and Jake picked us up in his monster truck to drive the 6 miles back to BFREE!
June 4, 2005
here is a panoramic shot of the river. note how low, slow and clear. very nice for snorkeling with the cichlids.
Look at this longhorn beetle someone brought
to dinner! huge!! he didn't bite me,
but tried his hardest by pulling my finger towards his mandibles with his hooked feet. ouch!
and isn't this the creepiest thing ever? It's a tailless whipscorpion. yuck. (almost life size)
Later that night we found a group of tiny baby
tarantulas walking single file! it was terribly cute.
June 5, 2005
here are some very common Zebra Longwing Butterflies
(Heliconius charitonius) we found
roosting one evening (dusk). Look at that guy flying at the bottom left! awesome!
Here's a female basilisk lizard caught in the
act of laying eggs!
And a garden snake (Coniophanes schmidti) who found hers 2 nights later!
June 6, 2005
Here is a big male basilisk lizard, Basiliscus
vittatus, that lives by our
house and tortures Chuck because he can't catch it.
A casque-headed lizard or old man lizard, Corytophanes hernandezii.
Then after lunch, Jacob, the manager of BFREE,
brought us a vine snake, Oxybelis aeneus, that he found on a hike.
It has a really cool behavior where whenever its moving it keeps it's tongue extended and still, and
the coloration of it's head continues onto it's tongue. But we couldn't photograph that (despite 50+ tries).
Here's a picture we did get.
Ahhh, snorkeling in the river. don't you want to come visit?!
June 7, 2005
Here is a mother tarantula and her nest full
of babies. see that close one in the lower right corner?
the whole right wall of the burrow is covered with little babies! we checked her nest nightly in hopes to see the
babies dispersing, but after 3 nights of hanging out in the burrow, the spiders dispersed without telling us.
June 8, 2005
Here is a beautiful blunt-headed tree snake, Imantodes cenchoa.
Today there were Trash monsters at BFREE! We were all very scared.
Here is a shot of the Transporter, our connection
to the world.
It houses the satellite phone and internet. We worship it.
Did you ever wonder where baby Basilisk lizards
Why in the river, of course!
June 9, 2005
Here are some big fish at a deep spot in the
They make nice swimming spots a little less inviting (the small ones are close relatives to pirhanna).
Kelly brought us a beautiful king snake, Lampropeltis
triangulum, that she found while hiking.
Local Belizeans at play (dice) after a long day of work. Phillipa, Carolina, and Tom.
June 11, 2005
Here's a cute little snake called the Cloudy snail sucker! or Sibon nebulata.
That night, while putting away the chickens,
Jake found a baby tropical
rat snake at the chicken coop. Here are Jess and Mike holding the snake.
June 12, 2005
On the stairs of our house we found this huge walking stick. Isn't she cool?
And the at the outhouse (you can always find
something cool at the outhouse!),
I found an awesome turnip-tailed gecko, Thecadactylus rapicauda.
Here's a cool behavior where it licks its eyeball to keep it clean!! Kurt, do you see this?!
June 13, 2005
Tropical rat snake, Elaphe flavirufa
King snake, Lampropeltis triangulum
A vine snake trying to be scary, Oxybelis aeneus
June 14, 2005
On our own, today was the day the Marlins left
for the states and left us on our own!! ACK!!
Left to right, Jacob, Shaman, Sofia, Carolina and Kelly holding Hyla.
June 16, 2005
Here is a nice shot up river from the crossing
of the Bladen River and Richardson Peak.
Plant people, there are lots of plants in here!
Last night we were twiddling our thumbs at dinner
because it has been raining tons and there weren't any frogs out.
then Tom, a Mayan guy who works here at BFREE said "I hear the frogs." "One?" I replied. "No, thousands." Hot Damn!!
listen to these frogs!
aren't they amazing?!
this is the famous red-eyed tree frog. looks
familiar from the calendars, eh?
these were the first ones i've ever seen in the wild!!
These are the crazy Mexican burrowing toads,
Rhinophrynus dorsalis. They live underground and only come
to the surface 2-3 days a year to breed. and WE SAW THEM!! they are the crazy moo sounds in the frogs
chorus. They blow up like balloons when they are calling, and feel like jelly because of their loose skin.
I caught one, but he slimed my hand. and here is a mated pair in amplexus!
This is a small treefrog, Hyla microcephala.
My advisor Kent studied them a lot in
Panama and I'm going to see if they have similar calls and behaviors here.
June 17, 2005
At the swamp we find the craziest things, like
this caterpillar with an 80's hairstyle!!
Can anyone tell me more about it?
Tonight there were more frogs at the swamp, including
the adorable Hyla ebraccata.
This calling male is a little bigger than life size.
And here is perhaps our favorite picture overall. Hyla ebraccata.
June 18, 2005
Here's a huge millipede that we found walking
last night! when we harassed it,
it secreted cyanide at us which dyed my fingers orangish-brown.
June 19, 2005
Here is a male anole, Norops lemurinus.
Some individuals have amazing patterns,
and he was not one of them. But a good picture, nontheless.
June 20, 2005
Here is an awesome lizard that the Mayan guys,
Tom and Pop, found for us at the sawmill.
It has super powerful jaws and was one of the animals that didn't bite.
This is a Yellow-spotted Night lizard, or Lepidophyma flavimaculatum.
Isn't he cute? I love that face. So serious.
Here is a racer, Dryadophis melanolomus.
They are super fast and only sit still for a brief moment!
Here is a cat-eyed snake, Leptodira serpentalis.
We found him hunting frogs at our pond.
He also did not want to sit still and kept diving off the branch.
June 22, 2005
Though we wanted to stay at the beach a little
longer, we had to set off and
travel back to the jungle. Here is the dock at Placencia as we wait for the boat, the Hokey Pokey.
Two days earlier we had to wait for an hour to
catch the boat to Placencia. This man offered me a seat
and brought me mangos. And though we couldn't understand each other (or maybe just I him), we had a nice visit.
After the boat ride and a bus ride, we were at
the sawmill and ready to hike back in the 6 miles to the station.
Here is a view from the road of where we start hiking and where we end up 2-3 hours later (to the right of that small hill).
But the rain had other plans and rained the whole
making the road more of a muddy stream than a dirt road.
The red-eyed treefrog, Agalychnis callidryas,
lays its eggs on the under sides of leaves,
where they develop into tadpoles and then fall into the water upon hatching.
Here is a shot of some developing tadpoles still in the egg. Isn't it awesome?!!
June 24, 2005
Although we seem to have very bad luck with red
snakes, we managed
to catch and photograph this little coffee snake, Ninia sebae.
June 25, 2005
We found this cute bug while
we were watching frogs. Aren't these amazing antenna?
Entomologists!! I need your help! what is this?
June 26, 2005
The jungle is a tough place to live, and it literally
is eat or be eaten.
Sadly for this frog, Hyla microcephala, calling for mates is a dangerous activity.
Can anyone ID this spider for me?
Later that night we heard a kinkajou crashing
through the trees. It actually sat and watched us for a while as I took pictures.
The flash didn't reach him, and so the picture's not so great, but you can tell what it is!
June 27, 2005
Here is an awesome dragonfly with rainbow eyes
that I found in the swamp.
Can anyone tell me what kind it is?
June 29, 2005
Our friend Jon Richmond studies skinks and desperately
wants us to catch one for his research.
We didn't get the right genus, but it is a skink! Mabuya unimarginata. These guys climb around in the space
between the screen and the thatch roof eating bugs and it's so hard to catch them.
July 2, 2005
The curse of the red snakes!
We have seen 6 coral snakes (Micrurus sp.), but only managed to catch 3 and photograph 1.
They are fast as hell and bite nonstop. Here is the one we photographed after much frustration.
July 3, 2005
I found these two cute teal and pink bugs mating on the lime tree. tsk tsk! Anyone know what they are?
July 4, 2005
Happy Fourth of July!! There was no celebration
here in Belize. It was a long day.
On the way back we pulled over and I asked him to take a picture of this really big Ceiba tree on the hill
in the distance, but I think he got distracted by the very strange road signs they have here. I'm afraid of what lies ahead!
July 5, 2005
This truly is an amazing place to see insects.
I almost have more pictures of bugs than of herps!!
Tonight we found a huge clump of HUGE caterpillars on a tree in the garden. They disperse at
night to feed on the tree and come back together every day to rest. What are they?
July 10, 2005
Today we went hiking up river with the Bladen
Park Rangers. It kicked our butts,
but was awesome and we saw some great animals!!
Within an hour of hiking, we found some spider
monkeys!!! Unfortunately the pictures
aren't amazing, but you can tell they're monkeys! Who's watching who?
Canti taking a break on a beautiful old tree overhanging the river.
A shot of the Bladen River.
At Fishbone Crossing of the Bladen River.
Holy Rock! Here is Canti at Holy Rock, an amazing
rock that overhangs the river
with vines to swing off of and holes to jump out of into the river.
Fer de lance!!! We saw a fer de lance!!
We were near the end of the hike,
taking a rest at the end of first creek. We told Martin that this was the place
we took the crocodile picture in March. HE climbed up the bank to look for a croc, and found a fer de lance instead!
"Yellow jaw!!" he yelled, and it took me a second to figure out what he was
talking about. Then we scrambled up the bank and saw it!! Isn't she beautiful?!
Once we all were clean and rested, we put
the snake in a tube so we could hold it and measure it (5ft!!).
I convinced Martin that it was safe, but he wasn't too sure. Maybe he didn't trust my grip, but I wasn't about to let go!
July 12, 2005
Here's Pop holding the fer de lance!! Impressive!!
July 15, 2005
Tonight we decided to hike down to First Creek
to look for glass frogs (Hyalinobatrachium fleischmanni),
but we didn't find any. The stream was flowing very fast and it was difficult to hear any clear calls.
We did however, find this awesome "Tina Turner" caterpillar (ID?) that probably isn't nice to hold.
And because we are always trying to please, we
found a Banded Gecko (Coleonyx elegans)
and took more photos of spectacle-wiping for Kurt. Pretty cool, huh?
A little bit further down the trail I found an
old man lizard (Corytophanes cristatus) sleeping on a branch
and screamed so loud with excitement !
And this was another lizard that Kurt wanted to see! It was Kurt's night!
Here is the lizard in his threat display when we photographed him in the daylight.
July 16, 2005
The river was extremely loud,
there were frogs calling from the kitchen and the trails had turned into streams!!
The first thing we did was grab the baby chickens and put them in the kitchen. The chicken coop normally is quite dry.
Then as we walked towards the river on the "trails",
we were in disbelief of what was
happening and how much water was rushing down the trail.
Click here to see a movie of the flooded trail and bunkhouse!
And look at where all the water is going!!! Into the garden!!
We came around the bend to see the river and
were totally shocked!! Now we know where the
water was coming from!!! Remember this river from the calm clear snorkeling pictures?! We barely can!
The river must have risen about 15ft to break the bank and send water gushing up to the garden! HOLY CRAP!
I grabbed the puppies and put them in the river house so they wouldn't get washed away,
but Genevive likes to live life on the edge.
Here are 2 movies of the raging river!! Click
to see them!
This shot of downstream is even more terrifying.
And this is a BIG TREE! gulp.
Ok, so we all thought the 5ft fer de lance was
very impressive. But last night we topped that!!!
We went to put the chickens to bed and found an
8 ft Boa constrictor!!!
July 22, 2005
Isn't this a pathetic looking pup? Here's Copal
trying to be a hippopotamus!!
(I wish dogs could talk and he could tell me what stung him!!)
July 28, 2005
A pretty good reason to eat organic bananas...
I went out to Placencia again to relax
and buy some fresh vegetables.
ya know just a quick run to the store. ha! We had Dale Gomez drive us in so we
could stock up on groceries, dog food and beer. (SO glad we weren't hiking!!!)
Look at that clean truck!!
July 29, 2005
Wouldn't it be a sight to see him riding down
the highway?!! Hard to tell if he's got it powering
his bike or he's just out for a joy ride! Apparently riding 6 miles in the mud with a lawn mower on your bike
is worth it not to cut the grass by hand with a machete! who knew?!
A green spiky caterpillar. I didn't touch it. Would you?
August 3, 2005
Today we went canoed around the lagoon to get
pictures of these amazing birds, Agami herons.
There are lots of them nesting on tree islands in the lagoon and they make a funny hissing sound
when you come close. There were also the occasional Boat-billed herons clacking at us
and laughing as they flew away. Look at those feathers! Aren't these birds unbelievably beautiful?
Here is another cute Blunt-headed vine snake,
Imantodes cenchoa, that we found along the trail to our house.
This picture is much larger than the snake and its neck (and body) is pencil thin!
August 5, 2005
Today we took out the fer de lance for some more
photos. Here's me looking happy as I hold her.
Put your pointer over the picture to see my reaction when she tries to escape!!
Here is a baby speckled racer (Drymobius margaritiferus)
that we found.
This picture is larger than life size and so is his eye! Crazy!
Here is a crazy bug that we found because it
flew by us like a helicopter! Boy were we suprised
when we found it! Look at those fake eyes!!! Ok, now we know (with the help of entomologists) that this is a Stink bug
(Peromatus notatus, Family Pentatomidae (Hemiptera: Heteroptera)) mimicing a cicada. But we still don't know
why something distasteful would mimic a tasty cicada. Any ideas?
Click here to see our photos on a Pentatomidae webpage!
Today we hiked down to the Blue Pool to see how
different it was after the flood. Very different!
We saw a crocodile, Tapir tracks, and this troop of Howler monkeys that told us off.
Here is the alpha male making a funny face in between howling at us.
This is the kitchen at night.
August 6, 2005
Today I climbed the tower (with a harness). It
was great!! What a view! But once I was up
there the sky got ominous, so I hurried down (a huge lightning rod in a storm is a little scary).
The top of the tower is 145ft, and I was even
higher than the ceiba tree!
Here is a nice shot of the school house, Forest Hill and Richardson Peak in the distance.
Here is another shot of Forest Hill and the surrounding Bladen Nature Reserve.
Our house! Very tropical, no?
August 7, 2005
Today Canti, Martin and Eugene (Bladen Rangers)
found us some great jaguar tracks in the sand across the river.
Here is a cast of the paw print of a mountain lion on the left, and a huge jaguar on the right.
Both of these tracks were less than 10 minutes from our house! Now we just need to see who left these!!
All pictures and sounds are property of Kristiina
Please do not use without our permission.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.