Exploring The Forest

Belizean Art

Time goes by quickly when you are busy. I think having only 11 hours of light in a day seems to play a role too… regardless, I cannot believe I have already been here one week. Not too much to report as I have just been getting settled. Besides working, I have met many of the neighbors, including the artist above. His name is Diego and he painted the front of the Toucan Ridge Ecology and Education Society property. Beautiful, no? This is an oil painting. Being an artist myself, it brought back sweet memories of working with this medium. The paint takes far too long to dry! This painting took three years to finish. Beauty has no time limit though and perfection takes awhile to be completed.

Dogzuka, Dogs in Belize, Dogs in Central America

I have become quite attached to the resident pets. They are absolutely lovely. My number one goal as Station Manager is to not let the pets die. It sounds like an easy job, but as you watch Eva, the dogzuka pictured above, bound off into the forest, all that goes through my mind is SNAKE SNAKE SNAKE. Thankfully there are not too many snakes out right now. Still… I take this job very seriously.

(mantra: donotletpetsdiedonotletpetsdiedonotletpetsdie. repeat.)

Rainforest, Forest Hill

During the day, Eva and I have been exploring the property. I need to get my bearings set before I can begin work clearing and expanding the trail system on the property. The Toucan Ridge Ecology and Education Society contains 200 acres and the Sibun Forest Reserve borders the property. So basically there is a ton of land to explore.

rainforest stream

This property is truly a treasure and it has been quite wonderful trekking through this majestic land. Unfortunately wildlife sightings have been minimal, but that is to be expected as it is currently the dry season. Ironically though, it has been pouring rain for two days straight. The rain brought out the frogs and egg masses were discovered at various ponds located on the property. This discovery brought me extreme amounts of glee.

Amphibian, Egg Mass, Frog Eggs

Embryos quickly developing, this egg mass probably belongs to the Vaillant Frog, Lithobates vaillanti (form. Rana vaillanti). This is the second egg mass to be discovered and they seem very Ranid-like: large and round. However, no adults have been observed, only tadpoles and juveniles. If this egg mass belongs to Lithobates vaillanti, then this would be quite interesting as they normally breed in the summer months (well, it might be interesting if observing frog breeding behavior is your kind of thing).  It would seem that breeding is triggered by rainfall, rather than by season. Hopefully tonight I will be able to find adults in amplexus (i.e. frog sex!).

frog pond

This pool also had eggs, but they had recently hatched. Now there are hundreds of tadpoles within the pool. Hopefully it keeps raining, otherwise these tadpoles will be left high and dry.

frog eggs, amphibian egg mass

Besides looking for frogs, I have been working in the orchard. There are many Line Orchard, Farming in Belizelime trees that need maintenance. They are covered with parasitic plants and epiphytes. Thee trees give us really tasty limes too! They compliment well with rum and sugar.

Like I said, not much to report. It has been pretty mellow at the station, but things will be picking up once I get settled and establish a routine. My cousin, Oliver, is arriving tomorrow to help out with the work on the property. It will be his first time in Central America and he is pretty darn thrilled. I cannot think of a better place to introduce him to the amazing rainforest.

Rainforest Stream, Being Awesome

Yep. Pretty wonderful here. If you want to check it out for yourself, you can! The Toucan Ridge Ecology and Education Society accepts guests and will be hosting the SAVE THE FROGS’ Eco Tour to Belize! Soon we will announce the dates of the trip, but it will most likely be happening in early July… a good time for frogs!

Ok, time to check the camera traps and prepare for night work. Pray for frogs.

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