Finca Work

I had more butterfly luck this morning when, exiting the trail from my lodgings onto a dirt road, I spotted a Hamadyas glauconome glauconome, commonly known as the Guatemalan or Glaucous Cracker, on a tree nearby. Although I didn’t know it at the time, the males of this species can create a cracking sound while flying. I had heard this sound from flying insects several times as I biked along the road during my stay here, but had never been able to identify the source. The specimen photographed here was a female, however, because once I got close enough to take the shot, it flew away silently. After breakfast, I was crossing the long suspension bridge that leads to the bungalows and one of the trees next to the railing, whose canopy was roughly level with the bridge, had flowers that had attracted another butterfly. Despite the length of time that the butterfly stayed at the flowers to collect nectar, I have not been able to identify it from the various photos I took, because it never opened its wings to show the markings that would give it away in a guidebook.

However, one animal I have been able to identify is a little lizard that I found while walking a trail. More specifically of the family Polychrotidae, or an anole lizard, the species I was lucky enough to encounter was the indigo-throated anole, Anolis sericeus. I have learned that all anoles have at least some ability to change color, they all have dewlaps, which are cartilaginous frills below the neck, and, like many lizard families, they can relieve themselves of their tail if sufficiently threatened. Fortunately my presence was only frightening enough for the anole to reveal its beautiful frill and, as I approached for a close-up, run off.

When I was done with my little hike, I headed to the finca, where I was to see the recently planted saplings and the cleaning of last year’s crop area. The saplings, having grown to their current size in bags, were placed about two and a half meters from each other in each row, and each row is roughly four meters away from the other. The two types of tree planted in the plot are oak and African mahogany, and each oak is planted with two mahoganies on either side with the hope that the increased distance between oaks will stop a yearly plague of insect larvae from destroying the oaks. From this plot, the same I had visited a week earlier during cleaning, I went to visit the hilly regions where the same crew of machete-wielding men as last week was weeding the plantation of yesteryear. The hills, which had on my previous visit been unrecognizable masses of vegetation, were now divided into neat rows that reminded me of tea plantations that I had visited last summer in Kerala.

After lunch, some of the finca workers were going to be planting trees known as muñeco, a Central American tree that produces hundreds of little red fruits, which birds and monkeys enjoy eating. These saplings are currently being planted along the road on the property to provide extra food for (and therefore attract) howler monkeys and birds.

2 thoughts on “Finca Work

  1. Pingback: Spider Monkey Threats « Raxa Collective

  2. Pingback: How do you Say “Butterfly” in Malayalam? | Raxa Collective

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