Thursday, August 06, 2009

Of Butterflies and Bats

Of Butterflies and Bats

Belize is a very diverse place to visit. The ecology is incredible (of course to a dedicated ecologist all ecosystems are incredible.) The cultural history is fascinating because of the "exotic" Mayan peoples and the mix of others that make up the Belizian people.

Over the past two days I have had the opportunity to experience both.

Cahal Pech is another Mayan ruin. It is a smaller site, but much more ancient than most of them. The first habitation was from about 1200 BCE. The temples and ruins of the ball fields and royal houses date from around 250 AD. This is fascinating stuff. Not only was this wonderful, not only could we climb on and explore all the buildings, but we hit this exhibit while there was an indepth excavation/ exploration with THE Belizian authority on Mayan antiquities. We heard wonderful stories from him and from our guide who had been a student of his. We ended our day in San Ignatio the local town.

Today we traveled over the terrible roads to Barton Creek Cave. This is a Mayan underworld ruin. It is a magnificent limestone cave system. We canoed in past a rock boulder that protects the entrance. As we paddled along we saw thousands of bats, beautiful formations AND Mayan pieces and skulls. Almost like a Disney ride, but this was the real thing. As if this was not enough, we then bounced past the Belizian Amish communities. Acres of corn mixed with papaya and palm trees. Farming all year, no snow, and a government that welcomes their
farming skills. No wonder they came here in the late 50's. We ended up at Green Hills Butterfly Ranch. The round-ups are easier here. They raise over20 different butterfly species. Their butterfly house is magical. Lots of pictures were taken.

So far I have spotted 46 species of birds- about 40 new sightings. One more day in the jungle, then the reef and the beaches.


Stewart M said...

40 new species - good effort! Fancy a trip to Northern Queensland to get a few more!

Anonymous said...

I am really jealous!! I can't wait to see your photos.
How's my sister?
Love, Sus

Stewart M said...

Richard, Hamish here
hope you are having a good time!

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