Letter from Belize no. 53

10th June 2016

As I have mentioned before it is very exciting, and in fact a privilege, to see so many birds nesting from our veranda.

The Ruddy Ground Dove who insists on building nests in very open and vulnerable places. This one is on our bedroom window louvers — too shiny and slippery to actually attach to anything.

This is the 3rd attempt to do up this Social Flycatcher’s nest. See it just about to land on the nest.

If you look carefully you can see the Clay Coloured Robin sitting on the nest. It is not actually a robin at all. It is a thrush and it sings so beautifully at this nesting time of year — in fact it sounds just like an English thrush after a shower of rain and I am told it is Costa Rica’s national bird. There have been some wild storms the last couple of days and it just carries on sitting through it all very doggedly — or maybe it is birdedly.

And then ...
... there is the Greater Balding Elwell.

For the first 2 years that I was here we spent most of our time out on the veranda — breakfast, tea, lunch and in between but then the darn Doctor Flies found the upper floor and are an absolute plague. After literally 2 minutes out there they have zoned in on one like heat seeking missiles and do their damage – more harmful to Henry than me. Some people just react badly and of course those are the very ones who attract the creatures all the more. I had lunch with a friend one time and while we were eating she got bitten on the hand and within minutes her hand had swelled up and her fingers were like sausages. Needless to say we haven’t been back to that restaurant since. A no-go zone.  We are hoping that this “nest” will allow us to be outside again.

Last letter I showed photos of the Hooded Oriole nest (right above Henry’s nest actually). Sadly we don’t know what happened to the babies. One day they were just gone and straight away the parents were around preening in front of the mirror but have they not attempted to lay again.

This time of year is coming to the end of the cane season so there is an urgency to get the cane cut and delivered within the time allocated. They burn the fields first which is always a bit disturbing when it is the field right next door. Next day the cutters rally to chop it down as quickly as possible as there is a very limited time it can wait before processing before it gets too dry and loses quality. Then tractor and truck work in tandem to gather up the cut cane and heave it into the back of the truck which, when full, will take off immediately for the refinery in Orange Walk. There they have to queue in sidings off the road until their allocated time. High pressure and hard work for not much return. It is a very political issue and the farmers are not happy.

The rain has come this week and the garden is lapping it up. It’s no cooler though and veeeery humid.

My best wishes and love to you all

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