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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A native heliconia flower. When these are put in bouquets, they're usually inverted so they point up, but they look best hanging, I think. An enormous hummingbird called the violet sabrewing feeds at heliconias. I saw it for a shining moment, perfectly purple in the sun, its big wings beating so slowly I could discern individual beats.

I really don't know whether these Guatemala posts are up your collective alley or not. But I took something like 900 photos in four days, so you're going to get Guatemala on your plate, and by God, you're going to at least try it. Or maybe you'll sit back and wait for a Chet Baker post. Ah well...After minor diversions, we're back at Los Tarrales, the uber-cool horticultural farm/shade coffee/banana/flower plantation with fabulous habitat for ecotourism (and ecotourists!)

Tarrales is owned by Andy and Monica Burge. Andy's grandparents bought it about 80 years ago, and it's been in continuous family ownership ever since. A little village of about 300 people has grown within its bounds, many of them employed at the finca. Andy is kind of like the town's mayor/boss/landlord--a position that's probably as hard to describe as it is to fill. You couldn't find nicer people than the Burges, and Tarrales in many ways seems like a charmed place.A Maya woman wraps and packs bananas for the market. These baskets will be carried in the traditional way, balanced on her head.

Other fruits abound. These are breadfruit leaves--enormous against the brilliant sky.A gumbolimbo tree, outrageously shiny, muscular, otherworldly. I wanted to run my hands up and down it.

The juxtaposition of human habitation and wild second-growth habitat makes for some interesting images. I peek through a bamboo stockade to see a fine, fluffy chicken butt.You'd better have a signed release from Henrietta, Missy. She's not going to like that photo one bit.A few dozen yards away, a cinnamon hummingbird guards one of Tarrales' many feeders. Though they're kept clean and filled, they don't get much action, because there's a nasty lil' cinnamon hummingbird guarding each one. This gave me to wonder if rufous-colored plumage is warpaint to hummingbirds (in North America, rufous hummers are the feeder-guarding bullies!) We saw some fabulous nectivorous bats, species unknown, sneaking nectar from the feeders at night. We advised Andy to try grouping a bunch of feeders all together to foil the cinnamon bullies.Just up a trail, a collared trogon called, jetting its tail up with each salvo of soft whoops.Check out the wing position. I love the Christmas colors of this outlandish bird. Trogons are among my favorite birds to draw, but I didn't get time to sketch on this trip. We were always going, moving on down the trail.
More Guatemala anon.


Wow, those photos are sweet, Julie. Love your Cinnamon Hummingbird (and isn't every color warpaint for a hummer? They're all so feisty!)

You've sold me - I've got to get to Los Tarrales.

Such fun seeing all the different foilage, flowers and feathers seen on your trip. Keep em coming.

This post is exactly why many of us read your blog. Great photos. We appreciate your sharing the trips we may never take. As for Chet...he's cute, but he can't compare with Los Tarrales. We can see cute dog pictures everywhere, but we don't often get the feel for the flora and fauna of a foreign country. Thanks

But say if Chet got a passport and went to Los Tarrales ... now that would be an unbeatable blog.

Ditto ncmountainwoman! Where else can we see different culture and lifestyles, exotic birds, and a gumbolimbo tree - awesome.

But you do make me laugh every time:

"But I took something like 900 photos in four days, so you're going to get Guatemala on your plate, and by God, you're going to at least try it."


LOG, that was like Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy. Rolling!

Thanks for the votes of confidence on what I'm cookin', everybody. I have GOT to get my head out of the hit counter. I am so pathetic.

Julie, did grouping the hummingbird feeders help with the cinnamon hummer problem?

Great post!

Oooooo.... a cinnamon hummer! What wonderful images that capture the flavor of a beautiful place. Thanks for taking us along for this journey.

Keep the Guatemala coming; I won't complain. I love the exotic colors, the gorgeous birds, and the people.

Chet Baker in Guatemala: What a concept! I'll bet ole Chetty is happier in his Appalachian home than he would be as an international traveler, though. The potential for tropical parasites alone gives me the shivers!


Yes, Bacon's fraternization with street dogs in Central America is not something I would encourage. It's a hard place to be a dog lover.

I'm loving the Guatemala posts- so NOT Minnesotaendlesswinter. No monkeys though please.


Winter blahs succumb to Guatemala post.
Readers thank Author for relief and look forward to 895 more photos.

Julie, as much as I'm enjoying the Guatemala pics and posts, I just thought I'd throw you back a couple of months to New Mexico and cranes: The National Geographic Photo of the Day today is a beautiful shot of a small group of sandhill cranes from Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.

Now back to lavishing in the ravishing beauty of sunny Central America... :)

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