The Yucatan Peninsula: Belize and Guatemala

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jonathan
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The Yucatan Peninsula: Belize and Guatemala

Post by jonathan » July 27th, 2010, 12:13 am

Part 1 of my honeymoon can be found here: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1233

This should have been the herp-intense part of our trip, but a few unforseen events got in the way, as you will see. Be forewarned that there are only a couple snakes. :( Also, this was 2008, when my photography really really sucked, as opposed to its current mediocre state.

A long day on the bus took us from Playa del Carmen to Chetumal to Belize City, and then a water taxi brought us to Caye Caulker. The caye was tiny, but had few people living on it, so decent stretches of the island were still wild. I didn’t have a lot of time to hike around, but did see more Black Iguanas and a variety of anoles, several of which looked different than any I had seen to this point. The shore life was neat too – huge frigatebirds in the air constantly and brightly colored sting rays and conch shells in the shallows. Unfortunately, a later memory card issue erased all of the pictures from the caye, so I don’t have the slightest idea what species of anoles I may have seen there.

On our second day there we took a spectacular snorkeling tour through Coral Gardens, Hol Chan Marine Preserve, and Shark Ray Alley. To make a long story short, we snorkeled with a huge eagle ray, a number of large southern stingrays, numerous nurse sharks and barracuda, a large green moray eel, a brittle star, three green sea turtles cavorting together, and plenty of other sea life. I took a few pictures of everything with the underwater disposable, which came out poor, but not quite worthless. Unfortunately, the only one I can find is the turtles.

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The next morning we headed back to Belize City and then embarked on an all-day bus ride to Tikal, Guatemala. It probably took the cake for sketchy public transportation in my life so far, but we made it without issue. I liked Tikal a lot. It is adjacent to some large protected lands, so the forest there just felt deeper than anything we’d seen up until that point. We had time for a quick rainy hike that first evening, and in that time were able to see spider monkeys (my first new world monkey!) and white-tailed deer.

We camped outside the restaurant and woke up at 4am for an early-morning tour we had signed up with. Due to the tour we were able to enter the park before visiting hours, and were greeted by the booming calls of howler monkeys before the sun rose. The early morning was a great time to see the jungle come alive and the ruins rise up out of the mist.

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An orange-breasted falcon landed just above me on restoration scaffolding and peered down for a while:

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Black vultures, black hawks, and swallow-tailed kites glided above us, toucans and parrots flitted through the trees, huge walking sticks and land snails crawled on the trunks, and ocellated turkeys and coatimundis roamed around the ground.

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The ruins were striking too – the expanse, size, and complexity of the many temples, pyramids, and other buildings dwarfed Coba, Tulum, and Muyil combined.

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A ruin pre-excavation - there are something like 10,000 of these in Tikal alone:

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After the tour my wife and I continued to explore the area on our own. We saw more spider monkeys, the howlers that we had heard in the morning, a few basilisks and anoles along with numerous Rosebelly Lizards, and I flipped a tarantula:

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Rosebelly Lizards (Sceloporus variabilis)

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Anole sp.?

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But the big sighting of the day was when I finally flipped a snake:

Black-striped Snake Coniophanes imperialis imperialis

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I thought when I caught it that it was a rear-fanged species, and the impression was confirmed when the little guy started chewing on my ring finger for all he was worth. I was impressed, and while trying to get him off without hurting him, explained to my wife why his actions showed he was a rear-fanged species and what that meant. That worried her more than I intended it to. When I got him off my wife tried to get a decent pic, but he just latched right back on. She was definitely was not happy about that. I ended up being forced to release him without getting the nice picture I was hoping for, and though it showed no effects from the venom my finger was definitely the worse for wear.

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The only real disappointing thing about our Tikal time was that it was cut too short and heavy rainstorms had begun to hit us, like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFMdSqKLfEg


Many times we were forced to wait under cover, and even when we walked it looked like much of the wildlife was taking shelter. What we didn’t know was that Tropical Storm Alma had just hit from the Pacific http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropical_Storm_Alma_(2008) and was being called a “rainmaker”. It should have been great for amphibian life near the ponds in front, but our schedule got screwed up in such a way that I really wasn’t able to spend time exploring them the first evening and we had to leave before the second.

When I was able to look at the ponds in midday, I saw a few basilisks, numerous sliders, 4-5 Morelet’s Crocodiles, and some really cool wading birds.


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Meso-American Slider Trachemys venusta

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Morelet’s Crocodiles Crocodylus moreletii

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I would highly recommend getting at least two full days in Tikal if you go there – it was the only place that we left feeling like we really should have stayed longer. In the evening we jumped on a shuttle and headed back towards civilization, and the rains kept pouring down…

After a shuttle ride, hotel stay, walk, bus trip, walk across the border, and some hitchhiking, we made it to San Ignacio, Belize. And it rained and rained and rained. We had been planning to go on an ATM cave tour (which got cancelled), then switched to a cave tubing tour (which got cancelled) and soon found that everything else was cancelled too. Places that absolutely guaranteed they wouldn’t cancel on us were cancelling. And it kept raining and raining and raining. With no business left in San Ignacio, we jumped on the bus a day early and headed to Cockscomb Wildlife Sanctuary on May 31st. We finally heard about Tropical Storm Alma coming ashore from the Pacific, but unbeknownst to us, Tropical Storm Arthur (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropical_S ... hur_(2008)) had just formed in the Caribbean Sea.

Cockscomb had been a dream of mine since youth – I’d heard Alan Rabinowitz speak when I was just a kid, read Jaguar soon after it came out, and reread it again with my wife when we made the decision to go to the Yucatan. In terms of remoteness, it was just as I had imagined. There was a single staff member and a single other guest in the place when we got there, and the facilities basically felt like a well-staffed research station. And the jungle was real. Things had been cool in Muyil and Tikal, but the jungle here was definitely the best.

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Unfortunately, the rain was awful. From the moment we arrived in Cockscomb, the sun was hiding. Hiking favorability was determined by the degree of rainfall, though even the light drizzles usually intensified within a few minutes. I was rarely brave enough to pull out my camera, fearing it could be ruined. Once a large tree branch came crashing down onto the trail about 80 feet behind us, and another time a tree fell about 40 feet in front of us. While the plant life was beautiful, the animal life stayed hidden. I managed to flip a brown forest skink (Sphenomorphus cherriei), a whip scorpion, and a tarantula

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and we saw a few very wet basilisks and anoles:

Possible Lesser Scaly Anoles? Anolis uniformis?

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Brown basilisk Basiliscus vittatus

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I also saw an adult Speckled Racer next to a lagoon, but managed to perfectly cut off the head in my one picture (there was only one picture because I was going to go grab it before my wife and I had a short discussion re: the last time I’d grabbed a snake, and he got away while we were talking):

Northern Speckled Racer Drymobius margaritiferus margaritiferus

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The only herps that actually seemed to enjoy the weather were the toads, which I believe are Rainforest Toads:

Rainforest Toads Bufo campbelli

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Due to the rain, which only seemed to get harder, we spent a lot of time back in the very cheap cabin room we had rented. Around there we did saw a Staffer’s Treefrog, some Gulf Coast toads, and an animated Cane Toad.

Cane Toad Bufo marinus

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Unfortunately, this was when the error hit both sides of the memory card, so I lost a number of those pics along with all the Caye Caulker pictures. The nights were a desperate struggle of trying to defend ourselves from bugs – besides the mosquitoes, I was nailed at some point by something with significant mass that bit down hard on my shoulder before I slapped it away. Any guesses what that might have been? On the second night, it STORMED. That video from Tikal was a joke compared to the rain/lighting/thunder storm that came down on our heads in Cockscomb.

When we woke up, the rain appeared to finally be letting up. We tried to do one hike, but found that the trail was flooded. So we tried another hike, and found that trail to be flooded as well. On a third hike, the stream had washed out a footbridge. We finally got through a short trail on the fourth try, and saw the mammalian highlight of the whole trip – a jaguarondi!!!

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You may have noticed that picture was taken at the Belize Zoo. Our wild jaguarondi didn’t stick around for the photo op, so our only evidence was the paw print he left behind:

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We tried one more trail, and found another footbridge completely swamped by a flooded stream. This was crazy….so we went back to camp. And it looked like camp was leaving. Radio communications were down, the last word was that highway bridges were washed out and there was flooding and landslides everywhere, and Cockscomb was being shut down and evacuated. Honestly, if we had stayed out in the forest another hour or two, I’m not sure if we would have had a way out.

The next 48 hours were an adventure in themselves. Basically, the back-to-back tropical storms had caused flooding everywhere, and nine people were killed. This is a situation report posted at one point during recovery:

http://www.cdera.org/cunews/sitrep/beli ... e_2117.php

The major bridge on the Southern Highway just 1 mile north of us was completely gone (picture is the next day, when the water got calmer).
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7 miles to the south of us (in a direction that’s a dead-end anyways) the highway was flooded and impassable. With absolutely nowhere to possibly go, we slept in the back guesthouse of a very kind Mayan family in Maya Center.

The next morning, locals had started canoe shuttles across the heavily flooded Sittee River. We risked it (against the strong advice of one tour guide) and made it across in one of the more nerve-wracking boat trips of my life.

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Here's a video (later in the day when our convoluted trip took us back to the bridge) to give you an idea:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgzQ6QAE900




A bus on the other side tried to take us to Dangriga (which is a dead end anyways), but was forced to stop due to the heavily flooded highway.

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The bus refused to turn around and go west because the highway was washed out and impassible in that direction. We (me, my wife, a number of Belizeans, and two European tourists) started hiking west on the Hummingbird Highway, simply because we were out of options.

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After two miles of hiking, a kind Belizean man named Pio we had befriended flagged down a Ministry of Agriculture pickup, driven by a friend of his from college who was high up in government. We jumped in the back and began touring the damage with them.

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The truck eventually drove west up the Hummingbird Highway around several landslides and partial washouts, but was forced to stop where the highway was completely gone.

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My wife and I said our good-byes and thank yous, walked around the obstruction, and caught a bus to Belmopan. And we were safe and sound.

Belmopan was just an emergency stop for recovery, but I was determined to make the best of it. We had planned to do night-driving for herps in the area (I had expected it to be the herp highlight of the trip), but road conditions forced us to rule it out. Instead, we washed our nasty laundry and my wife rested from the exhausting ordeal. But I was surrounded by post-storm flooding! So I walked the ditches and had my best amphibian night of the whole trip:

Gulf Coast Toads Bufo valliceps

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Brown's Leopard Frog Rana brownium

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White-lipped Frog Leptodactylus labialis

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Common Mexican Treefrog Smilisca baudinii

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Stauffer’s Long-nosed Treefrog Scinax stafufferi

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There were also a few lizards, including house geckos and this lifer that I scared out from under a concrete slab:

Dwarf Gecko Sphaerodactylus glaucus

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I take pride in my ability to hand-catch lizards, managing to snag a few things (whiptails, fringe-toed lizards, leopard lizards, desert iguanas) that aren’t easy to catch by hand. But I think this one takes the cake:

Brown Basilisk Basiliscus vittatus

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Not only is it the only one I caught while it was asleep, he’s the first lizard I’ve ever accidentally grabbed while trying to climb into a culvert. Well, I guess it could have been either that or a Bothrops. I did find that Scinax, a few toads, and a huge wolf spider in the culvert though, so it was worth it.

We visited the Belize Zoo the next day, a wonderful little place, though it has very few herps. Their real focus was on educating children in a manner that children would actually pick up on - and they're working on a program that would ensure that every child in Belize visits the zoo at least once during their education. It was a decent place for wild herps too - there were agoutis all over the grounds, and we also saw a pair of guans and my first wild Green Iguana.


Classic Belizian Zoo signs:

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Rose with ocelot

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Zoo Howler displaying:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Q_L07DL0lc


Zoo Coatimundi family:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2grfvPYThc


Wild guan and agouti

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Terrible picture of a Green Iguana (Iguana iguana)

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After that it was a night in Chetumel, night in Playa del Carmen, night in Cancun, and then flying back to the States to enjoy life together. :D Thank you much for reading.



Total herp count for Belize and Guatemala

2 White-lipped Frogs
3 Brown's Leopard Frogs
2 Stauffer’s Treefrogs
4-5 Common Mexican Treefrogs
TMTC Gulf Coast Toads
3 Rainforest Toads
1 Cane Toad

8-10 Meso-American Sliders
3 Green Sea Turtles

4-5 Morelet’s Crocodiles

1 Brown Forest Skink
1 Dwarf Gecko
10-15 Common House Geckos
Several Cuban Brown Anoles
1 Bourgeae’s Ghost Anole
2 Lesser Scaly Anoles?
Several unidentified anoles
15-20 Rosebelly Lizards
14-15 Brown Basilisks
1 Green Iguana
several Black Iguanas

1 Speckled Racer
1 Black-striped Snake



Total count for trip: 30 species, every one of them a lifer. Just about everything I saw was a common Mayan region herp, and none of the best herping attempts worked out, but I’m happy with what we saw. Herping wasn’t the primary focus anyways.

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gbin
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Re: The Yucatan Peninsula: Belize and Guatemala

Post by gbin » July 27th, 2010, 7:08 pm

Oh my gosh, Jonathan, you've made me so homesick for Tikal!

Do you remember where you took your coati pictures? I reckon I knew their ancestors! (My mind is too fuzzy from long-day weariness to take a guess at how many generations they must have gone through since my wife and I were studying them there.)

Your Coniophanes imperialis brought back fond memories, too. One day while bushwhacking after our coatis I found a small reptile egg sticking half into the ground, took it back to camp and set it up in a little jar half-filled with dampened sawdust (mahogany, no less) and covered with rubberbanded mesh, and then set the jar on the floor in the bathroom of the shack we were living in at the time so that I could check on it often without having to think about it. However much later (heaven only knows where those notes are), it hatched into the cutest little C. imperialis!

I have a very similar story of wifely concern over a bite I received from carelessly handling a rearfanged snake in Tikal, too. One day I rescued a young Xenodon rabdocephalus from a park ranger's machete; they all seemed to believe that all snakes are deadly dangerous, so I was deliberately handling it casually to show the ranger not to be so concerned about this particular species. (He was about to dispatch it to "save" the touristas.) Of course the little bugger thanked me for saving its life by promptly tagging me, which I also handled casually. My wife not so much. She kept such a close eye on me for the rest of the day that you'd have thought she was on death watch! :lol: And even to this day if I remind her of the incident she gets mad at me all over again! :lol:

I'm sorry I can't help much on identifying the anoles in your previous post or this one. Even after three years in Tikal and one or two hands-on lessons from Jon Campbell when he would breeze through the park, I never really felt confident about it; there's just too many species and they just (mostly) look too similar to my eye. I feel like I knew your Anolis uniformis? as Norops lemurinus, the species I most commonly encountered there, for what that's worth.

What with all the ruins as well as the wildlife, I'd say two days is the bare minimum one should stay in Tikal. A week really wouldn't seem too long for a naturalist of whatever inclination! But Belize is absolutely wonderful too, as you know, so it's hard to argue against splitting one's time between them.

Geez, I wish we were someplace where you could show me all the rest of the photos you took down there, and tell me all the stories that go along with them! It's been way too long now since I was last there, and I miss it terribly...

Thanks for sharing!

Gerry

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Mike VanValen
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Re: The Yucatan Peninsula: Belize and Guatemala

Post by Mike VanValen » July 27th, 2010, 8:07 pm

You did good, Jon. Cool herps, buuuuut...being a closet mammal guy, the Jaguarundi defeats any herp you posted. :lol:

You are truly lucky to have seen a wild Puma yagouaroundi.

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Re: The Yucatan Peninsula: Belize and Guatemala

Post by jonathan » July 27th, 2010, 8:23 pm

I can't be absolutely sure, but I believe the coatis were on the way down from Temple IV. It was whatever temple we ascended for the sunrise.

I'm not surprised the rangers were freaked out about a Xenodon rabdocephalus - I wouldn't touch one either! Not that they're dangerous, but...I don't trust my Guatemalan snake ID skills nearly enough to take the chance with that mimic.

I'd love to get back and spend more time in Guatemala/Belize, but it's quite unlikely. It was sad that our one time there was affected by so many major interruptions, but those got to be interesting stories in themselves! I do think though - if we had only had a "off and on rain" for three weeks instead of 1.5 bone dry weeks followed by 1 week of torrential downpour, we would have had a chance to see so many more species...

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Re: The Yucatan Peninsula: Belize and Guatemala

Post by jonathan » July 27th, 2010, 8:28 pm

Mike VanValen wrote:You did good, Jon. Cool herps, buuuuut...being a closet mammal guy, the Jaguarundi defeats any herp you posted. :lol:

You are truly lucky to have seen a wild Puma yagouaroundi.

Well, my wife is truly lucky. Sadly, my wife was walking ahead of me as I flipped a log (she hated stopping for me to flip stuff) when she came upon it sniffing something on the trail. I only saw a flash of fur/body shape as it startled and moved quickly off the trail - if it hadn't been for my wife's clear view and ID, I wouldn't have been able to tell it from a tayra.

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Re: The Yucatan Peninsula: Belize and Guatemala

Post by kysnakeguy » July 27th, 2010, 8:42 pm

Cool post ur lucky that u saw snakes I was ther in April and saw none becuse it was the dry season (and becuse of verious different reasons) well cool post! :thumb:

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Re: The Yucatan Peninsula: Belize and Guatemala

Post by John Martin » July 27th, 2010, 9:04 pm

jonathan wrote:It was sad that our one time there was affected by so many major interruptions, but those got to be interesting stories in themselves!
When one door closes, another door opens! But you already know that. :D Some of my fondest memories/adventures began as seeming calamities. Great story, and lots of neat animals to boot! :beer:

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Re: The Yucatan Peninsula: Belize and Guatemala

Post by justinm » July 28th, 2010, 8:54 am

Wow what an adventure, and what a story. I think it sounded pretty exciting, if not what you had in mind when you set out. Tikal is amazing by all accounts.

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Re: The Yucatan Peninsula: Belize and Guatemala

Post by Robert Mendyk » July 28th, 2010, 10:27 am

I just returned from a month down in Belize, half of which was spent herping (new thread to follow once I go through the 8 GB of photos I took). Surprisingly (or perhaps not so surprising given Belize's infrastructure), that washed-out bridge on the Southern Highway is still gone, hasn't been repaired. Instead, there is a small one-lane temporary bridge which was erected 100 m down from the old bridge, which seemed largely inadequate to be handle the buses I crossed it in.

Interestingly, there was a large adult green iguana that was in the same spot in a large tree adjacent to this temporary bridge the two or three times I passed over in it in a bus. Never did get a photo of it or the bridge, though...

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Re: The Yucatan Peninsula: Belize and Guatemala

Post by chrish » July 28th, 2010, 2:17 pm

Great post. I would love to go to Tikal.

How was the border crossing at Chetumal? We thought about trying it, but we were in our car and didn't want the hassle so we stayed in MX.

I think your Sceloporus variabilis are actually Sceloporus teapensis, but I'm not positive about the range of teapensis.

Your Gulf Coast Toad photo is interesting in that there are two species involved in case you didn't notice.

I think your Guan photo is a Plain Chachalaca. I guess that is a type of guan, so why not?

Chris

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Re: The Yucatan Peninsula: Belize and Guatemala

Post by jonathan » July 28th, 2010, 3:15 pm

chrish wrote:Great post. I would love to go to Tikal.

How was the border crossing at Chetumal? We thought about trying it, but we were in our car and didn't want the hassle so we stayed in MX.
We were on a bus that went from Chetumal to Belize City, and that made it very easy (all we had to do was get out of the bus, get our passport checked, and get back on the bus). I'm not sure how it would have been in a car.


chrish wrote:I think your Sceloporus variabilis are actually Sceloporus teapensis, but I'm not positive about the range of teapensis.
Interesting - I was going off of Julian Lee's 2000 guide, which says that the latest literature does not consider teapensis to be a distinct species. It appears that SSAR does though. If you are going by them, then yes, it would be teapensis, not variabilis.


chrish wrote:Your Gulf Coast Toad photo is interesting in that there are two species involved in case you didn't notice.
I definitely didn't....are you saying that the bottom toad is a marinus? No one has ever pointed that out in the two times that I've posted this thread. It does have huge paratoids, but the cranial crests looked like they were extending inwards like valliceps to me...not that I looked that closely before. Man, the more times I look the more that looks like huge marinus paratoids...you're probably right. Now I've said all that, and you're going to tell me it's something else. :lol: :lol:

That mounting wasn't much different than everything else I was seeing that night. Does that mean that the valliceps females rivaled the size of the marinus, or that there weren't valliceps females around and the males were just mounting the marinus that were available?

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chrish wrote:I think your Guan photo is a Plain Chachalaca. I guess that is a type of guan, so why not?
I was being general - I know nothing of guans or the bird species of Yucatan, that's just the family I thought it belonged to. If it is more accurately referred to as a chachalaca, that is what I will refer to it as from now on. ;)

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Re: The Yucatan Peninsula: Belize and Guatemala

Post by jonathan » July 28th, 2010, 4:14 pm

btw - if you know birds chrish, is the toucan a Rainbow-billed Toucan, the parrots White-fronted Parrots (I also saw a Yellow-headed Parrot, I think), and the heron a Bare-throated Tiger Heron (also saw a Grey-necked Wood Rail)? And in my Riviera Maya thread, is that a Yucatan Jay, Orange Oriole, Social Flycatcher, and Turquoise-browed Mot-mot? Those were the best guesses I could make without a birding field guide.

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gbin
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Re: The Yucatan Peninsula: Belize and Guatemala

Post by gbin » July 28th, 2010, 5:27 pm

jonathan wrote:I can't be absolutely sure, but I believe the coatis were on the way down from Temple IV. It was whatever temple we ascended for the sunrise.
Cool! Unless things have changed an awful lot since we were there, that was one of our study bands!
jonathan wrote:I'm not surprised the rangers were freaked out about a Xenodon rabdocephalus - I wouldn't touch one either! Not that they're dangerous, but...I don't trust my Guatemalan snake ID skills nearly enough to take the chance with that mimic.
Yeah, but the park rangers, and the men we hired from villages near the park to assist us, were pretty much united in believing that all snakes were to be fled or whacked. Our guys were pretty good in the forest in most ways, but not with herps in general and especially not with snakes. It surprised me.

And rest assured, I knew the snakes much better than the anoles! ;)
jonathan wrote:... It was sad that our one time there was affected by so many major interruptions, but those got to be interesting stories in themselves!...
Believe me, I understand all too well. Some of my and my wife's best stories at dinner parties are about the various mishaps or even downright catastrophes we endured while living in Guatemala. So it virtually always goes, I think...
jonathan wrote:I do think though - if we had only had a "off and on rain" for three weeks instead of 1.5 bone dry weeks followed by 1 week of torrential downpour, we would have had a chance to see so many more species...
I don't know that I agree with that, at least about the rainy portion of your stay. The very beginning of the wet season (and somewhat later) can offer some pretty good herping down there. I mean, admittedly it's not so easy to herp or do much of anything else outdoors in the midst of a tropical downpour, but a lot of the region's herps are out and about under such conditions and especially as soon as the rain lets up for even a bit. I do agree that the end of the dry season can be really tough - but I can't imagine you and your bride would have been very happy if it had poured the entire time you were down there (as it certainly could have, had you arrived just a bit later). ;)

But it does sound like you encountered some exceptionally heavy rains and I don't mean to make light of that. I'm glad y'all weathered it fine, as not everyone does. About a year after we came back to the U.S. we heard that one of our best friends down there was driving over a bridge in southern Guatemala when a flash flood caused by torrential rain swept her truck away; the truck was subsequently found but neither she nor her new baby ever were...

My wife is a birder, so if Chris can't provide an ID for you (though I'll bet he can) I'll ask her to take a look at the picture in question and see what she thinks.

Greatly looking forward to your Belize post, too, Robert!

Gerry

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Re: The Yucatan Peninsula: Belize and Guatemala

Post by jonathan » July 28th, 2010, 5:51 pm

gbin wrote:
jonathan wrote:I do think though - if we had only had a "off and on rain" for three weeks instead of 1.5 bone dry weeks followed by 1 week of torrential downpour, we would have had a chance to see so many more species...
I don't know that I agree with that, at least about the rainy portion of your stay. The very beginning of the wet season (and somewhat later) can offer some pretty good herping down there. I mean, admittedly it's not so easy to herp or do much of anything else outdoors in the midst of a tropical downpour, but a lot of the region's herps are out and about under such conditions and especially as soon as the rain lets up for even a bit. I do agree that the end of the dry season can be really tough - but I can't imagine you and your bride would have been very happy if it had poured the entire time you were down there (as it certainly could have, had you arrived just a bit later). ;)

Well, the biggest issue herp-wise is that we had a road-cruise planned for central Belize, but had to cancel when the floods hit. With the locale I'd been given and the timing at the beginning of the rainy season, that was planned to be the herp mecca of the whole trip. Add in the fact that the raining/flooding seriously limited how much time we were able to spend on the trails in Cockscomb and especially the % of the trails we were able to see - our windows were so short and there were so many flooded trails that we only got to do a tiny percentage of the hiking we had planned. Between those two tropical storms there really was very few breaks in the rain during that 3-day period. Plus we had to evacuate Cockscomb a day early, and spent an extra day basically just traveling out of the flood zone.

And then you have that the entire Mexican portion was bone-dry, which likely limited the amphibians and snakes we were able to see and was one of the reasons that I canceled both planned road cruises in Mexico as well (though likely would have only done one of them anyway).

If I could have had a do-over, I would have started a week later so we spent less time in the bone-dry season, and then told God to just ease into the rainy season and lay off the tropical storms for one year. But who am I to complain - we still saw a lot of stuff, and the storms were so much worse for so many other people's lives than they were for ours.

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Daniel Parker
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Re: The Yucatan Peninsula: Belize and Guatemala

Post by Daniel Parker » July 30th, 2010, 7:21 pm

Has anyone here ever found a Yucatan box turtle? If so, I would love to see some pics.

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Re: The Yucatan Peninsula: Belize and Guatemala

Post by Notread » August 1st, 2010, 8:00 am

What a great adventure! Really enjoyed your post!

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jonathan
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Re: The Yucatan Peninsula: Belize and Guatemala

Post by jonathan » August 16th, 2010, 7:53 am

Anyone have any thoughts about that toad ID?

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