Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Birds - Barn Swallows

Wonder why I call Barn Swallows.... Christmas birds?
Your author exploring the jungle
    Well, some years ago, we were visiting in Belize and Guatemala. I thoroughly enjoyed the jungle, the Maya ruins, and the exotic wildlife.  The Belize jungle is Jaguar country.  The Toucans follow their huge bills around. The Wee Wee Ants (Leaf-Cutter Ants) file along their little trails each carrying a piece of leaf for their underground fungus farm. The Cohune Palms dot the landscape with their giant, arching leaves and huge clusters of nuts.  The Howler Monkeys make an awful lot of noise.  The list goes on...ya' just hope ya' don't meet a "Tommy Goff" (Fer de lance).
   Here's a picture of a few of us on the bank of the Belize River at "Isabella Bonk".  There is a dugout canoe at the water's edge, behind those tree trucks and flood debris. Sorry...I can't find my good pictures.
  Now back to the Barn Swallows....  Near this north-western Belize location, on the bank of Spanish Creek is a little village.  There I stopped to talk with some local villagers. Out across the mud yard, past the big, stump-sized, wooden mortar and pestle, I noticed some Barn Swallows flying around over Spanish Creek.  When I mentioned this to the villagers, they said "Oh, those are Christmas birds."
   The Barn Swallows were on an extended Christmas vacation in Belize!  They left the musty, old barns and the munching cattle for more exotic country.
   I miss their aerial acrobatics as they swoop up mosquitoes.  I miss their scolding "wee-cheat,  wee-cheat" as they dive past threateningly when I walk through the barn.
 Oh well, they'll come back when they are tired of noisy Howler Monkeys, Mayan ruins, Tarantulas, steamy jungles, and rain.
Listening to Howler Monkeys at Tikal
 Someday, maybe I'll join the Barn Swallows for a Christmas vacation.
Merry Christmas!


  1. Dana, that last photo is quite lovely.

  2. Sybil,
    Yes, and the memory is lovely too. The picture was taken after a rain, while the Howler Monkeys were howling in the trees from the direction I'm looking. Sorry about the quality of the was taken years ago and I pulled it from a photo album and scanned it for the post.

  3. Anonymous12/28/2011

    Wow! Talk about bringing back the memories! I think I was behind the camera on the Tikal shots... Remember the line about ripping the heart out? :) - Sanford

  4. Sanford,
    The others were down on the ground seeking shelter from the rain when you took that last photo from our high-n-dry location. I don't remember the line you refered to, but I do have lots of great memories of the trip!