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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mexican Adventures Part III: Pazahol

First Episode: Mexican Adventures Part I: Introduction
Second Episode: Mexican Adventures Part II: Road Travel

See the other pictures from this trip at my Flickr site!

Day 5:
January 27, 2011

Angel gathering wood for the camp

After a patrol around the ranch, we headed in to the nearby village, Constitucion to get some more supplies.  The area attracts a lot of poachers and loggers, so they go around to make sure no bad guys are around.

Chicken wanders about the grass.  I wonder who they belong to.

The village had a couple small grocery stores, where you can get basic supplies.  Cleaning fluids, snacks, bread, coca cola, etc.  Each of the homes are fenced, and most homes have a dog and some chicken/turkey wandering about in their lawn.
There are a lot of stray dogs.

Day 6:
January 28, 2011
Bird captured in the dove trap.  There were two in there!

Every morning (and afternoon) Jon McRoberts checks his turkey traps to see if any turkeys are caught.  He doesn't want them in there longer than they have to so he does frequent checks.  The feed that he uses to bait the turkey is corn.  Lots of animals eat the corn though, like birds and coati.  To trap the corn eating birds (like doves) that interfere with his research, he places a smaller trap inside the turkey trap for catching the doves.

This time these blue birds were caught.  The traps weren't designed with live releases in mind, so the trap had to be broken down to release these birds. 

This one bit Jon when he was trying to release it.

Another bird that was watching nearby.

Ant swarm.

The jungle is filled with insects.  You might at any time run in to a load of ants, they'll crawl all over you and get in to your clothes.  They'll bite/sting your too, leaving little bite marks.
 The male and his son.
Later on we headed out to the ruins of Pazahol.  It is an abandoned spanish settlement.  They would hire the indigenous population to work for cheap to harvest the trees and tree extracts.  These Howler Monkeys live by the Ramon trees.  These trees are sought after by all sorts of animals for their nutritional value, and this particular tree had a big family of howler monkeys on it.

To get this shot, I tripod stabilized the Canon 7D with a 70-200mm 2.8L IS II with a 2x extender II.  There were 8 monkeys in the family.  Oscar would howl at them and the male would howl back.  They use howls to intimidate other animals in to leaving their area.

 They look like trouble makers.

Later on, on the way back, we saw some spider monkeys there as well, a whole family of them.  The food here is abundant enough that the animals share the space, where otherwise they would fight for territory.

Day 7:
January 29, 2011
There are scorpions in the grass

The whole time I was sick with various intestinal problems, headaches, dehydration, and an ear infection.  I took the day off to stay near the camp and do some computer work.  The scorpion above is harmless to people, you can let it crawl on you and such without problem.  But it would hurt the smaller animals: dogs, chicken, the cat (unless she eats it first).  It was released away from the camp.

Canela doing her job

January 30, 2011 
 Family of collared peccary (I think)
Near the camp, there is a bean field where they harvest the beans they eat.  This field is shared with a family of peccary that lives in the jungle.  They would eat from the field at dawn and dusk, and disappear when people are near.  To get this picture we had to sneak up to them and take the shot.

At night the skies are clear, allowing me to take amazing time lapse footage of the night.  I had problems with condensation though, causing the lens to fog up.  The Tokina 11-16 2.8 seemed to fog up, but I had no problem with the Sigma 30mm 1.4.  The TC-80N3 was used with the Canon 7D to create the time lapses (which you'll see in the finished film).

Day 9:
January 31, 2011
Some sort of a blue bird
I'm not a bird watcher, so I don't know what any of them are, but there were a lot of different colored birds here.  They are captured and sold as pets all over the world.  Like small purse dogs apparently.  And monkeys.  There's no way to control it in the jungle, so animal trafficking is a big problem here.

Day 10:
February 1, 2011

 Maybe this used to be a pyramid too?

There used to be mayan ruins by Pazahol, but it was just a bunch of rubble.  Some of the big pyramids were rebuilt from rubble piles like these.
There is a tree growing in the living room.

This is where the spanish colonists would have lived in.  It had been taken back by the jungle, as you can see.

First Episode: Mexican Adventures Part I: Introduction
Second Episode: Mexican Adventures Part II: Road Travel

See the other pictures from this trip at my Flickr site!

Come back later for more entries and photos!

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