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2005 Daily Journal

Day One: Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Meet the 2005 Team
Trip itinerary and map
2005 Q & A

Airport group shotWe are here!

We left RDU at 6:15 a.m. and arrived in Miami around 8. After grabbing lunches we left for Belize at 11:15. We arrived at 11:08 – no, we did not travel back in time, rather we had a two hour time change!

Bill Hasse, Nathan Forbes, Elsa Ochoa and Germaine Cal were waiting for us after we cleared immigration and customs. We set off for the Community Baboon Sanctuary and used our time in the van to identify Cecropia trees, Social Flycatchers, Heliconias and Kiskadees. A highlight was spotting a Hooded Oriole.

Howler Monkey on bridge At the Baboon Sanctuary we learned about medicinal plants from two local guides. It is amazing to discover the "pharmacy" right in the forest. We caught a quick glimpse of an Agouti (or Bush Rabbit) as it bounded through an opening. We found a troop of six Howler Monkeys, including one female carrying a baby on her back. We were treated to an acrobatic display of all six of them crossing one of the "monkey bridges" that had been constructed in the forest. The dominant male crossed first, followed by each individual. They were headed towards a fig tree where they will spend the night.

Cindy with the flat tire We headed towards Warrie Head Lodge, thinking we would get there "early" only to have a flat tire. While Nathan changed the tire, we used the opportunity to dip net in the small vernal ponds along the roadside. Not only did we catch and release a couple of colorful small fish, we found multiple Apple Snail shells.

After the tire was repaired, we stopped yet again to pick up a turtle that had been crossing the road. We watched Jan race the turtle to the bush where she picked it up and brought it back for all to see.Narrowbridge Musk Turtle It turned out to be an endemic species (which means it is only found in a given range). It is called a Narrowbridge Musk Turtle, Claudius angustatus, and one of its identifying behaviors was being pugnacious when picked up. This one certainly was!

It was wonderful to arrive and see Miss Lydia, Blanca and Isabelle again. We met as a group before dinner. As usual the meal was excellent! We headed out afterwards to look for tarantulas and other nocturnal critters before turning in for the evening.

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