Thursday 1st September 2011

Salamá

Today was perhaps our best butterfly day so far! We were picked up by our Japanese entomologist friend Jiichiro Yoshimoto and his boss, and taken to the reserve that they are running, Los Cerritos, and were shown around the office of their foundation, FUNDEMABV, or Fundación para la Defensa del Medio Ambiente de Baja Vera Paz. They have here a series of low hills covered with dry forest – and it turned out to be excellent for butterflies.

We started off just along the dirt road above the office building, and had soon found a few very attractive species, including Smyrna blomfildia (Blomfild’s Beauty) and Papilio thoas (Giant Swallowtail). Our route then took us up through the low trees and scrub, stopping at any interesting-looking localities that caught our eye. There were butterflies everywhere, and we spent the rest of the morning working our way slowly up the hill, catching and identifying many species, including even a few that were new to Jiichiro, which was nice.

Four-spotted Sailor, Dynamine postverta

By midday it had become very hot, and we retreated back to the office, and then into town, where we treated to a great lunch cooked by Jiichiro’s landlady, after which we returned to the office, and as it was TOO hot to hunt butterflies, we spent the afternoon admiring Jiichiro’s insects, including some truly spectacular beetles, and helped with the identification of some butterflies – it was really great to be with a kindred spirit, and as I said yesterday, it is almost uncanny how he is following on my great grandfather’s work, 140 years later, in the same valley. I have no doubt that we will meet again.

Butterflying above Salamá

Tomorrow we are due to head down into the tropical lowlands on the Caribbean/Atlantic side, where we are aiming for the Lago de Izabal, Guatemala’s largest lake. This should be a real adventure…but transport blockades are planned so we may not be able to travel. If we do, I may be out of internet contact for a few days….

Salamá panorama

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