Archive for the ‘Nature in El Salvador’ Tag

A nature walk in Chalatenango   Leave a comment

Here is a journal entry from a walk my husband and I went on April 26, 2010 that describes some of the nature around where his parents live in Chalatenango, El Salvador.

At 10:30am my husband and I went on a nature walk near the house in rural Chalatenango. Right outside our house flying over the now dry creek was a Toragoz. We crawled/stepped through and over many barbed wire fences – no one here minds you walking on their land, everyone knows each other. We stepped aside patches of cow dung, some drying into cow chips. Then reached a well and water feeder for cattle, which was also feeding a swarm of wasps today.   Two guys from the neighborhood were cleaning an area to plant maize later on.

As we walked away, I saw an interesting bird – or so I thought – which turned out to be a huge butterfly.  It is most likely a Blue Morpho.  I found this picture above  on a nice educational website about butterflies, put together by Alyssa Scott at St. Johns Fisher college.  Click on the picture and link to a page showing different types of butterflies her site.

Continuing on our nature walk, Jesus showed me the chontes and chorchas, two types of indigenous birds in El Salvador.

The chorcha is a bright yellow (and sometimes orange-yellow) colored bird I often see here –  it’s in the Oriole family.   Where we live now, they like to hang out in the bamboo trees, and their coloring blends well with the yellowy shade of the bamboo.  They build a peculiar nest. It’s a long, thin slinglike shape, like a pear stretched lengthwise or an upside-down skinny parachute. They often hang the nest over branches, and even power lines. Here is a picture of their nest from a site called HonduBirding.

The chonte is a more average-looking bird, with a gorgeous song.  Chonte is a local word for this bird more commonly known as a cenzontle in Spanish, and in English, it is a mockingbird.

Then we went looking for muta, a vegetable that local people eat, which comes from the new growth in piñales, spikey plants that look like aloe or pineapple bushes (thus, why they are called piñal), but are neither of which – people grow them along the edges of their property as a fence.  People cut out the muta from them, then peel and eat them with lemon and salt.   Everyone else beat us to it, so we’ll have to try more on a different walk tomorrow.


Glass…Moth?   Leave a comment

Yep.  Now I’ve seen it all.  Grasshoppers that look like leaves, Gigantic Orange Grasshoppers with lobster necks, crazy creepy crawly things, and now this.  Found in my kitchen in El Salvador, I have no idea what nature’s purpose is for this glass moth, but take a look:

A Butterfly is Born   Leave a comment

We got to experience a butterfly in the making, from pupa to wing flight – twice over!  All from our own patio in El Salvador – where else, of course.   We noticed a pupa (we called it a cocoon) hanging from the outside patio ceiling one day, and within a week, another one on the other side of the patio

Early stage pupa late stage pupa – note how the coloring changes We waited with anticipation for almost two weeks, when at last the first lovely butterfly emerged:
Flash picture shows more detail: A week or so later, butterfly number two emerged from its cramped quarters: A picture only a scientist could love: secretions from the chrysalis landed on the tile floor below it, around hatching time:

A scintillating experience, albeit in slow motion.  Originally I believed they were moths, but learned the ‘hanging objects’ in which they metamorphosed were not cocoons, but a pupae.

See a nice time-lapse video showing the whole butterfly life cycle:  Butterfly Time Lapse

Also visit the Wonderful World of Insects in El Salvador Photo Gallery.

Speaking of Leaves   3 comments

There is no shortage of tropical insects here in El Salvador, and many are experts at camouflage.  This bright green grasshopper, known here as an “Esperanza” is modeled by my niece Carmen.  Its back looks just like a leaf.  Insects in New England are no contest to the ones here, these are sooo much better.

Have a look at this Camouflage Butterfly, he uses the same trick as the Esperanza.   See more at the Wonderful World of Insects in El Salvador Photo Gallery.

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