Tuesday, August 25, 2009

...when a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of lust.

I'd like to say great things have happened since I last wrote, but that would be a lie. We've had a trickle of minor happenings, most of them I am ashamed to say, seem to have involved at least one crate of beer and a distinct lack of peanuts.

We finally let the veloceraptors loose on the world. Actually, we let then loose on an unsuspecting Blue. He is no longer permitted to perch just anywhere, only where the Little Green Gods allow. At first we though "ah, cute, Blue has flying-mates" but now I suspect it's more like "Run, Blue! Run for your life." Their most recent trick is to fly to the top of the ladders and bite the living *&!$ out of my arm while I'm changing the feed. That's always fun 20 feet up at 6 in the morning in a rainstorm.

Pepe is driving Jerry absolutely crazy (quiet snigger). Although they still have sex on a regular basis (sadly, pictured), the foreplay is getting shorter and Pepe's temper shorter still. I think Jerry is beginning to feel like he is being taken for granted. Pepe's also spreading the joy, canoodling with every male visitor we have pass through in the hopes of a better offer. Tart.
Speaking of canoodling, there's some pairing up going on in the Big House, which is going to complicate the carefully planned release schedules. Timba is still struck on the white-fronted female and has set up home in the dog kennel (hey, I didn't say anything about normal). Michael and Como are very cuddly and are measuring up the old bee-hive for curtains. Iran has been left in the cold by this relationship, so he's set his sights on Blue, who actually seems to be responding to the advances (picture scenes from visiting hour at Alcatraz). Milo has his own little fan club although none brave enough to ask him out on a date (thank God). He usually takes the soprano on the dawn and dusk chorus and may I take this opportunity once again to apologise to our neighbours. He still won't come down from the rafters and I swear he laughed at me the other day.

We had a bit of excitement with Prico who seemed to be seeing incredibly well. We threw him in the aviary for a change of scenery and within a day or two he was back to nearly blind again. The carefully thought-out scientific theories range from 'not enough to eat' to 'too much light and his vitamin A ran out'. Whatever, he's safely back on the tree trunk that passes for an ornament in our living room.

We had a flying visit from the Be Kind Belize students from San Pedro. They were delightful kids and their toy-making was so good I'm hoping it will become part of their curriculum for as long as I can keep them supplied with materials, although Rafi got more than he bargained for when he hung up his toy! This was one of the few groups of visitors we had this month that did not involve beer, by the way, in case you were wondering.

And finally, this month saw the first ever Wildlife Conference for Belize. I'm ashamed to say I'd never been to a conference before - I always thought you had to sell toothbrushes or something to get to go to those. Anyhow, it was a great success and we hooked up with lots of interesting souls. We had no idea there were so many enviro-crazies in Belize: when you operate in isolation, it's always a shock when you discover you are almost normal after all...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Santa's Little Helpers

We were blessed with decent rains this week so we could get on with this year's planting. We finally made a much talked-about trip to the Mennonite nursery that sells some unusual stuff: peach, apple, red guavas, pomegranate, cranberry, raspberry, blackberry and mulberry (real blackberry - not the pretend Belizean blackberry that is actually a big tree full of black berries that only the squirrels will eat. We'd planted 6 of those before we cottoned on. Man, we're quick).

We were also blessed with 2 new arrivals. One came from a couple of local children who's mother was given the bird by a friend. She didn't want it and had obviously sent her boys out to get money for it. The kids received The Lecture (several times, poor things) and the promise of the reward of Bird Rescue T-Shirts on delivery of the bird. We waved goodbye never expecting to see them again. Next morning they were back with a red lored in a cardboard box. Miraculous! I did feel sorry for them though: I can imagine they faced a scene similar to Jack returning home with the magic beans.

The second bird was delivered by the owners of Thatch Caye - they in turn got it from a lady who had to return home after 5 years in Belize. Pepe is adorable - he is probably in the best condition of any bird we have ever had (apart from maybe Fiona) and he absolutely loves Jerry. I can watch and larf as poor Jerry is chased all over the house by this fully flighted and very willful bird. It's like Chili (and Mr P, Basil, Rosie, Midge, Beaky...) all over again. Except this time is Jerry that's not allowed to go to the loo by himself! At last and hooray.

I've also had helpers this week: a first for me. Dyanna is my toy-making helper but I try not to abuse her generosity. However, work-experience helpers needing to put in 40 hours to graduate are fair game. Thanks Andrew - see you next week. Seriously, it was tough for the freak to relinquish control, but I managed it. And they really did do a good job. Bugger. I guess it's not rocket science after all...
As well as constructing some amazing foraging toys, Dyanna and Andrew helped us get aviary 3 up and running so the little darlings occupying the house would have somewhere to day-trip. We still bring the babies in at night because they give us 'the look' and we are clearly a soft touch. And it means I can do the early-morning feed in my PJ's without frightening the horses. The babies are enjoying crunchy stuff, but still need the slop twice a day. Or is it that I still like feeding them??? Some mothers just don't know when to let go...

Jake must have read my last post and is behaving more like a real owl. He is no longer desperate to come in at night and has discovered that the ceiling fans on the roof-terrace make excellent hunting grounds. Thanks to BEL and a strange quirk of the wiring, every time there's a power-out, the lights come on, so Jake can be guaranteed to have a hunting light almost every night (I wonder if he knows that's illegal...?)