Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ecotour of HAFF (a syzygy*)

My American agronomist friend Rhoda and my Haitian bird guide friend Louiders finally got to meet!  Rhoda came up to spend the week with my team at HAFF (where she was a former intern) and we went on a bird hike with Louiders, who I met in 2009 and trained to be a birding guide.  Rhoda gave the two of us and Kristin a tour of the trails in the 40-acre HAFF compound in Bohoc while Louiders pointed out the birds, a black tarantula in a dark tree hole, and even a skinny green snake in a tree.  As a bonus, Louiders taught Rhoda some of the plants she wasn’t familiar with (including the banza, a vine with an edible root).  We saw a termite mound and all the trails it made in the tree, a cricket that blended in perfectly with tree bark, and a walking stick (known as a devil’s horse in Creole).  Louiders filled us in on the misbelief about cicadas (lasigol in Creole).  Louiders told us the cicadas grow bigger and bigger until they finally explode and die!  I figured out he was seeing the split skin left behind when the cicada molts from a pupa to an adult. 

Rhoda & Louiders
 *Syzygy - a straight line configuration of three celestial bodies.  Also the book by Frederik Pohl that I read on this trip, losing it twice – once for 2 days in my bed, and once at the Miami airport with my boarding pass in it (quickly retrieved from the snack counter where I left it).
banza vine

eating starfruit

Rhoda and me in front of a termite mound

Dark termite trails along branches of a flamboyant tree

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