When February arrives, I am tired of winter. Tired of the cold, dreary, gray days and tired of being stuck indoors (mostly because I can’t stand to be cold, not because of any severe weather).
This is when I need an escape. Enter a trip to warmer climates. Yay!
Here I sit in my office chair with the remnants of a fading tan and memories of sunshine and blue skies with the sound of surf and turquoise waters. Thank you, Puerto Rico.
The best part of traveling for this garden girl/biologist is exploring new habitats. The flora and fauna are new to me and I get so excited when I see a small bird or butterfly flash by in a blur of color.
A Hike in Puerto Rico – Tiny Creatures in the Forest
The Bosque Estatal de Guajataca did not disappoint. While there was still obvious damage from Hurricane Maria, we found one trail that was still clearly marked and embarked on our two-hour excursion.
Along the way, we found several tiny animals and insects that delighted and surprised us. A large snail with a completely horizontal shell, a small bird with a bright red patch under his beak, and a tiny black and yellow butterfly were just some of the small critters we encountered.
I didn’t get photos of everything we saw, I’m just not that fast. But here are some of the more interesting tiny creatures from this forest.
With a large flat shell (horizontally aligned rather than vertical like the common snails here in Georgia), these snail were much bigger than southeastern U.S. snails and curiously carried their homes in a different manner. I wondered about the biological benefit to this and the best I could come up with is that they go into the crevices between rocks frequently, which is where we saw several, and thus required a flatter plane to squeeze into these spaces to hide from predators and gather moisture.
A green blur of motion caught my eye and I was thrilled to see this tiny little bird alight on a branch not too far from where we were standing. At first, I thought it might be a hummingbird, but the beak was all wrong for that. Now that I am able to look it up, I know it is a Puerto Rican Tody (Todus mexicanus). The feathers are a brilliant shade of green and it has a bright red patch underneath its long beak. Quite a sight!
We saw several Zebra Heliconian butterflies that day, but they don’t like to sit still and were hard to capture in a photo. These small brown butterflies with the large eye spot were all along the path, sticking close to the soil surface.