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Friday, June 29, 2012

A new moth species report for Nicaragua

The planet earth has perhaps four million species of animals, plants and other living organisms, of which we have documented only a small proportion. Even of those documented species, not much is known about many of them. Our knowledge of what these species need to continue to survive in healthy, stable populations is vital to prevent drastic loss of biodiversity.

The twenty-first century will be characterized as the century of massive species extinctions due to the intereference of man over nature. Many of the effects of man until now have had localized effects on species, whereas this century will see many species crash completely, never to be found in nature again.

Our group has been conducting monitoring of several groups of flora and fauna in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve during the past three years, and during this period, we have documented many species not previously reported in the reserve, and in some cases, not even reported in Nicaragua. In particular, the moths of Nicaragua are poorly reported, in spite of noble and effective work of several scientists such as Jean-Michel Maes. Our group has made several first reports of moth species in Nicaragua, and here we present one more.

nature tours Nicaragua
Ventral view of Lirimiris truncata. Photo by Pablo Somarriba.
Lirimiris truncata is documented from Mexico to Venezuela, but it there is no record of it found in Nicaragua. Until now. It is a member of the family Notodontidae, of which only eleven species have been documented in Nicaragua. Its larva have been found on trees such as Cordia alliodora (Black Laurel) and Guazuma ulmifolia (West Indian Elm), both of which are abundant in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve and the Pacific eco-region of Nicaragua. Our finding of this moth species in Nicaragua is not at all unexpected, which demonstrates just how much is waiting to be discovered here. 

moth Nicaragua
Dorsal view of Lirimiris truncata. Photo by Pablo Somarriba.
The trailing edge of the forewing of this species, like many in its family, is "hairy". Some of the species in this family are called "kittens" because of this effect. The adult moths in this family do not eat, but they have elaborately feathered antennae. This species also has a characteristic opaque band along the leading edge of the forewing. Its colors are not bright nor are its patterns particularly rich like some other moth species. Furthermore, this individual had lost many of its wing scales upon capture and handling.

butteflies and moths Lirimiris
Antennae of Lirimiris truncata are prominently feathered up throughout the proximal three-quarters of the antenna length. Photo by Pablo Somarriba.
We have made first record documentations for more than one hundred species of moths and butterflies for the Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve, and dozens of these records are first records for the entire country as well. We still have much to do in this work, however. Our biodiversity studies depend on donations and volunteers. Would you like to help us study and protect the biodiversity of Nicaragua? Please contact us if you would like to help.
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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hummingbirds I

hummingbirds Nicaragua
Blue-throated Goldentail (Hylocharis eliciae) in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve, Nicaragua. Photo by Wendy van Kooten.
Identifying some birds in the forest on sight is relatively easy, especially when the birds are large. Among the most difficult birds to identify are the hummingbirds (Trochilidae). They are the smallest, of course. And, their feathers are iridescent. They glow brightly when the light is just so, but when the light is not just right, they may appear black. We love catching hummingbirds in our bird monitoring project, because we get to see the birds in brilliant splendor, which is immeasurable for the hummingbirds.
The Blue-throated Goldentail is quite local in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve. They are absent from the forests close to Estacion Biologica, yet they are common in a couple of our monitoring sites, one of them where we monitor with mist nets. We think they appreciate the added humidity of the sites where they are common, because the added shade there holds moisture better than in the more open areas.
hummingbirds Nicaragua
This Blue-throated Goldentail (Hylocharis eliciae) is getting measured before getting released to resume his life in the wild. Photo by Wendy van Kooten.
The Blue-throated Goldentail males form leks, areas dense with males seeking breeding partners, in the dry season. These males don't look different from females, so their distinctive attributes are found in their voice and in their ability to defend a well-positioned perch near the center of the lek. The forest round them is filled with their calls as each competes with the others for the attention of female potential mates. 
hummingbirds Nicaragua
The Stripe-throated Hermit (Phaethornis striigularis) in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve, Nicaragua. Photo by Wendy van Kooten.
Most hummingbirds are amply covered by shiny, metallic green plumage. The only hummingbird in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve without any green feathers is the Stripe-throated Hermit (Phaethornis striigularis). This bird may suggest a moth in flight. It tends to be found in low areas such as canyons, dark and humid areas, avoiding the sun. Birdwatchers easily identify the Stripe-throated Hermit on site, in contrast to some of the other hummingbirds, thanks to its strongly decurved bill, as it is the only hummingbird in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve with such a bill.
Little Hermit
The Stripe-throated Hermit shows off his tail feathers. His head has been moistened to facilitate age determination by examination of cranial ossification. Photo by Wendy van Kooten. 
The Stripe-headed Hermit was until recently, considered a subspecies of the Little Hermit (Phaethornis longuemareus), which will be the reported name for our species in older records. The range for what is now considered the Little Hermit is restricted to east and south of eastern Venezuela.
The Stripe-headed Hermit (Phaethornis striigularis) is the only species in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve sporting a strongly decurved bill. Photo by Wendy van Kooten.
Our interns and volunteers at Estacion Biologica catch a few hummingbirds in every mist-netting activity. The hummingbirds require a slightly different treatment from other birds, because they are extremely small and fragile. At the slightest sign of weakness, we give a hummingbird water, by dabbing a drop onto the bill or submerging the bill into a capful of water. The bird may suffer easily from dehydration because of its extremely rapid metabolism and small size, so we must be observing it at all times to ensure it is strong and capable of returning to its normal routine when we release it. Hummingbirds, unlike some other bird species, don't tend to struggle when held by our technicians, and when we release them, they may sit for a few seconds before deciding to fly away.
The Steely-vented Hummingbird (Amazilia saucerrottei) is difficult to distinguish from the Blue-tailed Hummingbird (Amazilia cyanura) when observed at a distance. This bird was identified by the lack of rufous secondary feathers in the wing. Photo by Wendy van Kooten. 
Two nearly identical hummingbird species are found in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve: The Steely-vented Hummingbird, Amazilia saucerrottei, and the Blue-tailed Hummingbird, Amazilia cyanura. The Steely-vented Hummingbird, furthermore, has a disjunct range, with part in southwestern Nicaragua and northwestern Costa Rica, and another part in northern South America. As a result, the disjunct populations may very well qualify as different species, but more taxonomic study will need to be done on the birds throughout the range to make a conclusion.
Amazilia cyanura
The Blue-tailed Hummingbird has somewhat  more rufous coloration than the Steely-vented Hummingbird. Both species are found in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve. Here, our technicians comparing the bird with one of the field guides. Photo by Wendy van Kooten. 
 We are catching both species in our mist netting studies. Our technicians must scrutinize each bird carefully, especially the secondary wing feathers to determine species.
Amazilia cyanura
Blue-tailed Hummingbird (Amazilia cyanura) in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve, Nicaragua. Photo by Wendy van Kooten.
 Holding these small, delicate creatures is an unforgettable experience. Their legs are much too short to hold in the traditional photographer's grip. The holder invariably feels a concern for harming the bird in the hand, but with experience, one can learn how to manipulate a hummingbird carefully and effectively, getting all the information we seek from it and then releasing it to return to its normal life without harm.
Amazilia cyanura Nicaragua
Hummingbird feathers have a unique iridescence which make the birds especially attractive. Photo by Wendy van Kooten.
Several of the hummingbird species found in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve are members of the genus Amazilia. These birds are medium to large size, with plumages similar between males and females. These birds don't only drink nectar for their sustenance-they consume a large quantity of tiny arthropods which they catch on the wing: spiders, midges, mosquitoes, most of which escape our view, but not that of the hummingbird. The consumed animals provide protein not found in most nectars.

hummingbirds Nicaragua
The Blue-tailed Hummingbird glistens in sunlight. Photo by Wendy van Kooten.
Our bird studies are performed by students performing internships and volunteers. No prior experience is necessary, only a long-term commitment to undergo training and collaborate with our team for several months. The rewards of having the opportunity to hold and handle many hummingbirds and other species of birds, to gather information about them to promote the protection of these birds and their habitats, is a lifetime of golden memories of the experience.
Amazilia cyanura
Rusty coloration on the rump feathers is evident on the Blue-tailed Hummingbird (Amazilia cyanura). Photo by Wendy van Kooten.
We have learned a few things about the hummingbirds of Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve, but there is more to learn here. For instance, what are the most important associations between plants and each hummingbird species? How do different species share resources for feeding and nesting? Are any species restricted to certain parts of the Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve? 
hummingbird Nicaragua
Rufous secondary feathers can be seen on this Blue-tailed Hummingbird (Amazilia cyanura), captured in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve. Photo by Wendy van Kooten. 
We never tire of seeing hummingbirds, so we are at the right place, because there are plenty of them here. Nonetheless, we are concerned for them, because Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve is facing constant threats to the habitats for wildlife such as hummingbirds. Firewood cutting, forest fires, and agriculture are all common activities. Foreigners have recently "found" Laguna de Apoyo as a great place to build a vacation home, too, and some people have cleared land to build more housing inside the Apoyo volcanic crater. How do these activities affect our hummingbirds?
Blue-tailed Hummingbird
From this angle, rufous secondary plumage can be seen in both wings on this Blue-tailed Hummingbird (Amazilia cyanura). Photo by Wendy van Kooten.
Canivet's Emerald
The male Canivet's Emerald (Chlorostilbon canivetti) is the greenest of the hummingbirds in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve. 
A common hummingbird throughout Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve is Canivet's Emerald, Chlorostilbon canivetii. The male and female both tend to wag their tails forward and backward under their bodies while hovering around flowers or plucking tiny spiders from webs. The brilliant green especially of the male make its name seem so appropriate.
Canivet's Emerald
Male Canivet's Emerald is inspected after trapping during our mist net study in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve, Nicaragua. Photo by Wendy van Kooten.
Canivet's Emerald is found in all the areas of the reserve, including in yards, as long as there are flowers and some shade nearby. One can often find them flying very close, as they apparently have less fear of people than other hummingbirds in the area. It is not uncommon to get a very close view of one moving close to inspect the colors of one's clothing.
A male Canivet's Emerald (Chlorostilbon canivetii) in the hand. Photo by Wendy van Kooten.
The Canivet's Emerald makes a cup nest, only a few centimeters in diameter, from spider webs and very small bits of vegetation, often close to the ground on a low bush. They are susceptible to domesticated cats, as a result, and their populations in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve may be suppressed because of the large number of cats owned by foreigners inside the reserve boundaries.
Hummingbirds Nicaragua
The brilliant iridescence of the male Canivet's Emerald is especially strong in the hand. Photo by Wendy van Kooten.
Now that we at FUNDECI/GAIA have learned some things about the hummingbirds in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve, we would like to pose some more subtle questions. How do we go about protecting the hummingbirds of our area? What are their needs and what can we do to make their populations in the wild more secure against the encroachment of man?
Amazilia rutila
The Cinnamon Hummingbird (Amazilia rutila) is very common in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve, Nicaragua. Photo by Wendy van Kooten.
The most common hummingbird, particularly in fragmented areas such as around houses and agricultural plots, is the Cinnamon Hummingbird (Amazilia rutila). It is larger than the other hummingbirds seen in our area. Its rufous throat, breast and tail set it apart from all the others, making it easily identified. This species is also found in green spaces in Managua and other urban centers, and it occupies a wide range of habitats.
Amazilia rutila
The Cinnamon Hummingbird is larger than other hummingbirds in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve.  Photo by Wendy van Kooten. 
The Cinnamon Hummingbird has a surprisingly wide bill, possibly an adaptation to increase its capacity to capture flying insects on the wing. This versatile bird is the hummingbird most people know from their own yards. 
Heliomaster constantii
The Plain-capped Starthroat (Heliomaster constantii) is nearly as large as the CInnamon Hummingbird, but its white breast ahd tail feathers, malar streak, and very long bill distinguish it easily. Photo by Wendy van Kooten.
Hummingbirds are obviously specialists for drinking flower nectar. Within the hummingbirds can be found several more refined specialist forms. The Plain-capped Starthroat (Heliomaster constantii), for instance, sports a much longer bill than any other hummingbird in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve, obviously adapted for reaching nectar in certain flowers which would be unavailable for others. Its role in pollenation must be important for certain plants in our area, and we would like to make further investigations into this topic.
hummingbird Nicaragua
This young Plain-capped Starthroat already has several metallic reddish feathers on its gorget. Photo by Wendy van Kooten.
The Plain-capped Starthroat is the only resident bird of our area with a reddish throat, although the migratory Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) males also have brightly colored gorgets. Interestingly, most of the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds found in our area are not adult males.
Plain-capped Starthroat
The metallic colors on the gorget feathers of the Plain-capped Starthroat vary from gold to red. Photo by Wendy van Kooten.
The Plain-capped Starthroat is found in dry habitats from Arizona into western Costa Rica. They are found throughout the Pacific region of Nicaragua.
Heliomaster constantii Nicaragua
Bright colors show on the gorget of this young Plain-capped Starthroat. Photo by Wendy van Kooten.
Would you like to help us study the hummingbirds of Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve? If you would like to learn about hummingbirds, or if you would like to spend a day of "hummingbird tourism", we are happy to work with you. If you can not volunteer for a period, visit and make a day trip to see our bird studies in action, go birdwatching with us, or consider making a donation to our project. Please contact us! 
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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Animal Rescue IX: Expanded quarters for Tookie the Toucan

Ramphastos sulfuratus in Nicaragua
Tookie, the Keel-billed Toucan, in his enclosure at Estacion Biologica Laguna de Apoyo. Photo by Wendy van Kooten.

Tookie is a Keel-billed Toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus). He was a pet of a good-hearted (but possibly misguided, our humble opinion) woman, who treated him well, as far as wild animals can be treated well in cages. But, Tookie's owner passed away. We assumed custody of Tookie in December, 2011 (read about it here). 
Keel-billed Toucan
Tookie's longest digit on his left foot is visibly deformed. He likely suffered a broken toe when captured or during some transferral in captivity. Photo by Wendy van Kooten.
Tookie blossomed in his new location at Estacion Biologica. He was extremely attentive to all the birds flying and monkeys and squirrels crawling overhead, all new events for him in comparison to the city life he was leading previously. His enclosure did not give him room to fly, however, and he really needs to practice flying to get ready for real freedom. We multiplied the space in his enclosure, We decided to give him a greater space, with natural vegetation and branches of a live fig tree as part of his existence.

Ramphastos sulfuratus
Tookie senses something is up. The wire mesh of his enclosure is collapsing, as it gets enveloped in a new, larger enclosure. Photo by Wendy van Kooten. 
Tookie watched intently as our workers built an enclosure of chicken wire which completely engulfed his first home in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve. He is comfortable with people near him, so he was not startled by all the work, in spite of hammers pounding.
Ramphastos sulfuratus
Pablo, Elmer and Florian assemble Tookie's new enclosure and dismantle his smaller one. Photo by Wendy van Kooten.
A fig tree growing over a rock on the patio of Estacion Biologica was trimmed and its lowest branches were included in the space for Tookie. The new enclosure shape was not only about three times as large, it included natural features such as plants, and a view over the roof of our kitchen, into the forest behind us.
Tookie seems to be supervising the work of Florian and Pablo. He is a well-adjusted bird! Photo by Wendy van Kooten.
Once the larger enclosure was in place, our workers pulled down the materials of the smaller enclosure, leaving Tookie free to move about anywhere in his new, larger space. But meanwhile, Tookie enjoyed the company!
Ramphastos sulfuratus
Tookie's new enclosure is almost complete, and his smaller one is now dismantled. He has flown to the highest spot in the enclosure, on a branch in the fig tree at the top of the photograph. Photo by Wendy van Kooten. 
Once his enclosure was opened into the greater area, Tookie flew to the highest limb in the fig tree. Elmer and Florian continued with the details of his cage, and he watched as they installed perches and sealed off corners.
Keel-billed Toucan in Nicaragua
Tookie enjoys the new horizons offered from the top of his new enclosure, while Elmer and Florian position branches for him to use. Photo by Wendy van Kooten. 
A Keel-billed Toucan is not a strong flyer, having short wings and a bulky body. Flight is vital for him, nonetheless, especially if he is to return to the wild. His new space gives him room to make a few flaps in several directions, which also reduces his boredom and anxiety which are common among caged animals. 

We have been fortunate to find Tookie so well-adjusted to Laguna de Apoyo. He enjoys watching the squirrels and monkeys, and he does not mind when they crawl on his cage. In fact, he is rarely bothered by anything. He eats lots of papaya daily, drinks massive amounts of clean water, and eats other fresh foods such as tomatoes, avocados, cucumber, and several native fruits from the forest here. Each day, he engages in a vigorous period of flight from one side of the cage to the other in rapid sequence, a few minutes at a time. 

We have learned a lot about the Keel-billed Toucan while keeping Tookie near us. First of all, he depends on water, more than most birds. In fact, he enjoys getting doused every day, and he preens himself once wet. He eats A LOT. His capacity to consume far exceeds our imagination. 

The videos below demonstrate his reaction to his newly increased space soon after the workers were done with his cage. He looks all round, checking out what all the new space means, then he goes for it! Videos by Wendy van Kooten.

Do you know of wild animals in captivity in Nicaragua? Many of them should not be held as pets and should be returned to the wild if at all possible. Work with us to make Nicaragua free of wild animals in the pet trade! And please come to see Tookie during the next couple of weeks-he will soon be set free, and then you will have to go birdwatching to see him. 
Keel-billed Toucan
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Saturday, June 16, 2012

One day, 600 trees: saving wild nature in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve, Nicaragua

Volunteers from Guardabarranco Environmental Movement plant a tree with park guard staff from Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve. Photo Jeffrey McCrary. 

Nicaragua is fortunate to have Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve, noted for the green of its forests and blue of its lake. The Ministry of Natural Resources designated June 15 as a big tree-planting day in the area, and we at FUNDECI/GAIA signed on. We had hundreds of small trees in our vivero, ready to be transplanted to begin their new lives as forest trees. Meetings were held, telephone calls were made, and an event happened. 

We don't like to count such things, because such counts undervalue the small contributions. But today, just that happened: lots of small contributions converged. The Guardabarranco Environmental Movement in Masaya coordinated the participation of volunteers and logistics with other offices in Nandasmo and Niquinohomo. The Masaya Departmental office of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MARENA) coordinated with The Volcano Masaya National Park for resources. The Ministry of Health (MINSA) in Masaya contributed more transportation. FUNDECI/GAIA supplied volunteers, trees, transportation, and logistics. The park guards at Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve were all busy, too! And the local high school, Institute Jose Augusto Flores Zuniga, provided more volunteers. More trees were provided by the National Forestry Institute (INAFOR). 

Students enthusiastically plant trees, recuperating forest destroyed by traffic to La Abuela Hotel. The gate formerly used as entrance to the hotel is shown in the background. Photo Jeffrey McCrary.
We have recently been planting trees in one of the few public lands remaining in the Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve. Through this land,the owners of La Abuela Hotel had built a road without permission, and the community had earlier insisted in closing this road and recuperating the forest lost by the road construction. The road surface was compacted and impermeabilized, making natural regeneration difficult. We chose to plant along this road, thereby reclaiming the property as community domain and recovering the environmental services provided by trees instead of compacted earth.
Pablo and Florian distribute trees from Estacion Biologica Laguna de Apoyo to the students of Instituto Jose Flores Zuniga for planting. Photo Jeffrey McCrary. 
Many of the trees-about three hundred-came from our vivero at Estacion Biologica Laguna de Apoyo. This project is financed by FUNDECI/GAIA and entirely volunteer-run. Another three hundred trees were donated to MARENA by INAFOR. Our volunteers helped move the trees to the sites, perforate planting locations, settle the trees into their new homes, and pick up the associated trash and lots of other nearby plastic.
Sincolla (Annona purpurea) is very rare in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve, but its fruit attracts many animals. We planted a few dozen individuals of this species in our activity. Photo Jeffrey McCrary. 
The trees were placed in their new homes by dozens of pairs of helping hands. While one crew worked to plant over the illegally constructed road, another worked along the roadside on the principal entrance road. The latter crew was headed by MARENA staff including some from the Masaya Volcano National Park. Hundreds of new, little trees now line the shoulder of the entrance road.

Some trees were especially noted precious wood species, such as Short-leaf Mahogany (Swietenia humilis), Guapinol (Hymenaea courbaril), and Rosewood (Dalbergia retusa). Many other species were included, however. Several leguminous trees such as Aromo (Vachellia farnesiana), Guanacaste (Enterolobium cyclocarpum), Poinciana (Caesalpinia pulcherrima), and Madero Negro (Gliricida sepium).
Individual volunteers came in response to our notices on Facebook, as well as members of the school and environmental groups. Even pregnancy did not detain some volunteers! Photo Jeffrey McCrary.
The climate cooperated, with no rain and sun partially blocked by clouds. The cool, quiet morning made planting easy, and we found ourselves immersed in the project for hours. New friends were made and lots of trees were planted!
Volunteers came to help with the tree planting from the neighboring towns: Granada, Masaya, Nandasmo, Nindiri, and Niquinohomo. Photo Jeffrey McCrary.
We learned how motivated people in Nicaragua can become when they think they can make a difference. Dozens of Nicaraguans joined the cause, some of them giving only an hour before running to work. Nicaraguans appreciate the natural beauty of their country, and they are willing to work to keep it beautiful. By participating in a tree-planting activity, people demonstrate that they care about Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve and want to keep it green and natural. 

Foreign volunteers and Spanish students at Estacion Biologica helped plant trees, alongside the Nicaraguans. Photo Jeffrey McCrary.
We did not have lots of shovels and other tools, so shovels were passed from person to person and holes were dug as quickly as possible. in some points, the rains had softened the earth enough to open holes with machetes. The soils of Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve are easily drained, and the road had been treated with sand which also aids in drainage.
Event coordinator Ilse Diaz from Movimiento Ambiental Guardabarranco proudly plants a Nambar, known in English as Honduran Rosewood (Dalbergia retusa). This species has fine wood which has brought it to the brink of extinction. Photo Jeffrey McCrary.
Unlike most tree planting activities, we planted more than a dozen species of trees among our six hundred trees. Our seed collections during the year are diverse and the trees for planting which survive to several centimeters height, ready for transplanting to a reforestation site, are of dozens of different species, most of which germinate with difficulty.

Thanks to the Movimiento Ambiental Guardabarranco groups from Nandasmo and Niquinohomo! Photo by Jeffrey McCrary.
Each planted tree was staked to assist in making it visible, to reduce the likelihood that it would be trampled. Scraps of clay (trash dumped from La Abuela Hotel!) were recycled to augment their visibility, too. Our volunteers were energetic and resourceful. 

Saving Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve, one tree at a time! Many trees were planted in milk bags, reused as reforestation bags to reduce plastic waste. Photo Jeffrey McCrary. 
At the end of the day: 75 volunteer reforestation participants, 600 trees planted, 11 bags of trash removed, and lots of joy spread. All of us were happy we had spent part of our morning planting trees. 

High school students volunteered their efforts in planting trees in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve. Photo Jeffrey McCrary.

Would you like to volunteer in our reforestation project? We have lots of work to do to prepare our vivero, plant trees in the forest, maintain and care for the small trees until they are self-sustaining, and organize activities such as this one. Please consider spending some time with us as a reforestation volunteer. You get your hands dirty for a great cause, and you learn a lot about nature and Nicaragua in the process. Come by and speak with our director, Jeffrey McCrary, or any of our staff at Estacion Biologica.
Park guards and volunteers all celebrate a job well-done! Photo Jeffrey McCrary.
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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Romance Sonámbulo (Federico Garcia Lorca)

Federico Garcia Lorca

Verde que te quiero verde

Verde viento. Verdes ramas.
El barco sobre la mar
y el caballo en la montaña.
Con la sombra en la cintura
ella sueña en su baranda,
verde carne, pelo verde,
con ojos de fría plata.
Verde que te quiero verde.
Bajo la luna gitana,
las cosas la están mirando
y ella no puede mirarlas.

Federico Garcia Lorca

Verde que te quiero verde,
Grandes estrellas de escarcha,
vienen con el pez de sombra
que abre el camino del alba.
La higuera frota su viento 
con la lija de sus ramas,
y el monte, gato garduño,
eriza sus pitas agrias.
¿Pero quién vendrá? ¿Y por dónde?
Ella sigue en su baranda,
verde carne, pelo verde,
soñando en la mar amarga.

Romance sonambulo

--Compadre, quiero cambiar
mi caballo por su casa,
mi montura por su espejo,
mi cuchillo por su manta.
Compadre, vengo sangrando,
desde los puertos de Cabra.
--Si yo pudiera, mocito,
este trato se cerraba.
Pero yo ya no soy yo,
ni mi casa es ya mi casa.
--Compadre, quiero morir,
decentemente en mi cama.
De acero, si puede ser,
con las sábanas de holanda.
¿No ves la herida que tengo
desde el pecho a la garganta?
--Trescientas rosas morenas
lleva tu pechera blanca.
Tu sangre rezuma y huele
alrededor de tu faja.
Pero yo ya no soy yo,
ni mi casa es ya mi casa.
--Dejadme subir al menos
hasta las altas barandas,
¡dejadme subir!, dejadme
hasta las verdes barandas.
Barandales de la luna
por donde retumba el agua.

Federico Garcia Lorca

Ya suben los dos compadres
hacia las altas barandas.
Dejando un rastro de sangre.
Dejando un rastro de lágrimas.
Temblaban en los tejados
farolillos de hojalata.
Mil panderos de cristal
herían la madrugada.

Laguna de Apoyo

Verde que te quiero verde,
verde viento, verdes ramas.
Los dos compadres subieron.
El largo viento dejaba
en la boca un raro gusto
de hiel, de menta y de albahaca.
--¡Compadre! ¿Dónde está, dime?
¿Dónde está tu niña amarga?
¡Cuántas veces te esperó!
¡Cuántas veces te esperara,
cara fresca, negro pelo,
en esta verde baranda!

Federico Garcia Lorca

Sobre el rostro del aljibe

se mecía la gitana.

Verde carne, pelo verde,

con ojos de fría plata.

Un carámbano de luna
la sostiene sobre el agua.
La noche se puso íntima
como una pequeña plaza.
Guardias civiles borrachos
en la puerta golpeaban. 
Verde que te quiero verde,
verde viento, verdes ramas.
El barco sobre la mar.

Y el caballo en la montaña. 

Laguna de Apoyo

With gratitude to Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936), martyr during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.
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