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Waiting for the Eggs to Hatch

Sarah Faegre | Sep 25, 2008


January 26th

All seems well with the incubating Blue-throats but still, the eggs have not hatched.  Steve and I split each day doing morning and afternoon nest-watch at the blind and the rest of the day is free for spending time with the family, helping out with chores, reading and writing, or walking around, looking for birds and other animals.  All this water is very confining, and at times I am less than enthusiastic that I must flood my boots and tromp around in the knee-to-waist deep swamp if I want to go for a walk.

The kids giggle at Steve and me as we walk carefully through the mud, trying not to fall when our boots get stuck.  Lurdes, Rolando and the kids all go barefoot most of the time, and I must admit it is nice to feel the mud squish between my toes...but somehow I always find myself stepping on thorns or having my feet and legs bitten by the floating ant colonies.  The water is rising steadily around the tent and has already surrounded the well, filling it with dirty, swamp water.  The family is as bothered by this as I am but, as always, they remain good humored in the face of difficulties. 

We are drinking rainwater, collected in buckets as it runs off the tiled roof of the main house.  The walls of the house are made of baked mud bricks and the floor is packed dirt.  It would be disastrous if the flood waters surrounded the house since the walls could turn to mud and fall down...but God willing, this will not happen. 

Diesel-fueled lamps, made with jam jars and cloth wicks, softly illuminate the dinner and late night conversations at the table.  The lamps flicker softly and throw reflections across the shallow water that surrounds the open kitchen.  Frogs chorus from every direction.

January 28th

We woke up this morning and found that the kitchen has flooded and is full of muddy, standing water.  I helped Lurdes set up a bunch of platforms to get into the kitchen from the house (so that kids can come to eat at the table without getting all muddy) and other platforms inside the kitchen so that she doesn't have to stand in the water while cooking.  It has been pouring on and off all morning and the meat from the calf that was butchered the day before yesterday is starting to go bad because there is no way to dry the slabs into charque without at least one day of strong sun.  The piglets are grunting and shivering in a pile under my hammock.  My hammock is strung up in the grass-roofed galpón, which keeps it dry during the rain.  Unfortunately, the galpón also the shelter used to store meat until it can be dried or, if it goes bad, until it is fed it to the dogs. 

Still, we are ever waiting for the eggs to hatch.  Steve climbed yesterday afternoon and thought he could feel movement of a chick within one of them.  They should hatch any day now-a week at the most.  We continue watching, watching...recording the activities of the father, to and from the nest, and of the mother, incubating attentively and rarely leaving the nest for more than five minutes.  The male spends at least 2 hours per day perched on top of the nest box, preening or sleeping.  We've been getting a lot of great photos of the male, but the female is harder to get good shots of as she quickly enters and exits the nest box.  With good photos of the facial lines on this pair we will be able to confirm with 100% certainty that this is the same pair that made a nesting attempt in this box in August but lost their eggs due to predation.