May 2, 2016

Birding in Nicaragua

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Estela is obsessed with nature and for this reason our conversations often center around the natural world. We talk about the moon and the sun, common farm animals to the exotic and water; we are always talking about water. As Cassie and I think about the dreams she may have for herself one day and the occupations she may seek, we think that conservationist or a large animal veterinarian would be fitting. Earlier in the month we took a small trip to a reserve just outside of Managua named Chocoyero-El Brujo. Estela absolutely loved it, I think we spent almost an hour watching the Pacific parakeets (known as Chocoyos here in Nicaragua) as they came to eat and then nest for the night.

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With that in mind we decided to call Patty and Gordon, avid bird watchers here in Nicaragua who we got to know while Cassie was teaching classes through the Dordt College study abroad program. They had mentioned that they often journey out to a small mangrove forest just outside of Leon to view the spectacular wildlife found at The Juan Venado Island reserve. We were thrilled to have this opportunity, and to be accompanied by expert birders for our first real birding trip. As thrilled as we were, nothing could have been more exciting for our daughter who soaked up every moment as we ventured into the reserve; binoculars strung around her neck and the small bird guide clasped tightly in her little hand.

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We are continuing to have conversations with Estela about what we all saw that day. There were a whole host of birds, a total of 43 different species which were neatly jotted down by our guides Patty and Gordon as they identified the various colors, feathers and beaks. Other than birds we happened upon a crocodile, a green Mexican porcupine, a whole host of lizards, two raccoons, frogs and a crocodile. I think that Estela’s favorite might have been the crocodile as she randomly yells “crocodile” and tells the story of seeing it that day in the river. Cassie and I loved it all, another great memory to make and share with our wonderful little girl!

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We hope that you enjoy the photos that can best demonstrate to you the enthusiasm and beauty we experienced that day.

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