Sunday, 3 June 2012

Congo bees and bats

We're having a typical Sunday here: french toast with homemade chocolate sauce for breakfast and dog baths. Lyla was a bit over excited after her bath so I thought I'd dry her off and reached for the dog towel - but it was somehow stuck and my tug was followed by the appearance of quite a few congo bees. The farmer gave it an almighty tug and off it came, followed by quite a lot of bees. The space below the towel was filled with quite a good sized nest, we're not quite sure whether this means that a) congo bees build really quickly, or, b) it's been some time since I dried a dog. Either way the bees weren't too impressed at the disturbance and flew around angrily for some time. Congo bees are very common, smallish and black. They don't sting, but they do have a tendency to get stuck in your hair and bite. Best avoided. I'm trying to think of a way to scare them off long enough to see if that's really honey in those golden globes. The lizards and big ants seem pretty interested in the nest too. They must have larvae and eggs in there, but I can't see any.

We have a small colony of bats that live on the back wall of the house, but have recently been spending the days inside the bathroom. Of the 5, 3 are currently carrying babies. Not a great picture, but I hope you can see the babies . . .

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Sunday morning with birds

It's a cool, overcast morning out on the deck. It's March and so the beginning of the northward migration of raptors, and we were treated to a nice gathering of vultures, rising from different trees in the forest below and riding out over the beach to rise in the thermals before heading north over the Cahuita National Park. The deck has a tree directly in front which is often covered in small purple flowers in a cone formation. The flowers give way to small lilac coloured berries which the toucans and aricaris love. A flock of toucans visited this morning and we watched two toucans either fight or begin a mating ritual: banging their beaks together then falling madly and rapidly downwards spiraling almost out of control, before swooping back up again to repeat the beak banging. When they left the aracaris came with their dangerous silhouettes and hunched narrow shoulders. Meanwhile the oropendulas were sweeping through the trees with the blaze of their golden yellow tail feathers showing their flight. There's another large forest tree to the immediate left of the deck with small white flowers, and now small green white berries. This is a wonderful tree to see parrots. This morning we have blue headed (Pionus menstruus) and brown hooded parrots (Pionopsitta haematotis), yesterday we had white crowned parrots (Pionus senilis). It is really fun to watch these beautiful birds, such acrobats! Normally we see smaller light blue parakeets eating these berries, but I haven't seen them yet. They better hurry, the bigger parrots, and the squirrels are enjoying the harvest.