One night while out walking looking for frogs I saw this very cool egg mass. The young have hatched, and honestly I am not sure what species is involved here.
The slaty-tailed trogon is just one of the most beautiful birds. We were over at the neighboring Hacienda Baru to get permission to catch some of their mosquitoes (how hard was that!) and I got a chance to take a short walk to the beach. Along the trail was this trogon just sitting and hunting as they tend to do.
But while taking a couple photos it made a quick attack flight and landed nearby with a large caterpillar in it's mouth. Even though I wasn't all that far away, there was no way to see what kind of caterpillar it was. But when I looked at the photos it is clearly one of the snake-headed caterpillars. I am not really sure of the ID even from the photo, but probably Hemeroplanes ornatus which is one of the sphinx moths.
Very cool, so take a close look at the caterpillar and you will see two "eyes" and a very triangular snake-shaped "head". So totally cool that the bird wasn't fooled by this obvious defense strategy, probably plucking it off so fast it didn't have time to do the "look like a snake" thing. These caterpillars are even known to make a striking motion and really have the whole snake thing down.
And as an end note. Most animals seem to prefer to eat prey head first. So, the bird gave the caterpillar a quick flip toss spinning it around so the head was at the beak. And down the hatch it went.
One of the student projects this year is to identify the various species of mosquitos at the FCRE. They are off to a good start by capturing quite a number of the little buggers in mosquito traps.
But the real test will come when they start trying to figure out the species. They will be looking at something like this through a stereoscope to get the work done.
Today we went over to the Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary. They are amazing with rehab animals. They get in hurt animals or confiscated pet trade animals or well anything that isn't suitable for just tossing back in the forest. We got to see the veterinary clinic there and it is top notch, with capabilities to do everything from disease testing to literally putting in metal pins to set broken bones. Every animal they get goes through a very rigorous process to fix it up and get it back to rights and then release it back into the wild in an appropriate area and in an appropriate way. And this process is way too complicated to cover here, but they currently have some pretty neat animals so wanted to put up some photos.
Monkeys are notoriously hard to release, as they are tribal and a new arrival may not be accepted. This spider monkey is probably at the sanctuary for the rest of its life.
This female white-faced capuchin has a chance at a wild release, which would be fantastic.
One amazing couple the sanctuary is this brocket deer and an agouti. There is a story behind that includes the poaching of the deer's mom and then the baby deer being confiscated by the authorities and taken to the sanctuary. The agouti was a young one as well and bonded on the deer. Now they are inseparable. When we walked by the agouti was sleeping on the back of the deer but they woke up. Totally cute couple in a very odd relationship.
Another ball of cuteness they had was a collared peccary only about a month old.
There is a really nice resort situated at Alturas, and got a chance to check out the view from the tourist area and pool. Would certainly not be a bad place to take some vacation time.
Well time for a bunch of cutie photos, and I'll start with another photo of a variegated squirrel. This animal showed up this morning and we have no idea how it got here. But you just walk by it as it sits on the porch and it will jump on you and climb up to your shoulder and ride around. Seriously. And it is a slightly different color than the ones we have on the FCRE property so we can only guess where it came from. Very tame pet squirrel that someone did a midnight drop off here? I have no clue, but this is an attractive animal and we are happy to see him but we do not keep wild animal pets here. Maybe he moves on and gets back to being a wild animal or not. Time will tell.
A number of the frogs actually lay their eggs in vegetation over water, not in water. Here is a mass of newly hatched tadpoles that are still on the leaf and haven't dropped into the water yet. I am thinking these are hourglass frogs, but unsure.
I am pretty sure this is a katydid, but not positive. It has just shed its skin and is hanging out while its new skin dries out and hardens.
Just an update on Max. We found him one day about 50 meters from the release tree and haven't seen him since then. Just too darn hard to find in the forest, but here he was out in the sorta open on some small branches. Sloths are really common animals here, yet we don't see them all that often as they are mostly high up and oh so camouflaged.
The howlers are seeming to work their way back north after a die off, and we saw them at the beach. I heard them from the FCRE last year but so far they haven't returned (you can hear them a long way off). Terrible lighting for the ones we saw but here is a photo of one.
While we were at the beach, a flock of scarlet macaws came in and were hammering what appeared to be almond trees but I am unsure. Trees aren't my specialty. Spectacular birds.
Keith Christenson - Wildlife Biologist