Monkey Business

On the mornings when the rooster sleeps in, the Mantled Howler Monkeys (Alouatta palliata) step up to the plate. Though they aren’t visible in this video you can clearly hear them (but trust me, this recording is a poor substitute for the live effect).

Howler Monkeys are the loudest animals in the Americas, registering in at 140 decibels. To put that in perspective; a typical conversation is about 60db, a lawnmower about 90db, and a rock concert about 120db. Keep in mind that anything above 85db can damage your hearing.

The troop napped most of the day high up in the canopy but I was able to get a few shots when some came down lower for afternoon foraging. After snapping an underside photo of the alpha male, I think I might know one reason why they howl. Ouch!

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Important tip: when photographing monkeys, do not stand under other members of the troop. Monkey sh*t happens. I’ll be filing this one under: Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me!

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Yard Birds 3

Though colorful and rather large for an arboreal bird (measuring in at 16 inches, which is actually small for the toucan family) I almost missed these toucans as they were rather quiet and still. This amazing sight greeted me the other morning when I stepped outside. I dashed back into the house to grab my camera and was pleasantly rewarded.

The Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus) is a frugivore, which explains why all the papayas in my yard are disappearing! I watched these three fuss about the papayas for 15 minutes before they flew off into the forest, followed by another eight birds (which I had overlooked in the canopy)! Makes me wonder about all the other things I’m not seeing…

Blown Away

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Beach Debris, Santa Teresa, Costa Rica October 2019

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen one of these in the wild (or anywhere, to be honest). I remember the days of carefully compiling my favorite songs onto a cassette tape. Not fondly, but I do remember them.

I don’t miss the rewinding. Or the flipping. Or the accidental unspooling which signaled the demise of hours of painstaking craftsmanship. Any old school audiophile will understand my pain, as the creation of a mixtape, is, to quote Rob from the movie High Fidelity, “a delicate thing.”

Though I’ll hand it to Maxell, they had one heckuva ad campaign!

Kerfuffle

This group of Pacific Hermit Crabs (Coenobita compressus) chasing each other along the beach caught my attention. They are known to gang up on each other in order to try to steal a larger shell. Plus, Frank’s shell (yes, I named him), is a fetching light tan with hints of pink. Who wouldn’t want to live in that?

Did you see the tiny hermit crab in the white shell at the beginning? It reminded me of the little brother that tags along, “Hey, hey guys. Wait for me. Can I play? Guys?” And to allay your fears, Frank scampered away safely a few seconds later. Or in other words, he took his shell and went home!

 

Signs of Encouragement

The laid back vibe out here on the Nicoya Peninsula attracts artsy people. As a result, there are fun, inspiring signs posted just about everywhere.

 

 

The Life

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Sunset, Playa Carmen, Costa Rica October 2019

I ran in the rat race for a short period of time when I was younger. I dropped out when I realized it wasn’t making me happy, just exhausted. My needs are simple and I prefer to focus my extra time and money making memories with friends and family.

So, for me, this Kenny Chesney song isn’t a revelation but rather an affirmation. I think it’s especially fitting since I’m staying in the Playa Carmen section of Santa Teresa (I have no way of knowing if this is the Playa Carmen he’s referring to but I like to think so).

“In the best broken Spanish I knew, I said I make a good living

back home where I’m from, He smiled and said “amigo me too”

He said I fish and I play my guitar, I laugh at the bar with my friends

I go home to my wife, I pray every night, I can do it all over again”

It’s well worth a listen, amigos!