A young Capuchin monkey watching what is going on.
A young Capuchin monkey watching what is going on.

When we first agreed to this house sitting job we were told that there was a good possibility of seeing monkeys and even sloths. That ended up being an understatement. In our first three weeks here we have been bowled over with the diversity of the wildlife we see in our yard every day.

Cherrie's Tanager (male)
Cherrie’s Tanager (male)
Cherrie's Tanager (female)
Cherrie’s Tanager (female)

Though having a troupe of monkeys rambling through your yard is pretty freaking cool, it is even more impressive when you start to notice all the other animals around you. As I was reading in a hammock last week I had the pleasure of watching a Howler monkey apparently following a Black Squirrel through the tree tops. I have no idea what was going on, but it was amazing to watch the smoothness and stealth with which these animals can move when they want to.

The squirrels are fairly quiet. If they would just stop dropping nuts on the roof.
The squirrels are fairly quiet. If they would just stop dropping nuts on the roof.
Summer Tanager
Summer Tanager

This was brought home to me earlier when we had a local lady point out a 2 toed Sloth relaxing in a tree directly above where I had been reading in a hammock for the last 90 minutes. I never saw any indication of it until it was pointed out to us.

The view from directly below the Sloth.
The view from directly below the Sloth.
A Sloth's life.
A Sloth’s life.

The number of different types of birds is incredible. Thank goodness there is a “Birds of Costa Rica” book in the house. I have tried to correctly identify the birds I have managed to get photographs of (feel free to let me know if you notice any obvious errors). It is cool to watch a mixed flock of birds busily working its’ way around the yard searching for food. It is slightly less enjoyable when the Grackle’s, and squirrels, decide to eat the seeds from the trees that hang over our roof. The sound of these large hard seeds hitting the tin roof irregularly for several hours can start to take the shine out it.

Great-tailed Grackle sitting on our outdoor shower.
Great-tailed Grackle sitting on our outdoor shower.
Great-tailed Grackle opening a nut in the bird bath.
Great-tailed Grackle opening a nut in the bird bath.

I don’t mean to make it sound like we spend all our time in the hammocks, it is just that when you lay quietly among the trees you start to notice what is going on around you. Sometimes it can even get quite earthy. We were treated to front row seats of Iguana coitus from our hammocks shortly after arriving.

 

 

Iguana coitus.
Iguana coitus.
Streak-headed Woodcreeper
Streak-headed Woodcreeper

The monkeys deserve and bit more attention. They certainly are just as intelligent and entertaining as most people believe them to be. They do not like it when you point things at them. Makes them a challenge to photograph but probably helpful in surviving other encounters with humans. As well they are truly mischievous little buggers. Other than seeming to take pleasure in tormenting the earth bound dogs in the area they also like to make noise. Whether it is smashing a coconut against a tin roof or finding a loose piece of sheet metal on the roof and grabbing it while aggressively jumping up and down slamming it against the roof. (Watched them doing that to the neighbours house) It is also fascinating to watch them methodically open up a coconut in a tree and drink the water from it then enlarge the hole and reach in and pull out the meat of the coconut and consume it.

Peeling open a coconut. They are amazing problem solvers.
Peeling open a coconut. They are amazing problem solvers.
Drinking from the coconuts.
Drinking from the coconuts.
Keeping an eye out for trouble.
Keeping an eye out for trouble.

There are also the creatures that seem to have no problem coming much closer to humans. After coming back from a run with Omber I thought I noticed something in his water bowl as he was drinking from it. Well indeed, there was a large toad sharing the bowl. The amusing part was that Omber was not the least bit bothered. (I’m sure the experience was a bit traumatizing for the toad). Once I got Omber to stop drinking we were able to let the toad escape.

Omber could not be bothered with the toad in his water bowl.
Omber could not be bothered with the toad in his water bowl.
The toad before we evicted him.
The toad before we evicted him.

I have to acknowledge that the dog we are watching is impressive in the way he handles the variety of creature that he has to share his yard with. He does not like the monkeys but everything else seems to be a case of live and let live. Be it iguanas, crabs, birds, bats, moths and other dogs walking on by.

Omber watching over his domain. He is a wonderful easy going dog.
Omber watching over his domain. He is a wonderful easy going dog.
And that is a full sized brick it has landed on.
And that is a full sized brick it has landed on.

We have taken to naming the various iguanas in the yard. If they get a chance they seem to settle in to an area and call it home. We have resident ones in the barbecue, bodega, car gate and man gate. It is funny how you can get used to hearing a 10inch long iguana slithering around inside the gate you are unlocking and opening and your only response is to say “good morning Gary.

I have only focused on the animals I have managed to get photos of for the most part. But there is also the regular parade of bats, hummingbirds, Fly catchers, parakeets, as well as at least another dozen birds that we have yet to identify. The opportunity to be able to lay back and allow the animal world around you to get used to you and carry on as if you are not there is an inspiring experience. No matter where you are in the world, take the time to lay back and not move in your yard for an hour and be amazed with what you may notice for the first time no matter how long you may have lived there. (This suggestion does not apply to Canada from November to April)

A look in the bamboo at a shy Bart.
A look in the bamboo at a shy Bart.
Barbecue Bart facing the world in the morning.
Barbecue Bart facing the world in the morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bodega Bob watching over the yard.
Bodega Bob watching over the yard.

Welcome to our travel blog. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to say, "I'm out of here?" Well we did, and in 2013 we made it a reality. We sold or gave away all of our possessions other than what fit in our luggage and we set off on an endless adventure. Part of our goal is to share our experiences with others and hopefully provide some information, motivation, or just a moments escape. The general idea was to look for a place that would be ideal to settle down in. However in the meantime it is about experiencing life in different countries amongst different cultures and learning how to understand and appreciate each other. A large part of our time is spent housesitting which provides an excellent opportunity to experience more of the "normal" neighbourhoods as opposed to the tourist locales. Though we make sure to enjoy those as well. So through plenty of photographs and a running commentary come and share with us our life on the road.

8 comments on “Living in a Zoo

  1. I like iguanas.. better than toads in a bowl..!

  2. Great photos and narrative!!

    Lawrence

  3. A great read Peter…..brilliant photos….

  4. Hey man,
    Enjoyed that. Your a better writer than I ever thought. Getting better with every chapter.

  5. Lollol Peter as I read this it is -33 ish and I am so pleased and entertained, you are rocking it buddy !
    I enjoyed the variety of the photos especially to wild thing.
    Hi Karen x
    Kp
    Chali is engaged.
    The boys bought a place in Revy.

    It it coming Buddy !

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