Oh how I love the thunderstorms that arrive at this time of the year – the sounds of the clashing of the warm and the cool, the incredible lightning displays all around! It is that time when the rains come again, and it seems that there has been a lot of activity on the coast as we observe from our perch here on the mountain. It is so cool to watch the lightning as it brightens up the ocean vastness, and moves on up the mountain towards us. So fast! All of a sudden we are under the claps of thunder with lightning overhead – boom! I jump, even as familiar as it is, but I love it. The seas have been really rough recently as well, we can hear the surf crashing on the beaches at night from way up here on the mountain!
And with the rains is the return of the bugs, all looking for somewhere else to be, the new hatches looking for home sites or food – unfortunately they see me as a source, a lot of them. It is the time of lots of bugs, and as easy as it would be to go on about them, that would merely be going on about the same ole thing so I won’t. But I must say that with the rainy season is also the opportunity to witness all kinds of not so ordinary bugs,
for example this giant stick bug that crawled over my foot the other day as I was tending to something at the outside laundry sink – almost a foot long and it looks just like a stick, to be sure! Wow, nature is certainly amazing, they grow them big here. The coffee flies have also made a huge comeback and they are a pain in the arse, look away for a few seconds and there are three in your cup, or your fruit bowl. I must say that what I must complain about the most right now are the ants, especially the sugar ants, the little ones that are the biggest of the cleanup committees. They are everywhere! I respect their duties, but jeez, give me a break! They can find their way into anything – double ziplocks in a plastic container, really?- and right now if you have something that for them could be food for a while, they can set up a base camp and move the troops in so fast while they go to work on whatever it is, give me a break! There is no win in this ‘war’; thus, having a war is pointless (this is something that hu-mens should heed seriously, ahem). Yes, all of the insects and their various needs and appetites. I will say that I am swatting and swiping and dealing with lots more bites and stings now than recently, ho hum. It goes with the territory, and so it is.
Also with the rainy season is the migration of the other critters, some following the bug migrations/hatches, i.e. the birds. We are having lots of bird activity here lately, it seems that the mating habits are quite variable between species in regards to timing. We are watching the Crested Guans
in their amorous displays, and there is a bunch of ruckus in the trees as they group and bicker amongst themselves. And the Laughing Falcon
has been hunting the garden as well, and singing his laughing song in the evening and morning hours, most likely chatting with a sweetheart. The insect hunters, such as the flycatchers and tyrants, ant wrens and tanagers are in abundance in the garden now, also there is much traffic of groups of birds feeding on the flowers of the trees around the casa. There has been a very rare group of chestnut mantled Oropendolas hanging around, and they are absolutely beautiful. The White- crowned Parrots have been extremely active as well,
and the doves have been seriously paired and nesting, also.
Unfortunately our pair of red back black birds had their nest raided by a swallow tailed Kite – they are always circling overhead looking for their next meal and to our surprise (and disdain) one swooped right into the citrus tree after seeing the nest and raided it! Nothing left. I know that they eat critters, snakes and rodents and such, but I did not know that they would raid another nest. Toucans will, they are indiscriminate in their appetites. They are beautiful and personable and fun to watch and listen to, but they have no reserves about pulling a momma woodpecker out of her nest and consuming the babies. Ruthless! Such is the law of the jungle.
The birds following the insects, and the critters looking for a dry place now that everything is wet – i.e. snakes and scorpions and spiders and such – everything seems to be on the move. On the bright side, we also have the cute and cuddly like critters that are really moving around outside, like the Capuchins – they are so cute!
We had a troop moving through the trees across the road from our house the other day, they were pretty deep into the trees but there was a sentry, surely a male, out in front assessing the dogs and danger zone and what not. He was making sure that his troop was out of harm’s way, which brings me back to a time when we had gone to the coast to pay some bills and stop by the beach – there was a troop of these little ones crossing the road, which can be busy at times (at least 3-4 cars in any given 10 minute span of time) and there was the guard, standing close to the middle of the road, ushering all of the mamas and their babies and the young ones across to safety. It was so cool to see him looking every which way for danger while signaling the others to keep moving, until they were all across and disappeared into the trees. Of course this was one of those times that I cussed myself for not having my camera.
Then of course there are the snakes,
I just happened to glance out in front into the trees and I saw a really big snake climbing into one of the trees! Wow, this was a familiar snake – although I do not know its name, I have taken pictures of this kind before – and she was beautiful! I watched her and photographed her for quite a while. Not sure what exactly she was doing (snakes are not my forte); she was exploring the tree, leaves and trunk, most likely searching for a snack. It is clear that we must take extra care and precautions now as the snakes are moving to higher ground with the rainy season, seeking out a drier surrounding. And because the jungle rapidly encroaches our living space, as we are packing up and preparing to move, so it provides for a good camouflage and protection for these slithery critters of the jungle. The other day we went to harvest some bananas and the trail was all but completely disappeared…ooooh, snakey for sure. Careful, sing the serpiente song to keep the peace, and watch where you step! I prefer the well-manicured and trimmed grounds around the home, especially now with the return of the wet season, however this is currently not the case.
The movement of the critters has changed with the change of the seasons, not much different here than anywhere else in the world. Migration patterns follow moisture patterns, life coming and going. The termites have hatched and are on the move searching for new homes, just like a hundred other kinds of ants, bees, wasps and what-not. Our friends live in an old wooden house (not the best choice in the tropics) and at this time every year they pull out the vacuum and suck up thousands and thousands of newly hatched termites all over the house. The skunks are moving about – Otis went off last night and then the bountiful aroma of a skunk thoroughly invaded my room, howler monkeys have totally changed their patterns, the frogs are in full glory – everything has shifted. Even the people that live here have had to make adjustments to accommodate the other shifts, many have left the tropics with most of the tourists for better climes elsewhere, leaving all of us that enjoy life here full time to deal with conditions all by ourselves (darn it). Workers have to adjust to the rains, which tend to show up in the afternoons fortunately, but sometimes it rains all day. The hunters are hunting the moving critters, the hounds are yowling, and things have majorly changed in patterns.
Ah, life in the jungle: ruthless and obnoxious some of the time, absolutely beautiful and ominous as well most of the time. It is a life depicted in the survival behavior of its inhabitants. I guess you could compare it in words and actions to the behavior of men on earth; it is all pretty much the same – we are all Earth’s creatures, and in this life has its similarities. Even as a human I do prefer the jungle of this country to the concrete jungle of the cities, however each to their own! As long as we find our respective places in it and learn to dwell within as efficiently and agreeably as possible – cohabitation in respect – all’s well in the system of things. Peace and harmony en todo is the goal. If we can achieve that we got ‘er made all the way around. It is possible…it is the way.