Thursday, September 25, 2014

See that red dot? It's a scarlet macaw!

I went to Costa Rica with only my phone for a camera and joked with other phone-only photographers about what we'd say when showing friends our photos. No casual tourist could have captured our best sighting of the macaws when they suddenly appeared high above the Tarcoles River, the sun flashing off their brilliant red, yellow, and blue as they flew quickly over the trees. Later we saw them perched in distant wild fig trees at Punta Leona Beach Resort on the Pacific coast.

The upper center red dot is the bird; the lower red dots are hibiscus.
Here's what they really look like, photographed in the same kind of tree. Because the photo is from, I think it's open source.

I was on a 12-day ecotour. Every time the guide pointed out a bird, reptile, or mammal, we went "Oooo" and "Ahhh." Every time the guide pointed out and talked about particular trees, we listened attentively and then asked each other, "What did he say that was?"
I got close to Green Violetear hummingbirds at 7,000 feet.
Tropical rainforest with iguana.

Returning home, I sighted a couple of these:
Temperate rainforest dog.

Canis messus.
They greeted me with three seconds of jumping excitement before turning to sniff the suitcase, needing no words to convey, "Great to see ya. What'd ya bring me?"


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The bad girl's guide to foraging

Hi. Emily Dickins here. It's fall. That means things fall from the trees. When I investigate and eat those things, Mom yells. The first things I found were berries, or maybe they're plums growing on the neighbor's trees that overhang our fence. Birds ate them. When Mom saw me eating them, she gave a bunch to the chickens to see if the chickens would get sick or die. She said that if the chickens died, she'd lock me indoors until all the berries were gone. Is that dumb or what?
This is what they look like:
She squished one to see the inside. Disgusting. Nobody eats that way.
The chickens were not totally thrilled with the berries, but they ate and did not get sick. Every time I went outside, I searched along the fence for fallen berries until EVIL MOM cut down just about every overhanging branch with berries on it. Good thing the neighbors can't see that side.

Still feeling peckish, I found something else to chew on after yesterday's windstorm. Now Evil Mom is even more upset. These green berries fell off a type of redwood tree, and she tried to pick them all up but no way is she going to be able to keep up with all the falling berries in the next couple of months. They don't taste great, but I like chewing on anything--indoor and outdoor wood, shoes, Miro's collar, Miro's tail, hair....
This is the tree. That's the pooper-scooper leaning up against it. Does Mom know how to take a photo or what?

And these are the chewies that fall from it. I hope somebody knows if they're really bad. Otherwise Mom might tear out all her hair and there'll be none left for me to chew on.
Forty-two pounds of bad.