Costa Rica is known for some of the most beautifully colored birds in the world. However, since I don’t own a telephoto lens, I rarely get to take bird photos unless the bird literally lands a few feet in front of me. For me, this particular bird will be forever associated in my mind with this beautiful country rather than the traditional toucan. These magnificently intimidating vultures could be seen no matter where we were, circling the skies all day, every day. This particular vulture was sitting on a farm fence post, his/her partner on the next one, both truly formidable in size and presence. Thanks to a rainy day, both had their wings fully spread to dry off their feathers. On the ground below them in the long grass, 5-6 wet chicks huddled together (and by chicks, I mean their fuzzy babies the size of medium chickens!). I would have loved to get out of my car and take a photo of the chicks too, but I envisioned my eyes being gouged out by the parents while they tear my scalp off with their talons. Needless to say, I stayed in the safety of my car, and left their chicks alone. A tribute to truly terrifying parents!
This year is Chinese zodiac year of the Monkey, and it certainly is for me. I have just spent a week with various monkeys in the jungles of Costa Rica. Of all of them, this is definitely my favorite. The Squirrel Monkey. Adorable little creatures flitting through the trees like a family of small, grey and orange birds. You can hear them calling to each other as they bounce around, the sound of content and happy chirpings. Being somewhat cheeky like most monkey can be, they swept through this tree eating the fruits, only taking a few bites of each one before throwing them to the ground. Sometimes I think they were even purposefully aiming at my head. However, I will gladly take a few fruits to the head to spend time with these cute and cheeky little monkeys.
Watching clownfish swimming amongst a brightly colored anemone has always been a magical moment of any snorkeling trip for me. This photo actually has three of them, with the two smaller ones safely hiding amongst the stinging tentacles of their home, whilst the leader boldly sizes me up. Its very cute to watch, and always brings a big smile to my face (which usually means my mask fills with water and I momentarily drown). Common clownfish are seen in warmer tropical waters ranging from eastern Indian Ocean to Southeast Asia. The fish in this photo call the waters around Malaysia their home. They are such a beautiful sight to see, that I get so very disappointed and angry to hear that their numbers are decreasing due to the demand of the pet trade. I can imagine for some, that it might seem nice to watch them swimming in a tank in your home, but isn’t it so much more exciting to spot them happily swimming in their home in the ocean?
Imagine your day job consisted of rebuilding your home from scratch every single day. That’s exactly what this crab, along with millions of other crabs are repetitively doing. They empty out their homes of the destruction the tide brings in with it each and every day. Some of these tiny little crabs get quite creative with their designs of rolled up little balls of sand. For this particular crab, he always exited his home on the right, and placed all the little balls on the left, and walked all the way around to place them on the outside, getting progressively further away from the entrance. Every single pattern of sand balls around the homes of these crabs looked different, as was each of their methods. Maybe they each have a plan that I cannot possibly understand. Has any individual crab ever tried to do it differently? Or each day, every individual repeats their own distinct pattern? I guess I will never know, but it always interesting to wonder.