Dogfight: Turkey Vulture vs Raven. Guess who won?

This past weekend was a noisy one, thanks to a resident raven now passionately guarding her territory — with our cabin apparently included in her range. Anytime a raptor flew over, she went berserk. (I’m assuming she’s a she, with a pending nest of baby ravens about to hatch…). Given how quickly this dogfight played out, I only got these silhouetted shots. But still the size difference is obvious. She’s the little one chasing the big one.




For Earth Day: I present to you my very own Bald Eagle gif

I’ve expressed previous admiration for Google Photo’s “Auto-Awesome” feature. For whatever reason, it just alerted me to a random new .gif animation it made for me, based on a series of old photos I took of a bald eagle chilling in some winter sunlight in upstate New York. Thanks, Google! This one is worth sharing, as the animation gives the series greater impact than a slideshow or gallery would. Click to embiggen!

The Many, Many ….Many…. Monkeys on Monkey Island, Puerto Rico

Rhesus monkey on Monkey Island

During our February trip to the Southeastern coast of Puerto Rico, Brendan and I booked an excursion with Barefoot Travelers to kayak out to the waters surrounding Monkey Island (Cayo Santiago), located a few kilometers off the coast near Humacao, for snorkeling and watching hundreds of non-native Rhesus monkeys jump, swing, run and swim.

Unless you’re one of the approved researchers conducting behavioral/cognitive investigations of primates (um, as the mother of a toddler, I could argue that I do belong to this group), you’re not allowed to make landfall. Instead you must watch from afar as they…monkey about.

The monkeys are definitely wild, as no interventions of their behavior are allowed (though having a human follow you around with a clipboard all day could definitely make you modify your movements).

However, watching the monkeys wasn’t my favorite part of the trip. What I really enjoyed was the snorkeling of “Monkey Reef,” which is actually a partially submerged boat that used to transport sugarcane. In just a few feet of water you can see beach-ball sized puffer fish, octopi (we saw two!), psychedelically colored angelfish and scores of giant schools of squirrel fish. In February in Puerto Rico the water is warm, wonderful and loaded with wildlife. No photos of the beauty below the water, but I do have a few more of the monkeys and the island:





Oh and a trip photo of MY wild-haired monkey child (right), and her cousin: