Category Archives: Animals

How Green is Green? Costa Rica vs Bwindi in Uganda

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The daily prompt today is about jealousy and green eyes and the color green. The first part is not really my piece of cake, but I love green. I love the fresh color of spring grass, I love the green trees and I love green jungle with all its creatures, the tiny and the huge ones. The jealous part, well, I’ve been jealous sometimes. It’s mostly about someone else getting something that I want or going somewhere where I want to go. But life is too short to sit and be jealous. Let’s do something about it. Enjoy life, try to live it as best as you can.

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The jungle is green, so are its creatures

This post is about my trip to Costa Rica compared to my trip to Bwindi and Uganda. Green jungle in the both parts of the world. Green monsters (with black eyes living in the both jungles. Tiny creatures and huge creatures. Insects, birds, lizzards and wonderful monkeys and apes. The green world is wonderful.

My previous posts about Costa Rica are here and here, so I will not describe the trip. Let’s go for the green parts and compare to Bwindi. Are all the jungles the same? What is similar and what is not? My post about Bwindi and its gorillas is here.

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Tiny ants carying green leaves for their nest

 

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Green frog under a green leaf

Rain forest in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a green place, no questions about it. There is rain forest, plants grow on top of each other, the humidity is high and rain days many. A neighbour country, Nicaragua has desert, sand, draught. Unfair? Our guide said that it was due to Nicaragua cutting down it’s rain forest. When there is rain forest there is lots of humidity from its plants that drop down. From the water drops the clouds are created, since the air is warm, and clouds raise to the sky and fall down as rain. And so on. When you cut down the forest there is nothing to start the process, there is no homidity to drop from the trees and soon the cut down forest becomes a desert with only sun to make it worse.

Creatures of the forest

Costa Rica kept the forest and its creatures. Most of them are tiny. The biggest we saw was a crocodile. The are several types of monkeys and lizards and birds and turtles.

We saw tiny ants occupied with carying leaves. They are using them in their nests. Pretty cool sight. We saw also small green frogs under the leaves. There are also poisonous frogs, but we didn’t see them and they are not green.

There were many birds in Costa Rica, but only the tiny humingbirds were green. And fast.

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Even the tiny hummingbirds are green

Bwindi impenetrable forest in Uganda

Now let’s go to Uganda, from Latin America to Africa, from tiny creatures to bigger onces, from rain forest to impenetrable forest. And still green, still wonderful and still warm. The jungle here is dense, it’s situated high in the mountains, so the hiking is hard, very hard.

Bwindi in Uganda, or Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, is a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the few places on this planes where there are gorillas. They are not green, but black, their eyes are black as well and these are not monkeys, but apes. And huge. The silverback that we saw weights about 250 kilos. Imagine a creature like that climb trees. And they do, pretty fast.

 

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The jungle in Bwindi is green as well

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The black beast hiding in the jungle

Creatures of the forest

Other creatures of the forest are not as green and tiny as in Costa Rica either. We passed killer ants. The forest rangers told us to RUN when we encountered them. They bite hard, over and over again until they or you die. Not so nice.

There are also chimps, elefants buffaloes and other large animals in Bwindi, but we saw only gorillas. And the ants. And pretty many mosquitoes. I would say that the creatures of Bwindi are more dangerous and deadly that the onces in Costa Rica and not as green.

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Green jungle, black gorilla

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Beauty and a beast in one

What is better

I loved Costa Rica and I loved Bwindi. They are both better, both are worth visiting, both are green. Let’s say: green is better. Green is life, green is hope. Jealousy? Let’s give it another color. Green is too good.

Over and out.

//Monika

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Green-Eyed Monster.

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I met a rhino in Ngorongoro, is that possible?

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I have always said that nothing is impossible, just slightly improbable. But when you least expect it it might happen, just like that. And you don’t know it beforehand, but if you just say that it’s impossible, you might not notice it and miss the opportunity. So let’s say less probable from now on.

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Impossible to see rhino

Before going to Serengeti and Ngorongoro I was said that it’s almost impossible to see a rhino. There are so few of them, so you have to be lucky, very lucky. Impossible? Neh, maybe less probable. But we saw them, not one, but four then and there. Impossible?

I met a rhino in Ngorongoro and it made my day. Few other places as well, but that first time in Ngorongoro was extra special. I was on my first safari trip, first visit to Africa ever. Another post is here. I want to return to this spectaular place, yes, I do. The initial thought was that we were not going to see so much and that the nature films must be a photographer waiting for hours, days, and weeks. And there were animals everywhere. And we saw rhinos as well.

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Coming down to Ngorongoro crater we hoped to see Rhino as well. But we were not sure, you know, impossible, or almost. And we saw it! First one, very close, it just walked behind our truck like nothing happened. A while later we saw a whole family, one large and three small ones. Wow! I was speechless.

After that we saw one at Nairobi National Park and two more by lake Naukuru, but the first time in Ngorongoro was the most special one.

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Family, one more young was just behind

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In Ngorongoro

Faith of rhinos

Rhinos are very much endangered. That’s sad. Some people seem to think that their horns are ultimate medicine. And some others just kill them to steel the horns and sell for lots of money. Greed, that’s very much human. Can this be stopped? I’m sad to say, but as long as someone is willing to buy the horns the answer is no. People cannot be nice to each other, simply by greed, then they cannot be nice to animals either. Not everyone of course, but as long as there is one doing it, it’s one too many.

Many would say that it’s impossible for rhinos to survive human greed, pocher’s hunt for horns, no matter the price. But it’s not impossible to save the rhinos, it might take an effort, but it’s not impossible.

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A smaller inhabitant of the area

Impossible to win

“It’s impossible to win, let’s not waste our time.” We went to an travel and adventure fair and visited an African travel agent. If you don’t compete I would use word impossible this time, but if you do it is possible. So I did compete. And today I’ve got a mail anout first price. Being doubtful I checked their webpage and there was my name. Impossible? Not really.

So now I’m planning to use my prize and go on another trip to Africa to see those impossible, I mean less probable to see animals, like rhinos or leopards.

Links and globes

Ngorongoro Conservation Area has been a world heritage site since 1979.

Some links:

My grade to Ngorongoro is still five globes.

GlobeGlobeGlobeGlobeGlobe

//Monika

Daily Prompt: Impossibility.

via Daily Prompt: Impossibility.

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The faith of elephants in Serengeti

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I know I wrote about Serengeti once before. I often go back there in my thoughts and remember the wonderful nature there. So I decided to go back there in our blog as well. This time I will focus on elephants, so this post is more about the grey, gracious, smart animals and Serengetti. Let’s go!

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Elephant walking grasiously around

 

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An elephant starring at passer-bys.

Elephants are endangered, we know it all. And the people who maybe can turn around this problem and make it better simply count their money today more then lives of elephants. Am I surprised? Not really. How can people care about animals, when they don’t care about each other? How can someone who don’t care about his neighbor care about future generations and their ability to experience the same wonderful nature, as we get to experience?

Thailand’s prime minister promised recently that the country will ban trade with ivory. It’s a small step forward. But how about China? They don’t see the need? Come on! The need is huge! And banning the trade is just a small step, we need many steps.

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In the afternoon sun.

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Mother with a kid

WWF is fighting every day to wake awareness in this field. In many more as well. I was thinking if I wanted to sponsor elephants and rhinos or orangutangs in Borneo or gorillas in Uganda or maybe polar bears or Baltic sea? I chose elephants and rhinos. This time.

Did you know that elephants in Tanzania are on the edge to extinction? Did you know that elephants are smart and they know that in the National Parks, likes Serengetti they are much more safe, they are much more like to survive? They hide there and there are no fences to keep them inside the parks. They choose to stay there. Isn’t that amazing?

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Far away

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Pretty close

When we visited Serengeti we saw elephants several times. First time they were just next to the road, many big and small and tiny elephants walking in peace by the road. We stopped and watched. Another time was on the edge of the Ngorongoro crater. It was a large male elephant waving his ears. I guess he wasn’t too happy with our presence.

Did you know that African elephants are larger than Indian ones? Did you know that their ears look almost like the map of Africa? Did you know that they are, just as humans, either right or left-handed? Most of them are left “handed” You can see that on their tasks, the one that is shorter is the one that they use more often, so it’s more woren down. Did you know that they live in couples and are monogamous? Did you know that they can cry? When their partner or a child or a friend die they actually mourn and cry and are sad for a long time.

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Gathering

And these wonderful animals some people see as merely chop sticks, ash trays or ivory statues. I have no idea why. But that’s stupid, heartkess and irresponsible.

I could write much more, but this is enough. Serengetti National Park became World Heritage site in 1981, let’s preserve it, lets’s save the elephants and all the other creatures.

Some links:

My grade for Serengeti is still five globes.

GlobeGlobeGlobeGlobeGlobe

//Monika

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Costa Rica is a magic place (part 2 of 2)

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Costa Rica was a pretty nice place. We were told that they didn’t cut the rain forrest and that’s why the desert didn’t spread, as it did in some neighbour country. Lots of rain came from the forest and with no forest there is no rain. Pretty smart. The environmental thinking was good. But there were also companies as large banana producers, where you can be sceptical. Costa Rica produces lots of bananas, sugar canes, pineapple and coffee. Pura Vida!

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A wagon on a coffe plantation decorated as local tradition says

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Coffee

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Sugar canes

After La Fortuna and Arenal we went up to Monteverde. It was pretty nice place with hills and nire hills. We stayed at a place called Los Establos, where it took about one hour to walk up a very steep hill from restaurant to our part. We stayed at level 8 and the bus ride from there to the reception took about 10 minutes. My walk up the hill without sunscreen, hat nor water bottle almost killed me. I might also have been food poisoned, so I just lied on the bed and tried to exist for the rest of the day. The following day was just coffee for breakfest and some bread for dinner. Day 3 was better. 🙂 But we’ll get to that part.

The first thing we did in monte verde was to visit caffee and sugar cane plantation. They showed us how to pick coffee and asked if we wanted to try. Neh, drinking coffe was good enough. We also walked through sigar cane plants and were told about the dangerous snakes living there. Nice.

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Crazy humming bird

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Blue humming bird

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Los Establos

After tasting some coffe we also visited a place where they had humming birds. We took plenty of photos, only few were nice. At that place we encountered a nose bear. He just walked out in front of us an was as surprised as we were. Some people also saw a tucan, a birds with a huge bill. I saw one, but no pictures. Too bad.

This is also the place where we celebrated New Years. Well, we watched some fireworks and went to bed. The fireworks were nice from the top of the hill!

The next day we had a night walk in the jungle. I was sick, but the people wjo went didn’t see much, except a huge spider at the end. I’m quite ok to havemissed it.

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Looking for shells

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Racoon

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Bats

Tambor was our next and final stop. It was an all-inclusive resort on the Paciffic side. The beach was nice, but the food and drinks were lousy. People here eat rice and beans sometimes with meat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and it was the same here.

In the evenings there were racoon stealing food and we saw some bats living in the bar om a Turkish flag. The place was happy, easy and relaxed. We swam in the pool, sat on the beach or wandered in the local jungle. We found a coconut on the beach one day. It took about one hour to open it, but it was worth it. It was tasty and warm. On the beach we had company from some squirrels.

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Agooti

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Sunset

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Howler monkey

The local jungle was a little jungle built up by the hotel. There were monkeys there, crabs and many birds. We saw parrots too, the racoons and an agooti. Not much happened here, which was relaxing.

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Parrot

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Squirrel

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Iguana

Pura Vida is a saying in Costa Rica.It’s used often and with a smile. Pura Vida literally means Pura = pure and vida = life, but “Pure life” in Spanish would be “Vida pura” instead, so the real meaning is closer to “plenty of life”, “full of life”, “this is living!”, “going great”, “real living”, “Awesome!” or “cool!”.[5] It can be used both as a greeting or a farewell, universally known in Costa Rica and it has been used by many Costa Ricans (and expatriates) since 1956. (wikipedia)

The trip to Costa Rica was great, relaxing and I learned a lot and saw planty of cool animals and other stuff.

//Monika

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Costa Rica is a magic place (part 1 of 2)

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We went to Costa Rica early in 2012. It was a dark cold winter and we longed for sunshine. Costa Rica has a few world heritage sites and we didn’t visit any of them. But we one of the places that we visited could be such a site. Costa Rica is a beautiful place with easy pace, wonderful nature and nice weather most of the times. Pura Vida!

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A sign on the beach, simply keep away.

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Is this a rest of a turtle egg?

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A green froggy

We arrived in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica in the evening. Early in the morning we left to explore this magic country. One of the first places we visited was Tortuguero, a beach by the Atlantic ocean where majority of western hemisphere’s sea turtles hatch. Pretty cool place. We didn’t see any turtles (wrong season), but few broken eggs and empty nests. Pretty cool place why isn’t this place a world heriage? I think it could be for sure. I’ve seen sea turtles when diving on a different occasion and they are very amazing creatures! I’d love to see them hatch one day, maybe this is the perfect place.

There at least is a nice beach, star filled nights and a nice town. And rain, very much rain. Our guide was surprised that it didn’t rain the entire time, cause it often does. Warm tropical rain. We had some, but it was ok.

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Butterflies, brown on the outside, blue on the inside

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Nasty spider

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Leave ants

At Tortuguero we also saw wonderful blue butterflies, green frogs with big eyes they wwere hard to find, but you could hear them every evening by the pond in the hotel area. Pretty cool. There were also pretty nasty spiders. I think they are called banana spiders and are harmless more or less, but I don’t like spiders. They are fascinating, but don’t need to be near me. You know. We saw other spiders as well. Their webs were huge and one was found in the morning by our bungalow. Not nice.

Talking about other bugs I have to mention the leave carrying ants.  Ant after ants was caryying leaves, pretty cool sight. We were told that they have different chambers in their nest and they grow fungus on the leves. If the fungus becames bad only one chamber will be affected and the colony survives. How cool is that!

Last but not lest there were beautiful butterflies in the area. They were fed with pineapple and one landed on Jany’s head.

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Jesus-lizzard

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Waiting for a fish

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An Elvis-haired bird

Another thing that we did in Tortuguero was to go on a cruise in the jungle. The jungle is dense, green and filled with birds, lizards and other creatures. We saw pretty many birds from the very beginning. But also several monkeys playing in the trees, among them spider monkeys, howler monkeys, capucin monkeys and squirell monkeys. We think. They were playing in tree tops, so it was not always easy to see.

What we did see was plenty of different birds. Mostly water birds, but also jays and humming birds. There was always something flying or looking for a fish where ever you looked.

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Jungle cruise

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Aligator

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Iguana

The lizards came also in different sizes and shapes. Jesus lizard was one. It was running on water, and that’s how it got the name. It was hard to spot in the green, but once you saw it you also saw several more. On the shores and in the trees there were iguanas. They seemed to enjoy the sunshine and sat very still or moved as slow. But when they started running, they were fast!

In the water there were also aligators, so swimming was not recomended. They were also hard to spot in the beginning for someone who is not used.

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Hanging bridges in the tree tops

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Tame parrot

After Tortugero we we went to another area, another climate zone with more animals. Even the vulcano Areal could be another world heritage site. Or not.

Arenal Volcano is an active andesitic stratovolcano in north-western Costa Rica in the district of La Fortuna. Geologically, Arenal is considered a young volcano and the age is estimated to be less than 7,500 years. The volcano was dormant for hundreds of years and exhibited a single crater at its summit, with minor fumaroles activity, covered by dense vegetation. In 1968 it erupted unexpectedly, destroying the small town of Tabacón. (wikipedia)

We went to see the volcano, but we also saw waterfall, where we swam and we walked on hanging bridges, between tree tops.

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Vulcano Areal

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Do not touch the volcano!

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La Fortuna

We visited, of course the town of La Fortuna, called so because no one died during the last eruption. We also went to hot springs and enjoyed the hot water and cold drinks. In the tropics you have to have at least one tropical drink!

To be continued…

//Monika

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