Another Wet Sunday
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It’s Sunday again and Gene is up at the lounge watching the Grand Prix. I can't understand the attraction. Why do people want to hear and smell stinky, noisy things being driven at dangerous speeds; I don't get it. Like last Sunday, he had to endure a downpour to get to the buildings. It’s raining, and when I say raining, I mean raining. There are some cruisers here from Oregon and even they are impressed!
A few days ago I put a plastic tarp over the forward hatch and even through last night's torrential rain, we were dry and comfortable. Gene put up our shade cover yesterday. We had hauled it out of the aft-cabin a week or so ago and it was pretty mildewy. It’s a heavy, cumbersome thing that stretches from aft of the mast to the end of the boom. Actually, it was designed to go beyond them boom and cover the whole cockpit. It has a hole sewn in so that you can remove the topping lift from the end of the boom, drape the shade cloth over and re-hook the topping lift. The cloth then goes out another three feet to shade the cockpit. We don’t use it that way because that section got torn in the wind. The thing does a great job shading us and keeps the boat interior much cooler on hot days, but if the wind comes up, it behaves like a giant wild bird frantically flapping powerful wings against captivity. Its size makes it a cleaning problem so we decided to put it up and let mother nature wash it. Last night it was a shield against the rain and we didn't have to put out the towels and containers. It was really nice hearing the rain and not watching it. I enjoyed listening in the wee hours while I played Myst and drank pomegranate tea. Occasionally, a flicker of lightening would flash through the small windows in the cabin top.
With most of the mold and mildew gone, the air purifier and air conditioner going, we are quite comfy in our rotting hole in the water.
I doubt I’ll get out today. I’m pretty sure this will be one of those all day rains. The forest should be beautiful tomorrow. It really is a magical place and I love it. When I have been out, the temperature has been very comfortable and I am able to walk without the usual rivulets of sweat running down the back. The air is clean and fresh and is a tonic. I stick to the paved roads because the truck trails I ventured out on in the dry season are small lakes now. I was out a few days ago and one of them seemed to be drying a bit. There were only small pools in the tire tracks. New vegetation and shrublets were growing between the tracks and the tree limbs on the sides were reaching to each other so the track was narrowed. Last season, this was one of my favorite roads to turn onto. It leads to a big clearing and I have found a few treasures in the trees surrounding it. I thought maybe I could weave through the new shrubs on the muddy strip between the tire tracks and squeeze my way through to a quiet, hidden place. Not that the paved road is busy, but occasionally you get a car or two (and their stinky fumes) disrupting the peace. They always seem to come by when I am straining to see a bird deep in cover or trying to photograph something. Often, they see me on the road peering into the forest and stop to ask if I am looking at monkeys . Everybody loves the monkeys and they are great PR for the forest. I had a local cab driver tell me that road kill monkeys are removed quickly because seeing them upsets the tourists.
I started off the edge of the paved road and in a small pool, I could see pollywogs swimming. I love pollywogs! I got a couple of shots because I had gotten one of some on my place in Dulzura and they looked so different from each other I wanted to compare. I am still struggling with my new Nikon and I am now able to get about one clear picture in a hundred. Amazingly, the pollywog shot came out. If it had been a bird, I would have gotten a blob! I really wish I hadn’t dropped my Sony, I really liked that camera. I will google the pollywogs and see if there is any way to ID the species. Not likely.
I started down the track and got about halfway before my antennae went up. The word snake popped into my head and I stood still and scanned. Just being paranoid Sue. I go a little further and now my antennae are vibrating. I thought about the snakes I’d read about, especially the Bushmaster and the Fer de Lance. I decided to listen to my instincts and turned around. Stick to the roads and stay off the moors!I have gotten a few lifers: Yellow-green Vireo, White-necked Puffbird, Tennesee Warbler, Red-eyed Vireo, Gray-cheecked Thrush, and Red-capped Manakin.
The female Red-capped Manakin took me awhile to ID. My bird guide shows the Manakins with dark bills and this female had a lightish bill. I googled, but all I could find was images of males. I finally found a video of a male displaying; they do a little dance on a branch to attract a female. There is a video on the net of the bird “moon-walking” to a Michael Jackson song and at the end a female flies to him. She clearly shows a light bill and I have lifer #827. You can’t believe the stuff that came up when I typed in Red-capped Manakin! I hope my computer isn’t tagged as one that is interested in kinky stuff. If I start getting ads for blow up dolls, I’ll know why. I typed in Manakin, not mannequin! The Moon-walk display is worth watching if you are so inclined:
PS. I started to doubt myself and my ID for the Red-capped Mankin for various reasons. I put a picture and my confused thoughts up on bird forum so some 'real' birders could validate my ID. If you ever wonder about what kind of bird you see or if you want to look at some incredible photography drop into birdforum. You go to the Gallery to view photos from around the world.