The crested owl. Strictly a nocturnal animal, so what in the world was it doing up and about at 11:30 a.m. as we descended from the jungle back down to the tent camp for a little rest and some lunch?
Owls are spooky. They seem to have a way of peering into your inner soul. Looking at the still bird that almost never blinks, it is tempting to attribute the mythological wisdom to this great bird. However, it is all false--the owl is one of the least astute of birds. A tremendous hunter, sure, but dumb as a fencepost.
So many pelicans. What a sight.
Not because pelicans are now uncommon, they are easily seen up and down the California coast, in Baja, Florida, Texas etc., but because these wonderful birds almost did not make it.
Back in the 1960s "civilized" countries such as the U.S. decided that the bug killing chemical DDT was all the rage. Kill the nasty mosquitos. Make the world safe for democracy. That sort of thing. Problem was, DDT had a catastrophic impact on birdlife. The birds ingested the chemicals through seepage into their waterways and through insects, worms and other small creatures in their diet. The DDT did not outright kill the birds, but it made the shells of their eggs extremely thin, which obviously made the eggs many times more fragile than intended by nature.
The brown pelicans almost died out. They spent time on the endangered list and thank goodness the use of DDT was largely stopped. Pelicans now thrive. But some other birds, like the great condors, have yet to recover.
Always be on the lookout. As we wearily trudged up the beach under the sweltering equatorial sun, there were new life forms awaiting discovery. This little seahorse washed up and onto the beach. Sure, I was miserable under the relentless sun, but at least my mode of locomotion was still available to me. the poor little seahorse had no respite from the sun, until either the tide washed him back out to sea or he received a helping hand. Luckily, for our little friend, we decided that he should be returned to the ocean and so he got the beneficial toss into the waves after a thorough scrutiny by the amature marine biologists in our group.