Wednesday, June 5, 2013

There's varmints in them thar trees!

So - winter is upon us.

And the trees are alive!

We don't get snow in Africa - in fact I have never seen snow in all my life. But I can assure you that our winter temperatures are nothing to be laughed at. It gets very cold.

During the day we have crystal blue skies - and not even a speck of a cloud. This will go on for a couple of months, through the heart of winter - which is pretty much half of May, then through June and July, and then as we start warming up again the clouds will start to form, until we hit the 'rainy season' from late October onwards.

One of the mechanisms used for coping with cold by the monkeys are the trees. We have a couple of conifers at La Rochelle, and because they are thick, and don't allow the wind or rain to reach the trunk, that is where the monkeys sleep in winter and during the rains. Then as the first rays of the sun hit the tree, they make platforms and climb out to warm themselves. Hard to see from a distance - but they are there. (And notice our standard-issue winter sky with moon in the background)

Here, then is a closer view of the little 'sunning platforms' that they create. Taken roughly 5 seconds after the photo above - and if you look back you will not be able to make out the monkeys.

Pretty soon, as the sun gets warmer, there are more bodies that appear and start trying to defrost after a bitterly cold night.....

But the monkeys are not the only things in our trees at this time of year!

From the veranda of the hotel, there is visible a loquat tree - which comes into fruit right about now. And the other day I noticed a small child - no more than three years old, standing below the tree peering up into the branches. At the same time, I noticed the branches moving, and realised that a monkey must be stealing the fruit. However - the child obviously did not understand that a monkey can potentially attack a small child.

At once, I ran towards the tree, shouting and waving my arms to scare the monkey away. Two things happened:

- the small child took to her heels with an astonishing turn of speed - almost falling over her own feet in desperate headlong flight
- the branches of the tree boiled into action, and four bodies dropped to the ground - one from almost at the top of the tree

But.....................they weren't monkeys.

Here then, is the tree - minus wildlife.

But how to catch the thieves?

 Quite simple, actually.

After the scattering of little bodies, I was able to collect evidence that there had indeed been robbers in the tree...... and then all I had to do was sit back and wait for the culprits to come and face the music....

Inspector Clueso I am, I am!
Have a great day!

Inspector Clueso, I am, I am!

Have a great day!

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