Friday, June 28, 2013

Episode 1: Mammals

I remember when Steve Irwin would disrupt his regular schedule of poking reptiles and go to Africa to find elephants and monkeys. Those were the worst episodes. What a ripoff. Yeah, yeah, I guess a true nature lover appreciates all life on this planet equally and whatever, but screw that. Mammals are boring.

Unfortunately, I'm about to do the same to you guys. Please forgive me. For better or worse, mammals (mainly monkeys) were a significant part of the experience at Tiputini because they were everywhere and excluding them would be an incomplete representation of my month there.

This was made with Windows Movie Maker so don't expect Oscar quality cinema. It was also recorded with a subpar digital camera. That being said, I had some amazing photo opportunities and a goal of this project is to show what you can see, without National Geographic photo expertise, in the most biodiverse place on earth.

So without further ado, here it is:

Remember to watch in high quality!

Monkeys of Tiputini:

  • Wooly, Lagothrix lagothricha poeppigii
  • Spider, Ateles belzebuth belzebuth
  • Howler, Alouatta seniculus
  • Saki, Pithecia aequatorialis
  • Squirrel, Saimiri sciureus
  • Golden-Mantle Tamarin, Saguinus tripartitus
  • Capuchin, Cebus albifrons*
  • Dusky Titi, Callicebus discolor*
  • Pygmy Marmoset, Cebuella pygmaea*
  • Night, Aotus vociferans*
    • "Second cover" of the 125th Anniversary Edition of National Geographic
*Not in my video

See all monkeys here, if you're into that. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Lizard Quest 1: Failure

I've loved lizards my entire life, but have been cursed with living in a place virtually devoid of them. It wasn't until Ecuador (I went there!) that I got the chance to see, catch, study, observe, cuddle, and watch the darn things in the wild for the first time and it was great. Now that I'm back home to rot in my room in upstate NY where there are no lizards, things are not great.

Fortunately my life regained purpose when I found out there are introduced Italian wall lizards (Podarcis sicula sicula) around NYC. Apparently they were released from a pet shop in Long Island in 1967 when they went out of business so people like me could find lizards in an otherwise lizard-less state. Those guys deserve a medal.

My first stop was the NY Botanical Gardens in the Bronx. Here is a video detailing the trip.

I didn't actually get kicked out, but my noosing attempts were met by an unhappy gardener who disapproved of my goals. I tried convincing him, but all my efforts and subsequent rejection left me only with contempt for this man. The worst part is that I started finding a lot of lizards right after I was chastised. Being the moral, upright, law-abiding citizen I am, I didn't grab any. Jeeze. The signs only say "Do not touch plants" not "Do not catch lizards." What a waste of $18. Don't go there. It's lame.

So close, yet so far. 

But wait, there's more! Stay tuned for the thrilling conclusion to this subpar story.