First day in the jungle: Red Macaws, toucans, swarming bees and the fire brigade.

So, we got up on our first day in the jungle fully energized. After the long trip from Monteverde to Osa, it felt good to have a relatively good night sleep and wake up to the sounds of the real jungle. Which are many. 

If the howler monkeys woke us up at 0530 in Guanacaste, here we wake up even earlier (before 5 am) by a sort of “long-legged duck with a tail” (the Grey-necked Wood Rail) which is EXTREMELY noisy. So much that it actually wakes up the howler monkeys, who start howling in annoyance.

Sound of the Grey-Necked Wood Rail
The bugger. Do not miss the tail!

After that, the whole jungle orchestra joins in : toucans, red makaws, green parrots and so many other birds that we hear but cannot see.

The two possible alternatives left to us, humans, are to A) join the party or B) fight it. We join the party and soon enough we are having our first coffee watching national geographic life. Like real life. One second there is a Caracara and the next a Blue Morpho butterfly. 

Scarlet Macaw human-watching

We spent our first morning in the house just like that: in the back-yard porch with the binoculars, the bird book and the camera, watching birds and monkeys passing by. By midday, it started to get really warm and we decided to go inside. 

It is then that we started to hear a buzzing around the porch. In no time, the porch was full with wasps and the noise was really loud. In panic, we closed the windows and doors to the porch. But it was not enough. There were so many of them that they started getting in through the windows and cracks in the mosquito nets. At that point in time we started panicking. So I made a video (below) which we sent to the house-keeper with an SMS. 

[me] Hello, we have suddenly a wasp invasion. What shall we do?

[the house keeper, a second later] Hello, I am calling the fire brigade

Ooops, I though. It might be a serious business also for the locals. 

Half an hour later, the fire brigade was entering our land. No kidding. By then, the wasp cloud had diminished significantly which could either mean that the wasps were all inside the house (worst case scenario) or that it had moved on (best case). 

The fire brigade went around the house and very calmly but thoroughly checked the outside and inside of the house. And then, in a most polite way we got a fantastic biology and conservation lesson. They explained to us that the swarm was of bees and not wasps *. And that at this time of the year, when there is abundant food, it is very usual to have swarms of bees that had been kicked out from their nests by the queen, to form a new colony. The bees go scouting for new places and often they try to make a new nest in wooden houses.

He added that, in a sense, it was a very sad story since the poor bees are hungry and in desperate need to find a place to settle. I could sense that this is a story that he has told many times, probably to children and the occasional tourist (like us). He also indicated that they come to this house two or three times a year. We should watch out and only if they come to the same place several days in a row and we see that they start to build a nest, we should call the fire brigade again. Because it is only then that they – the bees – will start becoming aggressive. 

And then, he added, “we will come with a box/trap to try to lure them to build their nest in the box and move the colony to another place where they have no conflicts with humans”. No killing and no poison. Instead raising awareness and educating people to minimize human-nature conflicts. My, I love this country! 

*. Once again, the “wasp label” was the result of my keen eye for details. Frank had insisted from the first second that they were bees.


3 thoughts on “First day in the jungle: Red Macaws, toucans, swarming bees and the fire brigade.

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