August 28: What Are Those Elephants Up To?
It seemed like a typical day as the sun rose this morning over Beaver Valley. And until about 1 p.m. it was a normal day over on Holly Hill. The family spent some time in bench holly before going down to the shed holly and into the magnolia and pine trees just past the shed holly. Around 10:15 a.m. the whole family crossed back for some food along the low black walnut to the fence. As usual it was a quick trip back for food, as the family crossed back to Holly Hill before the 10:30 a.m. scan. Several hours were then spent in the bench holly mostly lounging, most likely in an effort to gear up for the big afternoon trip.
Around 1 p.m. the whole family moved down to the tupelo tree and began exploring and foraging up at the top, as we have seen lately. However, this was not the final destination of the family for the afternoon. Eduardo had bigger and better plans in mind for an afternoon journey. We knew we were in for an adventure when shortly after 1 p.m. we suddenly noticed Eduardo was in a tulip poplar behind the tupelo tree and behind the picnic area. I had never seen anyone in the family venture this far over before, so I suspected that Eduardo had a plan in mind, and he certainly did. He stayed in this tree for a while, waiting for Laranja and the girls to catch up to him before he moved on, and the girls soon followed, though Laranja was reluctant to follow Eduardo. Eventually Samba went back to Laranja and stayed with her for the rest of the trip, trying to coax her along to follow Eduardo and Gisela. Gisela stayed close to dad the whole time, though, never thinking of leaving his side.
Eduardo eventually began to move farther down Tamarin Run, passing the picnic area entirely and heading for the elephants' yards. He moved through the trees as if he was on a mission and knew exactly where he wanted to go, which is somewhat odd since he never went to this area last season. Perhaps he had been scoping out the area from the bench holly and wanted to explore what was down in this area. He and Gisela ended up crossing the walkway beside the yards and entering the trees and bamboo in one of the yards, while Laranja and Samba were still trying to catch up. Soon they arrived and crossed to join Eduardo and Samba in the tree just outside the elephant hotwire. There was only one tree and some bamboo in this area, so there really was nowhere for them to go.
After a few minutes in the tree the family found nothing to forage on and they couldn't move anywhere in the elephant yard without coming down to the ground, so they ended up crossing back to the paulownia tree they had used to cross on. They spent quite a bit of time here foraging and exploring in this tree before slowly making their way back to the bench holly around 2:15p.m. They finally returned to the tulip poplar around 3 p.m., but instead of making their way back to the bench holly they settled down in a different holly, which is just along the walkway. They foraged here for a while before finally figuring out how to get back into the bench holly a little before 4 p.m. They quickly made the move to cross back to Beaver Valley via the high black walnut to tree five at 4 p.m.
After all this excitement the family grabbed a bite to eat and then played, groomed, and foraged in trees five and zero. It was a very active afternoon, however, even with the late cross back and all the adventure for the earlier portion of the afternoon. At 7 p.m. the whole family was asleep, though Eduardo was not inside the nest box. Instead, he was sleeping on his favorite branch just outside the box.
August 29: Ground Gallivanting
Today was a fairly typical day in terms of schedule and routine, however, the monkeys manage to never bore us. So while we saw their usual daily pattern, there were also some interesting occurrences. At 7:07 a.m. the family crossed to Holly Hill via the low black walnut and headed straight for the bench holly where they remained until about 8:30 a.m., when they moved down toward Olmsted Walk. Just like yesterday, they passed right by the shed holly and went all the way into some trees. From here they moved into the garden for a while and foraged before making their way into the shed holly where they remained in a monkey ball until about 10 a.m. As usual, it was now time to head back for some breakfast, so the family crossed back at 10:21 a.m. via the low black walnut to the fence.
Once business at the food tray had been taken care of, it was back to Holly Hill. Eduardo was lazy today and took the fence back to the low black walnut as we saw him do a few times last week. Of course Gisela had to follow after dad, and Samba soon followed them as well. Laranja preferred to take the ropes over to the low black walnut, where the whole family crossed led by Eduardo at 10:40 a.m. It was straight for the bench holly, where the family spent the rest of the afternoon either in a monkey ball or grooming and playing. While the tamarins were in the bench holly there was a hawk sighting by the watchers. A hawk came and landed low in the bench holly that the GLT family was currently occupying, though the monkeys were up much higher than the hawk. Shortly after landing the hawk, swooped down and grabbed a chipmunk which it then flew off with. As far as we could tell the tamarins had no idea the hawk was there. They did move up a bit higher in the holly tree, but there were no vocalizations at all. This ended up being more exciting for the watchers than the tamarins!
A little before 2:30 p.m. the twins got an itch for some playtime on the ground. They spent about half an hour chasing each other and wrestling on the ground, occasionally pulling one another off of the treesl. Laranja sometimes came briefly to the ground to join them, but most of the ground activity involved just the girls playing carefree as they often do in this area. Soon Laranja was ready to cross back and she led the way up to the low black walnut, where the whole family crossed at 2:50 p.m. As usual they had a bit to eat and then spent the afternoon in trees zero and three. At about 4:15 p.m. the whole family came to the ground, where they foraged in rocks between trees three and four for about five minutes. We have seen them do this a few times before earlier in the season. Eduardo and Lola used to really like foraging here, so there must be some good insects to feast on in this area.
At about 6 p.m. the family finally headed for the nest box, where they spent the rest of the evening. Everyone was asleep by 7 p.m. except for Eduardo, who was sitting outside the nest box on his perch. It wouldn't be long before he joined the family inside for the night.
August 30: The Berries of the RLD
After a somewhat normal day yesterday, the GLTs were ready for an adventure again today! It was off to the Red Light District (RLD) this afternoon for a few hours of foraging on china berries. The whole family crossed over to the RLD via tree three, which has some branches that overlap with a tree in the RLD. The family crossed at 1:56 p.m., with Eduardo leading the way and the twins following close behind. Laranja crossed about ten minutes later. The family spent about two hours in the RLD, mostly foraging but relaxing as well. There are lots of china berries that have begun to bloom in this area and while most of them are not quite ripe yet, the family managed to find enough that were suitable for eating—the GLTs, especially Eduardo, gorged themselves on this delicious treat. At one point Eduardo was quite visible sitting among the china berry bushes shoveling berries into his mouth with lots of them falling out as he chewed. It was quite a funny sight. When the family finally crossed back to Beaver Valley, Eduardo crossed the same way he had come over, entering tree three. Laranja and the girls used the route they had taken last time they visited the RLD. The three of them crossed from a white ash in the RLD into the hemlock at the corner of Tamarin Run. All crossed at about 4:15 p.m.
The earlier part of the day was spent on Holly Hill as usual, though the family crossed rather late today, at 8:05 a.m. The GLTs ventured down into the far edge of the garden and the holly along Olmsted Walk for about half an hour before making their way back to the bench holly. They spent hardly any time in the shed holly today, stopping there briefly on their way to the garden. At 1:22 p.m. the whole family crossed back to Beaver Valley for the first time today along the low black walnut, came to the fence, and took it all the way to the food tray. After hanging around Beaver Valley for a while eating from the food tray, it was off to the Red Light District for some delectable treats! Once back in the main exhibit, everyone foraged for a while longer among the hemlocks before retiring to the nest box early this evening, at 5:30 p.m. By 6:30 the entire family was asleep, recuperating from a busy day of foraging all over the Zoo.
August 31: A Dreary Day in the Valley
Today was as typical as you can get in terms of schedule and routine. Samba led the way for the morning cross up tree five into the high black walnut at 7:05 a.m. As usual, the morning began in the bench holly before moving down to the shed holly around 9:15 a.m. At 10:42 a.m. the whole family crossed back for food on its way back from the shed holly. Everyone took the low black walnut to the fence. As we often see in the mornings it was a very brief trip to Beaver Valley, just for some breakfast before crossing back to Holly Hill at 10:57 a.m. led by Gisela over the low black walnut. The rest of the day on Holly Hill was spent in the bench holly playing and resting with some occasional trips by the family out on the rubber tree. Samba had a little fall from the white ash, which the family briefly visited, but she caught herself on the black walnut. At 2:50 p.m. the family crossed back to Beaver Valley for the day, spending most of the remainder of the day foraging, eating, and playing along the ropes from zero to four and three to four, as well as in tree 2A and the hemlocks. It was a very early evening, however, as everyone was inside the nest box for the night at 5 p.m. and all were down below, not visible, by 5:15 p.m. The past two days have been overcast most of the day with rain looking eminent. Presumably the darker skies and the eminent rain are what led the tamarins inside early this evening.
September 1: And Ernesto Blows Through
The rain has been building for the past several days, with only a few bursts of rain at night. Today, however, the rain came and, boy, did it pour. Tropical Storm Ernesto finally hit us here in D.C. with its outskirt storms. The rain kept the family fairly inactive today, with most of the day spent huddled in a ball inside the nest box. The family was probably fairly cold today with wet little bodies, combined with cooler temperatures, so the huddling most likely helped everyone stay warm on this dreadful day. Early this morning the family did venture beyond the nest box for a while around 7:45 a.m. The monkeys briefly came to tree four for some food before moving to tree five. Eduardo appeared to contemplate crossing over to Holly Hill, but soon must have decided against this plan as the family moved back to the nest box around 8:30 a.m. Around 9:30 a.m. it was time for another jaunt outside as the whole family moved down to the vacation home (tree nine). Perhaps the family thought there might be brighter skies at this little getaway. Unfortunately when your vacation home is only a few trees away, the weather isn't any different! The family stayed there for about an hour in spite of the same drab weather and an encounter with a squirrel that had decided to take refuge inside their tree hole. The family was not about to give away its vacation home to this squirrel so they all waited until the squirrel left the hole before entering. After returning to the nest box from this journey, the family remained inside the box for the rest of the day, most likely hoping the rain would eventually stop, however, it kept raining and raining and raining at a steady pace for the rest of the day. The wind was pretty vicious, too, but thankfully it did not seem to really disturb the nest box. Everyone was asleep by 6:15 p.m. as the rain was showing no signs of letting up anytime soon.
September 2: No More Rain!
The day began with lots of rain just like yesterday and it looked as if it was going to be another day of non-stop rain, but fortunately it ended up clearing up a bit late in the day. The heavy rain early in the morning kept the family inside the box later than usual. Around 7:45 a.m. everyone briefly came out and explored around tree five a bit, but soon the monkeys retreated back to the nest box to stay dry. Around 9 a.m. the rain began to lighten up a bit and the family made a mad dash for Holly Hill via the low black walnut. The GLTs were not about to sit inside all day again. A little rain never hurt anyone, right? The rain started picking up again at 10:15 a.m., but the family remained on Holly Hill and just hunkered down in the bench holly. No one left the bench holly, and the family stayed on Holly Hill for about two hours and 45 minutes before crossing back to Beaver Valley for the day at about 11:45 a.m.
After returning, it was back to the nest box for a while because of the rain. The family rested a while and just waited out some of the more intense rain. Around 2 p.m. it was pretty much just a steady drizzle so the family ventured outside of the box and took a trip into the trees behind tree zero. After exploring here for a while, the GLTs made their way to tree four and the hemlocks, where they spent the rest of the afternoon eating, foraging, and relaxing along the ropes surrounding tree four as well as in the hemlocks. Despite the clouds departing and the sun finally coming out after days of a gray blanket in the sky, the family retired early for the evening with everyone inside the box at 5:45 p.m. for the rest of the evening. By 6:15 p.m. everyone was asleep, most likely dreaming of brighter days.
September 3: What a Crowd!
The family woke a little later today, at around 6:50 a.m., and ate for a while from the old food trays before crossing to Holly Hill around 7:15 a.m. Now that the rain had finally stopped, the family returned to its normal routine on Holly Hill. After spending several hours in the bench holly, the family took its first trip down to the shed holly in several days. Unfortunately the rain has deterred the family from its normal active and exploratory lifestyle. The twins played a bit while mom and dad lounged around. A little before 11 a.m. the family started to migrate back toward the bench holly, however, Gisela led the family back to Beaver Valley before anyone could enter the bench holly. Presumably she was hungry and wasn't going to wait around to get some breakfast. She has been quite the leader lately, as she often leads the family back to Beaver Valley and this morning she led the way down to the shed holly. She and her sister are not much for sitting still for too long.
After a very quick bite to eat, Eduardo led the family back to Holly Hill just before 11:15 a.m. Today Eduardo came out on a branch in the low hemlock and jumped to the fence with Samba and Gisela close behind. The three of them took the fence over to the low black walnut which they used to cross back to Holly Hill. Laranja wasn't far behind, though she used the ropes to get over to the low black walnut. After crossing back everyone scampered to the bench holly where they spent the next several hours sunning themselves on the branch of the black walnut that comes into the bench holly. The past several days have been rather cold for the GLTs. These lower temperatures require the family to use a lot more energy to stay warm, so the sun was a nice place for everyone to relax and warm up.
It was a very long day on Holly Hill, perhaps to make up for the past several days where the rain detained them to Beaver Valley. The entire afternoon was spent in the bench holly with the girls playing every so energetically while mom and day just relaxed. Laranja and Eduardo may have even copulated while cuddling together in the holly. It was difficult to see exactly what the two of them were doing, however, they spent about 15 to 20 minutes in what one of our watchers called an intimate embrace. A copulation sighting was not confirmed; however, another watcher a few hours later thought he also may have observed the two of them copulating. Could we have more children on the way?
Finally, after spending the majority of the day in the bench holly the family crossed back around 3:30 p.m. via the low black walnut to the fence. However, it was a very short trip back to Beaver Valley for some food before crossing back to Holly Hill at 4:21 p.m. Eduardo crossed via tree five, but Laranja and the girls used the low black walnut. This is the first time I have seen the family cross to Holly Hill this late in the day. The GLTs spent some time in the bench holly before venturing down toward the shed holly. They never actually made it this far. Instead they foraged in some magnolia trees near tree 32. After about 20 minutes foraging here, Laranja led the family back to the low black walnut, where the whole family crossed back. Eduardo and the twins took the fence back. Laranja used the ropes after briefly jumping to the fence. After crossing, everyone went to tree zero and all were in the nest box by 6:30 p.m., though one of the twins briefly came out to eat about 15 minutes later, but then returned to the nest box. At 7 p.m. all were on the lower level of the box, most likely asleep or getting ready to fall asleep. I think the family had a bad case of cabin fever today!
What a week! It's almost as if the family anticipated the rain storms that came later in the week and used up some of its energy earlier in the week on its new exploratory adventures. While rain seemed to deter the monkeys from their normal habits a bit, they were still fairly active when the rain wasn't too hard. With the amount of energy the twins have, days inside the nest box must be hard for the whole family. It looks as if the weather is supposed to clear up next week, so let's see what mischief the girls will get themselves into as the free-range saga continues in next week's issue.