September 25: Elephant Yard, Anyone?
It was a rather unusual schedule today. As the temperatures have started to cool and the sun is rising later and setting earlier the tamarins have very unpredictable schedules—each day doing something a little different. Today we saw the family visit the shed holly on three separate occasions, however, each visit was very brief. The family crossed to Holly Hill this morning at 7:15 a.m. and went to the bench holly for a while before making their way down to the shed holly and the pines and magnolias. After quickly checking this area out for only about 20 minutes the family returned to the bench holly a little before 9 a.m. The family relaxed there for a bit and then the twins began playing and foraging on the ground before going down to visit the shed holly again. After only 20 minutes or so at the shed holly again it was a quick return to Beaver Valley at 10:33 a.m. for breakfast and a short bout of play. At 11:05 a.m. the family returned to the bench holly crossing via the low black walnut. Everyone stayed relaxing and foraging in the bench holly for about an hour before one of the twins led the family on a new adventure!
Just before 12:15 p.m. one of the twins crossed over into the Elephant Yard, however, they did not cross where they had several weeks ago when they visited this area. The whole family eventually followed the one twin over, some slower than others. Everyone crossed from tree 34 into a tree in the Elephant Yard, just outside the hotwire. There are only two trees in this area, so there is not really anywhere the family can travel to from this spot other than back to Holly Hill. One of the trees had some berries in bloom and the family spent a while foraging on these, but also exploring the area. Today the elephants were out in the yard, though the tamarins did not seem the least bit interested in them and the elephants appeared to take no notice of the tamarins either. The family did not stay long in this area however, crossing back to Holly Hill at 12:18 p.m. After crossing back the family visited the shed holly again, but as we saw this morning only spent about 20 minutes there before coming back. Instead of returning to the bench holly however, the family crossed back to Beaver Valley for the day after 1:15 p.m.
This did not end the adventure for the day however. After eating and playing in their main exhibit for a while the family took off for the Red Light District (RLD) shortly after 2 p.m. The GLTs foraged on the chinaberries in this area for about half an hour before returning to Beaver Valley. Laranja, however, did not use this same path to cross back, instead she crossed on the ground, running quickly from a tree across the path way and to the base of tree three, which she then climbed up to join the rest of the family.
Once everyone was safely back in Beaver Valley, the family spent the rest of the after noon foraging among the hemlocks, tree five, and behind tree zero. The GLTs also spent a lot of time inside the nest box. At 4 p.m. the family retreated inside the box for a little relaxation, occasionally coming outside for some fresh air. By 5:45 p.m., the family was inside the box for the night and all were asleep by 6:15 p.m. The nights are starting earlier and earlier with the temperature changes and the earlier sunset.
September 26: Back for More Elephant Yard Fun
It was chilly this morning and the tamarins spent the majority of the morning sitting high up in the bench holly sunning themselves. They all crossed at 7:23 a.m. via the low black walnut and remained there until about 9:15 a.m. when they took off for the shed holly. Soon they all came back from the shed holly crossing back for breakfast at 9:42 a.m. They ate quickly and then ventured down to tree 9 before they crossed back to Holly Hill at 10 a.m where they entered the bench holly again. They all huddled together, probably trying to stay warm, occasionally grooming each other.
After about an hour and a half relaxing in the bench holly the day must have warmed up enough for a family adventure back to the Elephant Yard today. Just before 12:45 p.m. Eduardo and the twins crossed over from tree 34 again and began foraging and exploring these two trees again. Laranja had some difficulty getting over to the family as she attempted crossing several different ways before she finally figured out the correct path which allowed her to join the family in the Elephant Yard. After foraging for a while the family curled up into a monkey ball and rested in a tree in the Elephant Yard. This peaceful moment was soon rudely interrupted by one of the elephants. An elephant and three of its keepers slowly made their way out into the Elephant Yard. The keepers appeared to be training the elephant and the elephant came backing up toward the tree the tamarins were lounging in, so the elephant was not able to see the tamarins, but they sure saw him and they all became very upset, predator calling loudly at the elephant. Fortunately for the elephant and its keepers this vocalizing and GLT commotion did not seem to upset or scare the elephant much to the tamarins’ dismay. Eduardo and the twins did not stick around long. They ran back to Holly Hill leaving Laranja alone still in the Elephant Yard. This time she did not get left behind because she didn’t know how to get back, rather she deliberately stayed calling and calling at the elephant in an attempt to scare it away from what she considers her territory. The idea that other animals live in the Zoo and that she was actually in another animal's enclosure is preposterous to a little, territorial monkey like herself. After several minutes of intense predators calls Laranja finally retreated, crossing back to join the family on Holly Hill.
After Laranja crossed back the whole family then crossed to Beaver Valley a little before 1:45 p.m. for another bite to eat. At 2:08 p.m., Gisela was ready to return to the bench holly, as she bounded up tree five and crossed via the high route. Eduardo had followed Gisela up tree five, but ended up coming back down and crossing with the rest of the family via the low black walnut. Presumably he was nervous about making this jump as it has become a huge jump now, that appears very scary to myself as the black walnut has continued to lose branches. The family lounged around the bench holly until 3:45 p.m. when they crossed back for the day. The family ate dinner when they returned and then hung around the hemlocks for about 45 minutes before retiring to the nest box for the evening. The whole family was in the box by 5:30 p.m. and all were asleep by 6 p.m. A rather relaxed day other than the encounter with the giant elephant!
September 27: What About Laranja?
It was a fairly typical day though Eduardo and Samba may have been trying to lead the family on a more exciting adventure in the late morning, but Laranja couldn’t keep up so they ended up not traveling too far. The day began, as usual, with a cross to the bench holly at 7:34 a.m. Around 8:15 a.m. everyone headed down toward Olmsted, where they all foraged among the pines, magnolias and tupelo trees. We suspected that there may be a cross over to Beaver Valley for a foraging feast on the chinaberries as we saw last week, but Eduardo was reluctant to cross over so eventually the family made their way back to the shed holly before moving on to the bench holly. Around 10:45 a.m. is when Eduardo and Samba tried to lead the family away from the bench holly. Everyone traveled down to the tupelo tree but soon Eduardo and Samba had moved beyond the tupelo into the tree Eduardo crossed into when he first led the family into the Elephant Yard a few weeks ago. From there they did not move down to the Elephant Yard, but instead the twins entered the holly next to the bench holly where they stayed foraging for about half an hour. Gisela occasionally joined Eduardo who spent a lot of time exploring and foraging in an oak tree. The whole time Eduardo and the twins were over in this area going about their business, Laranja was extremely stressed trying desperately to figure out how everyone got into those trees. She had followed the family into the tupelo tree, but some how did not see how they had crossed into the other holly and the oak. Frantically she tried and tried many different ways to get over to them, trying from the bench holly, from some bamboos stalks, from the white ash and even found herself in the Elephant Yard, crossing from tree 34 as they have been the past couple days. Unfortunately she just never found a way over to them, but after about half an hour Eduardo and the girls finally came back and everyone quickly crossed to Beaver Valley for some food shortly after 11:30 a.m.
After grabbing a very quick bite to eat the family crossed back via the low black walnut at 11:43 a.m. where they spent approximately two hours in the bench holly and then traveled to the shed holly for the first time today. The family foraged and played and relaxed down there for about an hour before heading back for a cross to Beaver Valley via the low black walnut around 3:30 p.m. After crossing the family hung around tree 2A, tree four and tree zero soaking up the last little bits of sun before they entered the nest box a little after 5 p.m. The rest of the evening was then spent in the box all curled together in a big monkey ball. By 5:45 p.m. everyone had retreated to the lower level where they all were presumably asleep. Our 5-7 p.m. watchers got spoiled by more activity during their shifts earlier in the season. Unfortunately this shift has become rather inactive in the past couple weeks.
September 28: Let’s Leave This Joint
Today was filled with some interesting occurrences. The day began in typical fashion with a cross to the bench holly at 7:25 a.m. via the low black walnut. And as we usually see in the mornings the family took a trip down toward Olmsted around 8 a.m. where they foraged and hung out in the pines and magnolias. They stayed in this general area, spending some time in the shed holly and quite a bit of time among the magnolias foraging and playing. Finally around 11:30 a.m. most of the family was hungry and they crossed back for food via the low Black Walnut, to the ropes instead of the fence. However, Eduardo did not follow Laranja and the twins over; instead he remained on Holly Hill where he had headed back to the bench holly. Apparently he had foraged enough throughout the morning that he was not hungry yet. Laranja and the girls ate quickly and then returned to Holly Hill, joining Eduardo in the bench holly. They remained in the bench holly curled up in a monkey ball for about two hours, just relaxing before everyone crossed back to Beaver Valley.
Shortly after crossing back however, Gisela was quick to lead the family on a new journey. She climbed real high up tree 8 and Eduardo and Samba soon followed. From tree 8 the three of them made their way into tree 30, where they all crossed over to Bird Hill, about 40 meters up. It was a very nerve racking and scary cross because of the sheer height they all made this move at. As usual, Laranja was not able to keep up with the rest of the family. She was left behind as we often see still in beaver Valley. Fortunately her poor mapping skills may have deterred the family from taking off to far away lands in Rock Creek Park. The twins came back to Laranja after a few minutes, and Eduardo eventually came back then as well. After this adventure the family spent the rest of the afternoon among Beaver Valley foraging, playing and exploring a ton! All this excitement today did not keep the family out late however. They were all inside the nest box for the night by 5 p.m. as we have been seeing the past couple weeks. Around 6 p.m. thunderstorms began to descend upon the park, but luckily since the family was already inside they did not get stuck in the rain.
September 29: Think It Will Warm up Tomorrow?
It was a fairly relaxed day today with no new areas explored. The tamrins crossed rather late this morning at 7:40 a.m. along the low black walnut where they went straight into the bench holly. After hanging out there for a while they began moving down toward Olmsted Walk, spending some time foraging high up in tree 33. They never actually made it past three 33 before turning around and crossing back for breakfast at 9:13 a.m. The family briefly stopped off at tree 9 on their way back to Holly Hill before actually crossing. Once they crossed back it was back to the “bench holly” for a little rest after breakfast before traveling down to the shed holly. On their way to the shed holly, however, they all crossed back to Beaver Valley around 10:45 a.m. but immediately crossed back to Holly Hill. They did spend some time foraging in the low Black Walnut, over the walkway for a while though, before continuing on to the shed holly. From there they all went and spent some time in the magnolias and pines, but soon everyone returned to the bench holly where they foraged and lounged around until a little before 1 p.m. when everyone crossed back to Beaver Valley for the day. The tamarins then just hung around their main exhibit, eating, foraging, playing and relaxing. It was fairly chilly out today, which may have driven the tamarins inside a little early. Everyone was inside the nest box by 4:45 p.m. and all quickly retreated below to the lower level where they remained for the rest of the night. They’re smart, they know when it’s time to huddle together to stay warm…no sense in being cold if you don’t have to be.
September 30: Where’s the Sun?
After some very low temperatures last night today was not much better! It was very cold today until about 3:45 p.m. when the sun finally came out. Prior to this the day was wet and cold, with no sun at all. We were worried that it may be too cold for the tamarins, mostly because the sun was not out so they had no opportunity to warm themselves up in the sun after a very chilly night. However, these little guys are pretty hardy. They were active for most of the day crossing to Holly Hill in the morning where they spent time in the bench holly as well as the shed holly and the pines and magnolias. They also crossed to the Red Light District (RLD) around 12:15 p.m. after they had eaten after their cross back from Holly Hill shortly after 11 a.m. The family spent about an hour over in the RLD foraging on the chinaberries that are in bloom. Just before 1:30 p.m. they all crossed back to Beaver Valley where they spent the rest of the afternoon playing and relaxing around tree four, tree three, and the hemlocks. When I hung their food this afternoon, I also hung a new enrichment device, a foraging tray, which was filled with pine shavings, dried leaves, sticks, mealworms and crickets. The insects burrow through all these natural materials, making the tamarins really have to work, dig and pick through the items in the tray to find the insects. The whole family showed a lot of interest in this tray, all foraging for a long time in it. Samba in particular really seemed to enjoy this device, as she spent about two hours sitting in it carefully picking through everything to find and eat all the mealworms and crickets. Laranja enjoyed the tray as well until the crickets began jumping at her. I had placed the crickets in the fridge so they became dormant for a while, but after sometime outside of the refrigerator they begin to wake up and start moving again. Laranja was content to eat and forage in the tray until all the crickets began jumping at her…this seemed to scare her.
Around 3:45 p.m., just as the sun was coming out to warm up the exhibit, the tamarins, ironically moved inside the nest box for the rest of the day. They did venture outside again, briefly, around 4:30 to grab some food from their food tray near tree four, but quickly they retreated back to the nest box. By 5 p.m. they were all in the lower level huddled together in a monkey ball. So while they withstood the chill for the majority of the day, nine hours of the bitter temperatures may have done them in and this caused their very early retirement to the nest box. By 7 p.m. the tamarins were in such a deep sleep, all warm inside the box that no one even noticed that four deer came through their exhibit. Who cares about deer when you are all warm, curled up in bed?
October 1: Sun Soaked!
Today was a little warmer than yesterday, though it was still chilly. Thankfully the sun was shining bright today, which gave the family an opportunity to sun themselves to stay warm and we saw a lot of sunning today. The family has been waking later and later as the sun continues to rise later. They did not venture outside of the box until 7:10 a.m. and they hung around the exhibit for a little more than an hour foraging quite a bit in the foraging tray that was hung yesterday. They really like this enrichment device! After foraging for a while the family finally began moving down toward the low black walnut. Before crossing to Holly Hill however, they all stopped off at tree nine. A quick hello to the vacation home. At 8:20 a.m. everyone crossed via the low black walnut to Holly Hill where they entered the bench holly. They spent the next two and a half hours in this tree sunning themselves way up high! As the sun would move so would the tamarins, trying desperately to soak up every ray they could. Finally around 11 a.m. it must have warmed up enough that the family was warm enough to begin moving down to the shed holly. The family stayed in the shed holly for a while, but then moved down toward Olmsted where they climbed up high in some of the trees looking for the sun. It was very cold for us watchers in the shade underneath all the trees, so it was probably chilly for the tamarins as well when they were down lower in the trees.
At 12:06 p.m. the family crossed back to Beaver Valley where they grabbed a bite to eat before returning at 12:15 p.m. to the bench holly on Holly Hill. It was another hour and a half relaxing in the sun high up in the bench holly. After 2 p.m. the family crossed back to beaver Valley where they remained for the rest of the afternoon. They all hung out in the hemlocks until 2:45 p.m. when they were fed and it was time to feast! After eating they all traveled back to the nest box for a while where the girls and Laranja engaged in a wrestling match. Those girls just can’t get enough of the rough housing when inside the nest box! After playing for a while everyone came out of the box and ate some more and then lounged around tree three, tree four, and the hemlocks soaking up a little more sun before retiring to the nest box at 5 p.m. Eduardo occasionally came out of the box several times throughout the 5-7 p.m. shift and Laranja poked her head outside a few times, but most of the time they all stayed curled up together in the lower level of the box. By 6:30 p.m. everyone was asleep, hopefully nice and warm.
All this colder weather unfortunately means that the season is coming to a close. The family’s days are numbered in the great outdoors. Hopefully it will be a couple more weeks before they are brought back inside, but the temperatures keep rising and falling, so who knows what tomorrow will bring. The monkeys as well as ourselves are living on a day-to-day basis right now in terms of when they will come back inside. At least the family seems to be making the most of their last weeks outside, keeping us busy with all their adventures and explorations! Stay tuned to see what happens next week as our tamarin tales continue.