June 26: A Little Rain Never Hurt Anyone
Today was an interesting day for the Zoo, as it was temporarily closed to the public this morning due to flooding from last night's storms. The Zoo eventually opened later in the morning, at around 11 a.m., but then closed early at 4 p.m. due to dangerous weather. This was a rare event for the Zoo—as far as I know, it has never closed due to flooding before. While all this was going on, the GLTs carried on as if nothing unusual or different were happening.
The monkeys woke early today, as they were already outside of their nest box when the 7-9 a.m. watcher showed up. By 7:45 the family was over in the hemlocks, which has become a favorite hangout for them. They stayed to play and relax in the hemlocks until about 9:30, when they headed back to the nest box. It was time to get a little breakfast. The family did not rest long before heading to a new adventure. Holly Hill was calling to the family, who headed to tree 5 at around 10 a.m., led by Samba, and not Eduardo, who had been leading the group up there. I'm sure an attempt at crossing to Holly Hill was in Eduardo's plans for the day, but Samba beat him to it. The rest of the family followed Samba, and everyone went to the top of tree 5, where it became difficult to see them all. It appeared that they were all just exploring a bit up there, possibly foraging, with a few attempts by Eduardo and Laranja to figure out how to cross over. The kids were moving around great up there, playing and jumping like they had been free-ranging monkeys forever. It was a little nerve-racking to see them moving so fast up so high, but nice to see them finally moving around more on their own.
Poor Eduardo, though, he wanted to cross over to Holly Hill so badly, but again he did not cross. The whole family stayed high up in tree 5 for about half an hour, but at around 10:30 a.m. they all came back down. It's as if Eduardo knows the twins still cannot make the jump from tree 5 into the black walnut on Holly Hill.
Once the family came back down tree 5 at around 11 a.m., the monkeys ventured back over to the hemlocks, where they remained for the next couple hours. They rested and relaxed in the hemlock just to the right of tree 4. These attempts at crossing can really wear a family out, and what better place to go and rest than a comforting favorite. Around 1:15 p.m. the family headed back to the nest box to rest a little more, but returned to the hemlocks again at around 2 p.m. The whole day it had looked like rain, and we were all waiting for it to pour, but it held out until about 2:30 p.m., when it started to rain at a pretty good pace. At the first burst of the storm all four ran to the center of the tree at the trunk, where they huddled for a minute. Laranja soon decided that she was still getting too wet and she was not going to sit out in the rain waiting it out, so she ran to the rope that goes from tree zero to tree four. She noticed that Eduardo and the kids were not following so she waited a few minutes until she saw them starting to come down towards the rope. When she saw this, she made a mad dash for the nest box and came flying inside. She was quickly followed by Eduardo and the kids. These monkeys DO NOT like being wet! It continued to rain for the rest of the afternoon on and off, but remained fairly chilly and quite dark, so the family stayed in the nest box occasionally on top and sometimes going down below, but periodically looking outside to check on the world out there. By 6 p.m. everyone was snuggled in the box asleep safe from the rain storm.
June 27: Cabin Fever!
It was a dark, wet morning, and again the Zoo was temporarily closed for a few hours this morning due to increased flooding from the torrential thunderstorms the two previous nights. The cool, wet morning kept the family inside its box a little longer than usual, as the family did not wake until about 7:40 a.m. After getting caught and soaked in yesterday's afternoon storm, the GLTs knew they did not want to get stuck outside again when it was pouring. The entire day was showers on and off, with only briefly off periods, so it was safest and driest to just camp out inside their cooler.
At around 11 a.m. everyone got a little brave and decided to get out and stretch their legs, so they all headed for the hemlocks. They hung out in the hemlocks for a bit and then headed down to tree 3 and the hemlock to the right of tree 3. Gisela and Samba made their way into the hemlock, while mom and dad rested a bit in tree 3. Gisela and Samba foraged some and tried to break off pieces of bark, which they enjoy chewing on. After about five to ten minutes of playing on their own, Gisela decided that she wanted to go back to mom and, of course, DAD, but she did not seem to want to take the same path she had to get into the hemlock from tree 3. So, instead of taking the trees back to mom and dad, she came down to the ground, using this as her pathway back to tree 3 where Eduardo and Laranja were. Samba stayed foraging in the hemlock, but soon realized that Gisela was no longer with her. She appeared to be a little scared that she was the only one left in the hemlock and started to go down the trunk of the tree as if she was going to cross on the ground as well, which we saw her do last week. However, just as we thought we had figured out what she was going to do, she went back up the hemlock and crossed using the tree, finally catching up with the rest of the family, who was beginning to make its way back to the nest box. This whole hemlock jaunt lasted 20 to 30 minutes, but it still looked ominously like rain, so they all headed back to the nest box, where they remained for the rest of the day. There were occasional ventures out of the nest box throughout the day for a bite to eat and a little fresh air, but most of their time was spent tucked away inside, resting, playing, and lounging around. The kids did play quite a bit, wrestling and biting and rolling all around, which must have taken a toll on Eduardo and Laranja. This rain has been rough on the whole family, who want to go out and explore, getting some exercise. Hopefully, tomorrow will bring sunnier skies.
June 28: Let's Move Those Legs
The rain finally stopped today, and the morning was bright, sunny, and warm. The GLTs were up early, already awake when Jennifer and the 7-9 a.m. watchers arrived this morning. By 7:15 a.m. the GLTs were all out of the box and heading for the hemlocks, which I think we all can see now is a fairly predictable pattern for these early morning hours. They spent about an hour and a half in the hemlocks waking up with a little play and exploration. Soon they all headed off to tree 5, where they took off up the back side of the trunk and into branches that stretch out over the middle of their main exhibit area. They all played, jumping around and exploring some more. Every time they venture up tree 5 they seem to be trying to find a way for the girls to easily cross over into the lush extravaganza of Holly Hill. Exploration is the key to knowing, and the more time they take to figure out a way to cross over, hopefully, the safer and happier they all will be in the long run. After about 20 minutes scoping out the top of tree 5, they all came back down and headed back to the hemlocks, where they played and rested for a bit.
It wasn't long though before Laranja had another adventure in store for the family. She started leading them all down to tree 9, where they all crawled around the trunk of the tree a bit, but no one went near the tree hole or even poked a head inside for a little look at how the vacation home was doing. Soon they all headed back to tree 8, where Laranja decided to take a little detour, getting side tracked by the rope that leads from tree 8 to the black walnut. Laranja took a little detour down the rope, and I thought she was then going to start making her way up the black walnut tree, which leads perfectly into the trees on Holly Hill. This would be a great path for them to take to Holly Hill. Unfortunately she did not go up the tree, but instead started making her way down the trunk of the tree, coming to sit on the fence directly to the right of this black walnut. She only sat her for a minute, looking back and forth, from the bystanders to Holly Hill. Once she realized that the rest of the family had not followed her, but had instead traveled up tree 8, she turned around going back toward tree 8, where she then climbed up to meet the rest of the family, who was all way up high in tree 8. The whole family stayed up top in tree 8 for about ten minutes before coming back down. Eduardo and the kids immediately started making their way back to the hemlocks, but Laranja was looking over at Holly Hill just sitting for a moment on the rope again that leads from tree 8 to the black walnut. Unfortunately, she noticed again that Eduardo and the kids were not paying any attention to her and were still headed back toward the hemlocks, so she soon began following them, never coming down the rope again.
They soon all found themselves in the hemlocks again, where they took a little rest, all curling up together on a branch of the hemlock just to the right of tree 4. It has been a long and busy day for these guys so far, traveling all over their exhibit, checking things out. I guess this is what a little cabin fever can do to one; all day inside one day leads to a day filled with energy and exercise the next. The family spent a good amount of time here in the Hemlocks before heading back to the nest box around 4:30 p.m.; however, they did not spend a lot of time in the box, but rather were just hanging outside of it remaining in tree zero. Their sense of adventure for today had not quite run its course as they all decided to take a little trip up the back side of tree zero for a bit around 4:45 p.m. Eduardo and Laranja even crossed over into some dogwoods back there, near the back of the exhibit, where they explored a little as the kids continued to play, running up and down the branches of tree 0. At about 5:20 p.m. they all decided to come back down to the nest box, where they resting inside for awhile, occasionally peaking out of the box and sometimes coming outside of the box for a bit of fresh air. The twins were having great fun wrestling with each other quite often, which sometimes drove Eduardo out of the box to his perch, just to the right of the box, in tree zero. As I'm sure all parents and babysitters know, rough housing in the house can become quite annoying and frustrating that one just needs a bit of time away. By 7 p.m. most of the family was asleep in the box.
June 29: A Taste of Holly Hill
It was a late start for the monkeys today. They didn't come out of their nest box until around 7:45 a.m., when they went down to the hemlocks, where they hung out for a while, as usual. Soon they started making their way down to tree 9, passing tree 9 and going all the way down to trees 10 and 11. We have not seen them travel down this far yet, so we suspected they may have been hungry and looking for food. Therefore, we hung their food tray around 9:30 a.m. and put some mealworms in the bromeliads in trees 5 and zero. This quickly got them to head back to tree 5 with Eduardo leading the way, where they stopped to eat some mealworms before making their way to the food tray, which we are now hanging on the rope from tree zero to tree 4. After a little breakfast Eduardo took off for tree 5 again, followed by the rest of the family.
When Eduardo got to tree 5, he started going up it almost immediately as if he was going to cross, but instead of heading straight for his old crossing branch in tree 5, he started to move towards the back of the tree and then out like he wanted to cross into the black walnut again like he did a few days ago, but he was on the wrong branch to do this. Quickly he realized this and came down to the correct branch and jumped into the low crossing black walnut within the exhibit when he proceeded to head into Holly Hill. He took the black walnut's branch that leads over there all the way into a magnolia tree on Holly Hill and here we had the first cross of the season at approximately 10:15 a.m. We all knew it was coming!!
Laranja and the kids saw that Eduardo had crossed, so they began trying to figure out how to cross over themselves. They tried, but just could not figure it out, which led them to start trying to cross using tree 5. It appeared that Laranja was trying to find the branch, in tree 5, that they used to use last season to cross over into the black walnut on Holly Hill. The three of them kept trying to cross this way, but they could not figure out how to do this. We soon realized that they were having difficulties because the branch they used to use last season has broken off! There is still a way for them to cross over using tree 5, but the crossing place is all the way at the top of the tree and they have yet to discover this path.
Laranja and the kids started to become a little agitated and stressed that Eduardo was over on Holly Hill and that they could not find a way to get over. They tried to find a crossing point for 45 minutes and finally gave up, coming back down tree 5. They stopped for a quick bite to eat in the bromeliad in tree 5, which we had placed some mealworms in this morning and then headed over to the hemlocks. The kids played a bit in the hemlocks while Laranja rested, but she had her eye most of the time on Holly Hill, as Eduardo and Laranja could see each other. While the kids were playing they were a bit agitated and seemed stressed, especially Gisela. It was the first time she had ever been so far away from dad where he couldn't come and soothe her or carry her when she wanted.
Finally, Eduardo attempted to get back over to the main exhibit around 11:30 a.m. He had been sitting in the bench holly, tree 35 for almost the entire time he had been on Holly Hill. He came out of this holly tree and made his way into the black walnut that connects to the holly to the left (if you are standing on Tamarin Run). He kept climbing up the black walnut trying to cross back into tree 5 in their main exhibit area; however, he also could not find a way back because their old crossing branch is no longer there.
After about an hour of trying to cross back, Eduardo could not figure it out, so he became desperate and ended up coming to the ground to cross, which means that it is finally time to start enforcing crowd contro! He made his way down to the tupelo tree on Holly Hill right next to the picnic area and started heading down the trunk of the tree, so we knew he was going to cross on the ground to get back to the exhibit, so we started moving people back to give him a path to cross. From the trunk of the tree he jumped onto a trash can that is right below the tupelo and then to the ground, where he ran across Tamarin Run and into them hemlock at the corner of Tamarin Run. Immediately he ran to Laranja and the kids who were waiting in the hemlocks, and then they all quickly headed back to the nest box where they rested for a bit after this stressful ordeal. For the rest of the day, they pretty much just hung out in or around the nest box and in the hemlocks, moving back and forth between the two. Finally a little after 4 p.m. they all headed back to the nest box for the night, rarely coming out, as it looked like rain and there were sounds of thunder from 5:20 p.m. on. So it was off to bed to rest up from this day of separation.
June 30: Holly Hill Is Now Open
We all knew it would happen, we all knew it was coming, and today was finally the big day; the entire family crossed over to Holly Hill. Yesterday, Eduardo's attempt to lead the family over failed, but today everyone was ready and they all made the cross over, though it took some time. Samba once again confirmed for us what a brave little girl she is as she made her initial cross over using tree 5. Eduardo had already crossed using the same path as yesterday and Samba's determination paid off. She followed a squirrel over, way up high, at the top, where the branches from tree 5 overlap with some branches from the black walnut on Holly Hill. Samba followed right on the squirrel's tail, but as soon as she crossed over she realized that she had been following a squirrel and not a monkey. Naturally this scared her and she quickly crossed back into tree 5 the same way she had come. The family did not give up on Holly Hill at this point, however.
Laranja finally showed the family how to climb down to tree 8 and use the rope from tree 8 to the black walnut to cross over. They all took this rope and then crossed over to Holly Hill, around 9:30 a.m., on the branch of the black walnut that leads directly into several trees on Holly Hill. We are ecstatic that Laranja figured out how to cross this way and that she showed the whole family how to make this cross using this safe path to Holly Hill. Most likely, this will remain their crossing path of choice because once the tamarins figure out a path for crossing, they tend to always use that pathway.
After crossing over the family decided to start heading down toward the entrance to Tamarin Run, near Olmsted Walk. The shed holly is where the family went first, spending about two and a half hours lounging and playing in this tree. At around 12:30 p.m. it was time to go explore a bit more and the family took off, led by Laranja, in the direction of Olmsted Walk, though they never actually made it to the walkway. Everyone moved down to the mulberry, magnolia, and evergreen trees, last year's stomping grounds. After venturing down this far and playing and foraging in the hemlock trees with the dead vines on them they went back and forth between these hemlocks and the shed holly for a while before moving quickly down to the bench holly, where they remained until approximately 3:45 p.m. The kids really love this holly tree because it makes an excellent playground for them. It can be difficult to see everyone in this tree from Tamarin Run, but the watcher up on Holly Hill gets a pretty good view of the little rascals running and jumping all over the place. They never really take a break when they are over on Holly Hill, constantly playing and exploring.
By 4 p.m. everyone had finally crossed back over into their main exhibit area, though it was a bit of a struggle to get everyone back safe and sound. Laranja had been ready to go back home since about 1 p.m., and she kept trying to get the family to follow her, but no one wanted to. She had discovered which no else had yet, how to cross back on the black walnut, the whole family had used to initially cross over. It took her a minute to find this tree again, as she passed it a bit at first, but once she found it, she tried desperately many times to get the family to follow her to this tree traveling back and forth from the holly and the Black Walnut. Samba and Gisela followed her a couple times, but couldn't quite keep up, so they kept going back to Eduardo, who was still in tree 35. What is most amazing about Laranja's feat to get the family to follow, is that she kept crossing back into the main exhibit, using the low-crossing black walnut, and when the family wasn't behind her, she would run back down to tree 5 using the ropes, climb up a bit, long call, see them in tree 35, and then go up tree 5 the rest of the way, making a big leap that she had never done before to cross over to Holly Hill and then run into the bench holly. She made this circle three times each time getting the kids closer and closer to the right crossing tree. Finally Samba followed her over and Gisela was only about a foot behind, but this apparently was too far, as she ended up going back to Eduardo, who was still in tree 35, protesting the cross back. This whole effort to get back home though really shows what a good mom Laranja is. She knew her babies needed her to cross back, and she did not just leave them on Holly Hill to fair for themselves. Just when we all thought Eduardo was the better parent, we see this amazing effort by Laranja.
Now, I know you all are wondering: How did Eduardo and Gisela get back home? Well, this is a bit of a story as well. Once Eduardo saw that Laranja and Samba had made it back across, he began trying to figure out how to get back himself. Again, just like yesterday, he first tried to figure out how to cross back into tree 5 using the black walnut on Holly Hill. Old habits die hard. The difference today, however, is that he had Gisela on his back as he climb high up the black walnut, looking for a way to cross over. Of course, daddy's little girl would want to be carried back, instead of figuring out how to get back on her own. After trying to figure out how to get back, Eduardo finally gave up, probably because he knew that he could not make the cross with all the weight of Gisela on his back. Especially when he couldn't even make it back when it was just him yesterday, using the black walnut. So Eduardo ended up crossing just as he had yesterday, but with Gisela on his back today. He again went down to the tupelo, climbed down the trunk, jumped from the trunk to the top of the trash can there, and then from the trash can to the ground, where he ran across and into the hemlock right next to the low black railing. He and Gisela both ran up the hemlock then and finally reunited with Laranja and Samba, who had been waiting for them.
It had been an exhausting, but very exciting day for everyone, both GLTs and watchers. The family had some dinner once they returned and then spent most of their time in the nest box or around tree zero, with a little bit of time spent in the hemlocks and tree 3. By 6:30 p.m. though, everyone had wound down and were starting to get ready for bed.
July 1: A Little R&R
Despite the beautiful day today, the GLTs seemed to need a little break from all of their adventures over the past three days. It appeared to be exhaustion that kept the family inside the nest box most of the day today, and not the rain, for once. While it was a lazy day for the family, they did rise early and were already out at the hemlocks at 7:15 a.m. The family was awake at 6:30 a.m., when one of the 7-9 a.m. watchers showed up. They stayed in their box until about 6:50 a.m., when I arrived and saw them all head out of the box and to their food tray, hung near tree 4 on the rope from zero to 4. They all stopped at the tray for a quick bite to eat and then it was off to the hemlocks, where they all basked in the early morning sun. It was quite a beautiful picture to see them all just sitting up there in the hemlocks with the sun shining directly on them. It was almost as if they had a spotlight shining on them. They remained in the hemlocks for about an hour and then it was time to head back to the nest box, which I think most of us thought would just be a short visit since yesterday they had finally figured out how to cross over to Holly Hill. We were all wrong, though, because they stayed in or near the nest box the entire day. They all made one more quick trip to the hemlocks around 10:30 a.m., but only stayed for about 20 minutes and then it was nest box time again. Everyone would come out occasionally for some food or to just soak up some sun, but they all remained in tree zero for the rest of the day, until about 3:20 p.m., when I hung some enrichment items for them.
I hung a coconut shell that was cut in half and contained a blue rubber toy with holes. The toy can be filled with various fruit items and hung from one of the ropes. Today I hung it on the rope that goes between tree zero and tree four, right behind their morning food tray. I filled the toy with a few grapes and some cut up cantaloupe. Everyone was intrigued by this device, and all the monkeys came out of the box to see what it was and to get some food from it. Laranja was the first member in the family to open it, and she found the grapes and got one out. Eduardo was soon over once he saw the grapes, as they are his favorite. Some had fallen to the ground, so he risked traveling on the ground to go and quickly grab what had fallen, showing his true devotion and love for grapes. The kids came over to and tried to figure out how to get inside, but Laranja and Eduardo got the majority of the fruit themselves.
Not the most eventful day, but I guess we all need a day to just sit around and do nothing sometimes, but I am sure we will find that the trip yesterday to Holly Hill was not just a one-time deal!
July 2: Holly Hill Fever Has Struck
The Holly Hill bug bit again today! It was back to Holly Hill early this morning as the entire family crossed over around 8:15 a.m. Again they all used the low-crossing black walnut to cross over, taking the rope from tree 8 to the black walnut. Unlike Friday, however, the family spent most of the day in the bench holly, tree 35. Eduardo got a little brave a few times throughout the morning venturing out onto the rubber tree that hangs right over the bench across from the elephant yard. This tree has branches that hang right over the public's head, so it is important to watch for this, as the public needs to be moved back, especially since Eduardo came down fairly low and very close to the bench that is right there. Remember that Eduardo usually looks right at where he wants to go and then goes there, so watch his eye movements. Though he can move very quickly without notice at times, so be aware of this as well.
Again the kids played and played and jumped all around bench holly today, and Eduardo and Laranja played around as well and just got some exercise. A little after 2 p.m., however, Laranja wanted to head back home and so the family crossed back over into their main exhibit. Laranja crossed back using the black walnut again like yesterday, and Samba dutifully followed again. And Eduardo and Gisela also crossed back the same way they had yesterday. Again, Eduardo carried Gisela on his back, trying to find a way to cross over into tree 5 from the black walnut, but giving up quickly and going down to the tupelo again, where he then came to the trash can and then the ground, running into the hemlock tree. Has Eduardo established a pattern for the rest of the season? And how will Gisela cross back as she continues to get bigger? The day will come soon when she is just too big to ride on dad's back anymore. Our little daddy's girl.
Once everyone was back safe and sound in their exhibit, it was time for some food. So we fed them and they took a little rest in their nest box before heading out to the hemlocks, where they stayed for about an hour, when they decided to go back home around 4:45 p.m. As has been typical around this time of the day, the family spent some time inside their box, while occasionally coming out, but never leaving tree zero. Around 6:30 p.m. it appeared that the family had fallen fast asleep.