Friday, May 9, 2008

Outside the apartment window

I have always enjoyed watching birds. I mean, I am not one of those bird watching fanatics that live by their windows with a pair of binoculars, but I do enjoy checking out birds, especially unusual ones. It has been fun to be in South America where it is totally normal to have parakeets, parrots, and other "exotic" (to us North Americans) birds just flying around free. I even got to see a toucan in the wild when I was down visiting the Foz do Iguacu waterfalls! Talk about a cool bird!

For some unknown reason, some birds that I think are small parrots (Vilma is convinced they are parakeets) have decided that our neighborhood is a cool place to hang out. So when I hear their song, which is more like a racket, I find myself running to the window to catch a glimpse of them. Their way of flying is very distinct, their song is very loud and they are bright green which makes them hard to miss. It is a comfort to me I think, living in this big polluted city, to be able to see so many birds and that there are actually trees in our neighborhood where they can hang out!

There are 2 other main types of wildlife here in the city that I have seen. One, which is my favorite, is the "mico" which is Portuguese for squirrel monkey. These guys are kind of elusive, but live in large numbers all over the city. 1-2 months will pass without my seeing any of them, but then I will have luck and get a glimpse of one running in the other direction. They like to run along the phone wires and hang out in trees. They are sooooooo cute! The other type that I see a fair amount of are lizards. Now I am not a scientist, so can´t say exactly what kind of lizard they are, but they are generally about the size of your hand and are green. I have seen one snake, and it was poisonous, but it was at the entrance of the zoo, which is pretty forested, so you don´t have to worry too much about seeing snakes when you are out and about walking on the street.

I guess that is all I have to say about city wildlife here in Salvador. It´s nice to be able to see some living creatures besides humans, but I sure do miss being able to hop in a car, drive 30 minutes, and do some hiking in the Columbia Gorge forest, where the diversity of wildlife is a lot greater than here in this city.

By the way, the photos here are a view out my bedroom window, and me trying to use the zoom on my little hand held digital camera to get a picture of what I think is a parrot, but Vilma swears is a parakeet, sitting on the top of the apartment building next door.

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