Dancing Swallowtails!

I’m not sure that I can explain why, but these Polydamas Swallowtails reminded me of flying acrobats or dancers as they swoop in and out of the flowers for their feeding. Fun to watch! 🙂 They are Polydamas Swallowtail, Battus polydamas (link to my Polydamas GALLERY with many more shots of their graceful flying and perching).

Polydamas Swallowtail en mi once de abril flores
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Revisiting the “Chinese Lanterns”

Some weeks back I shared a couple of shots of what I found are Physalis “Chinese Lanterns” growing on a vine over my neighbor’s fence and I have been mesmerized by them! They seemed to have turned red as they matured and then faded before falling to the ground. Here’s 6 shots I made of them recently (the unidentified insect is a bonus!) . . .

Physalis “Chinese Lantern”, Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica
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Another New Butterfly: Western Pygmy-Blue

It seems that I occasionally have days or weeks like this when I keep seeing a new species of butterfly and last week was kind of like that! (I’m only one week ahead on blog posts now!) 🙂 These are among the often-called “Blues” because of blue on the top of their wings and are in the Lycaenidae or Gossamer Wings butterflies (link to my galleries of that family). That family are nearly all very tiny, as is this one (like the size of my thumbnail). This one is a Western Pygmy-Blue, Brephidium exilis (link to my gallery) and you can see photos from other places on butterfliesandmoths. They are found in the U.S. Far West and Southwest on south through Central America to Venezuela . Here’s one shot and you can go to my gallery above for more.

Western Pygmy-Blue, Brephidium exilis, Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica

¡Pura Vida!

Juan Santamaria Day

Juan Santamaria was a young man from Alajuela who became one of the few ever “war heroes” in the only significant battle Costa Rica fought in the 1800s when a renegade army of southern Americans came down to claim Central America as slave states and a part of the confederacy. Well, they had temporary control of Nicaragua above us and so the Costa Rica army marched in to keep them out of Costa Rica. Young Juan sneaked behind the enemy line with a torch and set fire to all of the American tents and barracks that had been set up. They all ran and that was the end of making Central America a slave state!

Juan Santamaria Day is actually April 11 (once de abril) but like the U.S., government workers and bankers have moved most of such holidays to the nearest Monday, thus this year is today, Monday, 15 April 2024.

The hometown of Juan still celebrates it on the real day, once de abril, and I happened to be in Alajuela on April 11 getting a letter from Aeropost and on my way to my favorite Mexican Restaurant, Jalapenos, I had to cross the parade street and phone-snapped these two shots of the band from private Catholic High School, Colegio Gregorio Jose Ramirez Castro. Work that name into a ball game cheer! 🙂

High School Band in Alajuela Parade on Juan Santamaria Day, April 11, 2024.
High School Band in Alajuela Parade on Juan Santamaria Day, April 11, 2024.

The Mexican food was better than the parade, so glad I kept walking! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

More . . .

A Rare Butterfly – Leuce Yellow

I’ve seen and photographed a lot of Yellows, but not only is this one new to me, there is only one other on butterfliesandmoths and it was submitted from the Dominican Republic, West Indies. I got several shots almost identical to this one on the tiny wildflower and then he was off, not to be seen again! 🙂

Leuce Yellow, Pyrisitia leuce, Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica

Butterflies of America has photos only of the old-fashion pinned specimens while iNaturalist has several live photos from South America & West Indies, if you click on “View More” after their first little photos. Both of those sites have a little bit of info on the species though they don’t include it being in Costa Rica! 🙂 But that is okay because being in the geographical center of the isthmus between North & South America, we get migrants of all species from both continents! (And West Indies!) Maybe my photos will change the ranges for this butterfly on some of these “official” websites! 🙂 Right now they all say that it is only found in the West Indies (Caribbean Islands) and South America. I fooled them, didn’t I! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Correcting a Butterfly ID

Two years ago, in May 2022, I did a first time trip to a new lodge for me that a friend recommended, Chachagua Rainforest Hotel (link to my trip gallery) and I got a lot of bird photos and quite a few butterflies, two of which are still unidentified. BUT, one of those I identified then was misidentified, and for that I apologize! I first called it a Western Pygmy (blog post link). In retrospect, there is no excuse, but what caused it was that because it was a tiny little fingernail-sized butterfly, I assumed (a dangerous word!) that it was one of the many in the family Lycaenidae or Gossamer-Wings butterflies because all of them are very tiny like this one. Bad assumption as I have now learned that there are tiny ones in all of the families and this one is actually in the Riodinidae or Metalmarks family! It is a Simple Sarota (my species gallery link) or the scientific name Sarota acantus (butterfliesandmoths link where only two of us have submitted photos). 🙂 So I re-submit with the correct name!

Simple Sarota, Chachagua Rainforest Hotel, San Ramon Canton, Alajuela, Costa Rica
Simple Sarota, Chachagua Rainforest Hotel, San Ramon Canton, Alajuela, Costa Rica
Simple Sarota, Chachagua Rainforest Hotel, San Ramon Canton, Alajuela, Costa Rica

¡Pura Vida!

And see all of my Costa Rica butterfly photos arranged by families and then species in my gallery: BUTTERFLIES & Moths of Costa Rica (270+ species)

Lineated Woodpecker

The Lineated Woodpecker or Dryocopus lineatus (eBird link) is one of the more colorful woodpeckers found throughout Central America and in most of South America, standing out with their bright red head of hair! Here he is often confused with the less frequent Pale-billed Woodpecker, found only in Central America and southern Mexico, but his black face and the white neck line running all the way to his bill quickly distinguish him from the Pale-billed which cannot be identified by the bill because both have pale bills! 🙂 My Lineated Woodpecker Gallery shows that I’ve seen him all over Costa Rica including more than once here in my garden where this one was photographed in my Cecropia Tree last week, my favorite bird tree! 🙂

Lineated Woodpecker, Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica
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