I usually use my 600mm zoom lens to zoom in on a bird far away, but with no birds around this morning I was attracted by the bright red or red-orange blooms of the African Tulip Tree on the hill above me. Here’s 3 levels of zooming, 2 with my cell phone and one with the Canon camera and 600mm lens.
This is not a native tree to Costa Rica but an import from Africa that grows very well here and adds a lot of color. There is another one by the entrance gate to our development. Read about them at Wikipedia, or Pacific Horticulture Society, or the Gardening Know How website among many other online articles on this interesting tree which evidently will grow in the warmer climates of the southern states. .
You must not know too much or be too precise or scientific about birds and trees and flowers and watercraft; a certain free-margin , or even vagueness – ignorance, credulity – helps your enjoyment of these things.
The Rusty-tipped Page (Siproeta epaphus) was a new butterfly for me last Christmas in Manuel Antonio and today was my second time to see one, right here in my own garden! (These photos made after breakfast on my terrace this morning.)
It is basically a year-around Central American butterfly with a few getting into northern South America and southern North America, though they are readily in Mexico which I think is technically North America. 🙂 A very beautiful and interesting butterfly that the websites say is common here, though I’ve seen it only twice now.
Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly, “one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower.
This morning after breakfast on the terrace I walked through my garden searching for butterflies (got only one) and instead was attracted to the many shapes, colors and textures in my garden (as I often am) – a gallery of modern art! Of Nature as Art! Enjoy what I saw through the slide show this morning:
From expansive beaches to overpowering vistas and sunsets dotted with colorful tropical birds – my newest photo book captures the magic of where I live as well as any! With it my photos show the adventure of birding in three hotels just an hour from Atenas — Punta Leona Resort, the Macaw Lodge and my recent visit to Villa Caletas, all with easy access to beaches, Carara National Park and Tarcoles River plus each having their own private forest reserve and trails. Nature at its best! All in one beautiful photo book!
You can preview the entire book electronically online at:
These three butterflies are all frequent visitors to my garden and even inside my house, but when I photograph one I often try to double check the identity which is so difficult on butterflies, even with two books and a third one on order, plus some internet help.
Well, the featured photo today is one I have been calling a “White-striped Longtail” and after more research, I have determined that he and the others like him I’ve photographed here are actually “Brown Longtail” (link to their gallery).
Sorry for the incorrect identification earlier! The other two here today are still labeled the same and I’m confident correctly! 🙂 But you will see two shots here of the Polydamas Swallowtail because the top and bottom are so different. The same is true for Blomfild’s but I was unable to get a good top view today (wings closed most of time) – there are several top shots of him in my gallery
All of these were shot in my garden except the Blomfild’s Beauty on my kitchen window before I opened it to let him out. 🙂
Butterflies are fun to study and observe (photograph) and are one of the most colorful creatures of Costa Rica. With 1500 different species of Butterfly and 12 000 different species of moths, the numbers are staggering! I will never finish photographing them! 🙂 Possibly the best “butterfly garden” to visit in Costa Rica is Butterfly Conservatory near Arenal which I hope to see when I’m at Arenal Observatory Lodge in November, though not the high month for butterflies! 🙂 In Atenas we have more butterflies in June-July-August.
See my newly revised Butterflies of Costa RicaPHOTO GALLERY that is better organized for your viewing pleasure! 🙂 Easier to find a specific butterfly but if using it to identify your Costa Rica butterfly photos, the sub gallery for each species usually gives you multiple images to compare! Though prejudiced, I think I have the best Costa Rica butterfly photo gallery online now! 🙂 80+ species! Check it out!
I also have a little 7X7 inch photo book titled My First 50 Butterflies in Costa Rica. You can preview all pages electronically for free at this link. Best viewed full screen for bigger photos.
Beautiful and graceful, varied and enchanting, small but approachable, butterflies lead you to the sunny side of life. And everyone deserves a little sunshine.
I have been wanting to “open up” or “loosen up” my flower garden and make a couple of plant changes. Finally did that this week with the expert help and physical strength of my gardeners.
The Palmetto had become a giant ugly tree and was interfering with other plants. I had them remove it completely and replace with a Croton, the English name we used in Florida for a colorful-leaved shrub that can become very large if not trimmed. Earlier I had asked for a border of caladiums and they used the only type found in the Central Valley with very long sparse red leaves that went too far over my sidewalk. I explained the kind of small, heart-shaped leaf caladium I wanted and to get 40, as I needed, he had to order them from the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. But now I have what I wanted! 🙂
And we trimmed or cut back everything, especially the Plumbago which just takes over! So more open and clean now (fewer snakes!) but also with fewer flowers for the time being. In the tropics you have to be severe with pruning as everything grows rapidly here.
Here are a few photos I took in the rain yesterday that sort of shows what I have done different. Not many blooms now but there will be and I have two Poinsettias that will be blooming nicely around Christmas! It all will fill in soon.
New Yellow Croton Shrub and opened up the Maraca Plant
Back side of house
The only color caladiums they had
My Elephant Ear surrounded by ferns
The border also has rocks at driveway end
My Maraca Plant is opened up to see flowers.
Walking in on driveway. I plan to replace those flat stones with river rocks.
Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.
It is difficult to avoid the attraction of tiny seashells when walking along the seashore as I did this past week. Here’s a few photos of some tiny ones. I especially liked some that are shaped conical like little miniature mountains or volcanoes. 🙂
My next two trips (August & September) are also to seashores, meaning more such photos as I feel the tranquility of wet sands between my toes and sleep with the music of ocean waves in the night! Puerto Viejo Caribe on the Atlantic and Uvita on the Pacific for the next two adventures of this old retiree in Costa Rica! 🙂
“Who needs snowflakes when you have seashells.”
Check out my Photo Gallery, Charlie Doggett’s COSTA RICA for more beautiful alternatives to the violent, rich, racist, hateful, NRA-Republican America! I think you will like my alternative! 🙂
I’ve been back from Villa Caletas for a couple of days and my most obvious wildlife observation has been the butterflies, some repeats here from earlier posts but the Yellow-rimmed Skipper is a new one for my gallery and blog. There are soooo many different skippers! 🙂
Remember to CLICK an image to see it enlarged plus see the link to my butterfly gallery below the images.
For friends in Costa Rica, I have found that the best book for identifying butterflies (though still not 100%) is A Swift Guide to the Butterflies of Mexico and Central America by Jeffrey Glassberg. I’ve been using the first edition but just ordered the Second Edition which is improved and for those who prefer electronics, it is available in a Kindle Edition. I’m still a little partial to paper wildlife guides, though I do use Merlin on my phone for birds!
For just Costa Rica Butterflies there is a little less extensive book by Carrol Henderson titled Butterflies, Moths, and Other Invertebrates of Costa Ricawhich is also available in an electronic Kindle Edition. It is good for the most common butterflies & moths here and okay for maybe most people, but I like having many more butterflies to choose from in the Swift Guide, though I actually use both books. Because it is also more work digging through more choices! 🙂
As the first and only customer in restaurant for a 7 AM Breakfast I was greeted not only by the friendly waiters but by a couple of Scarlet Macaws in the nearby trees. The major group of other guests here is a group of vacationing Mexicans and the waiters said that they like to party late and breakfast late! 🙂
But anyway, I got a few shots of the Macaws before they flew off and all the other customers missed them! 🙂 They are hard to photograph – always on the move and when they land it is behind limbs and leaves! Pura vida! 🙂
CLICK image to enlarge.
I head back to Atenas this morning. My little 4-day excursion in search of sunsets was a good one! It was relaxing, with some good photos, even one lifer bird and my best photo yet of a Gray Hawk.
Plus now I am knowledgeable of another beach-view hotel at Jaco. It is too expensive for me normally and not that great for birds, but some of the best food I’ve had and the sunsets are great! Thus I recommend Villa Caletas for a relaxing vacation if money is not an option.
And I have started working on my “Trip Gallery” 2019 July Villa Caletas which will soon have my collection of photos from here, maybe by tonight. 🙂