Now I will start working on the photo book about Monteverde and making more photos around here as I report on things in Atenas like the progress on our central park remodeling and the climate fair here next week with our annual oxcart parade – always something happening! 🙂
Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.
I saw one really cool and new-to-me moth at Santa Elena Reserve, two butterflies at Selvatura Park and all the rest were at Monteverde Lodge & Gardens where they have a really nice small butterfly garden indoors. There is one dining table for up to 4 people that can be scheduled for a private Butterfly Dinner! 🙂 Kind of neat! And two of the moths I photographed on my little private room terrace/patio.
Selvatura claims to have the largest butterfly garden in Central America and the huge dome looks like it but this trip it was horrible with only two (2) species of butterflies. There is a Monteverde Butterfly Garden operated by a couple of nature lovers but I did not go this time. Three years ago it was great! There were a lot of butterflies, especially blue morpho, flying around in all four reserves, but difficult to photograph there.
Butterflies & Moths
2 Blue Morphos at Lodge (open-wings & closed-wings)
Selvatura Parkis (or was) a great combination Nature Park next door to the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve AND an Adventure Park (which part is now taking over). It was a super place when I visited 3 years ago with the biggest and most impressive Butterfly Garden I had ever seen and they claimed it to be the largest in Central America. Well this time the butterfly garden had only two species of butterflies – my hotel has more in their tiny butterfly garden! Their Hummingbird Garden is flowers & feeders attracting wild hummingbirds, so what seemed like fewer this year may just be what is happening in the wild (or what they are feeding them and fewer butterfly-attracting plants). I refused to pay extra for the serpentarium or insect exhibit, expecting they had gone down like the butterfly garden.
The hanging bridges seemed to be about the same and like before I saw one Bellbird and one Quetzal. So they are more about the forest than birds and I enjoyed the bridges the most, but I do not recommend spending the high amusement park prices if you just want a nature visit. The adventure business of zip lines, tram ride, a new “Superman” zip and other such has taken over here. For nature lovers and birders I recommend sticking with the four nature reserves in Monteverde. Here’s 4 slide shows of what I saw there which was still nice as I hope the photos show.
I’m not doing a photo book on this trip yet but plan on a book of the area after two more trips there, giving a broader picture of the Jaco-Carara Mid-Pacific Costa Rica. I have trips to that area in both June and July, so a book in August maybe? And it will include my earlier trips to Carara, Tarcoles and Jaco – so maybe a larger-format book. Change is good.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
The development is so large and much of it private that I cannot begin to show all that is there, but here’s some shots of the public or hotel guest available areas with two shots up two private residential streets. It is an old development that has a lot!
General Grounds Shots
Entrance to Service Areas
Spa where I had 2 massages
Private Residences Street
Everywhere is a forest
Sidewalk to Butterfly Garden
In front of Reception
“If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.”
Punta Leona is huge and having a car here would be helpful, though they do have shuttle vans when available, but as always, the walking is good for me! 🙂 And I’m exhausted from walking several hours today!
They are strict about the 3PM check-in time meaning they held my luggage from my 11AM arrival until 3 at the front desk while I explored, photographing birds and butterflies in their above-average butterfly garden, finding the Scarlet Macaws and their nest boxes that are all very, very high in very, very tall old trees.
I walked to the closest beach, Mantas Beach and may wait for the shuttle to see Playa Blanca. In the midst of what must have been a gorgeous old-growth forest they have placed buildings of all kinds while saving a lot more big old trees than most developers, but it is still a development with houses, condos, hotels, cabins, restaurants, etc.
Except for the Scarlet Macaws, all the birds I saw today are pretty common all over Costa Rica. I’m doing the 6AM birding hike on property in the morning (Wed) and Thursday morning I’m going with a guide to Carara National Park. The transportation to Tarcoles River is pretty expensive, so I decided to pass on that, since I’ve been there about 8 or 9 times! The rest of the week I’ll just explore their huge property. And oh yeah, I have to wear one of those plastic bracelets while on the property, 🙂
Well, a Black Witch Moth I discovered on the inside of my dark brown shower curtain (thus camouflaged) when I showered late morning after my itchy haircut. In my Butterfly & Moth Gallery (and below) you will see 3 others photographed in other parts of my house earlier. Note that their dark colors make all 4 of them look different in different light. I had to use the flash on my cell phone camera for above shot. Just another one of the colorful surprises almost every day in Costa Rica. 🙂
Other Common Names
In Spanish the name is Mariposa de la Muerte, “Butterfly of Death”
The Mayan people call the moth Mah-Ha-Na, “May I borrow your house?” An allusion to the moths frequently entering people’s houses. 🙂 Like mine!
The Black Witch has a fascinating cultural as well as natural history. Known in Mexicoby the Indians since Aztec times as mariposa de la muerte (butterfly of death). When there is sickness in a house and this moth enters, the sick person dies. (Hoffmann 1918) A variation on this theme heard in the lower Rio Grande Valley (Southmost Texas) is that death only occurs if the moth flies in and visits all four corners of one’s house.
Merlin & Vasquez (2002) point out that the number four is important in Mesoamericabecause of its relationship with the four cardinal directions (east, west, north and south). The moth was known among the Mexicans as Mic Papalotl, the butterfly of death. In Mesoamerica, from the pre hispanic erauntil the present time nocturnal butterflies have been associated with death and the number four.
In some parts of Mexico, people joke that if one flies over someone’s head, the person will lose his hair. Still another myth: seeing one means that someone has put a curse on you!
In Hawaii, Black Witch mythology, though associated with death, has a happier note in that if a loved one has just died, the moth is an embodiment of the person’s soul returning to say goodbye.
The book is now finished with photos from 3 different trips to Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica and I think it is pretty interesting. You can go to the book online and Preview it electronically free! And of course best seen at fullscreen since it is all photos. Click this link or the book image below for the preview: