Liking the Lichens

Photographed under the same Higueron Tree as yesterday’s mushrooms, only a few days later and the mushrooms were gone! 🙂

Lichen, Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica
Lichen, Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica
Lichen, Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica

¡Pura Vida!

See also my Just Fungi GALLERY!


Parasola plicatilis: The Pleated Inkcap Mushroom 

and one website called it an “Urban Mushroom” while a third site more logically called it the “Japanese Parasol Mushroom.” 🙂 These were seen on a morning walk growing under the Higueron Tree (Strangler Fig) by the cow pasture in front of my house. This identity was found on the internet which sometimes works if I use the right words! 🙂 I started to just call them “Fluted Mushrooms” (my first impression) but learned on the internet search that that is the name of a culinary recipe! 🙂 There is also a “Fluted Bird’s Nest Mushroom” that is different and concave like a nest. Nature continues to entertain me! 🙂

Pleated Inkcap Mushroom contrasted with a blue washcloth someone threw down or lost.
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Morning Vista . . .

. . . is one I never tire of and though the same, it is slightly different every morning with changing light, sky, clouds and foliage. I am so thankful to live retired in a tranquil little farming town in what might be the most nature-centered and ecology-minded little country in the world! We use 99% renewable electricity and are slowly but steadily moving towards electric cars and buses and have more than 25% of the country’s land set aside in reserves or national parks and we still plant trees! Pura vida!

View from my terrace every morning at breakfast + birds & butterflies! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

View GALLERY: From My Roca Verde Terrace

Jumping Spider Eats Butterfly!

I never before thought of my garden as a place of carnage, but insects eating other insects is quite normal and helps with the balance and ecology – then I witnessed it first hand this past Tuesday morning as I focused my camera on what I hoped was a new butterfly species (it was!). This, my first Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak (Strymon istapa) was flying and landed on one of my Heliconia flowers (1st photo below) and when I snapped this photo that tiny Jumping Spider (Salticidae) down below him in the photo jumped up on the little butterfly (with attached silk thread) and grabbed the butterfly by its head, biting it with a venomous bite that instantly paralyzed and will soon kill the butterfly which the Jumping Spider will eat. I did not stay around for the full meal, but photos of three stages follow this one. 🙂

Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak above and Jumping Spider below. Yes! He jumped that far!

3 more photos below of the capture, paralyzing and preparing to eat.

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Appreciating a Neighbor

My walks to town or “Central Atenas,” as they call it here, always includes passing the house of a family that plants many flowers, including a zinnia garden at least twice a year. As I walk by I often pull out my cell phone and snap a butterfly or flower. To show my appreciation of these who take the time to plant flowers, I made a little 20-page photo book of the butterflies I photographed over the last year in their garden and will take 3 copies to them as a Christmas gift once the books arrive. You can preview every page of the book for free by clicking the front cover image below or go to this address and click the word “Preview” then each page to see the next:

Of course it’s in Spanish. That’s the language of Costa Rica! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Neighborhood Boa Constrictor

Walking back from town yesterday I saw a guy trying to catch a big snake with a broomstick out by the small apartment complex’s garbage basket (Canasta de Basura). He was obviously experienced and quickly caught the large snake and conveniently stopped for me when I pulled out my cell phone for a photo. I’m guessing that it is his pet Boa that had escaped and could have soon found a home in one of our gardens nearby. 🙂 But no worry! They are non-poisonous and live on small mammals, birds and even other reptiles which they squeeze to death and swallow whole. Hmmm.

There are several varieties of Boas and after researching online I think it is this one described by Wikipedia as: Boa imperator or Boa constrictor imperator (in common usage) is a large, heavy-bodied, non venomous species of snake, of the boa genus, that is commonly kept in captivity.”

I have photos of several types of Boas from 6 different locations in Costa Rica, both wild and captive in my Boa Constrictor GALLERY. One shot here for the emailed blog announcement followed by 3 others from yesterday’s serendipity snake experience . . .

Boa Constrictor, Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica
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From Intricate Patterns to Plain Brown

There are many different species of the Satyr Butterflies here in Costa Rica with the most common in my yard (on grasses, not flowers) is the Carolina Satyr. With wings folded he’s the size of my thumbnail, sitting on a blade of grass here! You can see this particular Satyr’s pattern of spots and stripes in this feature photo, while there are more than 50+ other combinations of patterns and colors in Satyrs. The second photo below that shows this same butterfly with his wings partially open and part of his plain brown top, then the third with them mostly open. Since I never got a shot of his total topside, I have a fourth photo of a different Carolina Satyr with his wings all the way open to show the simplicity of his topside compared to folded wings! 🙂

Carolina Satyr, Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica
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Lucianus Metalmark

I photographed this tiny little fellow the day before yesterday, thinking it was probably another Satyr that I have a lot of in my yard now, this same size, but instead discovered another new butterfly for me, the Lucianus Metalmark, Calospila lucianus, formerly known in some places as a Carmine Grayler. (I’m fairly confident of this ID.) My photo will create another new species for the butterfly website I’m working for now. 🙂

Lucianus Metalmark, Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica.

Read on to see the original photo that I cropped in on for the above image.

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That “Flying Leaf” is a Moth!

I thought I saw a new kind of butterfly through the kitchen window and ran out with my camera and it was just another Banded Peacock which I’ve had scads of recently. But then I saw a brownish dead leaf fly into some of the plants in my garden (flapping its wings). I had to run get my cellphone to get close enough to it. I was hoping it would be one of the Leafwing Butterflies but now I’m pretty sure it is one of the thousands of moths that look like dead leaves and I haven’t found an ID yet. Here’s the three shots I got before he flew away, all with cellphone . . .

I believe it is probably a small moth, many of which imitate leaves. Leafwing butterflies are shaped differently.
Continue reading “That “Flying Leaf” is a Moth!”