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.
My Maraca Plant is opened up to see flowers.
My Elephant Ear surrounded by ferns
New Yellow Croton Shrub and opened up the Maraca Plant
Walking in on driveway. I plan to replace those flat stones with river rocks.
The border also has rocks at driveway end
Back side of house
The only color caladiums they had
Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.
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! 🙂
“Guarumo” is the Spanish name Ticos call a Cecropia Tree (English name) and about 4 years ago I asked my gardeners to plant one in my front yard because I had heard that they attract toucans for the easy perches and the food of the flowers. I would be patient, not really knowing how fast they grow!
In just 4 years it is the tallest tree in my yard, more than twice the height of my little house and my favorite “Bird Gallery”or place for birds to land so I can photograph them because it is such an open tree with a limited number of large leaves. See in the tree photos below what it looked like when we planted it and how big it has grown.
No telling how many birds I miss that land in the top of the tree! 🙂 But the lower limbs are what I watch while eating breakfast every morning and where I photographed from my terrace the birds in the birds photos below, including two kinds of toucans! I love nature’s gallery of birds that helps me grow my own photo gallery of birds! ¡Pura Vida!
Birds in Tree
CLICK photo to enlarge or start manual slideshow.
CLICK photo to enlarge or start manual slideshow.
The Tallest Tree at End of House
Top When First Planted
Open Limbs, Few Leaves
A Skinny Little Tree When Planted
Gardener Trims Limbs from House
Easy to See & Photograph Birds
“Trees exhale for us so that we can inhale them to stay alive. Can we ever forget that? Let us love trees with every breath we take until we perish.”
I have not been having many interesting or colorful birds at breakfast for awhile, with many rufous-naped wrens & clay-colored thrush! And it seems like maybe a year since I’ve seen one of the Blue-crowned Motmots now renamed to be Lesson’s Motmot (wish they wouldn’t do that!). But yesterday at breakfast, early for me, about 6:20-6:30 I had a motmot visit. This one Lesson’s Motmot flew into the Nance Tree looking for Nance Berries I assume, staying there 3 or 4 minutes, occasionally flying to the ground and briefly foraging, maybe for fallen berries or an insect. Then he was gone. If I spent more time on my terrace I would undoubtedly see more birds! i.e. Two different neighbors have seen Crested Caracaras in the cow pasture in front of my house and I haven’t. Too much time on my computer?! 🙂 Well, I focus more on birds on my monthly trip and that is when I photograph the most. But it is nice to know that I still have a large variety of birds near my house!
Note that this one has both pendants on the end of his tail which is almost unusual now as most seem to catch then on a tree or something and tear one or both off as you can see in my gallery.
See some of my other Lesson’s Motmotsphotos (better photos!) as a sub gallery of my bigger Costa Rica Birds Gallery where you can find other sub galleries for 3 other types of motmots: