El Silencio – GALLERY 2

The “Trip Gallery” for last week’s 4 nights at El Silencio Lodge & Reserve in Bajos del Toro, Alajuela, Costa Rica is now completed and ready to visit by clicking the image below or this web address with many photos not yet shared on the blog:

https://charliedoggett.smugmug.com/TRIPS/2021-02-15-20-El-Silencio-Lodge

And because I was there just 6 months ago, last September, and was not having a knee problem, I have even more photos in THAT FIRST TRIP GALLERY, especially more waterfalls! 🙂 Just click the gallery title below to see it . . .

2020 September 14-19 — El Silencio Lodge & Reserve

The joy of being “Retired in Costa Rica!”

¡Pura Vida!

First Morning, Great Backyard Bird Count

During breakfast this morning I got 7 species of birds from my terrace, but because I was eating, I photographed only one, just at the end of my time looking – The Yellow Warbler, both a migrant from the north and a resident sometimes, meaning I don’t know how to tell if this particular one is a migrant or a resident enjoying an insect for breakfast! 🙂

And the other 6 birds I saw were Great Kiskadee, Turkey Vulture, one of the Swallow species (unidentified), Tropical Kingbird, and Clay-colored Thrush or Yiqüirro.

I hope you are counting birds in your backyard this weekend and reporting to eBird!

¡Pura Vida!

The Bee

One of the flower photos I posted from Hotel Savegre had a bee in it which I did not acknowledge – so I do so here. Plus a technician is trying to get me a work-around to include the featured photo in the emailed announcement. This entire post is suppose to be included in the email announcement. We will see.

And if you like bees, check out my Bee Gallery.

¡Pura Vida!

Hotel Savegre Butterflies

Well . . . only three! Though I saw many more, most never stopped for a photo, especially those dratted Yellows! 🙂 The Mexican Silverspot never let me see his top but Orange Mapwing did let me get both a side-view and top-view, just not both in good focus. 🙂 And then right before making this post, I decided to make a second, more zoomed-in version of some of these photos for a closer look, where you can see more details on the more drastically cropped versions, such as in the feature photo of the Orange Mapwing (butterfliesandmoths.org Link) found only in Central America.

The Painted White (Wikipedia Link), was my first sighting of this butterfly, found from Mexico south to Paraguay. In my butterfly galleries you can see that it is similar to other Whites. And the Mexican Silverspot (butterfliesandmoths.org Link) is found from Brazil north through Mexico with strays in New Mexico & Texas and also a first time photographed. All were identified with my trusty book A Swift Guide to Butterflies of Mexico and Central America and reconfirmed online with different sites.

Because I’ve seen it before, I had a gallery for the Orange Mapwing with 2 other photos from El Silencio Lodge, Bajo del Toro Amarillo. The Painted White was a first-time sighting and thus only this one photo in that gallery for now and the Mexican Silverspot is also new this trip but I have 3 photos in it. If you like butterflies, I have 126+ species now in my Butterflies of Costa Rica Gallery, one of the largest, if not the largest, photo gallery of Costa Rica Butterflies on the internet. 🙂

I have my “Trip Gallery” finished at 2021 January, San Gerardo de Dota Hotel Savegre.

¡Pura Vida!

Other Wildlife at Arenal

Wednesday I shared my photos of “Other Wildlife at Caño Negro” which was a different wetland world on a day trip away from Arenal and the 3 Monkey species seen there were shown in two separate posts. Now sometimes there are more monkeys and other animals in Arenal Observatory, but this trip I photographed 10 species and I’m sharing just 8 of the “other animals” (not birds or butterflies). All were seen on the grounds of Arenal Observatory Lodge, one of my favorite places. Later I will have my trip galleries completed and will summarize here all the amazing wildlife and other nature seen and photographed on this Christmas week trip. CLICK an image below to see it larger:

“Real freedom lies in wildness, not in civilization.” 

– Charles Lindbergh

See my photo galleries OTHER WILDLIFE.

¡Pura Vida!

Illegal Buffet?

Sorry that you got a false email notice of this post two days ago! In short, this old man is sometimes technologically challenged! 🙂 I often schedule posts a day or so ahead and when the scheduling calendar popped up I clicked the 4th and entered. Whoops! I had just clicked the 4th of December! 🙂 I quickly changed it to the 4th of January, but alas, the auto email had already been sent out. 🙂

Since March and the first arrival of COVID19 in Costa Rica, the government Health Ministry prohibits buffet service in restaurants. But I guess that does not include ants eating a spec of food together on my terrace! 🙂

These tiny black ants are eating a tiny spec of something: food, fruit, flower, other insect or I’m not sure what on my terrace, right in front of my rocking chair. I just had to photograph them! 🙂

Ant Buffet on my terrace.

If all humans disappeared today ,the earth would start improving tomorrow. If all the ants disappeared today ,the earth would start dying tomorrow.

~David Suzuki

🙂

See also my MORE INSECTS CR GALLERY.

And more photos from Arenal & Caño Negro are coming! I’m still organizing photos! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

One of 890 Species of Ants

Yep! That’s how many different kinds of ants we have in Costa Rica and I have no idea which species this one is, but not sure I’ve noticed him around my house before. The leaf-cutters are the most identifiable, always carrying a piece of leaf or flower, and I’ve shown them on the blog multiple times. This little guy was on the railing of my terrace two mornings ago. They are all interesting! Until they come in the house, I leave them alone and they leave me alone. 🙂

My GALLERY of Other Insects or of Leafcutter Ants

This one goes in the “Unidentified” Sub-Gallery there.

¡Pura Vida!

Ant Carries Leaf

I’m not positive that this is a Leafcutter Ant, though they are usually the ones carrying leaves like this or pieces of leaves. But they are usually a group of hundreds marching in a line like a well trained army! This guy was solo and when he go to my doormat at entrance to my terrace, he did not go around but marched right over it, moving to the left, holding the leaf in his mouth! The ant house is underground next to my terrace.

The little things in nature can keep you occupied for hours if you wanted! 🙂

“If an ant carries an object a hundred times its weight, you can carry burdens many times your size.”

― Matshona Dhliwayo

¡Pura Vida!

See my Leafcutter Ants gallery.

New Phone APP: Animals of Costa Rica

For my fellow nature-lovers in Costa Rica or ones who travel here frequently, you may want to check this out . . . Animals of Costa Rica

Thanks to the El Silencio Guide (Eco Concierge) Daniel for introducing me to a new source of identifying my wildlife photos. I haven’t used it enough to have a strong opinion yet. The one unknown butterfly I tried to find on it, I couldn’t, so like all my other ID sources, it will not be perfect or totally complete, but it is my first source to have all animals in one place and it has a lot of animal photos & detailed info already which I suspect will expand.

And for the birders, I suspect that Merlin & eBird will stay on top for birds, but I’ve had lots of ID needs on other animals here and that is where I expect it to help me the most. We will see.

It was developed by a naturalist from Austria (like one of my favorite lodges was, Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, Golfito), so I have high hopes for it! 🙂 You also can use it to keep a record of the species you have seen by just clicking the eye icon when on a species page. I suspect it will continue to be expanded or updated and for now updates are free.

Go to your preferred App Store to find it available at two price levels (all animals or just one order of species like if only interested in insects):

Google Play

Apple App Store

Here’s just one of many pages as all wildlife orders are included . . .

Those who find beauty in all of nature will find themselves at one with the secrets of life itself. —L. Wolfe Gilbert

¡Pura Vida!

And my animals photo galleries are two: BIRDS and then OTHER WILDLIFE.

Insect Bites on Hikes?

One of my regular readers asked about insects and bug bites on all the wilderness hikes I make with every trip and in a little-less wilderness around where I live in Atenas, Alajuela Province, Costa Rica. And he asked what I did about them.

YES, in the tropics, and Costa Rica specifically, there are actually more insect species than all of the U.S. and Canada combined. Generally they seem to me to be worse at hot times, our summer which is North America’s winter – ironically the time of year we have the most tourists! 🙂 But also location is a big factor, para ejemplo (for example) hotter lowland rainforests and year-around wetlands seem worse to me than mountain cloud forest like I was in last week. And that includes most beaches which have more mosquitoes for example than I have ever seen here in the central valley. But the government has done an excellent job of keeping down the population of mosquitoes all over the country because of diseases they carry and I seldom see one. But there are still many other bugs that bite all over the country! And spiders too!

And you birders remember than many birds eat insects, thus the places I have photographed the most bird species like Maquenque Lodge Boca Tapada and Rancho Humo Guanacaste are wetlands year-around and thus more insects than some dryer places. Here in the Central Valley I see more insects just before and at the beginning of rainy season (April-May) than I do during the daily rains like right now. Not sure why.

When hiking in the reserves and parks I usually spray with Deep Woods Off (a high % of Deet) before going out, and occasionally here at home when I see lots of insects. For treatment off bites I always take a tube of Allergel with me or a similar antihistamine gel/ointment /cream to relieve the itching (many brands here from Europe, U.S., etc). When you live in the tropics you must learn to live with insects! 🙂

Around my house I notice at different times of the year an influx of different flying insects that are pests more than biters, while at other times I get biten and don’t even know by what! 🙂 I just pull out the antihistamine gel and treat it and so far I have lived through all my bug bites! 🙂

Frogs have it easy, they can eat what bugs them. ~Unknown

¡Pura Vida!

See my Insects Gallery which is separate from my Butterfly Gallery or an earlier blog post titled “Living with Bugs.”