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):
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
I’m happy to announce that the trip report photo book from my visit to El Silencio Lodge is finished and now available for you to preview electronically for free or order a copy if you like! 🙂 It’s 60 pages with 97 photos of a truly incredible place! See it in my Blurb Bookstore at https://www.blurb.com/b/10309436-el-silencio.
Feature photo is front cover and the back cover is below:
“God is the friend of Silence. See how nature — trees, flowers, grass — grows in silence . . .
It was raining every night at El Silencio Lodge, so waiting would not have helped! 🙂 But I enjoy night hikes that are provided in most Costa Rica wilderness lodges and you do see thing not normally seen in the day time. We saw less on this one because of the rain and that also made photography with only a cell phone not super good, but here’s 6 shots that are samples of even more we would have seen if not raining. Daniel was my guide on this hike and he included two miradors (vistas) which were interesting at night and sorry I did not try to photograph the views, though again the rain made it more difficult with less moonlight and no stars. CLICK image to enlarge . . .
“Between every two pines there is a doorway to a new world.” ~John Muir
You might also like my Amphibians Gallery, most of which were photographed on Night Hikes all over Costa Rica! 🙂
Here’s 12 birds I photographed at El Silencio Lodge and Reserve in addition to the 3 hummingbirds shared yesterday. Of the 15 I photographed, 4 are lifers or first-time I’ve seen that species. Then there were others not photographed like the red-tailed hawk flying overhead and a Black and White Warbler. And my main reason for coming here was the waterfalls! 🙂 So it has been a very good week and I go home tomorrow morning (Saturday) to continue my lesser adventures in Atenas, but will continue sharing photos from this excellent trip.
And the lifers? They are the Chestnut-capped Brushfinch, Blackburnian Warbler, Scintillant Hummingbird, and the Black-bellied Hummingbird. I showed the two hummingbirds in a post yesterday. And the reason the Brushfinch is in a girl’s hand, he had just flown into one of the lodge office’s plate-glass windows and was still in shock. He eventually flew off.
I highly recommend El Silencio Lodge & Reserve and though it is expensive, it is well-worth what they charge! And I am not finished sharing photos from this trip, so expect more for the next few days! 🙂
The El Silencio Hummingbird Garden is like mine, no feeders, just flowers. And also like mine, there is a dominant hummingbird species that chases many of the others away from the garden and they just go to other flowers on the grounds. I only found three species in the official Hummingbird Garden, though I saw, but did not photograph, others around the grounds. Their dominant bird here is the Purple-throated Mountain Gem, but the tiny Scintillant and the Black-bellied Hummingbirds seem to hang in there with the Mountain Gems! And I photographed bees here! 🙂
CLICK an image to see larger:
I still have 10 other bird species I photographed and hope to post soon. See also my CR Birds photo gallery for all I have photographed here in 5.5 years. The Black-bellied Hummingbird and Scintillant are “lifers” for me and I got 2 other lifers in the next batch of 10 birds I will post soon. 4 lifers in one trip is very good now with my CR count up to 349! 🙂
On my hike up the mountain to the waterfalls here at El Silencio Lodge I ran into a Land Crab or Gecarcinidae on the trail. A first for me in Costa Rica or maybe anywhere in the mountains! For those interested, see the Wikipedia Article or I found a more specific online book article The Land Crabs of Costa Rica which seems to have more about the ones closer to the ocean. This place is nowhere near an ocean!
As I continue to see more butterflies than birds in my garden, I found this one yesterday morning after breakfast which I haven’t seen in awhile, the Banded Peacock. He is very common all over Costa Rica and I was seeing more in May and June here. I do have better photos than these in my Banded Peacock Gallery, if interested.
Or is it another type of White? Yellow? Sulphur? You butterfly enthusiasts, especially in Costa Rica, let me know if you know for sure. It was in my garden in Atenas this morning. The closest match in my Swift Guide is the Common Melwhite (though the yellow-white color placement seems a little different), while the flying photo looks a little bit like the White-angled Sulphur, the yellow is greatly different and it doesn’t have the four brown spots, eliminating that option. For now I’m sticking with Common Melwhite (Melete lycimnia isandra) (Butterflies of America link). Whew! Butterfly ID is hard sometimes! 🙂
The “4” can mean my 4th trip to Xandari or the 4th Gallery on Xandari or the fact that I was there for 4 days this time! 🙂 The featured photo is on my walk to the restaurant from my villa.
It is a magical getaway every visit and I tend to photograph many new things or the same things in different ways each time, like this time I didn’t even hike to the waterfalls but spent more time with flowers & butterflies and a feature on the bamboo forest. So if considering a visit to Xandari, check out each of my photo galleries from 4 different trips there with 4 different perspectives:
2020 August 21-24 – A Weekend Retreat during a World Pandemic with masks & solo activities in nature. Most butterflies & flowers this time.
2020 January 12-16 – Five days when I installed my photo books library and photographed all kinds of nature with more birds than above.