Rusty-tipped Page

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.)

See my other photos of him in my gallery or if you want more information about this species, see the excellent Wikipedia article or an article on Butterflies and Moths of North America, though rarely seen even in the southern portions of North America above Mexico.

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.

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Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly, “one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower.

~Hans Christian Andersen

 

See also my photo gallery Butterflies & Moths of Costa Rica

¡Pura Vida!

Mother’s Day in Costa Rica

In our beautiful country of Costa Rica, Mother’s Day is celebrated each year on August 15th. This national holiday, known locally as Día de la Madre, falls on the same day as the Feast of the Assumption, which is the day that Catholics observe the Virgin Mary’s ascension to Heaven when her earthly life was over. For that reason, Mother’s Day is not only a celebration for all mothers, but it is also considered to be a spiritual holiday for many of the residents of Costa Rica.

It is one of the most important holidays in the country with all banks, government offices and schools closed and many businesses (like Aeropost where I was planning to go today!). Right now I hear a band playing in Central Atenas, undoubtedly in honor of Mothers!

Today Ticos give gifts to their Moms in appreciation of the many things they do to raise a family and a newer thing is to take her out to a restaurant for dinner tonight. Today’s article in Tico Times:  Costa Rica celebrates Mother’s Day.

I have never been anywhere where everyone (all ages – even teens) are very affectionate to their mothers, such as when walking with Mom in town everyone holds Mom’s hand, even teens! With the very elderly Moms they are arm-in-arm walking through town as if to give her more support. It is a beautiful cultural tradition in a beautiful country full of love!

“Una madre es la fuerza del amor y la gracia que supera y rinde todas las fuerzas del mal.” – Josep Torras

“A mother is the strength of love and grace that surpasses and yields all the forces of evil.” – Josep Torras

¡Pura Vida!

 

Featured Photo is from my terrace this cloudy morning that many mothers will bring a ray of sunshine to! And hopefully their children to them!      🙂

See also my photo gallery PEOPLE, FIESTAS & ARTS COSTA RICA

One Step at a Time Park Remodeling

This morning I noticed that the builder’s screen was removed and the new concrete floor was being washed down with a water hose (even though it is raining today). It is taking shape and according to the architect drawings that outer ring of pipes/steel will have some kind of roof on it to protect at least part of the audience for concerts. And the bandshell roof will be painted with some kind of art, I hope the oxcart wheel version!   🙂

One step at a time is all it takes to get you there.

~Emily Dickinson

14 August 2019 Update

And to see all of my Central Park Remodeling Photos, there’s a gallery!   🙂   With dates on each stage of course!

¡Pura Vida!

Art Gallery of Nature

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:

Gallery of Nature as Art

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Nature is the art of God.

~Dante Alighieri

For More “Nature as Art” see my gallery:   Charlie Doggett’s COSTA RICA    or to specifically find more like these, check out the sub gallery of the above main gallery called:    Flora & Forest Costa Rica.

And from my galleries you can download the digital files for free (down pointing arrow at bottom of enlarged image) or buy prints or wall art of the images (Click “Buy” button).

¡Pura Vida!

Being Poor in Costa Rica

Even though Costa Rica does not have all the “safety net” programs of the U.S. (though free medical care & education), plain ol’ regular daily life for Ticos (and most expats) is easier here for the poor than in the states. (And that is even with CR having the highest cost of living in Central America.) I’m first motivated to say this because of the latest article in the “Live in Costa Rica” blog:

It is better to be poor in Costa Rica than the United States

Also because I know that there are people from the States living here on no other income than their monthly Social Security check. A person can live solo here on a thousand dollars a month, though very simply. For residency (like Green Card in States) you must prove income of at least $1,000 a month. I think it would be much more difficult to live on that in the states! (And by the way, I meet that requirement by having my SS Check auto-deposited in my Costa Rica bank account. )

In fact there is a whole website & tour/conference program here entitled Retire in Costa Rica on Social Security.  George supposedly shows you how to do it. (Disclaimer: I have not participated in his tour/program but like his concepts and his Intro Video!) On his site he quickly refers you to another blog/website that I know from experience helps you with specific budgeting:  Retire for Less in Costa Rica.  I highly recommend their newsletter/blog as the best for someone retiring here on a tight budget. It just may be my favorite newsletter on retiring in Costa Rica!

Remember that a large number of Ticos live here on less than a thousand dollars a month (even families). They do not travel somewhere every month like me nor have some of the luxuries I have, nor eat out in restaurants, but they are very happy and live productive lives in one of the happiest countries in the world. And like me, most have no car!   🙂   That is one of my biggest savings and helps me to afford my monthly travels, thanks in part to affordable public transportation!

I do not talk budget/expenses much – not the focus of my blog – but it is the purpose of the two blogs linked above. If you are concerned about affording retirement in Costa Rica, you must subscribe to the Retire for Less in Costa Rica blog/newsletter and check out the social security one.

Then come experience the tranquil life of adventure and happiness in the land of Pura Vida  –  Rich or Poor!     🙂

The Feature Photo is a current shot of the fading graffiti on the wall behind our public college-prep high school, Colegio Liceo Atenas. It may not have been intended to represent poverty, but it seems to fit for me.  🙂   The phrase written to the left of the face, No dejemos que los niños pierdan su sonrisa.   is roughly translated:   “Let’s not let the kids lose their smile.”   And the schools along with the Catholic Church work hard to help those in poverty, especially children. I find happy children in the poorest neighborhoods I walk through. As my grandmother used to say, “In life you do the best you can with what ya’ got.”    🙂    And that is . . .  

¡Pura Vida!

Repeat Visitors – New Discovery

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.    🙂

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Relatives of this Brown Longtail are also in my gallery as Plain Longtail and the Teleus Longtail. 

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 Rica PHOTO 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.

~Jeffrey Glassberg

¡Pura Vida!

Garden Work

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.

Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.

~Luther Burbank

¡Pura Vida!

Central Park Atenas Update (Very Slow!)

At Central Park today, one local old man who wanted to impress me with his Ingles, looked at me and said “Very slow!”  To that I replied “Muy despacio!” He went on to say something like “at this rate it will take years instead of months. ”  🙂

They are currently using a small hand mixer of concrete and wheelbarrows to make and pour the cement base to the central circle in and around the kiosk, one square at a time. Yes, there are cement trucks here that could come in and pour the whole floor in one day, after the forms are built of course. Maybe there is something romantic about doing it the old fashion way?

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“All I need to make a comedy is a park, a policeman and a pretty girl.”

– Charlie Chaplin

¡Pura Vida!

 

POSTSCRIPT:  Earthquake!

Yep! Just a little while after I posted this I felt the whole house shake, like a giant stepped on the ground by the house. THEN – the “aftershock” or second shake was much larger and more violent. The neighbor dogs are still barking from it. Nine days ago we had one at 5 on the richter scale. A funny feeling!

 

Back Home with Butterflies

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.

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See my growing Butterfly Gallery! Bueno!  🙂

 

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 Rica which 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!   🙂

See all my photos from this trip at 2019 Villa Caletas, Jaco Photo Gallery.

¡Pura Vida!

Guarumo Bird Gallery

“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

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The Tree

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“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.” 

― Munia Khan 

¡Pura Vida!