Tanna Longtail

The five spots in that upper short white line on the wing is what makes this a Tanna instead of a Teleus, Brown or Plain Longtail. Otherwise, those four are very similar and often confused. These two were in my garden and are fairly common Skippers here.

Tanna Longtail, Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica
Tanna Longtail, Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica

See my Tanna Longtail Skipper GALLERY.

And for comparisons with Teleus, Plain & Brown Longtails, browse through all my SKIPPER GALLERIES to see those and many others! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

34 Butterfly Species + Busy Schedule

I finally got through all my butterfly photos made on the property at Hotel Banana Azul in Costa Rica’s Caribe South and they total 34 species! Unfortunately I have 11 different Skippers labeled “Unidentified” and I really need some better sources to help with identification. I am including two photos here and one is an unidentified Yellow or Sulphur. You can see all of the 34 species in my Banana Azul 2023 Butterfly GALLERY. And this is in addition to all those already reported on from Gandoca-Manzanillo and Cahuita reserves making a total of 54 species! 🙂

Definitely one of the Spreadwing Skippers, but not specifically identified.
One of the Yellows or Sulphurs but again not specifically identified.

And oh yeah, the feature photo at the top of post has been identified as a Pompeius Skipper, Pompeius pompeius.

¡Pura Vida!

¡Muy ocupado! — Very Busy!

Read on for why I am behind on my blog posts now and what is happening in my personal life, from my new “free” doctors to helping open a new art gallery in Atenas . . .

Continue reading “34 Butterfly Species + Busy Schedule”

Fumigating My House Videos

Alex made a couple of very short phone videos of Walter fumigating inside and outside my house yesterday. It doesn’t show him doing the attic or spraying liquid insecticide along all walls, both inside and outside around the house foundation.



I’m back home on Saturday cleaning up their mess and my maid is coming at 1:00 to mop the floors (sticky insecticide) because she mops better than me. I swept up all the dead insects and unfortunately some Geckos too. Hopefully new Geckos will come back in. They are generally the best pest control, just not for thousands of ants!

¡Pura Vida!

Endemic to Brazil?

I’m questioning the “authorities” again, but one of the 14 species of butterflies that I photographed at Cahuita National Park the other day, I have identified as a Natterer’s Longwing -Heliconius nattereri which online authorities say is endemic to the Atlantic side of Brazil and I just photographed it on the Atlantic side of Costa Rica! And saw another one earlier at Gandoca-Manzanillo. Or a very close “look alike!” 🙂 Identification continues to be a challenge for me! Here’s two shots of this butterfly and if you know a more correct identification, PLEASE contact me!

Natterer’s Longwing, Puerto Viejo, Limón. Costa Rica
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Common Chlorospingus or . . .

Middle America Bush-Tanager, Chlorospingus flavopectus, which is sporting a new name found only in my new 2023 Princeton Field Guide, Birds of Costa Rica (and online). And that is why I try to always have the latest bird guide because there are always changes in the names. eBird is currently using both names and even “Middle America Chlorospingus” as another option. This particular one is found only in Central America with a slightly different one in South America which I suspect is why the name change. I photographed this one from my porch chair at my cabin in El Silencio Lodge & Reserve last month. I’ve already featured the Collared Trogon and now this one from El Silencio and may do just one more bird post on all the others I photographed to keep from stringing the El Silencio posts out too far. 🙂 Or maybe one on Hummingbirds and one on all the others! 🙂 Here’s 3 of my porch shots of this nice little bird by whatever name! 🙂

Middle America Bush-Tanager, El Silencio Lodge, Bajos del Toro, Costa Rica
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Great Curassow

The Great Curassow, Crax Rubra (eBird link) was the first bird to greet me here at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge. It is a large “turkey-like” game bird found throughout Central America that was hunted to near extinction and today is seen only in reserves and national parks where they are protected. Here’s four of my photos from here, two each of the male and female.

There was surprisingly no rain my arrival afternoon yesterday (Saturday) but I did not get to a blog post because they have internet connection only in the restaurant and reception areas, not in the cabins. This afternoon (Sunday) it started raining about 12:30 and looks like an off & on rain will continue, but this morning was clear for my birding hike. 🙂

Great Curassow Male, Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, Costa Rica
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Photographing Through Leaves

This first shot is of my Ficus aurea tree (scientific name) which in Florida is commonly called a “Strangler Fig” Tree or occasionally just a “Ficus”  or a “Golden Fig” Tree and here in Costa Rica the Spanish common name is “arbole Higuerón.”

It is on the street side of my house, shielding my living room, office and bedroom from the afternoon sun and scrambles any view to or from the houses across the street. It has a lot of leaves and is thus difficult for me to photograph anything in it (like birds) or distant objects on the other side! But that is what I did with the three photos that follow this one. In some ways I think this tree makes an interesting “framing” of a shot!     🙂

Ficus aurea, Higuerón or Strangler Fig Tree, Atenas, Costa Rica – in my yard!

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What Would I Do Differently?


Occasionally someone will ask me such things as “Are you glad you moved to Costa Rica?” or “If you had it to do over, would you do it again?” or “Do you miss the States?” or “When are you coming home?” or “Have you ever wished you had moved to a different country?” or “If you had it to do over again, what would you do differently?”

The short answer to all but the last question is that  I absolutely love Costa Rica and have never once missed the United States nor doubted it was the right thing for me! And I have not gone back, having no reason so far. Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows why this is true for me and that Costa Rica is a perfect fit for my love of nature. But before I tell you the one thing I think I did incorrectly, a quick summary of what I did correctly . . .

A local dancing in last month’s Christmas Parade in Atenas.

What I Did Correctly Before My Move Here

If you go back to the beginning of this blog in June 2014 you will see that I was pretty meticulous about the details of a move to another country and fortunately I had had the experience once before when I moved to The Gambia, West Africa for 3 years. I followed all the websites’ and individuals’ suggestion of doing my “due diligence” (a popular phrase then) which simply meant lots of research on living retired in Costa Rica and the details of doing it legally, successfully and learning what it would take for me to be happy here, etc. ad infinitum! I did that! (Except not thoroughly enough with the language part!)

Plus I traveled here 4 times before moving and checked out other countries online and in the case of Panama, visited them 3 times (a reasonable option). Plus my last trip here before moving was to take the “Live in Costa Rica Tour” sandwiched on either side of a two-day conference by ARCR on all the details of a move here, residency options, legal stuff, both private & public medical services, shipping stuff here, getting a lawyer to help, etc. And on that same trip I hired a local lawyer who specialized in expat residency and began my residency application which was made easier with still some time still left in the states so I could personally secure all the needed legal documents that would have been much more difficult trying to get from here!

So, Then What Would I Do Differently?

 Just one thing! I would have made learning to speak Spanish fluently my JOB ONE! Though I had two brief classes in Nashville, I was a slow learner and not using it there, so to accomplish that . . . 

I should not have made finding a place to live the first task, as I did, but I should have enrolled in an Immersion Spanish Language School for the first 4-6 months (in another town since there is not one in Atenas) where they provide a cheap rent living with a Tico family that speaks only Spanish plus daily language classes and local tours in Spanish. Younger people might accomplish this in 3 months to some degree but a slower-learning old man like me needs more time and I’m just guessing on the 4-6 months. I tried one of these immersion schools for one week in Feb. 2020, just before Covid hit us big here, and it was very helpful, just not for a long enough time. It would be harder now while paying higher rent for my more permanent housing. But I’m going to talk to them again and may try additional weeks periodically with follow-up classes on Zoom or Skype. My current teacher is not moving me forward fast enough and nor is Duolingo! I’m ready for a change in my language learning!  🙂 I will report on any change made and what progress if any I make.  🙂

So, my only regret about being “Retired in Costa Rica” is that I am still not fluent in Spanish – though I am immensely better than when I arrived here! 🙂 I speak more Spanish than maybe many of the other American expats (some don’t even try.) I do great in restaurants and traveling 🙂  and okay in the supermercado and other shopping, but I could do better and cannot handle much over the phone. Taxistas help me, so I am better there than on the public buses and the free public medicine that I should be using more is one place I can’t manage with my slow, simple Spanish – that and some casual conversations, especially with strangers, though it helps when a marketer calls on the phone that I can honestly say “Lo siento, no hablo español.”  🙂  Stay tuned for updates!

Last month’s local Christmas Celebration in Central Park Atenas.

So what I’m saying is that if I had learned to speak Spanish fluently that first year, the rest of my 8 years would have been so much easier and more fulfilling! 

That’s what I would have done differently! 

¡Pura Vida!


Okay, maybe one other little thing that was not a problem when I first moved, but recently my small Credit Union in the states that I’ve been a member of for 45 years has had difficulties getting a new debit card to me quick enough or wiring money, where a larger international bank would be better equipped to serve me overseas. And I have to have a U.S. bank because my pension checks require that for auto-deposit. I’m still managing and have shifted some of my savings to my Costa Rica bank, but that is one other little detail that one considering a move here needs to straighten out, preferably before the move!  🙂 

And by the way, the U.S. Social Security is more accommodating than my other pension sources, as they deposit directly into my Costa Rica Bank Account. And it was easy! I just went to the U.S. Embassy’s SS Window in San Jose and they took care of it immediately with that very next check arriving here!  🙂 Plus that became my “proof of income” for the residency application.  🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Funny Fungi

The feature photo is a “Pixie Cup Fungus” (link to Wikipedia), the second time I have seen this species (on the Cativo Jungle Waterfall Trail) with the other time being in Carara National Park near Tarcoles & Jaco in 2015, the closest national park to where I live in Atenas. The many other fungi I saw at Playa Cativo were the ones you usually see on trees and dead trees or stumps. I saw no “toad stools” or common mushrooms this trip like usual.

Pixi Cup Fungus at Playa Cativo Lodge, Golfo Dulce, Piedras Blancas NP, Costa Rica

Plus three more fungi photos from Playa Cativo . . .

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