A Common Swallowtail Here

The Polydamas Swallowtail (Link to butterfliesandmoths.org) seems to be one of the most common in my garden and one of first showing up early this year! 🙂 I have 28 photos in my Polydamas Swallowtail Gallery, all made in my garden! 🙂

Polydamas Swallowtail, Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica

Unlike other butterflies here, I have no photos from my many visits to other locations in Costa Rica. These photos were made day before yesterday, May 6, which means it is early for a lot of butterflies, other than Yellows flitting about, and in past years butterflies have peaked at my house in June & July. I’m located in the western foothills of the Central Valley of Costa Rica. I have a trip north of here next week and hope for some different early butterflies there and then on my July trip is to the southwest of the country, maybe something new there, I hope! 🙂

Costa Rica has an incredible variety of butterflies as a part of more than 300,000 insect species, the most for any country it’s size. Part of that is due to our location as a “connecting bridge” of land between North and South America. The above butterfly website shows this particular Swallowtail appearing across the Southern U.S. and throughout Central America and the Caribbean Islands.

Polydamas Swallowtail, Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica

¡Pura Vida!

See all my Costa Rica Butterfly Galleries. 139+ species!

Plateau Spreadwing Damselfly

Here’s my first Damsel or Dragonfly photo this year though not the first seen. They are all hard for me to photograph and to identify, usually! But this time with my handy new book Dragonflies and Damselflies of Costa Rica by Dennis Paulson and William Haber, I managed to narrow it down quicker than usual for me; obviously first to a Damselfly and then by the spreading wings that it is one of the subspecies called “Spreadwing” (most Damsels keep their wings straight by their side) and then with the book’s excellent photos and me having a photo with enough detail like the blue eyes and the brown thorax with white stripe I quickly determined that this is a “Plateau Spreadwing Damselfly” or “Lestes alacer” the technical name of this species found in Central America and parts of North America. I hope to expand my collection of Dragonflies & Damselflies which is already a pretty good start . . .

See my GALLERY: Dragonflies & Damselflies of CR (18+ species identified with many more not identified. Your ID help welcomed!) 🙂

Plateau Spreadwing Damselfly, Atenas, Costa Rica
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A Canivet’s Emerald Hummingbird

When I weigh all the options for the ID of this female Canivet’s Emerald Hummingbird (eBird link), I come down strong on this ID even though not considered very common here. The other option from Merlin was a Garden Emerald Female, but that is not even on the maps for Atenas and mine does not have the “glittering” green the books & websites describe. In my Canivet’s Emerald Gallery I have earlier shots of a male that seem also to fit this species best, though Merlin gives it the possibility of being that or a Blue-vented or a Garden Emerald, but the majority of markers point it to being a Canivet’s Emerald too. Some birds are just plain difficult to ID! 🙂 That and using weak photos! 🙂 Plus the close similarity of some species is amazing!

Canivet’s Emerald Female, My Garden, Atenas, Costa Rica.
Canivet’s Emerald Female, My Garden, Atenas, Costa Rica.

¡Pura Vida!

Tropical Kingbird

I believe this is a small or immature Tropical Kingbird in the shadows of my garden. I like the softness of the image even though not very sharp or in good light. 🙂 It could be a rare Western Kingbird, but I don’t think so with the faint white on the neck.

My Tropical Kingbird Gallery.

¡Pura Vida!

FAVE BIRDS – Toucans at Home

Okay, I’m kind of “cheating” here by showing two different types of toucans that have perched in my Cecropia or Guarumo Tree: The Fiery-billed Aracari (eBird description) and the Keel-billed Toucan (eBird description). And with many more shots of both from all over Costa Rica, see my Fiery-billed Aracari Gallery and/or my Keel-billed Toucan Gallery. Since I have so many photos from so many different places, I will not try to feature the locations, though the location for both of these shots is my own garden in Roca Verde, Atenas, Alajuela Province, Costa Rica! 🙂 I am indeed fortunate!

Keel-billed Toucan, My Garden, Atenas, Costa Rica
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FAVE BIRDS – Squirrel Cuckoo

I was really excited the first time I saw a Squirrel Cuckoo (eBird description) in my garden, thinking that all cuckoos were rare exotic birds. I’ve since learned that this particular one is fairly common all over Costa Rica and you will find 5 locations in Costa Rica in my Squirrel Cuckoo Gallery. Plus eBird says it is “widespread” throughout Central and South America. It is one of 6 different species of Cuckoos found in Costa Rica. Beyond this one, I have photos of just 2 other species in Costa Rica: The Mangrove Cuckoo (2) and the Lesser Ground-Cuckoo (1). See more information and links in The Backstory below . . .

Squirrel Cuckoo, My Gardens, Roca Verde, Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica
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FAVE BIRDS – Rose-throated Becard

I became aware of the Rose-throated Becard (eBird description) when in 2017 I got this close-up of a female in my own garden! 🙂 See other shots in my Rose-throated Becard Gallery from only 2 different locations in Costa Rica, one other in my neighborhood and one at Punta Leona on the Pacific Coast.

Rose-throated Becard, My Garden, Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica
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Mini-Art in my Garden

All art is but imitation of nature.

Seneca the Younger
No new flower or wildlife in these photos, but each one is a new expression of “nature as art” as I walked through my garden Sunday with camera in hand. I love doing this occasionally and though maybe the same subjects, the art is different each time!

And that Yigüirro is singing his heart out every day now “calling the rains in” which happens every April in anticipation of the May rains or the beginning of the rainy season, our winter here. That is why he is the national bird of Costa Rica.

See my FLORA & FOREST Gallery for more flowers or Birds Gallery or Butterfly Gallery. 

¡Pura Vida!



White-winged Dove Watching

This bird was watching me eat breakfast yesterday morning on my terrace. Learn more about the White-winged Dove on Cornell’s “All About Birds” website. One of many that frequent my garden.

“Birds are the eyes of Heaven.”
― Suzy Kassem

¡Pura Vida!