Thursday, May 24, 2018

Hercules Skimmer

The last dragonflies Erika and I saw on 16 July 2017 at the Braulio Carrillo National Park, San José, Costa Rica, were Hercules Skimmers (Libellula herculea). We saw them over the stream we followed back to the park headquarters. We also found this one in a garden at the edge of the parking lot. These large dragonflies prefer open areas, ditches, secondary growth and forest edges. They range from Mexico to Argentina.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Peralta Cora

One of the strangest damselflies we encountered in Costa Rica perched on a twig along a rocky, mountain stream in the Braulio Carrillo National Park on 16 July 2017. The Peralta Cora looked like it wore antique aviator glasses.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

White-faced Flatwing

White-faced Flatwings sit in the shade above streams. They range from Mexico to Costa Rica. We encountered this individual where a stream cut through our mountain forest trail on 16 July 2017 at Braulio Carrillo Naxtional Park (Quebrada González), in San José Province, Costa Rica.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Red-striped and Bronze Rubyspots

We found this Bronze Rubyspot (Hetaerina capitalis) on 16 July 2017 during our walk at Costa Rica's Braulio Carrillo National Park. The species is found in mountain forests from Central America into South America. We saw several rubyspots during our Costa Rican adventure. At least nine rubyspot species inhabit Costa Rica. One rubyspot (not found in Costa Rica), the American, actually ventures into Minnesota. Seeing a rubyspot here in the northland is, indeed, a tropical vision.
The second and third photos here are of Red-striped Rubyspots (Hetaerina miniata), which do not seem to have much of an Internet footprint. Apparently they are uncommon along Central American jungle streams. These images are of a male and female from La Selva Reserve taken of 15 July 2017.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Lowland Knobtail

At Braulio Carrillo National Park on 16 July 2017, we followed a well-maintained forest trail. We had most success in and around a creek that ran through the forest and crossed the trail. We also followed a creek that ran down from the Quebrada González park headquarters. This habitat, rocky streams draining mature forest, is about perfect for Lowland Knobtail (Epigomphus tumefactus) (Novelo-Gutiérrez et al. 2016).

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Violet-crowned Woodnymph

We saw other hummingbirds, including this Violet-crowned Woodnymph, at the abandoned orchard on the way to Costa Rica's Braulio Carrillo National Park on 16 July 2017. This hummer can be abundant from Guatemala to Colombia and western Venezuela. Males are gorgeous; duller females do all the nesting building and incubation. Both sexes eat nectar and small arthropods. Males feed in the forest canopy, while females stay in the understory (Wikipedia). These photos are both of males. Of course, the sexes must come together sometime, or woodnymphs would be in short supply.

Friday, May 18, 2018


16 July 2017 was our last full day touring in Costa Rica. We travelled from La Quinta Sarapiqui Lodge to Braulio Carrillo National Park. The park was in a mountainous area and the idea was to pick up a few different dragonflies. Along the way we made a brief stop at an abandoned roadside orchard. This day, we saw a few birds and many dragonflies. 

The abondoned orchard is a well-known location for seeing Snowcaps, which are tiny hummingbirds. Curiously we did not see the stunning male Snowcap, which has a purple body and a shinning, white cap. The duller females, however, where plentiful. Perhaps the sexes feed at diffferent times or visit the gardens in different seasons. Males are polygynous and are highly territorial. Snowcaps are found in Central American mountains from Honduras to Panama (Wikipedia; Kistler and Schulenberg 2013).

Thursday, May 17, 2018

White-lined Tanager

White-lined Tanagers are found from Costa Rica south to northern Argentina and eastern Peru. They inhabit open forests and gardens. We found them at La Quinta Sarapiqui Lodge. This individual appears to be a male molting into adult plumage. Fremales are rufous. The species is named for its white underwings, which are displayed during courtship. These tanagers eat fruit, nectar, and arthropods. They sing a variety of whistles and, in parts of their range, they are prized as cage birds (Wikipedia, Cornell).

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Palm Tanager

Palm Tanagers are widespread inhabitants of lowland forests across Central and South America. They prefer forest edges, and are easily seen. Birders tend not to be very excited at such a common and dull bird. In fact, Palm Tanagers seen up close prove to be mutedly elegant. They are often seen in palms, but they are not adverse to other trees They consume fruit and arthropods. They forage in pairs or in small groups, but, except at fruting trees or bird feeders, seldom travel with other species (Cornell). I took this photo on 15 July 2017 in Costa Rica at La Quinta Sarapiqui Lodge.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Grayish Saltator

After visiting La Selva Research Station, we spent a second night at La Quinta Sarapiqui Lodge. We listed a few more birds at their feeders. Grayish Saltators are common and found from Mexico to Argentina. This species is conspicuous in lowland scrub and open areas. Saltators eat seeds, fruit and arthropods. I think I have previously posted in this blog that saltators were traditionbally thought to be close to Cardinals, but genetic studies now place them with tanagers.