Costa Rica on a Whim

The New Year brought me to Costa Rica for a short reboot. Hoping to start 2019 on a clear and heart-felt path. While most of my adventures have to do with nature, conservation and wildlife, this trip is focused on health and well-being. However, that hasn’t stopped my curiosity and desire to explore the natural world around me. Granted, I know very little about Costa Rican biodiversity, so the photos below have only the simplest of descriptions.

A few orchids:

A few insects:

I did not have my good DSLR, so the few bird photos I’ve taken so far are not that great:

Red passion flower. Copyright: Greg Joder.

 

 

 

Caterpillar to Chrysalis

Queen Butterfly caterpillars are eating their way through the leaves on the milkweed plants in my yard.  This is just fine by me.  While I’ve been hoping for some Monarch Butterfly caterpillars to do the same, I have yet to see any.  As far as the Queen caterpillars go, several have already morphed into butterflies as, evidenced by the chrysalis skeletons left behind, while others have only just started.  Here’s a short video I made of the metamorphosis process at normal speed, from caterpillar to chrysalis:

Queen Butterfly chrysalis. Copyright: Greg Joder.

In this video I speed up the 45 minute process to two minutes:

Butterflies

On my way to check my wildlife cameras in the Rincon Mountains near Tucson I came upon these butterflies. Does anyone know what plant this is?

Butterfly. Copyright: Greg Joder
Queen Butterfly. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Pipevine Swallowtail. Copyright: Greg Joder.

Monsoons

After what seemed an eternity of dry hot weather, the monsoons have finally arrived.

This is the time the desert plants and animals become more active and the Sonoran Desert morphs into a living terrarium with the simple addition of rain. Because of this it is my favorite time of year, despite the high temps and humidity.

This afternoon I set two new camera traps in a mountain range SE of Tucson. On the way to the sites I had selected I came across some common, but beautiful insects:

Figeater beetle, Cotinis mutabilis. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Pepsis wasp/tarantula hawk. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Queen butterfly. Copyright: Greg Joder.

Great Purple Hairstreak!

Great Purple Hairstreak. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Great Purple Hairstreak. Copyright: Greg Joder.

There have been a number of Great Purple Hairstreak Butterflies have been visiting the Desert Broom in my yard.  In the following video, notice how it moves its wings as it moves over the flowers drinking nectar. Love how they look like antennae, confusing predators:

Desert Broom

There are several Desert Broom shrubs blooming in my yard.  This plant blooms in the fall, well after the monsoon wildflowers do.  Like last year, I’ve been reminded that a plethora of insects love this plant:

Queen Butterfly on Desert Broom. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Queen Butterfly on Desert Broom. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Snout Butterfly on Desert Broom. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Snout Butterfly on Desert Broom. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Katydid on Desert Broom. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Katydid on Desert Broom. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Metalark Butterfly Species on Desert Broom. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Metalark Butterfly Species on Desert Broom. Copyright: Greg Joder.