Ancient Winged Hunters   2 comments

Felipe del Bosque Blog Sept 27 2010

Temp High 89°F  Low 72°F          Precipitation 0.15 ins

This morning welcomed us with a pleasant surprise, the sun was shining.  The day stayed bright until after midday after which the sky clouded over one more time.

The torrential rains over the weekend had the storm drains to overflowing, but today, lacking in water, they were attracting the attention of the Turkey Vultures.  They were patrolling head down looking for victims of the deluge that may have been brought to the surface, stranded and died.  It could have been worms, bugs or anything that did not survive the flood.

The vultures were also active over by one of the palm trees, feeding on palm nuts along with a Red-tailed Squirrel that was busy gnawing its way through one of the fruits in the crown of the palm while an agouti was engaged in the same activity at the base of the tree.

Another palm was in bloom, a huge flower head that resembled a massive cream colored discarnate elongated brain, its lobes and sulci attracting a swarm of bees intent on a feed of nectar from this short lived food source.

The Chestnut-mandibled Toucans had changed location from the fig trees to the Ylang Ylang, which is currently hanging heavy with bright green berries.

Later in the afternoon, the Howler Monkeys started to vent their disquiet at the impending arrival of the rain which duly arrived minutes later.

Philip is a biologist, writer and photographer as well as the onsite naturalist guide at Bosque del Cabo Rainforest lodge on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica.

Photo Feature

Female Amax amazili

Dragonflies are winged masters of the air.  As life made its way out from the water and onto the land, it wasn’t long before some of those creatures began to conquer the air.  That particular aerial conquest was achieved by the insects and one of the first insects to become airborne were the dragonflies.  Fossils of some enormous dragonflies date back to 250 million years ago and apart from the size they have changed little from that date to this.

Male Uracis fastigiata

Dragonflies are carnivorous; they hunt with speed and dexterity.  Those two massive eyes contain somewhere in the region of 60,000 ommatidia, (individual light focusing lenses), between them.  The eyes cover most of the head and give 360° acute vision.

Male Micrathyria ocellata

The wings allow the dragonflies to fly way beyond the realms of the most sophisticated helicopter technology that exists today.  They can fly forward, backward, hover and change direction quicker than the eye can follow.  They are capable of accelerating to speeds in excess of 60 mph.  Dragonflies despite, or maybe because of, their long seemingly unaltered evolutionary history are living flying machines par excellence.

There are approximately 5000 species of dragonfly around the world.  Here at Bosque del Cabo wherever you find a body of water, whether it be a pond or a temporary pool situated in a tire track, if the sun is shining, sit and wait, it won’t take long before you become aware of the presence of this finely honed winged hunters.

Text and Photographs are taken from the forthcoming book:

The Natural History of Bosque del Cabo by Philip Davison

Species List for the Day


Howler Monkey


Virginia Opossum


Red-lored Amazon

Mealy Amazon

Scarlet Macaws

Grey-necked Wood-rail

Violet-crowned Woodnymph

Magnificent Frigatebird

Pale-billed Woodpecker

Bright-rumped Atilla

Short-billed Pigeon

White-tipped Dove

Chestnut-backed Antbird

Black-hooded Antshrike

Chestnut-mandibled Toucan

Green Honeycreeper

Cherrie’s Tanager

Yellow Warbler

Riverside Wren

Crested Caracara

Yellow-headed Caracara

Turkey Vulture

Black Vulture


Mediterranean House Gecko

Northern Cat-eyed Snake


Marine Toad

Red-eyed Green Treefrog

Parachuting Red-eyed Green Treefrog

Banana Frog

Tink Frog

Fitzinger’s Rainfrog

Black and Green Poison Arrow Frog


Adelpha basiloides

Caligo atreus

Caligo eurilochus

Eueides lybia

Heliconius erato

Heliconius hecale

Heliconius sapho

Heraclides cresphontes

Morpho menelaus

Pyrgus oileus

Taygetis andromeda

Posted September 28, 2010 by felipedelbosque in Philip's Nature Diary

2 responses to “Ancient Winged Hunters

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  1. Thanks for all these wonderful blog posts! I look forward to them everyday.


  2. hi philip—really enjoy yoiur daily reports….see you on oct. 14th. phil and kathy


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