It’s Black and White, The Heat is On   1 comment


Felipe del Bosque Blog Nov 29 2010

Average Daily Temp High 86°F.  Average Daily Temp Low 73°F.

Average Daily Rainfall 0.02 ins.  Total Weekly Rainfall 0.07 ins

Average Daily Temp High 29.6°C.  Average Daily Temp Low 23.0°C.

Average Daily Rainfall 0.6 mm.  Total Weekly Rainfall 4.3 mm

It would appear that the summer is finally here.  After seven months of almost continual torrential rain, the sun has been uninterrupted for a week.  There has been a little bit of rain but only at night and never more than one tenth of an inch.

It has been another good week for animal sightings.  Despite the greatly reduced amount of precipitation, the Red-eyed Green Treefrogs have still been pairing up and laying eggs.  Significantly, the nightly chorus of the Tink Frogs has stopped and the Banana Frogs are now down to one or two individual males left calling forlornly each evening.  There are still good numbers of other amphibians active at night though; Marine Toads, Smoky Jungle Frogs and Milky Frogs numbering amongst them.

I had another occasion to be annoyed with myself for not carrying the camera this week.  I saw a small rainfrog on the forest floor and knew immediately it was a species I had not previously encountered.  It turned out to be the Slim-fingered Rain Frog, Craugastor crassidigitus, in itself not a rare frog but I am always amazed and excited when I see something for the first time after 11 years of walking the same trails.

There were several good bird sightings this week.  For me the highlight occurred on one of my primary rainforest tours along the Zapatero Trail.  We were standing listening to a troupe of Squirrel Monkeys, whose calls indicated that there was something disturbing them.  At lightning quick speed and from out of nowhere a Black and White Hawk-Eagle flew straight through the excited monkeys.  It spread its wings to arrest its velocity and alighted on a branch no more than 20 feet above our heads.  Even though I had never seen one before, there was no mistaking what was sitting directly overhead, velvet black wings, snow white chest with a distinct black and white barred tail, Spizaetus melanoleucas, the Black and White Hawk-Eagle.  They are not known to feed on monkeys but just the presence of a raptor this size was enough to cause alarm amongst the small Squirrel Monkeys.

Continuing on the monochrome bird theme, yet another new sighting for me this week was the Black and White Warbler, (Mniotilta varia), not an uncommon overwintering migrant, but one that I had not seen before.  Black and White Warblers are feisty little birds, attacking and driving off other warblers in their vicinity.  They have long nails and an elongated hind toe which aids their dexterity when searching for insects in the vegetation.   There was also the arrival of another migrant that I had seen before, but now for the first time this year, the Chestnut-sided Warbler, (Dendroica pensylvanica).

On one tour through the forest we had a Great Tinamou, a bird related to the Ostrich, stand on the trail in front of us and would not budge.  At first I thought it might be ill but when I bent down to gently persuade it to leave the path, off it ran, but with no great concern, only to stop and watch us, watching it from the trail edge.

This week was the beginning of my butterfly monitoring for another year.  The butterflies are not present in large numbers, either in terms of individuals or species this time of year, but I was pleasantly surprised to find some not commonly seen species on my 5 km transect.  I have seen three species of Blue Morpho over the course of the past week; Morpho menelaus, Morpho helenor and the exquisitely iridescent Morpho cypris.  One of the longwings, Laparus doris was flying which was unusual as I don’t normally see these until much later in the dry season.

Puma pug mark

At two widely separated points on the transect walk I found fresh Puma pug marks in the ground.  They had been made by two separate individuals as the prints were of varying sizes.  Two of the visitors to Bosque while walking on the Titi Trail were rewarded with the sight of three Tayras consuming a dead Howler Monkey.  Tayras are essentially large weasels and are voracious predators but it would surprise me if they had managed to bring down a monkey.  We know there are several Pumas that patrol the Titi Trail and they have previously been observed killing and eating Howler Monkeys in this location.  My feeling is that the monkey being greedily consumed by the Tayras was probably a cat kill, or it could have died from other causes, falling out of the tree for example, and the Tayras were taking advantage of having found a fresh carcass.

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.

www.bosquedelcabo.com

Photo Feature

Having been so busy with tours and my research this week, there was little time for photography.  I did pick up a dead Automeris moth to photograph the striking eye-spots.  Normally the fore wings are held closed over the hind wings.  But should a predator approach to close for comfort, the Automeris moth moves the fore wings forward revealing the two large eye-spots startling any bird or lizard which may have second thoughts about taking on an adversary with eyes that size.

Automeris moth species Automeris moth species

There have been many fungi fruiting over the past two weeks.  Fungi are not the easiest organisms to identify in a rainforest, so I just put the photographs in for photographic interest.

Fungi Fungi

Text and Photographs are taken from the forthcoming book:

The Natural History of Bosque del Cabo by Philip Davison

Species List for the Week

Mammals

Howler Monkey

Spider Monkey

Capuchin Monkey

Squirrel Monkey

Central Wooly Opossum

Virginia Opossum

Agouti

White-nosed Coati

Red-tailed Squirrel

Three-toed Sloth

Tamandua

Tayra

Birds

Red-lored Amazon

Scarlet Macaw

Pale-billed Woodpecker

Magnificent Frigatebird

Purple-crowned Fairy

Rufus-tailed Hummingbird

Long-billed Hummingbird

Stripe-throated Hummingbird

Crested Caracara

Yellow-headed Caracara

Roadside Hawk

Black and White Hawk-Eagle

Common Paureque

Crested Owl

Chestnut-backed Antbird

Black-hooded Antshrike

White-tipped Dove

Cherrie’s Tanager

Golden-hooded Tanager

Summer Tanager

Black and White Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Mourning Warbler

Tennessee Warbler

Red-legged Honeycreeper

Blue-crowned Manakin

Red-capped Manakin

Chestnut-mandibled Toucan

Great Tinamou

Black-throated Trogon

Slaty-tailed Trogon

Riverside Wren

Golden-crowned Spadebill

Bright-rumped Atilla

Great Crested Flycatcher

Tropical Kingbird

Black Vulture

Turkey Vulture

Reptiles

Brown Blunt-headed Tree Snake

Cat-eyed Snake

Terciopelo

Common Basilisk

Golfo Dulce Anolis

Four-lined Ameiva

Central American Whiptail

Barred Ameiva

Amphibians

Black and Green Poison Arrow Frog

Marine Toad

Red-eyed Green Treefrog

Banana Frog

Milky Frog

Smokey Jungle Frog

Fitzinger’s Rain Frog

Tink Frog

Slim-fingered Rain Frog

Rough-skinned Dirt Frog

Stejneger’s Dirt Frog

Butterflies

Anartia Fatima

Anatrytone potosiensis

Battus polydamus

Caligo eurilochus

Cissia confuse

Colobura dirce

Dryas iulia

Eueides aliphera

Eueides lybia

Heliconius cydno

Heliconius erato

Heliconius hecale

Heliconius ismenius

Heliconius sapho

Heraclides cresphontes

Hermeuptychia hermes

Laparus doris

Mesosemia telegone

Morpho cypris

Morpho helenor

Morpho Menelaus

Morys valerius

Pareuptychia metaleuca

Parides erithalion

Pierella helvina

Pierella luna

Philaethria dido

Pyrgus oileus

Temenis laothoe

Plants

Aphelandra golfodulcensis flowering

Yellow-trumpet Vine flowering

Calabash flowering and fruiting

Rosa de Monte flowering

Monkey Comb Tree Flowering

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Posted November 29, 2010 by felipedelbosque in Philip's Nature Diary

One response to “It’s Black and White, The Heat is On

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  1. Thanks for showing me my favorite red eyed tree frog before I left Bosque! We all enjoyed you sharing your knowledge with us.

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