Praying For a Hooded Killer under the Cloak of Darkness   Leave a comment


Felipe del Bosque Blog Jan 24th 2011

Average Daily Temp High 85°F.  Average Daily Temp Low 73°F.

Average Daily Rainfall 0.59 ins.  Total Weekly Rainfall 4.12 ins

Average Daily Temp High 29.2 °C.  Average Daily Temp Low 22.5 °C.

Average Daily Rainfall 14.9 mm.  Total Weekly Rainfall 104.6 mm

The temperatures are starting to creep up, not so that you would notice, other than it results in changes you can see.  Now many of the trees are flowering, Ajo, Hule and Peine de Mono.  Some trees are fruiting, the Matapalo, Fruta Dorada and Peine de Mono.

Last week we had one night and day of almost continual rain, but that is the exception rather than the rule this time of year.  Once again it serves to keep the area from becoming very dry.  Another benefit is that the rain keeps the ground soft and so you can still see what has been around from the tracks they leave behind.

Some of the visitors to Bosque had the chance to see, not the animals themselves, but the tracks on the Titi Trail of Puma, Collared Peccary and a Tapir.

Normally I take people up into the forest canopy in the afternoon but on one occasion this week circumstances dictated that we ascend into the treetops midmorning.  The location of the tree platform means that it is bathed in fierce sunlight before lunch, with very little shade for respite.  On my infrequent forays into the ante meridian inferno I have been fortunate to see some unusual butterflies and this visit proved to be every bit as fortuitous.  There was a spectacular Morpho theseus hanging almost motionless in the air in front of me.  This is a butterfly with large wings colored white on the top surface not blue as some of more commonly encountered relatives.

The imperceptible temperature increases are continuing to have a mark effect on the number of butterflies I am seeing.  Last week’s butterfly transect butterfly count registered 41 species over the course of the day.

Many of the birds have now paired up, found nest sites and started laying eggs.  Out on the Zapatero Trail I noticed a Striped-throated Hermit flying repeatedly to and fro from a perch not far from the path.  Standing motionless on the trail, silently observing I could see what she was waiting to do.  Above my head was a long, cup shaped nest that had been attached to the underside of a palm frond.  The frond serves well as an umbrella to shade nest from falling rain and bright sun.  The female hermit had carefully attached the nest to the leaf using the distinct yellow threads of strong silk from a Golden-orb Spider web.

One female Cherrie’s Tanager has made her nest in a small palm near the Bosque swimming pool.  She doesn’t appear to be too bothered by the presence of bathers.  When she vacates the nest you can see it contains two eggs of a wedgewood blue color.

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

Tropical Bird-eating Snake Tropical Bird-eating Snake Tropical Bird-eating Snake

Two weeks ago I featured here a juvenile Tropical Bird-eating Snake.  This week an adult turned up and so I managed to take some photographs which nicely show the tremendous difference in coloration between juveniles and adults.  The total lack of resemblance had me fooled for some time after I arrived here, I was convinced I was looking at a different species; I just wasn’t sure which one.

The successful raising of chicks by nesting birds can be fraught with hazards, not the least of which is predation by snakes.  It is probably no great surprise to find Tropical Bird-eating Snakes where their prey is sitting on a nest.  Adult birds, chicks and eggs will all be consumed with relish by these attractive looking snakes.

A regular visitor to the restaurant at night is the Hooded Mantis, (Choeradodis sp).  These intriguing creatures also solicit a response from the diners due to their resemblance to a flying bean pod.  The mimicked similarity is not simply co-incidence; it allows the mantis to remain motionless, blending in perfectly with its background, awaiting the opportunity to strike out with lightning fast precision and capture any prey item oblivious to its presence.

Choeradodis sp

Choeradodis sp

I have always found something compelling about mantises.  Perhaps it is the way they always turn their heads to follow you and the way the eye appears to have a distinct dark pupil, (it doesn’t, it is just a feature resulting from the structure of the compound eye).

Finally, a spider that I had seen taking refuge inside a leaf, the two sides of which had been stuck together with silk, to provide respite from the daytime sun.  Once the sun sets, out it comes to sit in the centre of the web in the hope of catching a meal for the evening.

Unidentified Orb Spider - Hiding During the Day Unidentified Orb Spider - In The Web at Night

Having taken its photograph during the day, I returned after sunset to obtain a more complete image at night.

Unidentified Orb Spider

Unidentified Orb Spider - Ventral View

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

Nine-banded Armadillo

Agouti

White-nosed Coati

Birds

Red-lored Amazon

Scarlet Macaw

Great Currasow

Crested Caracara

Rufus Piha

Chestnut-backed Antbirds

Stripe-throated Hummingbird

Short-billed Pigeon

White-tipped Dove

Brown Pelican

Chestnut-mandibled Toucan

Cherrie’s Tanager

Bright-rumped Atilla

Great Kiskadee

Riverside Wren

Great Tinamou

Black Vulture

Turkey Vulture

Reptiles

Mediterranean House Gecko

Central American Smooth Gecko

Clawless Gecko

Goflo Dulce Anolis

Basilisk

Four-lined Ameiva

Barred Ameiva

Cat-eyed snake

Tropical Bird-eating Snake

Amphibians

Marine Toad

Red-eyed Green Tree Frog

Banana Frog

Masked Smilisca

Milky Frog

Fitzinger’s Rain Frog

Stejneger’s Dirt Frog

Butterflies

Adelpha basiloides

Adelpha cytherea

Anartia Fatima

Anartia jatrophae

Anthanassa ardys

Antirrhea philoctetes

Arawacus lincoides

Cissia confusa

Cithaerias pireta

Cupido comyntas

Eueides aliphera

Eueides lybia

Dione juno

Dryas iulia

Euptychia westwoodi

Eurema albula

Glutophrissa Drusilla

Gorgythion begga

Heliconius cydno

Heliconius erato

Heliconius hecale

Heliconius ismenius

Heliconius sapho

Heraclides cresphontes

Hermeuptychia hermes

Marpesia alcibiades

Mechanitis polymnia

Metacharis victrix

Morpho helenor

Morpho Menelaus

Morpho theseus

Panoquina panoquinoids

Parides erithalion

Philaethria dido

Phoebis agarithe

Phoebis argante

Phoebis sennae

Pierella helvina

Pierella luna

Pompeius pompeius

Pyrgus oileus

Pyrisitia nise

Pyrrhogyra crameri

Siproeta stelenes

Tigridia acesta

Urbanus proteus

Urbanus simplicius

Urbanus tanna

Plants

Yellow-trumpet Vine flowering

Calabash flowering and fruiting

Monkey Comb Tree flowering and fruiting

Garlic Tree Flowering

Candlestick Plant Flowering.

Cannonball Tree Flowering

Hule flowering

Heisteria fruiting

Nutmeg fruiting

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