Bosque del Cabo May 2011 Nature Review   1 comment

Felipe del Bosque Blog May 2011 Review

May is normally considered the month when the rains arrive on the south west Pacific coast of Costa Rica.  In fact all of the west coast of Central America experiences the commencement of the rains at this time of year.  In the recent past we have had that rare occasion where the first tropical storms of the hurricane season have actually formed on the Pacific and not the Caribbean coast and subsequently moving across the land and deluging it.

The rains did start this month with the same irregularity but not the ferocity of some past years.  May can be a very good time to visit Bosque as the temperatures are high, the sun is shining and the rains have both cleared the air and washed the dust from the vegetation.  That initial watering period is welcomed by the plant life as they take up the life supporting liquid and respond with a flush of new bright green foliage.

Now, many of the trees that had flowered earlier in the year will be producing fruit.  As you walk the forest trails, you will find a huge variety of weird and wonderfully exotic tropical fruits that are going to be very unfamiliar to the first time visitor.  One of the most intriguing is the nutmegs produced by a number of different species of Virola trees that grow on the grounds of Bosque.  The fruits are known as Fruta Dorada, golden fruits, due to their amber color.  When ripe the outer shell splits and the fruit opens in two halves to reveal the seed which is covered in a bright red aril that serves to attract large fruit eating birds such as toucans.  The toucans swallow the seed whole, digest the aril and then regurgitate the seed some distance from the parent.

Garcinia madruno        Passiflora fruit        Virola koschnyi

Apieba tibourbou        Apeiba tibourbou        Virola koschnyi

Some trees flower and fruit all year round.  The Monkey Comb tree is an example of which you can find the flowers and fruit littering the forest floor no matter what time of the year you visit.

Butterfly numbers are still high but are now declining from what they have been over recent months.  The explosion of breeding frogs that resulted from the first rains has now leveled and steadied.  That situation will continue through to the end of August.  An evening walk should now reward you with Milky Frogs, Red-eyed Green Tree Frogs, Parachuting Red-eyed Green Tree Frogs, Banana Frogs, Small-headed Frogs, Masked Tree Frogs, Olive Tree Frogs, Gladiator Frogs, Smokey Jungle Frogs, Fitzinger’s Rain Frog, Tink Frogs and Marine Toads.

This proved to be a good month for photographing spiders.  It may well have been that I had spent a little more time searching for them as I wanted some images to illustrate one of the presentations I host.  You don’t need to search too hard.  The characteristic silken webs of spiders strung between the vegetation are always a good place to start looking.  Many spiders are orb weavers and spin a web which is either permanently left in place or conversely rebuilt on a daily basis.  Even if the spider is not in the web, it is not going to be too far away and if you concentrate your efforts under some nearby leaf you will probably be able to locate the web’s master constructor.

Jumping Spider        Wandering Spider        Orchard Spider

Silver-orb Spider        Silver-orb Spider        Golden-orb Spider

Some spiders are large eyed active hunters such as the jumping spiders.  They are not very big but can be entertaining and very photogenic as they move around to look at you from a safe vantage point.  The crab spiders are a little more difficult to find as they are masters of camouflage and normally have the same coloration as flowers on which the sit and patiently await any unsuspecting insect prey that ventures too close.

Crab Spider

The Halloween Crabs are becoming progressively more active, especially at night.  There are several other species of freshwater and land crab to be found on the grounds of Bosque.  I found this small land crab close to my cabin.  I don’t often find this species and when I do it tends to be larger ones on the trunks of the trees.

Unidentified Land Crab

As ever May provided the serendipitous supply of unidentified arthropods, with everything ranging from beetles, damselflies, millipedes and the perfume seeking frenzy of a swarm of orchid bees.

Unidentified Beetle        Unidentified Beetle        Unidentified Beetle

Unidentified Damselfly        Unidentified Phasmid        Unidentified Millipede

The bees were found close to the ground near the restaurant one day.  One of the Bosque vehicles had run over the swarm and the dead individuals were now being robbed by their living counterparts for the essence they had collected and were now contained in the special holding areas of the back legs.

Orchid Bees

Text and Photographs are taken from the forthcoming books:

The Natural History of Bosque del Cabo by Philip Davison

The Small World of Bosque del Cabo

The Colors of Bosque del Cabo

A Children’s Guide to Bosque del Cabo Rainforest Lodge

Temperature and Rainfall

Average M Temp High 87°F.  Average Daily Temp Low 74°F.

Average Daily Rainfall 0.58 ins.  Total Monthly Rainfall 18.05 ins

Average Daily Temp High 30.6°C.  Average Daily Temp Low 23.7°C.

Average Daily Rainfall 14.9 mm.  Total Monthly Rainfall 461.3 mm



One response to “Bosque del Cabo May 2011 Nature Review

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  1. Those bees are spectacular!


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