Sisters Singing to Ruffled Youth   Leave a comment

Philip Davison Nature Diaries. Bosque del Cabo Rain Forest Lodge.

Frog Chorus

Once again there have been several nights of rain over the past week.  It won’t be long before the rains become the norm and we move into seven months of the wet season.  The frogs have responded by turning up en masse.  The initial explosive Milky Frog, (Trachycephala venulosa), breeding period will reach an early peak and then they will disappear for the next eleven months, hidden out of sight deep in the vegetation and tree tops.  Throughout the dry season there have been the persistent calls of one or two Banana Frogs, (Dendropsophus ebreccatus).  The calls were in vain as no females were present to respond to them.  Now, however, over the past week many more males have turned up, each one setting up its territory on a seperate Water Hyacinth leaf.  The females have also turned up so the leaves should be covered in egg masses before too long.  Up in the tree tops the forlorn calls of one or two Red-eyed Green Tree Frogs, (Agalychnis callydryas), has turned into a chorus and I have already witnessed several egg laying episodes.  Another frog that has not been heard throughout the dry season turned up at the pond, the Small-headed Frog, (Dendropsophus microcephala).  At first glance it looks like a Banana Frog but it has a yellow line that runs down its sides and lacks the small bright yellow patch beneath the eye on the top jaw that is so distinctive of the Banana lookalike.

Small-headed Frog. Hylidae. Hylinae. Osa Peninsula. Costa Rica.

Small-headed Frog, (Dendropsophus microcephalus). Male.

Finding Rare Sisters

As the amphibian numbers increase, so do the butterfly numbers decrease.  There are still plenty around both in terms of individuals and species but over the next few months these will disappear and dwindle to only occasional sightings.  One butterfly I managed to get a photograph of this week was the Boeotia Sister, (Adelpha boeotia).

Boeotia Sister. Philip Davison.

Boeotia Sister, (Adelpha boeotia)

The genus: Adelpha, commonly known as the “Sisters”, is a notoriously difficult group to identify to species level.  The features distinguishing each species need to be seen in detail and that is generally only possible if they are at rest and that never seemingly is the case, they are very active, always on the wing.  Of course some are more distinct than others and when you are familiar with the species in your area that helps too.  A common feature of the genus is the white band traversing the dorsal surface of the wings which may extend over both wings or be replaced to a greater or lesser extent on the forewing by orange.  There are thirty species in Costa Rica and they are found in almost all terrestrial habitats.  They never occur in large numbers.  The adults feed on rotting fruit and I was lucky enough to find this individual on the ground feeding from fallen fermenting figs.

Disheveled Youth

On my day out walking the butterfly transect, as I returned across the bridge a juvenile Black-throated Trogon, (Trogon rufus), landed right beside my head.  The bridge traverses a ravine running through the canopy.  At this point you are essentially at the top of the trees.  The trogon looked just newly fledged.  Unfortunately I had a macro lens attached to the front of the camera which was set to photograph butterflies at close range.  I couldn’t miss the opportunity being presented though and with no time to change anything I just lifted the camera and pressed the shutter button.  As the flash went off, the young bird took to the air and disappeared.  But I did at least get one photo.

Black-throated Trogon. Felipe del Bosque. Bosque del Cabo.

Black-throated Trogon, (Trogon rufus). Juvenile

The trogons are fairly sedentary birds.  The male and female can normally be found very close to one another so if you find one then the other will not be too far away.  The plumage can be quite spectacular with the males being brighter than the softer colored females.  The Black-throated Trogon male has a bright metallic green head, back and upper chest.  The belly is bright yellow and of course it has the black throat after which it is named.  The bill is bright yellow and it has a blue eye ring.  The call is a soft trilling sound.  They feed on small fruits and insects.

Flower to Fruit

Some of the fruit trees around the grounds have been coming into flower over the last week.  Guavas, (Psidium gaujava), are native to Costa Rica but are cultivated all over the world.  They flower and fruit several times over the course of the year.  The white flowers are found singly and have a faint perfume.  Later the fruits appear.  They are green with a sweet pink flesh inside which contains the seeds.

Guava. Bosque del Cabo.

Guava, (Psidium guajava) Flower

Philip Davison Is a Biologist, Writer and Photographer Based in Costa Rica

Posted April 24, 2017 by felipedelbosque in Uncategorized

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