Celebrate Pollinators!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A happy bee on white milkweed vine, Sarcostemma clausum Pollinator Week begins June 17. As we witness the significant decline in honeybees, bumble bees, wild bees, butterflies and birds, let's take this week to plant wildflowers to help out the pollinators remaining. On Saturday, Steve Woodmansee is having a native plant sale at Silent Native Nursery, 16265 SW 210 Terrace, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Go to and find specific plants and what nurseries carry them. Look for...

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Rincon de la Veija Hike

Monday, June 10, 2013

After a night at Rincon de la ViejaLodge a short drive took me to thepark entrance and the beginning ofa 5km walking trail. Through the forest and acrossstreams. Leading up towards the open, mudpool and fumarole-dotted volcanoslope. Spectacular trees Tabebuia chrysantha floweringabove the forest canopy. Emerging from the forest the trail leads past boiling mud pots, belching fumaroles and bubbling pools, the whole area reeking of hydrogen sulphide. A spectacular and dramatic landscape. After ...

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A Hike Along Volcán Tenorio

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Volc n Tenorio - a beautiful and mildly strenuous5km hike along well-defined trails skirting theRio Celeste on the slopes of Volc n Tenorio Lush vegetation.Featured: Heliconia A species of Psychotria (great butterfly nectar plants) Another species of Psychotria Breathing the strong odor of hydrogen sulphide I followed the Rio Celeste past aspectacular waterfall along a trail dotted with . . . . . . tree ferns and palms. Across semi-secure bridges Until the reason for the...

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Aflame in the conservatory

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Warszewiczia coccinea. Blooming beautifully in the Conservatory is Warszewiczia coccinea, a small tree in the coffee family with fire engine red sepals that offset small yellow flowers. The name, a tongue twister, remembers Josef Warszewicz, a 19th Century botanist who found an enormous number of orchids and sent them to England to be described. Warszewicz was of Polish descent, born in 1812, but as a young man had to leave his homeland because of a revolution. He worked at the Botanical ...

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Blue Morphos: From Farm to Fairchild

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Butterfly Walk The Morpho breeding cage With a lot of inhabitants Laying eggs on their host-plant Which are collected daily, approx. 2000 eggs per day Michael has this task every day Eggs are hatched in a secure cage in the laboratory Small caterpillars are then returned to livinghost-plants and protected by fine mesh bags Once fully grown the mature caterpillars arereturned to a cage in the lab to pupate Blue Morpho pupae home at Fairchild And an adult Blue Morpho (Morpho peleides)...

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Searching for new nectar plant species

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I spent most of yesterday cruising the back-roads close to the Nicaraguan border hoping to come across new nectar plant species, but the whole lowland area is parched through lack of rain. One spectacular sight during the day was this beautiful Guanacaste tree, Enterolobium cyclocarpum, the national tree of Costa Rica. Following a particularly colorful sunset, viewed from the butterfly farm, the manager and his staff had some success in our search for the beetle we are trying to bring into ...

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Hiking in paradise

Monday, May 27, 2013

Heliconia orthotricha. Podocarpus National Park, covering 1,400 square kilometers or more than 900 square miles, in southern Ecuador, has spectacular plant and animal diversity -- more than 600 species of birds and 4,000 species of plants, 40 percent of which are endemic. So biologically rich, the park is called "the botanical garden of the Americas." Hiking here is one of life's great pleasures if you are nature nut like me. Butterfly on Miconia leaf. Philodendrons, ferns,...

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Another night in the forest

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Accompanied by a small Eco-tour group lead by the reserve manager, Ernesto Rodriguez, and our long-time friend and collaborator Mark Deering, we returned to the slopes of Volcan Orosi for another night of observations and photography. 'White witch' moth, almost 10" wingspan The air was a little less humid, the temperature a little higher and consequently we observed many different moths and other invertebrate species coming to our lights. A beautiful large katydid, approximately 4 inches ...

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A walk in the forest

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Despite the lack of rain at this lower elevation, a morning walk in the forest reveals many interesting plants, a few of which are featured here. Palms of many species proliferate, interspersed with towering, yellow-flowering Tabebuia chrysantha, Bursera simaruba and a host of others which I do not recognise from their bark alone. Martin...

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Roadside beauty in Ecuador

Friday, May 24, 2013

Swallowtail puddling to sipminerals. An astonishing number of flowers sparkle from the sides of a dirt road here is southern Ecuador. Bromeliads, gesneriads, palms and heliconias along with birds and butterflies. A huge orange flower of a liana called Guarnia dangled from its stem. Inside hairy orange bracts are tubular yellow corollas, making the whole cluster stand out among the foliage. Called a jungle cucumber, the flowers are pollinated by heliconias butterflies. Fuchsia and ...

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