Costa Rican flowers, butterflies and bees

Orchid bee

This is a photo of an Euglossa orchid bee. Photographed in Alajuela, Costa Rica, on 14 March 2014.

Orchid bees are important pollinators in Costa Rica.

The orchid bee of the photo was probably attracted by the beautiful flowers nearby.

Flower, Alajuela

Flower, Alajuela

Zebra longwing

Apart from the postman butterfly which I already mentioned in another blog post, these flowers also attracted other butterflies, like this zebra longwing.

Butterfly, Costa Rica, 14 March 2014

There was also the butterfly on this photo. I am not sure about its species, as there are various orange-coloured butterflies in Costa Rica.

Stay tuned for more on the Poas volcano, and other Costa Rica stuff!

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Costa Rican butterflies and birds, 14 March

Postman butterfly, 14 March 2014

Still 14 March in Costa Rica. After the Baltimore oriole and the red-tailed squirrel, we saw this beautiful butterfly. It is a postman.

Before this butterfly, we had already seen an orchid bee.

And two red-tailed squirrels in a tree.

Many blue and white swallows.

Hoffmann's woodpecker

Then, a male Hoffmann’s woodpecker, cleaning its feathers on a tree.

A masked tityra in another tree.

Then, the postman butterfly, already mentioned. And its relative, a zebra longwing.

Rufous-collared sparrow

Then, two rufous-collared sparrows.

In a treetop, a great kiskadee and a hummingbird.

Blue and grey tanager

Blue and grey tanagers.

A buff-throated saltator.

A tropical kingbird.

Finally, a rose-breasted grosbeak.

Stay tuned, as there will be much more on Costa Rican wildlife on this blog.

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Dutch butterfly spring news

This video is called Astonishing European Butterflies and Moths.

The Dutch Butterfly Foundation reports that never before so many butterflies have been seen so early in March as during the mild spring weather of last weekend.

About 99% were butterflies which had wintered as adults, like small tortoiseshell and brimstone.

However, there were also already some which had wintered as pupae: large white, small white, green-veined white, holly blue and speckled wood.

Various large tortoiseshell individuals were seen as well. This butterfly species was considered to be extinct in the Netherlands. One should hope it is coming back.

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Flowers, birds and butterflies at the cemetery

Crocus flowers, cemetery, 9 March 2014

This is a crocus flower photo from today, at the cemetery.

Just before the entrance, a female chaffinch and a small tortoiseshell butterfly.

Great tits. Jays. Magpies. Wood pigeons.

Long-tailed tits in bushes. Nuthatches on trees.

A robin sings on top of a tombstone. A blackbird around graves.

Great spotted woodpecker, 9 March 2014

A great spotted woodpecker on a big tree.

A brimstone butterfly flies around.

Greenfinch, 9 March 2014

A young greenfinch in a tree.

Wood squill flower, 9 March 2014

Blue wood squill flowers on a grave.

Wood squill flowers, 9 March 2014

Wood squill flowers, cemetery, 9 March 2014

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First hummingbird hawk-moth of spring

This is a hummingbird hawk-moth video from Poland.

The Dutch Butterfly Foundation reports on Twitter that yesterday, 5 March 2014, the first hummingbird hawk-moth of this spring was seen in Breda.

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Good rare butterfly news in the Netherlands

This video is about male and female brown hairstreak butterflies.

The Dutch Butterfly Foundation reports about the brown hairstreak butterfly, a rare species.

A few years ago, in Steenwijk town, a sports ground was renovated, causing destruction of brown hairstreak biotope.

Pro-butterfly activists complained about this to local authorities. As a result of this, blackthorn bushes, on which the butterflies depend, were planted all over Steenwijk. This enables brown hairstreaks to live at many spots now; making them no longer dependent on one vulnerable area.

This winter, over 1,850 brown hairstreak eggs were found in Steenwijk. A record number.

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Flowers, nuthatch, treecreeper at the cemetery

Crocus, 2 March 2014

This is a photo of a crocus flower from today, when we went to the cemetery.

Crocus, cemetery, 2 March 2014

Crocus and fly, 2 March 2014

The crocus flowers attracted small insects, like flies (the one on the photo was not much bigger than a fruit fly).

Many birds singing. A short-toed treecreeper climbing up a small tree, just outside the cemetery grounds.

Nuthatch, 2 March  2014

Just inside the cemetery grounds, a nuthatch on a branch.

Greenfinch, great spotted woodpecker, great tit, robin sounds.

Wood pigeons. A magpie. Blue tits. Jays.

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Birds, bees, butterflies earlier in mild winter weather

This video says about itself:

Up Close: Andrena Vaga Bee Digs an Impressive Hole

2 Feb 2014

Andrena is the largest genus in the family Andrenidae, and is nearly worldwide in distribution, with the notable exceptions of Oceania and South America. With over 1,300 species, it is one of the largest of all bee genera. Species are often brown to black with whitish abdominal hair bands, though other colors are possible, most commonly reddish, but also including metallic blue or green.

Body length commonly ranges between 8 – 17 mm with males smaller and more slender than females, which often show a black triangle (the “pygidial plate”) at the abdominal apex. In temperate areas, Andrena bees (both males and females) emerge from the underground cells where their prepupae spend the winter, when the temperature ranges from about 20°C to 30°C. They mate, and the females then seek sites for their nest burrows, where they construct small cells containing a ball of pollen mixed with nectar, upon which an egg is laid, before each cell is sealed. Andrena usually prefer sandy soils for a nesting substrate, near or under shrubs to be protected from heat and frost.

Andrena females can be readily distinguished from most other small bees by the possession of broad velvety areas in between the compound eyes and the antennal bases, called “facial foveae”. They also tend to have very long scopal hairs on the trochanters of the hind leg.

Some people say spring starts officially on 1 March. Some say 21 March. Astronomers say between 19 and 21 March.

Though it is still winter now according to many viewpoints, mild winter means that in the Netherlands, many birds and insects are unusually early, Vroege Vogels radio said today.

Andrea vaga bees are already flying. So are large earth bumblebee queens.

Some butterfly species fly already: peacock, red admiral, brimstone, small tortoiseshell. Not that surprising for these species, as they winter as adults, and will start flying when temperature allows.

A bit more unusual are other butterfly species which already fly now: small white and speckled wood. These species winter as pupae. Apparently, mild temperatures make for a quicker metamorphosis.

Skylarks and chaffinches sing already.

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Caterpillar wants to become a moth, video

This is a video about a caterpillar in a garden in the Netherlands.

This privet hawk moth larva dug a hole in the ground on 8 September 2013. To bury itself underground; probably for pupating.

Stefan de Groot made the video.

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