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insects costa rica

So, I thought this bug was very attractive when it showed up on my door screen the other day.

It’s about the 3″ across.  A moth?  Reminds me of a pair of oak tree helicopters.

wildlife costa rica

I was so surprised to find the next day that it had changed into these beautiful velvety colors.

costa rica insects

And by the third day, I can only surmise that it’s a very short life cycle.

 

visit playa samara beach

The raging Mala Noche river received a lot of rain last night, a real good soaker.  And this morning it flows for the first time since November.  After the “first flush” the bay is brown with soil eroded from the river banks above.  Not so this morning.

Although it’s unfortunate that a lot of soil is lost in the bay, we take it as a good sign that the ground is saturated with rain water working its way down to the watershed.  In a normal year, we would have two or three flushes by the first of June but after our drought last year, we have a lot of dry earth to soak.

wildlife costa rica

While on our morning walk today, we encountered a beautiful Tarantula crawling up a rock wall.  Suddenly this huge and vicious insect came in and in a bare few moments TOOK HIM OUT.  Wrestled him to the floor, killed him and then flew a way.  Turns out he’s a Tarantula Hawk Wasp and this is his modus operandi.  Sorry the photo is so bad – I guess I was a little shook up.  Nobody gets a free ride, not even Tarantulas.

cashew fruit

Our cashew fruits are ripe on the tree.  About the size and shape of a small apple, this juicy fruit is called Maranon in Costa Rica – the n needs a tilde but I can’t get my keyboard to cooperate.  The fruit is juicy with a lot of texture and the skin is a little waxy.  Makes a great smoothie but I like to eat them fresh.

Each fruit is host to a single cashew nut hanging from the bottom but beware.  An un-informed friend of mine recently tried to eat one raw and broke out into a fiery rash that lasted nearly two weeks.  Don’t try this at home.  The nut is correctly processed through a number of steps including fire to get rid of the skin, shell, and caustic coatings that my friend encountered.  I’m amazed they’re not even more expensive to buy than they are.  Gretchen processed them once and later offered them to us.  “Would you care for ONE cashew?”

In Costa Rica, Spring precedes Winter. We might be seeing right now the first signs of the coming rainy season. Rising humidity – we’ve 4 cloudy starless nights in a row – and precipitation – Tina says it rained the other day in Santo Domingo, just 4 klicks away but I didn’t feel a drop – have encouraged the trees to bloom.

sandal

The Sandal is usually the first and easily recognizable with its clumps of small salmon colored blossoms, possibly my favorite.

a- roble flor  a- roble bark   a- roble blossom

The Roble Sabana – Pink Trumpet tree – comes in white and pink with trumpet flowers on a dark striated bark. I always thought these were two different trees until I took a closer look.

a- boug flor

But a third one, quite rare, had me baffled – bright fuschia. Maybe you’ve seen it on the way to Nicoya, west side of the road.  I can’t find it in any of Steve’s books.

a- boug bloss

Closer examination solved the mystery, I think.

sandal

It’s actually a Verenero – Bougainvillea vine – wrapped around an Indio Desnudo – Naked Indian tree. Huh?!

The other surprise is that all of these trees, that usually come into flower in succession over the Spring weeks, are all blooming at once this year. Even the bright yellow Cortez Amarrillo – Yellow Cortez – and the flaming red Malinche – Poinciana – have open flowers right now. What does that portend for our coming Invierno – Winter?

samara cleanup

It seems like everyone was involved in last Saturday’s cleanup of the village of El Torito and Playa Carrillo. Busloads of volunteers from UNA (Univerisida Nacional de Costa Rica) and Florida (our local bottler) collected trash and garbage from roadsides and yards. The idea is to eliminate places for standing water and breeding potential for mosquitos.

IMG_20160305_115232

The volunteers and staff came back on Monday to continue their work in Sámara. Garbage trucks from the Municipalidad hauled it all away. This is what a “national emergency” looks like in Costa Rica: funds for equipment, gasoline, lunch, garbage bags and gloves.

And lots of volunteers.

Thank-you to all who helped.