The first time I saw photos of Slime Mold fruiting bodies, the equivalent of fungal caps, I couldn’t help thinking about life on another planet. The fact that these organisms actually turn into a slowly creeping slime when they are not in the reproductive stage sure helps my mental image of something alien.
These sporangia, a more technical name for the reproductive structure, are barely over one millimeter in length (one mm is about 1/24th of an inch). I am not very good at finding them, but there is a large and enthusiastic group of hobbyists and scientists that are constantly publishing photos of Myxomycetes, the technical name for the Slime Molds… they are good at finding these little marvels!
These are among the first ones I have photographed. As you know, I am more of a landscape/wildlife photographer but… Hey, one must adapt to pandemic life! I was lucky to spot them growing on some rotting wood logs on the back of my garden.
My friend Federico Valverde was nice enough to identify them for me. He is a retired biologist that has found new fire for his scientific brain finding Slime Molds and photographing them. These beautiful Slime Mold species are named Arcyria incarnata.
Visiting a new area in Costa Rica nearly always means a change in the avian species around. Granted, some birds seem to pop up anywhere but there are always nice surprises.
The place we were staying was on the slope of a hill, with a long balcony overlooking the coast. A few feet below the balcony the Stachytarpheta shrubs were busy with hummingbirds flying non stop.
The high viewpoint revealed the beautiful design on the tails of female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. But I was not too successful in getting eye-level shots of the males… well, I already had those anyway from their seasonal visit to my garden’s Stachytarpheta.
Soon I noticed two species I had not photographed before: the Cinnamon Hummingbird and the Blue-throated Goldentail. The first, kindly chose a well-located perch and posed for me. The Goldentail I shot perched on a dry inflorescence… enough to show its blue throat, but it was again the elevated viewpoint from the balcony that provided a nice picture of both its thick red bill and its magnificent Golden Tail.
Every year, when migratory Vireos are getting ready to fly back to their breeding habitats in North America, they make sure to feed on the seeds of Bocconia frutescens. When the fruits open, the black seeds, covered partially with a red aril, are suspended on the middle of a ring… ready to eat.
Thanks to a partial lifting of our restrictions, and a couple days of good weather, we got the chance of visiting Waterfall Gardens, a private park and Zoo in the Costa Rican mountains. We went there on a weekday and I knew we would find almost nobody there.
A few weeks ago my friend Marco Saborío, a very experienced nature photographer, told me there were several nesting Least Grebe couples on a pond. I love the piercing yellow eyes of these diving birds but I had not seen them nesting before: I was in for a nice surprise! Continue reading Nesting (Cute!) Least Grebes→