Sunday, February 1, 2009

Butterflies from Nicaragua

Today some photos of butterflies I found around the Spanish school here in Laguna de Apoyo. I haven’t been out much, devoting all my time in the mornings to the study of Spanish, and most of my afternoon time to practicing what I’ve learned, and just hanging out, socializing with the other students. The Laguna de Apoyo has a pleasant, relaxing atmosphere.

This afternoon I went out for a walk on the hillside behind the house. I was joined by Simba, one of the dogs here, who cheerfully ran ahead whenever I stealthily tried to approach a butterfly. With my old Zeiss bins I was doubly disadvantaged: they’re great, but they don’t close focus. I should have brought the Nikon Monarchs instead. With those and without the dog, I probably would have identified more than the meager 10% of butterflies I saw this time. I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of species I encountered here, even though I haven't been able to identify the majority of them just yet.

The butterfly at the top is called a Four-spotted Sailor (Dynamine postverta). It’s a male; the females have brown with white stripes on the upperside.

This is the underside of the same butterfly. It landed on the porch of the school during our coffee break.

This is a Two-eyed Eighty-eight (Callicore pitheas), a beautiful species with red and black bands on the upperside. I saw a brilliant fresh specimen also, but only this tattered thing was willing to pose for a picture.

A familiar species throughout Central America, this Gray Cracker (Hamadryas februa) perched on a tree at breast level. An easy photo target.

This is some brown-skipper spp, but I don’t know which one. It’s quite worn obviously, but if anyone can help me identify it, I’d appreciate hearing from you!

Tomorrow, Aura (one of the language teachers here and also a field tech on the Golden-cheeked Warbler project) and myself will go out looking for more butterflies in these parts. I will take a short break from my language studies and focus a bit more on birds and butterflies. Next weekend, Jeffrey and I plan to help folks in El Salvador with shorebird counts, and then I will return for a last week of language studies here in Nicaragua.

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