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Posts Tagged ‘tour’

momzipping2

That’s my mom humming along a zipline in Selvatura Park.  A guide is with her for extra weight because that particular cable (one of 18) is one kilometer in length.  If you get stuck in the middle of that line, you better have already gone to the bathroom.

alex-zipping1

 

momnalex1

Selvatura Park is a really cool place with loads to see and do, but they pay people to tell you all about that, so I refer you to their Web site, linked above, if you care to learn more.  The Ecolodge makes arrangements for our guests to visit there, and it’s something every visitor should do.  

Something every visitor might not be willing to do, however, is the “tarzan swing” toward the end of the zipline canopy tour.  But how can you know you won’t enjoy being shoved off a twenty-foot scaffold to swoop inches above a concrete platform, unless you try it?  I’m pleased to report that both my sister and mother are qualified to take an informed stance on the issue.  Here’s what they had to say:

(Video)

Mom

Alex

Afterward we visited the Hummingbird Garden, where we actually heard the birds humming.  The Nahuatl word for hummingbird is huitzil, an onomatopoeia describing the sound of their wings.  Imagine a dozen enormous bumblebees around you.  These weren’t skittish at all, and I was able to get quite close.

greenhummer

At present count, Costa Rica is home to some 51 species of hummingbird.  14 species are found in Monteverde.  This one is a coppery-headed emerald, and it is endemic to Costa Rica, meaning that it is found nowhere else.  Costa Rica, especially the Monteverde area, teems with such unique fauna.  

She looks to be a female; males of the species sport rich stains of copper plumage.  This difference is an example of sexual dimorphism, a common pattern in wildlife that is especially pronounced in birds.  Obviously one expects some vital anatomical differences between males and females of any species, but whether or not a male gets to appreciate them firsthand hinges on making a good first impression.  A good first impression, in turn, hinges on being physically conspicuous—that is, attractive.  I’m sure this is old news to every living thing on the planet, but it’s a rich topic, full of surprises.  Like this

greenhead1

Below is a violet sabrewing.  They’re big—the males push six inches—but they are not proportionally territorially aggressive in the wild.  In the garden, however, they were rambunctious, driving smaller species from feeders.  This is a male.  The female sabrewing has violet only on her throat, and is otherwise green and gray.  This guy doesn’t seem to fit his own description, either, but this is an effect of lighting and perspective.  The male sabrewing’s coruscating plumage plays the spectrum from B to V, and they don’t hold still very long, even when feeding.  This is the best shot I got.  

saberwing2

Here is a hummingbird nest, discovered on a tour of the Butterfly Garden.  My thumb is for scale.  

hummernest2

The Selvatura Butterfly Garden is a vast enclosure full of flowers and butterflies.  We explored it as a guided tour audience, but I didn’t listen to anything the guy said. No, that’s not true.  I remember only that at the end the poor kid bungled a Costa Rican joke that, due to his poor English and the fact that puns generally don’t translate, made absolutely no sense.

far-pavilions

There was a nursery of chrysalises in a cabinet, and clumsy newborn butterflies falling out.

nursery

And this is how they’re made.

bugporn

This butterfly frightens predators by mimicking a snake’s head.

 

Not a real snake

Not a real snake

That’s all for today.  Butterflies bore me.  Let’s go to the beach.

ellasbeach1

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