‘Butterflies and Spheres’ Trip Report

Written by Pat Morgan

Participants: Naturalist Guide Eugenio Garcia, Escort Guide Alison Olivieri, Judith and Joe Ippolito, Barbara Keeler and Wally Barton, Caroline Torres, Veronica Torres, Terry Farling, Pat Morgan and Steve Allen.

After a slightly disjointed start, with missed ‘rendezvouses’ in San Vito, our three­-car expedition finally met up at the Bomba in Palmar Norte. After filling up (on drinks and munchies), we set off for Big Wave Dave’s Butterfly Paradise in nearby Osa Mountain Village.  Getting there presented one minor obstacle for the Ippolito’s front­wheel drive van:  a mas empinada mountain road.  Spinning to a stop, unable to go further, passengers clambered into Wally’s truck and Alison’s SUV.  Not quite a Keystone Cops scene, but a little touch and go as we watched Wally “try” to slide into a ditch and then slip and slide back toward Alison’s car. He finally prevailed in moving uphill and forward without further incident and we sallied forth juntos.

Butterfly Paradise (Photo by Pat Morgan)

Butterfly Paradise (Photo by Pat Morgan)

Big Wave Dave, a transplant from Ocean City, Maryland, has built Butterfly Paradise “from scratch.”  He now has about 30 species of butterflies in his enclosure, fed and nurtured by specific plant species. A talkative chap, Dave gave an excellent presentation, moving throughout the enclosure, showing Morpho pupae at their dinner leaves, pupae emerging from cocoons, along with an abundance of information on butterfly diets, habitat in the wild, and life cycles.  Eugenio and others also provided tidbits of information, i.e., the fact that only one group of butterflies — “cracker” or “brush-footed butterflies” (all in in the genus Hamadryas) — can make a clicking sound used in territorial displays. Dave, using dead and dried butterflies, explained and demonstrated their flight mechanism while some of us, ears still listening, were chasing butterflies with our cameras.

Dave in the Orchid Enclosure (Photo by Pat Morgan)

Dave in the Orchid Enclosure (Photo by Pat Morgan)

Several Scarlet Macaws, high up in the flaming yellow Colorados that had showered us with a flower storm of yellow petals, squawked a farewell before we departed back down the mountain to enjoy an excellent lunch at the Heladeria Diquis in Palmar Norte.

Afterwards, having lost a bit more time to chasing butterflies than anticipated, we chose to go to the close-by Parque de Esferas in Palma Sur to view a collection of Stone Spheres (instead of journeying further to Finca Seis closer to Sierpe where the giant spheres are allegedly left in situ). Eugenio Garcia shared all his archeological knowledge and experience about these mysterious rocks, suggesting a future trip to Bolas near Buenas Aires where it is believed the granite from which these stones were hand-chiseled was quarried some 1500 years ago.

Pat's Healing Ceremony (Photo by Barbara Keeler Barton)

Pat’s Healing Ceremony (Photo by Barbara Keeler Barton)

Also, Eugenio facilitated a healing ceremony on one of the spheres, Pat Morgan being the recipient, after explaining it is believed the spheres hold and channel a lot of power.  Whether it was the power of suggestion or the power of the spheres, Pat felt a little less pain afterwards.

Hot and sweaty after being down at sea level, the expeditioners returned to the fresh air of San Vito, all in agreement that it was indeed a fun and informative day of learning and camaraderie.  Those who did not jump on the invitation to come missed out on a great trip.

Spheres, Butterflies and Maybe a Bat Falcon

Heliconius erato petiverana

Heliconius erato petiverana. Photo by Harry Hull.

Please join us next Saturday, Jan. 4, for a Day Trip to nearby Palmar Sur and Palmar Norte. In Palmar Sur our leader, Eugenio Garcia, will show us a good spot to see the mysterious, ancient stone spheres of Costa Rica and discuss several current theories about their creation and use. We’ll also visit Butterfly Paradise at Osa Mountain Village and have lunch in Palmar Norte.

Although this is not a real ‘birding trip’, we could see some interesting species along the way. Frankly, we’re operating on the assumption that birders are curious folk and hope this trip will be of interest to many of you.

Costs include a $15 (or C7,500) per person admittance fee to the butterfly enclosure (children 5 and under are free) plus gas sharing, lunch money and an optional gift for Eugenio’s time and effort. Other necessities include binoculars, camera, sunscreen, water, etc.

Photo of stone spheres from www.templeilluminatus.com.

Photo of stone spheres from http://www.templeilluminatus.com.

The limit is 15 participants so please let us know ASAP if you would like to come along and if you are willing to drive by sending an email to: sanvitobirdclub@gmail.com. We’ll send out an itinerary and arrange carpooling. Hope to see you there!

If you have not renewed your membership or joined for 2014, this is perfect opportunity to do so! Resident Memberships are C10,000 per person; International Memberships are C7,500.

Visit to Butterfly Paradise

Sigue en espanol

Recently, four SVBC members spent the morning visiting Butterfly Paradise, part of a development called Osa Mountain Village about halfway between Palmar Norte and Ojochal on the Pacific Coast. This is an easy drive from San Vito and the views from the road going up the hill are breathtaking.

View from Osa Mountain Village. Photo by Harry Hull.

Dave Fishell, the owner-designer-builder of this new outdoor butterfly vivarium, gave a brief talk on his ongoing efforts to manage a natural environment for his winged charges while keeping track of species counts and hatching pupas. Butterfly life cycles are complicated, involving egg-laying on specific host plants, the eating machines we know as caterpillars, pupation periods and the dramatic emergence of a re-arranged life form: the adult butterfly.

He has exciting plans to expand with an adjacent, open air hummingbird garden. We spotted a Bat Falcon perched across the road, Swallow-tailed Kites swooping overhead and heard many other birds vocalizing in the adjacent forest so we are rooting for Dave to create a birding destination as well.

A thrilling experience for would-be or even accomplished natural history photographers, we plan to offer this new day trip whenever interest is expressed by members and friends. In fact, we were so inspired we’re working on a new photo gallery for this website of butterfly beauties commonly seen in the Coto Brus region. We will announce this with a ‘post’ when it is ready to view so you won’t miss it.

Harry Hull with a new friend. Photo by Alison Olivieri

An added bonanza of this pleasant excursion is the proximity of three excellent restaurants in Ojochal: Citrus, Exotica and El Castillo. Also of note, we’ve been told by Jarvia Fishell, Dave’s wife, that Osa Mountain Village offers other activities including canopy tours, zip lines, overnight jungle excursions, vacation rental properties and more so we look forward to exploring this destination further with all of you!


Visita al paraíso de mariposas

Recientemente, 4 miembros del Club de aves de San vito  visitaron por la mañana  ‘’Butterfly Paradise’’, parte de la empresa llamada  ‘’Osa Mountain Village’’ aproximadamente a medio camino entre Palmar Norte y Ojochal en la costa pacifica.  Es un viaje sencillo en automóvil desde San Vito y por supuesto con unas vistas del camino subiendo la montaña que quitan la respiración.

Oruga de mariposa ‘morpho’. Photo by Harry Hull.

Dave Fishell , el dueño-diseñador–constructor de este nuevo vivario de mariposas al aire libre, nos dio una corta charla de sus continuos esfuerzos para ofrecerle un ambiente natural a sus amigos alados mientras intenta mantenerse al tanto de la cantidad de especies y pupas eclosionadas. Los ciclos de la mariposa son complicados, envuelven la puesta de huevos en plantas huéspedes especificas, las maquinas de comer que nosotros conocemos como orugas, periodos de población y el dramático nacimiento de una forma de vida  totalmente nueva que llamamos mariposa adulta.

También encontramos muchas plantas interesantes para expandirse con un jardín de colibrís al aire libre. Pudimos observar un halcón, Bat Falcon (Falco rufigularis) posado al otro lado del camino y Swallow-Tailed Kites (Gavilan Tijereta) descendiendo por nuestras cabezas en picada después de escuchar muchas vocalizaciones de aves en el bosque adyacente. Esperamos muy impacientemente que Dave cree un destino para ver aves.

Este lugar ofrece una experiencia inolvidable para fotógrafos interesados en la historia natural, planeamos ofrecer este viaje de un día, cuando el interés sea de nuestros miembros y amigos. De hecho nos ha inspirado tanto que estamos trabajando en una galería nueva para el sitio web de las bellas mariposas comúnmente vistas en el área de Coto Brus. Se anunciara con un mensaje cuando este listo, así que no se lo perderán.

Un agregado fantástico a esta excursión es la proximidad con tres restaurantes en Ojochal llamados: Citrus, Exotica y El Castillo, también se nos ha comentado por Jarvia Fishell esposa de Dave que ‘’Osa Mountain Village” ofrece otras actividades como canopy tours, zip lines (o cables para deslizarse en línea recta), excursiones al bosque nocturnas, renta de propiedades para vacacionar y mucho mas, por lo que esperamos explorar en mas detalle este destino con todos Uds.


Butterfly Paradise Day Trip

Please join us for a day trip Sunday, September 9, to Butterfly Paradise near the coastal town of Uvita and for lunch at Citrus Restaurant in Ojochal.

Hesperid Butterfly. Photo by Alison Olivieri

We will meet at 7:30 am at Finca Cantaros to carpool to this beautiful new butterfly garden, arriving there around 10:30 am. We will hear a talk by the designer, builder and owner Dave Fishell after which we will be free to take photos and look around on our own. The admission fee will be $10 per person with children under 5 admitted free.

At about 11:30, we will head up the coast to Ojochal for lunch at Citrus Restaurant. Lunch will cost about $20 per person. We plan to be back at Cantaros by 4:30 or 5:00 at the latest.

Please join us for this fun adventure: let us know if you plan to come so we can organize a carpool by sending an email to: sanvitobirdclub@gmail.com and DON’T forget to bring your binos and a camera.

Going to Heaven

Unidentified Butterfly (Photo by Alison Olivieri)

The other day, Liz Allen and I went to heaven. At least, if there is anyplace resembling heaven anywhere on earth, this would be it. And it’s only about two hours northwest of San Vito, near the town of Uvita on the Pacific Coast.

Heaven’s real name is “Butterfly Paradise” and it is part of the Osa Mountain Village community. It looks like a 16-sided circus Big Top but instead of clowns and jugglers, it’s full of butterflies. We found ourselves surrounded by shining blue Morpho Butterflies and many other drop-dead beautiful creatures going about their butterfly business.

For you butterfly enthusiasts, we saw Malachites, Swallowtails, Crackers, Postmen and Caligos. Not only that, we found caterpillars and a chrysalis with help from Dave Fishell who owns, designed and built “Butterfly Paradise”.

So, I say, let’s all go to heaven! Admission is $12 per person; children under 5 get in free. We can arrange a tour with Dave and a group discount for a Sunday morning in September. Let’s plan to spend some time in heaven and then have lunch at Citrus or Exotica, wonderful restaurants in nearby Ojochal. Send us an email if you are interested with dates that work for you and we’ll make a plan!