Back from the Tropics

Cattleya skinneri, the National Flower of Costa Rica

We are just returned from a week in Costa Rica where we sought warmth and refuge from the winter cold.  We went through multiple climate zones in Costa Rica and sought out as many of the country’s birds, flowers and other wildlife as we could in such a short time.  All told our guide counted 117 birds species in our various explorations.

Slaty-tailed Trogon

But more about Costa Rica in subsequent posts.

Meanwhile, back in Maryland, the weather gods reacted by providing a serious warm spell while we were gone.  When I looked around this morning it was still cold and dreary but almost all the snow had melted and things were starting to grow.  The Winter Aconite were among the first to show color, which is usually the case.

Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) popping out

The first two Crocus have popped up in the lawn.  I don’t know the variety but it’s like a white and purple species type.

First Crocus of Spring

This is appropriate to see because my first son was born 35 years ago today (Happy Birthday Jonathan!) and I remember seeing the first crocus on that day 35 years ago.

The snowdrops have been having a field day.  They are multiplying in the woodsy little area that I put them in.

Snowdrops multiplying

However, now that I see them fully open, it’s clear from the petal markings that they are the Giant Snowdrop type rather than the nivalis as I have them labeled.

Giant Snowdrop (Galanthus elwesii)

Or maybe the rest will be nivalis — we’ll have wait and see.  We can’t lose in either case.

The plants that went from barely visible to fully out were the Witch Hazels.  Once they start to unfold the petals it happens really fast.

Chinese Witch Hazel (Hamamelis mollis) at full bloom

Witch Hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia) 'Diane'

Even with all this growth starting the fickle weather people have given us snow again this evening.  It’s calling for 8 inches and I’m voting for much less.  We are right on the edge of the snowstorm and it could go either way…

4 comments on “Back from the Tropics

  1. Randy

    John,

    Loved the Trogen, I have seen two species of them and not this one. Nice bird list too, we got around that many on our week in Belize last year. I have a birding friend that spent two weeks in Costa Rica with experts, he is one also, the tally around 750 species!

    1. jw

      Our group was diverse and had a more general mix of activities, but our guide said that he had just gotten back from working a birding group and they tallied over three hundred in three days. I saw your posts on Belize and that is on my list to visit someday as well.

  2. Les

    I am sure you took more than two pictures from Costa Rica. I hope you share more.

    1. jw

      Ah, yep. About 1400 pictures taken, doing some serious editing now. Some of the bird IDs are not easy…