Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Butterfly World: Part 2

Last week I shared a couple photos of Blue Morpho butterflies — but unfortunately they were too shy to show their colors in a way where I could photograph them. And to my rescue, this week, came my friend and fellow HP retiree John Meyer with some photos from a butterfly farm in San Jose, Costa Rica. They export pupa around the world. Thank you John.

It appears that the butterflies in Costa Rica also enjoy bananas.

Even if the bananas look overripe or even rotten.
This week finds me physically in Las Vegas for the Photoshop World Conference. It has just concluded and it was even greater than the one I attended two years ago. They just keep getting better and better. I always learn so much and try to put that new knowledge to good use. Some of the new techniques I have employed below. I hope you like the results.

The next stop in our tour of Butterfly World was the bird aviary. Here I captured a stunning hummingbird. From this angle it appeared to have a black throat — and there was no such hummingbird in the guide book although I know they exist in nature. Of course, their iridescent feathers sometimes show color in one direction and none in the other — simply a matter of how the light strikes them.

I love hummingbirds and have a feeder at home. Mizuki thinks they are big bugs and thus does not share my fondness for them. She won't fill the feeder so when I am traveling, I fear our local hummers go hungry.

I am used to hummingbirds flying about — but I am not used to huge hummingbirds entering my airspace. This big guy is a Sparkling Violet Ear Hummingbird. This was the largest hummingbird I had ever seen until, moments later, the docent pointed out an even bigger pair flying about at the top of the aviary — which she identified as Jamaican Mango hummingbirds. I would name them the 747 of hummingbirds.

This gorgeous bird is a Red-legged Honeycreeper. I could not believe the saturation of his blue feathers. Sorry, photography terminology creeping in — I could not believe how brightly colored his blue feathers were.

Then we spotted this plain-Jane bird that looked like a canary that had its feathers bleached. The guide book does not tell me its name so I will call it the White Canary. It and its mate (hard to tell which was male and which was female) were pulling on small twigs which I assumed was destined for their nest.

I am not certain but I think this little cutie is the female Madagascar Red Fody. She seems to have a bit of a sweet tooth too — since she was feeding from the hummingbird feeder.

And here we encountered a Jamaican Streamertail Hummingbird. This was truly one of my favorites. Unfortunately, his tail is so long that it catches the slightest breeze and flutters in the wind — resulting in motion blur in the photo.

This must be the dining hall for Lady Gouldian Finches. Aren't they gorgeous?

Another honeycreeper but this one is a Yellow-Legged Honeycreeper. Did you know that many years ago a flock of honeycreepers reached Hawai`i, probably caught in a big storm and blown all the way to the islands? There they multiplied and began to diversify into different ecological niches. Physical changes in the length of their bills and other attributes evolved to take advantage of survival opportunities. Now many of those honeycreeper subspecies are endangered due to rats, cats and mongooses.

And have you noticed how many of these birds simply blended into the environment — exactly how they do in the wild? But I bet that Mother Nature did not put any black pipes in the African savanna where this Red-Cheeked Cordon Bleu Finch would have lived.

Another Lady Gouldian Finch — this one seems a bit shy.

We conclude this week with the avian equivalent of the Roman Baths. Cute how the one on the right was in constant motion while the one of the left watched. Voyeurism in the aviary?

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com