As you’re probably well aware by now, I have a penchant for the unconventional. I tend to break rules more often than not – and this was definitely the case when we came upon a pair of roosting Tropical Screech Owls at a known roost site. It was mid morning, so the owls definitely weren’t going anywhere. Typically, owls tend to spend their daytime hours asleep in a safe, secure location. Which usually involves a thick web of branches, preventing any direct access to the sleeping birds. More importantly, the branches themselves help to conceal the birds’ presence, as their cryptic patterns make them seem to melt into the thicket. It is for this reason I chose to incorporate the branches in this image, as they are just as important to the owls as the owls are important to me – integral in their existence and necessary for their survival.
On another birding trip we happened upon a really unexpected sight. After hearing the call of the White-winged Becard, we excitedly tried to track the source of the call – only to realize that this rarely seen bird was nesting in a tree just above our heads! I had only seen this species twice at most previously, so it was a real thrill to comfortably observe the pair in and out of their nest. Here’s the male giving me the eye, his nest is the large mound of moss to the upper left of the frame.
I know I mention “birding” trips, but the reality is that there are copious other creatures that grab our attention. One member of the group called me over, insisting that she was seeing something that I had never seen before – and she was quite correct in her assumption. This medium sized beetle seemed well equipped for battle, with its underbelly “horn” specially designed to flip rival males over, in the battle for a mate. Not sure of the exact ID though.
As we were observing this beetle, I noticed some movement in the pond nearby. Now I was accustomed seeing the regular pond skimmers, which are generally small insects. So I was rather astonished to see a large spider enjoying the privilege of surface skimming (in fact, there is a pond skimmer immediately behind the spider for size comparison). Looking carefully, you’ll notice that the spider is maximizing its surface area that is in contact with the water, the hairs on its legs are helping out greatly in this cause. What a gorgeous little spider!