On my just-finished Costa Rica tour, we spent a half day at Tapantí National Park, a lush area of cloud forest habitat on the Caribbean slope at 1300-1400 meters elevation.
On the way there, we stopped just short of the national park at the upper end of a vast area of sun-grown coffee. While the bird activity was our main focus, I couldn't help but notice this odd fungus-like growth on a twig next to the road.
I looked a little closer and was amazed to see that what looked like fungal strands was in fact the many antennae of a colony of nymphal crickets or katydids. (Click on the photo to open a window with a full-sized image.) What are these?
We saw some great birds up in the cloud forest, such as Spangle-cheeked Tanager, Black-bellied Hummingbird, Barred Hawk, and Red-faced Spinetail at a nest, but there is so much to see here.
This is a Black-faced Solitaire on its nest, a mossy cup (almost surely lined with tree fern bark scales) on a bank above the road.
There are a lot of orchids here, but few were blooming. This one appears to be Elleanthus glaucophyllus, and it may be a hummingbird-pollinated species.
It was sunny enough for some butterfly activity, but this isn't the best time of year for them. This is a Harmonia Satyr, Hermeuptychia harmonia.
This clump of lichen was particularly attractive.
Finally, an amazing wasp nest up in a tree. I suspect they are nocturnal and were roosting by day.
What a gorgeous forest, and I already look forward to my tour here next March.