Black and blue beauties

A favorite activity to entertain the California grandkids is a visit to the indoor tropics at Como Conservatory, where the warmth and humidity feel great after numbing toes and fingers on the long walk from the parking lot.

One side of the conservatory houses the Sunken Garden, fern room, orchid greenhouse, and other tropical plant rooms

One side of the conservatory houses the Sunken Garden, fern room, orchid greenhouse, and other tropical plant rooms.

The other side houses a tropical jungle room stocked with all kinds of tropical animals, large trees, a pond with some huge fish.  It also doubles as an indoor aviary.

The other side houses a tropical jungle room stocked with all kinds of tropical animals, large trees, a pond with some huge fish. It also doubles as an indoor aviary.

High humidity in this room makes photography challenging.

High humidity in this room makes photography challenging.

My granddaughter was terrified of this four foot catfish.

My almost-two yr old granddaughter was terrified of this four foot catfish.  This is a black and white beauty — the black and blue ones come later.

But the kids enjoyed watching leafcutter ants move leaf pieces to their underground fungus garden.

But the kids enjoyed watching leafcutter ants move leaf chunks to their underground fungus garden (left side).

Even on a clear, sunny day, the light in this indoor jungle room is rather weak, and dark objects are particularly hard to photograph.  The kids got up-close looks at two spectacular black-and-blue beauties.

Believe it or not, this frog is called the "green and black poison dart frog"

Believe it or not, this frog is called the “green and black poison dart frog”

It seems to be mis-named, but there are many color variants of this species, and its latin name, Dendrobates auratus, implies that there are golden-brown and black forms as well as green and black, or blue and black.  They are found all over Central and Northern South America in rain forest.  This is one of the larger poison dart frogs, probably measuring about two inches in length.

Had to use the very highest ISO on the camera to get this photo without a flash.  Kind of fuzzy as a result.

Had to use the very highest ISO on the camera to get this photo without a flash. Kind of fuzzy as a result.

Standing up from the rock crevice where I found the frog, I almost hit my head on the branch where this bird was sitting.

A very distinctive eyering, orange breast feathers, and white under-tail feathers are this bird's trademarks.

A very distinctive eye ring, orange breast feathers, and white under-tail feathers are this bird’s trademarks.

Wishing to avoid me, he immediately flew off and landed on another big branch.  I could just barely see him against the dark background, but the camera lens had no trouble picking him (or her) out.

The iridescent blue stood out in the photo.  I couldn't actually see it in the room.

The iridescent blue stood out in the photo. I couldn’t actually see it in the room.

The White-tailed Trogon (Trogon chionurus) is native to the humid tropical forest in Panama and Colombia.  I have seen this bird several times when I have visited this room, but never really paid attention to the striking iridescence of the feathers on its back and tail.

This really is a black-and-blue beauty.

This really is a black-and-blue beauty!

Trogons are fun to photograph because they don’t move around much and have such beautiful feathers and interesting poses.  In the wild they are mainly fruit eaters, but also take whatever insects happen to cross their paths as they wait patiently on their branch perch.

More on the trip to the Como Conservatory jungle room later….

5 thoughts on “Black and blue beauties

  1. Gorgeous photos, Sue. Lovely place to take the kids, too. I really enjoy visiting conservatories and aviaries, myself. Both the frog and the trogan are stunners!

      • I know exactly how you feel. My daughter and SIL were here for 4 days, and they are in their 30’s, and I still feel whipped! They wore me slap out, birding, eco-touring, cooking, visiting, and planning a last holiday fling with the rest of our family. Man. Kids. Even GROWN ones. I need to sleep for a week, I think!

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