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