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Friday, May 17, 2024

Eyes on Costa Rica and Weather Records - April 2024

Click on images to enlarge.

During April, visits to this blog were received from the following 15 countries:


Each country is followed in brackets by the total number of visits received since records first started to be kept in November 2012.

From the time I started to keep track, the total number of countries and non-independent jurisdictions from which visits have been received remains at 136. Of this number, 13 are non-independent jurisdictions - e.g. Puerto Ricoan unincorporated territory of the United States from which 13 visits have been received.

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The following is a summary of weather for April in the area where we live:


The temperatures are shade temperatures. The average daytime high in April this year was slightly higher than April last year. At the same time, total rainfall during April this year was about 1 inch (25 mm) higher than April last. There were 10 days with measurable rain in April this year. There were only 3 such days last year.

Information on current and recent weather conditions, climate change and more in various parts of Costa Rica can be obtained from the website of IMN: Instituto Meteorológico Nacional de Costa Rica (Spanish) or National Institute of Meteorology (English). IMN also has a Facebook page which may be of interest.

Sunday, May 5, 2024

El Yigüirro and White Wing Wasps

(Click on images to enlarge).

The national bird of Costa Rica is the yigüirro (Turdus grayi), also known as the clay-colored robin. This bird is widespread and common up to 2,400 m. although uncommon in the northwest pacific.

We have them around our house and their singing heralds the start of the rainy season. You can read more about them hereTheir song is very similar to the red-breasted robin (aka American robin) found in Canada and the USA.

Recently some small wasps with white wing tips decided to take up residence on one of our outdoor wall ornaments. They built a small structure (about 3” high) and are busy going in and out of the cells - laying eggs I guess.

The nest has not increased in size and they don’t bother us. They just go about their waspy business.


I’m guessing that they are white wing wasps. If anyone has an accurate ID, I would like to have it.

I made a video of the yigüirros singing one morning and also included some footage of the wasps.



Sunday, April 28, 2024

Eyes on Costa Rica Supplement - Who's Watching My Blog?

Click on images to enlarge.

Short answer: Not necessarily real people.

Preface

My blog includes a component provided by RevolverMaps which generates a rotating globe in the right hand sidebar** of the screen. Here is a screenshot:



** Note: The sidebar may not appear on smaller devices such as iPhones and SmartPhones.

The red dots on the globe indicate the locations of visitors to my blog. Behind the scenes, RevolverMaps also provides information which includes:

(1) identification of the country from which a visit was received;

(2) identification of any subdivision within the country (e.g. a state, province, etc.) from which the visit was received;

(3) identification of a city, town or other locale within the country/subdivision from which the visit was received; and,

(4) the date and time of the visit.
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This is where my current story begins.

On March 17 some very curious information emerged from RevolverMaps. Early in the morning on that day, my husband Lance routinely checked the blog to see whether RevolverMaps had recorded any overnight visits. As indicated by the following extract from the information provided by RevolverMaps, there was one from the United States, preceded by one from Russia, which in turn was preceded by one from Canada on March 16:


Looking further into the information provided by Revolver Maps, it became apparent that the visit from Russia originated in Moscow:



and that the visit from the United States originated in Ashburn, Virginia:



The times are all Costa Rica times. So, whoever visited from Moscow comfortably did so in the late morning Moscow time 10:38:59 (Moscow time is 9 hours ahead of Costa Rica) and whoever or whatever visited from Ashburn did so at an ungodly early hour of 03:38:59 (Ashburn time is 2 hours ahead of Costa Rica). Who in Ashburn, Virginia would be motivated to look at my blog at that hour?

Lance says it is extremely improbable that the visits to my blog from Russia and the United States would occur down to the second at precisely the same time. He thinks they probably occurred milliseconds apart - first from Russia, then from the United States. He also thinks that the visit from the United States was probably triggered by the visit from Russia. 

So why is Ashburn significant? According to Wikipedia, Ashburn is:

"... a major hub for US Internet traffic, due to its many data centres... "

Apparently, Ashburn hosts something like 70% of the world’s internet traffic.

Speculation: For security reasons, internet traffic from Russia is an issue the U.S. may feel obliged to surveil to the best of its ability. This could dictate that the powers that be (the NSA, CIA, Homeland Security, FBI or whatever agency) have one or more data centers in the Ashburn "hub" to routinely surveil traffic originating from Moscow.

So, what happened? Again speculating:

(1) Upon detecting "traffic" from Moscow to my blog, a data center in Ashburn automatically established its own link to "read" whatever might be attracting Moscow's attention and, with assistance from some form of artificial intelligence (AI), assess whether there might be a U.S. security risk.

(2) It is now more than a month later. Nobody has come knocking on my door. Undoubtedly, when AI read my blog, it did not detect any red flags. Whew! This time, I guess I passed muster. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Eyes on Costa Rica and Weather Records - March 2024

Click on images to enlarge.

During March, visits to this blog were received from the following 13 countries:


Each country is followed in brackets by the total number of visits received since records first started to be kept in November 2012.

From the time I started to keep track, the total number of countries and non-independent jurisdictions from which visits have been received remains at 136. Of this number, 13 are non-independent jurisdictions - e.g. Martinique (an Overseas Department and Region of France) from which 1 visit has been received.

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The following is a summary of weather for March in the area where we live:


The temperatures are shade temperatures. The average daytime high in March this year was significantly higher than March last year (about 3.9°F, 2.1°C higher). At the same time, total rainfall during March this year was significantly lower than last year (about 3.2 in., 88.5 mm lower). Moreover, while there were 10 days with measurable rain in March last year, there was only 1 such day this year.

Information on current and recent weather conditions, climate change and more in various parts of Costa Rica can be obtained from the website of IMN: Instituto Meteorológico Nacional de Costa Rica (Spanish) or National Institute of Meteorology (English). IMN also has a Facebook page which may be of interest.

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Ceviche, Fruit, Roses and an Armadillo

Click on images to enlarge.

Last week we joined our friends Diane and John for lunch at Casa Nosstra Bar & Grill in Grecia. I ordered ceviche with avocado - healthy and delicious and perfect for a hot day.


There are lots of recipes on line for ceviche so this would be easy to duplicate.

This is the largest mango tree I have ever seen and it’s loaded with mangos:


It is growing in front of the entrance to the Coopevictoria sugar cane and coffee processing plant, not far from where we live.

We had breakfast recently at the Victoria Cafeteria (next to the plant). Here’s my cafe mocha:



We too have a mango tree, although not as large but we will be enjoying plenty of mangos soon:


We also have roses:


Limes (not quite ripe):


Orchids:


And an avocado tree (obviously not ripe yet):


Finally, a mora bush (a type of blackberry):


We are early risers and up before the sun. About a week ago, Lance heard some rustling down in our garden. A flashlight revealed some sort of animal digging in a tire planter where I had lavender growing. Eventually the lavender was pushed out, roots and all, and we could see that it was an armadillo causing the damage.

The nine-banded armadillo is common and widespread in Costa Rica, in a variety of habitats, and is active by day or night. They eat fruit, invertebrates, carrion and whatever grows under lavender plants!

Here’s the video:



Monday, March 11, 2024

Lunch - Victoria Cafeteria, Grecia

Click on images to enlarge.

We ate lunch at Victoria Cafeteria back in 2022 and have eaten breakfast there several times since then. We recently returned again for another lunch (almuerzo).

First up - drinks. I had the herbal lemonade:


Lance ordered a cold cappuccino, which came loaded with whipping cream on top. I forgot to take a photo.

My choice - salmon with Asian sauce.


Lance opted for shrimp and corvina (a white fish).

As you can see, the portions are quite large and we asked for takeaway (para llevar) so we had two more meals for dinner the next day.

This restaurant is in one of the original wooden Costa Rican houses with a large wrap-around porch. It’s a lovely setting.

It is situated beside the CoopeVictoria sugar cane and coffee processing plant. This is a view of the entrance to the plant:


Here is a short video I made of recently harvested cane waiting to go into the plant:


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Off Topic

ARCR (Association of Residents of Costa Rica) has published its 2024 March/April issue of its El Residente magazine.


A PDF version of the magazine can be viewed HERE. It contains many articles and references which may be of general interest or to those planning a visit or move to Costa Rica.

Monday, March 4, 2024

Eyes on Costa Rica and Weather Records - February 2024

Click on images to enlarge.

During February, visits to this blog were received from the following 14 countries:


Each country is followed in brackets by the total number of visits received since records first started to be kept in November 2012.

From the time I started to keep track, the total number of countries and non-independent jurisdictions from which visits have been received remains at 136. Of this number, 13 are non-independent jurisdictions - e.g. Macau (a special administrative region (SAR) of China) from which 1 visit has been received.

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The following is a summary of weather for February in the area where we live:

More generally, in the area of the Central Valley where we now live, we have found temperatures to be comfortably mild year round. In contrast to the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, humidity has not been a factor governing our comfort level. So, there has been no need for air conditioning. Similarly, and although the situation can differ at altitudes higher than where we live, there has been no need for indoor heating. 


Information on current and recent weather conditions, climate change and more in Costa Rica and various parts of Costa Rica can be obtained from the website of IMN: Instituto Meteorológico Nacional de Costa Rica (Spanish) or National Institute of Meteorology (English). IMN also has a Facebook page which may be of interest.