Monday, March 23, 2009

Iris, delights and another mystery pic

These pics show the range of iris colour visible on the hillside now. They're all over the midslopes of windsurfer and north hill now, below and some metres above the tree line. I think they're all Vartan's Iris and I'm not sure (unless I actually follow one the whole way through) but it seems they, or at least some of them start off deep in colour and then become paler as they develop. Some looked even more washed out

Quiet in terms of birds today. Somewhat overcast with a taste of dust in the air. Stone curlews at dusk, blackbird song on and off through the day including the garden, quite intense sunbird activity in the Bauhinia this morning, laughing doves and house sparrows in the street, Eurasian jay briefly spotted in the woods, chukar partridge heard, swifts heard over bat cave area about sunset. Hooded crows heading home to roost.

Weather: Time of walk: ~ 5 p.m. temp ~18 degrees C humidity 30% and rising rapidly, winds south and south easterly, light, much of the day, veering to west after 5 p.m. Range: 21 + falling to 6 degrees C as cooler damper air arrived over the evening.

These lily/garlic types were quite plentiful on the west facing slopes of windsurfer hill (yesterday) but I did not see any on the south facing slopes of the north hill today

What would a blog entry be without a caterpillar? Moshe's pic but found by YT on south facing slope of north hills today. It seemed everywhere I stopped today I saw some caterpillar- the super hairy ones on the burnet, (Moshe calls them 'Mohawks' now), the 'brown bear' (the one we photographed in gazelle field last week), the 'red striped green' and this cute little chocolate colour job. No burnet moth caterpillars seen today though.

Alcea acaulis Stemless hollyhock, found on south facing hillside today (and also close to the watercourse last wednesday) One of my favourite members of the mallow family for its lushness. Flowers almost at ground level. Lots of common mallow also blooming now, colour less intense than these. Akiva

And now the solution of yesterday's mystery! Another great 'bug' shot from Moshe. A grown bush cricket Isophya but haven't found which exact species.. (family Tettigoniidae) so all those who said 'caterpillar' had a feel for it! 'Cricket' or 'grasshopper' would have been good enough for a score but better luck next time:) I zoomed in on those neat markings just at the beginning of the abdomen.

Any ideas? NOT an unwashed breakfast plate!

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