Monday, March 9, 2009

More flowers and caterpillars

A pretty pink white tufty bloom growing by valley road. Anyone know this? Click on it to zoom

Steadily all the asphodel flowers are becoming seedpods. Still many blooms out.

One of many ground nests of caterpillars. They make a low tent of silk on the ground and grow quite quickly under it.. we could see where they used to be when smaller, as they grew they moved up along the floor of the tent to a higher level. No idea what these will be.

(It did occur to me that the handsome hairy caterpillars on the thorny burnet might be six spot burnet caterpillars- these brilliant red and black moths are quite common in the summer here. (photo in the archives way back) I found one photo of the larvae and nope, no match, they're something else. We should bring back some of these caterpillars with their food plant and keep them through pupation.. there's a project for Moshe!)

Today we headed along valley road a little way, then cut through the pines towards the trail that leads to north valley. Scores of green orchid, Ophrys lutea under the pines there just down east of valley road as well as one Carmel bee orchid which was being overrun by ants. If it could speak: 'No, no, I'm trying to fake a *bee* here, not an ant, go away!' I found that primrose like flower again and made a point this time of noting the number of petals. Just four, which makes it probably a member of the cabbage family (related to others in bloom, buckler, field and white mustard, Malcolmia and others). For the record, the Calaniot (Red anemones) have six petals. This is important to know because many confuse them with the poppies that come out later in the season and have only four. More iris and pheasant's eye out and increasing amounts of vetch, tiny blue/purple, salmon and pale.

gazelles spotted across north valley, heading east up along a trail they often use to a stand of pine halfway up the hillslope. Female followed a few metres behind by an adult buck and a glimpse of a third.

Collared doves cooing, flight display call also heard. Several great spotted cuckoo calls heard, followed by several nice views - an individual on an upper branch a bare tree in the open close to the north valley waterway, called a few times. Another bird flew in from the east calling, from the cistern area, landed on a shorter tree by the watercourse. The first bird wheeled around and landed on a branch close by, more calling, then one flew off towards trees just west of bat cave. I always enjoy sightings of these handsome, striking birds. I included a stock photo in last season's records but if you're interested I recommend:
For further info and a very nice illustration.

Sunbird heard in the garden this morning, as well as the usual laughing doves, house sparrows, hooded crows, blackbirds, and slipped my mind what else of the usual residents we noticed in the area. Otherwise quite a quiet day as far as birds were concerned.

Today's temperature range: 8-13.5 degrees C. Time of walk, just after 4.30 p.m. ~12 degrees C, humidity just over 40%, winds westerly, light breeze.

1 comment:

Mariah said...

We just got those caterpillars in our yard, too! You don't know what they are, either? My kids are so curious.

BTW-- Your dh and I spoke this evening, and I think your blog is fabulous.