Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mystery orchid and a few other neat treats

Today's mystery orchid.. I've viewed a number of pics but have not yet found a match for these markings. Ophrys genus is all I can say at this point and there is of course the possibility it's a natural hybrid. If anyone can find it, I'd be delighted! Not sure yet which of the boys got this one, everyone took several!

Bongardia pics, flower, red seed pod and leaves, taken by Moshe and Avremi

Moshe's caterpillar in a jar with food plant. As usual we have no idea what it is yet, ~5 cm.

My favourite find today was a totally new orchid discovered high on the bank under the pines between the buildings and valley road corner. I was checking out a place where I'd heard some captive chickens. Boys here like to make what they call a machneh which is a sort of den/ clubhouse kind of place and quite a few keep pets there - this machneh held chickens and a pigeon coop and not far outside I found a very nice orchid standing about a foot tall with unfamiliar markings. Clearly one of the Ophrys but after consulting my book and the online site I am still baffled. Natural hybrids do occur but it was very unlike any we've seen yet. A whole stand of shorter Ophrys lutea were blooming not far off.

Today we headed down to the gazelle field as I wanted to photograph some plants I'd noticed there the day before. The field was full of little gems, the tiny orange dandelions, various purple members of the geraniums and campions, purple dead nettle, fumitory, shepherd's purse, mini iris, grape hyacinth, chamomile, Malcolmia, pheasant's eye, mustard, a curious yellow job that looked like a butterfly when opened but how while wet the two halves held back to back and didn't show their full form. The rain also affected the white Silene (also a campion) we noticed on dryer soil, the petals had curled. Also with some asphodel and red anemone in the slightly dryer patches.

The boys took various shots including some very nice crimson/purple Echium blooms just coming out (Viper's bugloss) and of course the Bongardia. The boys made jokes about the plant sounding like the name of a country, 'the citizens of Bongardia welcome you!'

Birds: Hooded crows about, jackdaws heard, Eurasian jays glimpsed. In the garden this morning, laughing dove coos, white spectacled bulbul musical calls, sunbird heard and glimpsed around the cape honeysuckle. Common Swifts seen yesterday over the pumphouse and today higher in the neighbourhood. Chukar partridges heard yesterday, not today. Eurasian sparrowhawk seen twice today though not necessarily same bird. One flew from gazelle field to south of north valley trail just after sunset, a little later almost dark one headed out from end of Shadiker st. towards bat cave. Boys were pleased to get a view because they hadn't been lucky on many occasions. Some very raucous bird heard just across north valley on our return, hard to tell, great spotted cuckoo in state of excitement? Not a kingfisher.
Great tits and graceful warblers also heard, collared doves glimpsed, greenfinches? Listening out for those in particular because I wonder if the fires affected their fledgelings last season, would like to know if their populations are healthy, though great tits seem ok. Feral pigeons aloft.

Cooler day today after a couple of days of rain, on and off. (No thunder heard). Range 5.5-8.5 degrees C, Walk: ~ 5 p.m. ~8.4 degrees C , humidity just over 85%, winds W/NW about 8 kt

Hopefully tomorrow I will have more of the pics we took ready to upload, and since we also have a slight backlog, here are the mystery pink flowers from the hillside again, this time a group.


No comments: