Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday's caterpillar and flower hunting in gazelle field

No idea what these are yet, I just found their form interesting. Deep velvety purple with long stamens.. growing on the east slope of north hill, not far from the orange Adonis below. There was also a caterpillar on top, surprise surprise! Click on the pic for a slightly better view.

Temps cool but not raining today, 5-10.5 degrees C, humidity betw. 50% & 80%, winds mainly westerly veering NW, 2-9 kt

, appeared to be well grown young, running down from the north hill towards the cistern area.
Aharon, our eldest, had a pretty close encounter with a red fox earlier today. He was walking on windsurfer hill and probably surprised it leaving its den. It was just a few feet from him and he wished he had a camera with him! He also saw hyrax activity by valley road.

Nice sightings of Eurasian sparrowhawk again today, flying between the hill to the north toward look-out corner. Melodious calls heard and husband spotted birds amongst the rocks out in the open near the northern watercourse, from what he could make out definitely sounds like the wheatears Oenanthe are back!

Otherwise, great tits heard, blackbirds in song, white spectacled bulbuls, collared doves, laughing doves, feral pigeons, jackdaws, hooded crows. Also stone curlews heard recently at night.

These handsome purple spikes were growing quite close to the north valley watercourse. I'd noticed them last season too. Not satisfied with an I.D. yet but seem to be mint family with Sages and similar.

This Pheasant's eye (Adonis) has already developed a fruiting head and dark marks can just be made out at the inside base of the petals suggesting A.aestivalis.
They were growing next door to red Adonis which made me wonder if they were in fact a variation like the blue and pale monkwort.

The boys' caterpillar hunt proved quite successful. They rounded up several large hairy orange and red stripe jobs that we had previously photographed on thorny burnet, a couple of the tiger striped types which I think may be 6 spot burnet, and a couple of these handsome little chaps. They were careful to bring them back with the plant on which they were living. I found the best way to capture them was not to try to pull them off their host plant but to cup the hand underneath and tickle them with the tips of the fingers till they roll up and fall off of their own accord. This is especially helpful if the host plant is very thorny!

We also found a number of cute Ophrys orchid variations in the eucalyptus valley close to the north watercourse - of O. Carmeli mostly I think but I plan to upload a little gallery dedicated to them tomorrow perhaps:)

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