Sunday, April 5, 2009

#410 gladdening spring items

This lovely small wild Gladeolus was my favourite find today. It was growing in a eucalyptus grove part way up north valley not far from the watercourse. I'm really not sure if it's the same species we found growing over in the Jerusalem sage vale to the north last spring. This one does seem a deeper shade of purple to me and the other more pink- I just compared the pics, but as we saw with the iris there can be a lot of variation. Is this one G. atroviolaceus and the other G. italicus? I'll leave that one to readers to ponder. I took another pic lying on my side looking right up into the flower which I'll probably post on my online album. (I'll give the site for that when I have a bunch more pics uploaded)

Here's an Orchis orchid I found in the same general area as the last. The lower part of the flower is similar to O. tridentata but not so much the upper part.. other than that I don't see anything close but I'm sure it's not far distantly related. It's certainly not the more pink orchid we found earlier up on the hillslopes. That I had I.D.d as pink butterfly orchid but I'm not entirely satisfied with that I.D. either since the lower lobe is narrower. Still, I did not find a closer match.

On the subject of orchids, I figured now is a good time to toss in a pic I took of yet another Ophrys variation I found in the north valley about a week ago, before it goes out of season! You can see even on the same plant the markings vary, look at upper left and middle lower flowers. Another O. carmeli I believe.

For those interested in the ongoing Persian buttercup(nurit)/anemone(calanit) saga, I added a pic of the base leaves of the anemone after those of the nurit for comparison, a couple of posts back.

While I was taking pics of the purple Orchis a lovely and welcome call came to my ears from the east. Bee-eaters! Merops apiaster Back for the summer from Africa, first I've heard this season. Presently they came into view, a loose flock of about 20 individuals making their way up the valley to the north west and calling as they went. In Hebrew they are called 'shrakrak' which really does not do their warbling flight call much justice!
One of the few birds that actually sound almost as beautiful as they look. Checking back- last year we first noticed them on 29th March. We're also listening out for turtle doves now, though last year they didn't get here till the 16th so there's time yet.

Two more Buteo noticed sitting on boulders on the north hillslopes, sadly no gazelle today but not complaining with all the other great stuff. Common swifts aloft and calling, great tits calling, collared doves cooing, Eurasian jays, hooded crows and jackdaws all active, graceful warbler heard. Up by the buildings several pairs of laughing doves at crumb corner and one cooing in the garden at all kinds of odd hours of day and night.. my light might set him off, and probably tired him out, I don't think he wants to pull another allnighter so fast! Sunbird active in the Bauhinia well before dawn and white spectacled bulbuls active in gardens and acacias in north valley. Blackbirds singing. Stone curlew calling after dark.

Weather: range: 13-24 degrees C. At ~ 6 p.m. time of walk 21 degrees C, 45% humidity, wind ESE and very light to almost still, very convenient when you want to take pics of tall flowers!

And now for the mystery pic! It's a cone shell which my husband found in Eilat by the Red Sea a few years back. At that time he had not yet received the warning not to touch absolutely anything and assumed the shell was washed up on the beach, so he popped it into his swimming trunks and went scuba diving. He did not realize that many kinds of cones have a venomous sting and it was possibly alive at the time he picked it up! He was fortunate and did not get stung but the shell itself is sitting right here close to the p.c. with other parephernalia.

And now for today's. My boys looked at it and both said almost instantly 'it's an Israeli floor tile!'
It's not, but I had to laugh because it does look like one!

1 comment:

elli said...

Yesterday in Re'ut, I also found some beautiful Gladeolus italicus growing amongst a heavy patch of Jerusalem sage.

Wonder if these two plants often grow in close proximity?