Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Rock roses and other sweet things

We found this beauty blooming a little below the tree line on our way up the shepherd's path from east valley watercourse dirt road up to the east field. Not sure what it is yet, I'm thinking Pink Rock rose, Helianthemum vesicarium or Cistus creticus. Definitely one of the Cistaceae. Below, stigma and stamens zoomed.

I take back what I said about Maccabee's blood Helichrysum sanguineum never developing beyond red blobs! Of course it has to produce pollen sometime and this revealed itself to me today.. here it is below, a sweet eruption of extremely tiny florets and pollen producing stamens- the whole thing is merely a few millimetres across, this is very zoomed so it was rather hard for me to focus sharper when I could barely see on what I was focussing ! Still, I'm rather pleased with the degree of sharpness I managed, you can see here structures that are barely visible to the naked eye.

This looks a lot like star clover in structure though each star much smaller and quite a few more of them! (Reminds me of the water creature, Volvox) There are a lot of these about now and I just found them very prettily photogenetic though I'm not sure what they are! Taken a couple of days ago but seen today also

This Bear's breeches, Acanthus syriacus is progressively turning to fruiting stage.. some white flowers still visible but two fruits well developed, all part of the same spike. Always interesting to me how each plant develops through its life cycle, much of it pleasantly photogenic. (this pic taken some time last week)

Other flowers out.. Syrian and milk thistles, yellow centauries, brooms, viper's bugloss, the tiny yellow figwort(?) like flower, the 'micromint' (Veined savory, Micromeria nervosa), the common blue-purple 'mini sage' like spikes, wild carrot (Daucus) beginning to appear more and more, poppies, though seem smaller ones than those we photographed . Ballota and Verbascum foliage coming up but not blooming yet.

Wednesday, temp peaked at ~27 degrees C but at time of walk, shortly after 6 p.m. was down to just over 21 degrees. humidity 43% winds westerly and very light. Some cumulus cloud.

Garden: white spectacled bulbul, house sparrows, sunbird, cooing laughing dove. Jackdaws heard, feral pigeons on and between rooftops.

Quite a few hooded crows aloft, loose flocks heading to rest, or individuals just heading to and fro over the forest to forage. Chukar partridges heard chuckling up on the west facing slopes near the bridge, sunbirds in the eucalyptus near sapling field. Greenfinches in the pines and cypress. Great tit calls.. significantly, fledgeling great tit calls also near the sapling field. Common Swift aloft over east field.

No sign of white storks.. finally moved on? Turtle doves not heard but we did not go near where we usually hear them, particularly the north end of east valley and around. ARe they really so locally distributed or do they just usually coo much less frequently than collared doves? Also noticed no cat- thyme germander on windsurfer hill at all though there's loads of it on the hill to the north.

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