Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Beauty on the wing

This butterfly wandered into the boy's tent (set up in the garden, they love to sleep in there) . Moshe took these pics this evening. This is a middle eastern race of Large Wall Brown, Lasiommata maera orientalis- above, showing the upper surface of the wings, below, the underwings. I've seen it classified with Satyridae like the Meadow Brown I photographed a few days ago, and also in Nymphalidae.. evidently there are different conventions amongst entomologists and I don't know the latest settlement on these divisions.

In the fields by the north valley today saw more Pontia, (Bath white)

This peculiar beetle (below) was clinging onto one of the spines of a budding globe thistle near the north valley watercourse. Given that long 'snout' it must be a weevil (family Curculionidae) and checking Rittner's pages, most resembles members of the genus Larinus. These are flower weevils, and no doubt find globe thistle quite delicious.

http://www.nature-of-oz.com/Curculionidae.htm for Rittner's great pics of more of these.

This hoverfly (below) has settled on a head of tiny hairy seedpods. Not quite as sharp as I'd like but you can clearly see the huge compound eyes and nice reflection off the wings. These flies are often mistaken for bees but are harmless. They fly very much like hummingbirds, hovering in one spot, and occasionally reversing.

The new flower of the day! Growing under the shade of pines in an area of dried cereal grasses and Eryngium a little north of central trail , this tiny plant was barely six inches high, but several were growing in that patch though I had not seen them elsewhere.

What else is out? Plenty centauries still, capers of course, the Ballota, the low yellow broom like plant that never seems to finish its season, viper's bugloss and still a few late small poppies, Kickxia, and those tall lobed flowers I've been photographing lately.. another clump of yellow version in a particularly fertile area by north valley watercourse in the open.

Birds: Husband had interesting observation earlier today. A pair of hooded crows AND a pair of kestrels both harrying a Buteo right over our street. Probably long legged buzzard but husband didn't get more details due to the position of the sun at the time. This is the second time we've seen falcons and crows after a buzzard together, last time it was one of each over on the hillside just north of where the gazelle field watercourse leaves gazelle field a couple of years ago. The hoodies quit after a while, leaving the kestrels still on the offensive.

In the pines just north of central trail we heard and glimpsed a juvenile great spotted cuckoo calling and gliding from one pine tree top to another. I'm sure it was calling to be fed and a hooded crow was following it so still seems interested in the welfare of its foster chick. The cuckoo may have been following the other of the pair.

Plenty greenfinches heard as well as cooing collared doves and turtle doves. Blackbird song, chuckling of chukar partridges somewhere not far from central trail, hoopoes, flying between bat cave area and pine trees. Bee-eaters heard up above the trees somewhere and common swifts also on the wing over the valley.

Garden: House sparrows, white spectacled bulbuls, laughing doves, not sure about sunbirds today. Feral pigeons on building tops as usual, jackdaws heard. The usual crew!

Left the house about 18.50 p.m. temp. just under 22 degrees C, humidity 54%, wind NW 9 kt. Today's range: 16-25.5 degrees C.

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