Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Butterflies, drying plants and pollen.

Pontia daplidice, also known as the Bath White, a widespread Pierid butterfly. There were still a number of marbled whites about but I noticed this was smaller and followed it till it settled. Then my eyes were watering so much I couldn't tell if I was focussed or not! Not sure why, wind or pollen or both. At any rate I took a number in the hope that at least one was in focus because I could hardly tell! Turned out four were of which I selected this one.

While looking on Rittner's site for I.D. of this butterfly I did notice a familiar insect. The black wasp with red legs Akiva photographed back in #443, May 16th entry, though still without a definite I.D. This turns out to be a parasite of white butterfly caterpillars. It lays its eggs inside the caterpillars with its ovipositor and its larvae use the poor caterpillar for food.

This one was taken by husband, a couple of beetles in the heart of a golden thistle flower.. a pic that really brings out the gorgeous colour of the petals.

Here the Gundelia is almost finishing its season, the yellow star like flowers are passed and the core has swollen. I learned that these have the tumbleweed trick, of head and upper stem detaching themselves and rolling about to disperse seeds so I'm watching them to see if we can find this stage. Below: The yellow/orange purple flowers I found in the north watercourse, another view. These flowers were full of character and I took a number of shots. (see May 12, #440 4th & 5th pics )

First birds in the garden today were chirping house sparrows starting at about 4.20 a.m. with a sunbird out in the Bauhinia chiming in a little later. A bulbul joined in with musical notes a little after, followed by laughing doves, then distant hooded crows and finally jackdaws. After that I fell asleep!

In the woods: greenfinches heard, some young birds heard also. Collared doves and turtle doves cooing away. Blackbirds in song. Feral pigeons on rooftops.

Graceful warblers around head of valley road as usual. Swifts and bee-eaters (~12) overhead, Syrian woodpeckers heard, Eurasian jays about, some sightings of hobbies, melodious calls of I think black eared wheatear calling from open part of north valley watercourse or farther, towards bat cave.

Gazelle seen grazing up on the skyline, on the hill to the north.

Weather: marked drop from yesterday. Range: 18-26.5 degrees C. time of walk: ~6.30 p.m. 22 degrees C. 40%. Wind W/WNW ~8 kt.

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