Sunday, May 17, 2009

#444 Eryngium in bloom

Here the Eryngium is blooming, the tiny flowers open, each of five tiny petals curled back. Bear in mind the whole flower head is usually less than 1 cm across.

A butterfly I photographed in north gazelle field. I have yet to I.D. it.. I assume it must be one of the Pierids but haven't found any with no markings at all like this. Another butterfly looked quite striking but I did not manage to get a picture of it at rest. Underwing was mid brown with a striking area of yellow with a darker marking on that. Unfortunately that was all the detail I got and still not sure of the I.D. though probably a Satyrid of some kind.. then it fluttered into a large patch of wild oats and Gundelia and I completely lost sight of it esp. with the quickly failing light.

I also took photographs of two moths but I'm saving those since these below will soon be out of date.. the time for this purple flower is probably passed, I haven't seen any of its kind in a week. Here's a honeybee feasting.

We saw a young gazelle, very short horns, very clear, fresh face markings, make its way across north gazelle field on our approach, moving from the hawthorn trees towards the lower hill slopes where it stopped and gazed at us for a while. At the time I was busy photographing the moths and butterflies and comparing the Eryngium to the nearby Centaury but each time I looked over there it was still there, staring back at us from the flat rocks there, perhaps curious about what we were doing.

My favourite bird today was a red backed shrike, Lanius collurio, a species I hadn't seen in the area in a while. It was in the tamarisk at the top of the storm drain and soon after flew into a pine but was still in good view though too far for our camera unfortunately. Good to see it! Looked like a male, very neat, nice chestnut back and the white on most of the tail base caught my attention as it flew and piqued my curiosity.

Others about, common swifts above, husband briefly heard bee-eaters. Blackbird song, much chawing and twittering of greenfinches in the pines including an alarm call. Collared dove and turtle dove coos. Brief glimpse of raptor over the Pistacio orchard, husband thought sparrowhawk. Stone curlew heard briefly as it became dark. Syrian woodpeckers quite vocal. Hooded crows, Eurasian jays and jackdaws around as usual.

In the garden a positive din of house sparrows together with young birds calling not far off and the usual bulbuls and laughing doves.

Temps: 23.5 - 33 degrees C. Time of walk: ~29 degrees. Humidity 20-21 %, NW 3-4 knots.

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