Monday, May 4, 2009

The Tamarisk and other sweet things

A lovely tree, some kind of tamarisk I believe, flowering at the head of the storm drain just up from valley road, northern stretch. It looks enormous in the photo but it's actually quite a small tree, the blossoms are amazingly tiny, each bloom just a few millimetres long. That's what you are seeing, hundreds of thousands of the blossoms below:

This pic above we took a little later in the season last year, the blossoms are a little more developed than they are today. Still not quite sharp enough to show structure properly but still showing the charm of the tree. This is zoomed several times life size.

I found this bee stuffed in a viper's bugloss (Echium) bloom yesterday and disinclined to move. It seemed quite happy in there, drunk on nectar perhaps. Avremi took this pic. One thing I always enjoy about Echium is the range of flower colour on one stalk. One flower will be crimson, another purplish, another more bluish and quite a few showing a range within the flower.

Birds today: Collared doves active and vocal, turtle doves cooing and the usual laughing doves and feral pigeons about the building. In the gardens, blackbird in song, white spectacled bulbuls. In the air above the trees, common swifts and some bee-eaters heard but high. In the woods: Eurasian jays, hooded crows, jackdaws over, greenfinches, great tit fledgeling calls again. Husband saw a *white stork fly to eucalyptuses by look out corner so we definitely have lingerers on but most gone. Continued north or found new haunts still in the country? Stone curlews very active and vocal now, towards sunset and often through the night. I can occasionally hear their voices off to the east through my window at night.

No luck on foxes, hyrax or gazelle today though we did find remains of a hedgehog along valley road. Feral dogs about lately, family group of four.

This surprise pic I found in today's batch of photos is a geometrid moth of some kind that must have been found in the house today sometime. I don't know who took it, probably husband unless he asked one of the boys to do it. Look at the fringe at the edge of the wings!

Weather was odd today, overcast and spatterings of rain on and off throughout the day. Large drops for a few seconds, then nothing for a while and repeat. Time of walk: ~6.15 p.m. 18.5 degrees C. humidity 64%, wind SSW 15.7 knots at the station though it seemed much lower our end of town. Range: 12 degrees now (small hours) to 30 degrees in the early afternoon)

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