Sunday, June 21, 2009

All the action is at the globe thistles today

Warning: some of these pics might make your skin crawl! If you are at all sensitive to the sight of bugs you may not wish to go further.. you have been warned! :)

Flowering plants are great places to find insect activity so I usually check over every flower I see for anything of interest. I'm rarely disappointed. This one I found on a globe thistle close to the beginning of the north valley dirt road.

This above is my favourite pic today. A white crab spider has captured a kind of wasp. Note it's not the same kind of white crab spider that I found on the snapdragon- this one has yellow markings rather than violet.

Below: I spotted this tiny spider just below a globe thistle, hanging on to the thistle spines. My teenage daughter Elisheva spotted something else I didn't catch myself.. you can just make out a very fine thread leading up to the left from the tip of the abdomen. To the naked eye I could not see how spiny it was, the whole spider was less than 1 cm from toe to toe but I could make out that it had interesting markings and hoped I'd get a shot sharp enough to show them, and I wasn't disappointed. You can also see quite clearly two of its eyes top and front. (facing down and right) . Honeybees were also visiting the globe thistles.

Many of the globe thistles were teeming with these red and green beetles, as they were also last year. On the flower below several were busy feasting on the inside of the florets, possibly for nectar and/or pollen. When I first saw them I thought they had mouthparts like weevils but the zoom showed it was an elongaged head and neck region.

There was also some activity on the flowering capers- a variety of ants- I took a pic of a black and red one but not satisfied with its sharpness. I also took a pic of a pure white grasshopper which landed on the lower stems, I'd never seen such a thing before. I'm not totally satisfied with that pic either and got quite scratched up in the process! Still, I put them aside for the record.

Gazelle: No luck today. Hyrax: Plenty active just down from valley road though small ones not out.

Bee-eaters: calls and flying quite low over the canopy over east valley towards gazelle field, saw one flock of 15 or so birds and from the calls another group close behind.
Hobbies: calls, Turtle doves: coos in various parts of the pine woods.
Blackbirds: Some song. Collared doves: coos and activity.
Eurasian Jays: Plenty activity, quite a lot about though not very vocal today
Graceful warblers: vocal today up by valley road as usual.
Greenfinches: Much twittering at sunset and chawing in all the pines between north valley dirt road and gazelle field, and the pines around the bunker rubble.
Hooded crows: Calls througout day, small flock heading to roost central east valley as usual.
House sparrows:Chirping in gardens and around houses as usual.
Laughing doves: Cooing much of the day in gardens
Stone curlews: Calling in the fields around sunset
Sunbirds: Calling melodiously in the Bauhinia on and off throughout the day from about 5 a.m. and glimpsed hunting for insects in there.
Syrian woodpeckers: some calls.
White spectacled Bulbuls: Calls in Bauhinia since shortly before 5 a.m. again and also down in the acacias in north valley.

Weather: Today's range: 20-29.5 degrees C ( 71- 82.5 degrees F) time of walk ~7 p.m. : 25 degrees C ( 77 degrees F) . Humidity ~60%, winds westerly 7-11 knots

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