Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A nest on a book amongst other insect wonders

The trail from valley road to the north valley dirt road winds down the hillside before you. You can't really see the trail from this view, it's not obvious but the burnt patch is! This was set by some mischievous bored youngsters yesterday and thankfully did not spread far. That could have been thanks to a couple of responsible teenagers who were there when we had to leave.

On these same slopes I spotted this little common blue butterfly Polyommatus icarus zelleri, and Akiva captured the pic . Compare the underwing with that of the lesser fiery copper posted a few days ago.. very similar in many ways. They belong to the same family, Lycaenidae but whereas the copper is primarily orange/brown the upper surface of the wings of this beauty were iridescent pale blue. (I saw a pic of the British subspecies and noticed the background for the spots on the underwings is a few shades browner than ours)

We also found more of the Bath White on these slopes and other places and Middle Eastern Meadow browns again esp. in the new pine grove.

Below, eucalyptus, showing beautiful bark peel textures.

This is a curiosity! The boys found it in our salon. A kind of wasp had made itself very much at home and had built this structure consisting of two, perhaps three long tubular cells, side by side on a BOOK, as you see. Whole thing measured just 4-5 centimetres. From the boy's description of the wasp and the earthy consistency of the structure it seems to be made by one of the potter wasps, it's dried mud rather than paper. Husband took this pic but the structure was in shadow so again I played with contrast and brightness to bring out the structure as much as possible. Here you're looking at the front ends of the major cells. We're waiting for a chance to take a photo of the wasp if and when it returns, though it may not, it's work may be done and now we should find a way to contain this so that we can photograph what emerges.

Globe thistle has finally bloomed in many places, capers continue to bloom, mullein flowers are still popping out in many places, viper's bugloss lingers, there's still some Kickxia out and of course the thyme though we didn't go where that grows today.

Birds include: A stone curlew by the cistern, pacing to and fro, perhaps frustrated that it could not find a way to reach the water or perhaps simply looking for bugs by the water's edge. Also heard those from this chair in the middle of the night, crying out from the valley.

Turtle dove.. some coos but more coos of collared dove. Laughing doves and feral pigeons about the buildings as usual. House sparrows as noisy and active as ever. Bulbuls and Sunbirds also calling in the garden.

Blackbird song in the pines, greenfinches twittering and chawing almost till dark. calling over north valley, about two dozen visible in two loosely attached flocks. Bee-eatersGraceful warblers and Eurasian jay also vocal and hooded crows foraging about the valley as usual. Great spotted cuckoo calls heard.

Cicadas heard today till dark especially round the cistern area.. a constant high pitched buzz like a tinnitus but we could tell from many individuals on many trees all around us.

gecko heard from room, small hours of the morning, must be somewhere around outside of window.

Weather: 22 degrees to 32 degrees celsius range today, later falling to 24. Time of walk: almost 7 p.m. 26 degrees C. Humidity: 55%, wind westerly ~10 kt.

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