Tuesday, June 2, 2009

North valley discoveries

June 2nd, Tuesday. Started late as husband had to be in town this afternoon. We left shortly after 7 p.m. and headed down into north valley after noting two fires burning in the forest, one just north of central trail, another near the bbq patches from hell, hopefully will burn some more litter we didn't get! We headed upwind of the fires to avoid smoke etcetera. These ground fires spread slowly. There was another fire about a week ago, also just north of central trail and a few other very small patches here and there burned.

My favourite pic of the day.. I spotted this little copper fluttering on the verge of the north valley dirt road and was determined we should have a pic. Akiva, who was holding the camera at the time, was quick enough for the capture. I also love the dried-out composites in his shot. It's a Lesser Fiery Copper, Lycaena thersamon omphale. Various whites about too, also one that looked like a marbled white, though late. Also a meadow brown type.

Grasses are still busy putting out pollen.. this was one of the largest about, Bromus sp? Packed with anthers, the stems were almost four feet high, a stand of them in a shady area near the north valley watercourse.

This peculiar beetle with a 'space helmet' head landed on my blouse sometime last night, probably on our evening walk though we didn't notice it till I was back at the P.C. Moshe took it to husband to photograph and then release. It was 2 cm. long. I found it on Rittner's site more easily than I'd expected given the vast number of beetles. It's one of the Lampyridae, one of the fireflies! It was not glowing as far as we noticed when we discovered it so we didn't think to check for that and I didn't recognize it. Now I will!

This is a mystery pic to me too! I pulled part of some old rubber shoe or something from the side of a rock and found these under the rock. Took some pics but turned out the flash illuminated the wrong part of the field and these bodies were still in deep shade. No worries, thanks to modern technology i.e. Adobe photoshop, I could play around with brightness and contrast to make them visible. This is something I had never done before and would always tell you because for me it's very important that colour is true to life as possible. On this colour is not true, they were much more white than this, red and yellow colouring is probably a side effect of using the flash. They were at least a centimetre across each but I didn't want to disturb them. Perhaps the eggs of some kind of lizard? Not a tortoise, it could not have got in that cavity when the shoe was there, and certainly not adhering to the rock ceiling! If you have any ideas do let me know! At the moment I'm thinking gecko eggs most likely.

Look bottom left of pic, those little eye like shapes? Remind me of the eyes of that mollusc on Tel Aviv beach last summer. I only noticed those after the photoshop and have no idea what they are.

What else was about? Collared doves cooing, some great tit calls, blackbirds, Eurasian jays screeching, a pair of hobbies aloft over the valley, a group of bee-eaters, at least 9 in a group, cruising and hawking at building top level.

Dawn in the garden: house sparrows, white spectacled bulbul, sunbird, laughing dove. Probably hoodies and jackdaws about too but not paying much attention to them, busy looking for life in the shrubs.

Weather: today's range: 19.5-29 degrees C. Time of walk: 26 degrees and rapidly falling, humidity 30% and rapidly rising, winds westerly 4-8 knots.

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