Monday, July 6, 2009

Finally we see Red Everlasting in its glory

Funny thing about ants- when you're trying to take a pic of them it tends to come out blurred but when you're taking a pic of some flower, there's a nice sharp ant you didn't even notice! Akiva found these Helichrysum sanguineum (Maccabee's blood/red everlasting/red cudweed) in a cypress grove by the north valley watercourse. Even just from a few feet off they just look a mess as the blooms are so small but when you zoom in they reveal their wonders, more opened up than we've ever seen them. Extraordinary to see them like this now when we found them elsewhere with seed hairs a few weeks ago, of course development could proceed very differently out in the open on the hillside and here in a shaded glade.

We took several pics, I am likely to post more in future. Now they finally look like a Helichrysum!

I checked on the tree just up the slope to the south of the north valley dirt road to see how the fruit is developing. Comparing the pics, though very similar they do seem now more swelled out at the base and a touch paler and yellower than the shade of green they were.

Ant on a caper bud. On another copy I tried playing with brightness and contrast to bring out the mandibles more but no significant improvement so decided to post the original natural pic.

Below, though lack of sharpness esp on the back legs I decided to post this pic of a white grasshopper simply because I've never seen such a one before. This one was on midsummer day on the lower parts of a caper bush. Plenty grasshoppers lately including a laterally striped individual that we have photographed before not long ago, and some dark satyrid type butterflies.

We headed down into north valley and up dirt road towards quarry, checking globe thistles, the tree with the small green fruits.. (no further obvious development, perhaps a touch yellower)

Gazelle: No luck today. Hyrax: passed Shadiker colony but no above ground activity noticed

Bee-eaters: heard up over the edge of the neighbourhood. Also heard about 5.30 a.m. from the house.
Hobby: Neat flying by one individual up over the north ridge close to A Ram. Flying INTO the wind but hardly moving its wings.. a stationary glide.. using the oncoming breeze to give lift but maintaining position. Kestrel flutter their wings to hover but this was managing minimum movement without a beat.. did move a little more laterally than the kestrel does but pretty much held position. Turned and was whipped downwind a way with some quick wing beats then turned again and resumed ''hover" position over the edge of A Ram.

Blackbirds: Some alarm calls heard just below Shadiker, foraging on the ground.
Collared doves: coos, flight calls, activity between trees.
Eurasian Jays: some calls, activity between trees.
Feral pigeons: some aloft, flying between tops of buildings.
Great tits: some calls in the pines, Hooded crows: some about.
House sparrows: gardens as usual, Laughing doves: coos in the garden from early morning
Stone curlews: calls from direction of east field 10.30 p.m. no doubt foraging at night, a wader aspiring to owlhood.
Sunbirds: calling in the garden from early morning.
Syrian woodpeckers: some calls in the pines.
White spectacled Bulbuls:calling in the garden from just before 5 a.m.

Weather: time of walk ~6.55 p.m. 23.3 degrees C (~74 degrees F )
humidity 69% and rising, wind NW 5.2

Range today: 18.5 to just over 26 degrees C ( 65.3- 78.8 degrees F)

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