Beetles, flowers and green woodpecker


Ladybird, 10 July 2015

This is a photo of a ladybug on milk parsley flowers which are finished. I think this is an eleven-spot ladybird. It is from 10 July 2015, when we were in the Heempark again.

Near the entrance, a chiffchaff singing.

A brown-banded carder bee on a thistle flower.

A group of long-tailed tits on a leafless tree, with a great tit not far away.

A lesser black-backed gull flies overhead.

Two muscovy ducks walking and grazing.

Sounds of a blackbird, a chaffinch, a jay and an edible frog.

Wild strawberries.

A blackcap sings.

A buff-tailed bumblebee.

Meadow brown butterflies.

Many of the flowers of two weeks ago here (orchids, bladder campion, greater yellow rattle) are gone now.

A green woodpecker calls, and flies from tree to tree.

Scarlet lily beetles, 10 June 2015

Orange-ish beetles mating on flowers. I would say: scarlet lily beetles.

Purple flowers, 10 June 2015

Finally, purple flowers.

Cactus flowers photographed


Cactus flowers opening

This is a photo of cactus flowers opening.

From National Geographic about this, with more photos there:

Cactus Flowers: Mother Nature’s Fireworks

Janna Dotschkal

Did you know that cacti can bloom? Yes, those prickly green plants burst out some of the most beautiful flowers you’ve ever seen.

For photographer Greg Krehel, these crazy cactus flowers have become an obsession.

“Since I was a kid I’ve always loved succulents and cacti. One year I ended up at a local garden shop and picked up [a] cactus for my collection. A couple years later it put out these awesome flowers, unlike others I had seen. It just kept blooming. It really went to town.”

Note: Many of these cacti are hybrids that were bred and cultivated by different individuals, hence the unusual names.

After seeing these stunning blooms, Krehel decided he needed to know more about the breed of cactus he had bought. He discovered it was a type of Echinopsis, cacti that are native to South America. Krehel says, “It turns out mine was a ‘snoozer’ compared to other varieties out there, even though I thought it was fantastic.”

Krehel was hooked. He started buying more blooming cacti and realized he wanted to find a way to capture the flowers’ incredible beauty.

Eventually he developed a method of focus-stacking images so that every part of the frame would be sharp, making every little detail visible.

Acorn woodpeckers in Colombia, new study


This video says about itself:

Through the Lens: Acorn Woodpecker

23 April 2011

The Acorn Woodpecker is a favorite among bird watchers. It has a clown like appearance and the unique habit of storing acorns in a favored tree that is often used by generations of birds. Wildlife Photographer Marie Read shares her experience photographing the behaviors of these lively birds.

Learn more about Acorn Woodpeckers on All About Birds.

From PLOS one:

The Geographic Distribution of a Tropical Montane Bird Is Limited by a Tree: Acorn Woodpeckers (Melanerpes formicivorus) and Colombian Oaks (Quercus humboldtii) in the Northern Andes

Benjamin G. Freeman, Nicholas A. Mason

June 17, 2015

Abstract

Species distributions are limited by a complex array of abiotic and biotic factors. In general, abiotic (climatic) factors are thought to explain species’ broad geographic distributions, while biotic factors regulate species’ abundance patterns at local scales

We used species distribution models to test the hypothesis that a biotic interaction with a tree, the Colombian oak (Quercus humboldtii), limits the broad-scale distribution of the Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) in the Northern Andes of South America. North American populations of Acorn Woodpeckers consume acorns from Quercus oaks and are limited by the presence of Quercus oaks. However, Acorn Woodpeckers in the Northern Andes seldom consume Colombian oak acorns (though may regularly drink sap from oak trees) and have been observed at sites without Colombian oaks, the sole species of Quercus found in South America

We found that climate-only models overpredicted Acorn Woodpecker distribution, suggesting that suitable abiotic conditions (e.g. in northern Ecuador) exist beyond the woodpecker’s southern range margin. In contrast, models that incorporate Colombian oak presence outperformed climate-only models and more accurately predicted the location of the Acorn Woodpecker’s southern range margin in southern Colombia.

These findings support the hypothesis that a biotic interaction with Colombian oaks sets Acorn Woodpecker’s broad-scale geographic limit in South America, probably because Acorn Woodpeckers rely on Colombian oaks as a food resource (possibly for the oak’s sap rather than for acorns). Although empirical examples of particular plants limiting tropical birds’ distributions are scarce, we predict that similar biotic interactions may play an important role in structuring the geographic distributions of many species of tropical montane birds with specialized foraging behavior.

Crow hitches ride on bald eagle


Crow on bald eagle back

This photo series is by photographer Phoo Chan. It shows a crow, probably an American crow, hitching a ride on the back of a bald eagle, in Washington state in the USA.

Baby carp in botanical garden


Baby carp in botanical garden

These photos show baby carp, born recently in the pond of the botanical garden in Leiden, the Netherlands, photographed by a diver of the Dutch natural history society KNNV.

The caption mentions an aquarium and terrarium exhibition which will be in the botanical garden this September.

Orchids, long-tailed tits and beautiful beetles


Orchid, 28 June 2015

This photo, made with a macro lens like the other ones in this blog post, shows a southern marsh orchid in the Heempark on 28 June 2015.

As we entered the park, a robin singing.

In a ditch, mallards, and a coot couple with a nest.

A flock of long-tailed tits in a tree.

A juvenile robin cleaning its feathers on a branch.

Field horsetails.

Chaffinch and blackcap singing.

A lesser black-backed gull flying overhead.

A chiffchaff sings.

Southern marsh orchid, 28 June 2015

Quite some southern marsh orchid flowers.

Greater yellow-rattle, 28 June 2015

Greater yellow rattle flowers.

Field bindweed, 28 June 2015

While field bindweed intertwines with other plants.

Ring-necked parakeets call.

A common carder bee. Honeybees. Hoverflies.

Orchid flowering, 28 June 2015

Another orchid. Also a southern marsh orchid; but of the rare variety Dactylorhiza majalis subsp. praetermissa var. junialis.

Bladder campion, 28 June 2015

Bladder campion flowering; with field horsetail in the background of this photo.

Field horsetail, 28 June 2015

On this photo, field horsetails are the main subject.

A blackbird sings.

A Muscovy duck walks past.

Wild strawberries, 28 June 2015

Wild strawberry fruits along the footpath.

Milk-parsley, 28 June 2015

Milk-parsley: partially still flowering, in other plants the flowers are already gone.

Green dock leaf beetle, 28 June 2015

Near the milk-parsley plants many small beautiful beetles: green dock leaf beetles.

Orchids in Dutch Drenthe province: here.

Painted ladies, buzzard and white stork


Painted lady, 6 June 2015

This photo shows a painted lady. It was one of two butterflies of that species flying near a bicycle track in Gooilust nature reserve. This butterfly sat down again and again on the cycle track. Sometimes, a cyclist disturbed it, and it flew away, eg, to a tree’s leaves.

Painted ladies are migratory butterflies. This animal’s wings looked worn down from long distance flying, maybe all the way from North Africa to here.

After Gooilust yesterday, today, 6 June 2015, we went there again.

In the water not far from the painted ladies, a coot couple swimming with their chick. A grey heron on the bank flew away.

As we left, a white stork on the meadow.

A buzzard flying overhead.