Flowers in Leiden botanical garden


Eryngium planum, 10 August 2018

This 10 August 2018 photo (made with a macro lens like all photos in this blog post) shows flat sea holly. Its scientific name is Eryngium planum.

Complete name: Eryngium planum L. The L. stands for Carolus Linnaeus, the founder of systematic biology. Linnaeus published that scientific name, which is still valid, in his 1753 book Species Plantarum.

However, Linnaeus must have known this species years before publishing its scientific name in Species Plantarum.

Eryngium planum, on 10 August 2018

Where did he first see it? Very probably, at about the same place were this flat sea holly was photographed. It is in the Clusius garden in the botanical garden of Leiden in the Netherlands. The Clusius garden is a reconstruction with the original traditional medicinal plant species at the original spot, where botanist Carolus Clusius founded the Leiden Hortus Botanicus in 1590. Then, the garden was still small. In Linnaeus’ eighteenth century, the garden had already expanded a bit, but Clusius’ medicinal plants were still present. Linnaeus visited the Hortus Botanicus regularly in 1735-1737, and there he probably got his first ideas for naming Eryngium planum and other species.

Yucca aloifolia

Already, before we were in the Clusius garden, near the Hortus entrance, we had seen another plant species originally named by Linnaeus in 1753: Yucca aloifolia, the aloe yucca. The photo does not show the plant itself, but its reflection in water.

Dasylirion glaucophyllum, 10 August 2018

Next to it along the water was another plant: Dasylirion glaucophyllum. That species was not named by Linnaeus; but by William Jackson Hooker (1785-1865), director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in England. Like the aloe yucca photo, this photo does not show the plant itself, but its reflection in water with much duckweed.

We continued. Close to the eighteenth century orangery building this beautiful red flower.

Red flower, 10 August 2018

Lesser black-backed gulls flying overhead. A ring-necked parakeet calling.

Agapanthus, 10 August 2018

Next, these flowers, Agapanthus; meaning ‘love flower’ in Greek. Known in English as ‘lily of the Nile’, though they are not lilies, and are from South Africa where the river Nile does not flow.

Agapanthus, on 10 August 2018

Agapanthus likes hot weather; it got plenty of that in the 2018 summer in the Netherlands. It hates dry weather, also plentiful in the 2018 summer; however, the botanical garden people water it regularly.

A male blackbird not far from the Japanese garden part of the botanical garden.

Dahlia, 10 August 2018

Along the canal, many dahlias flowering.

Sacred lotus flower, 10 August 2018

We continued to the Chinese herbal garden part. Sacred lotus flowering in a small pond.

Sacred lotus bud, 10 August 2018

There were not just sacred lotus flowers, but buds as well.

Stay tuned, as there will be another blog post on the Leiden botanical garden!

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Crested tit, damselfly, butterfly, flowers photos


Crested tit, July 2018

This early July 2018 photo shows a crested tit near Gorsselse Heide nature reserve in the Netherlands.

Water lily, July 2018

The Gorsselse Heide is a wet heathland area. Meaning flowers like these water lilies were there as well.

Water lily flower, July 2018

Shy emerald damselfly, July 2018

So was this shy emerald damselfly.

Flowering grass, July 2018

Many plants, like these flowering grasses.

Sundew, July 2018

And these sundew plants.

Sundew, in July 2018

Green-veined white, July 2018

Finally, this green-veined white butterfly.

Beautiful flowers and butterflies, photos


Rammelwaard, July 2018

The early July 2018 photos in this blog post are from the Rammelwaard nature reserve (shown on this photo) in the Veluwe region, near the IJssel river in the Netherlands.

Grass rush, Rammelwaard, July 2018

There were many beautiful flowers in the Rammelwaard. Like these grass rush flowers.

Grass rush, in the Rammelwaard, July 2018

Chamomile fowers, Rammelwaard, July 2018

And like these chamomile flowers.

Chamomile fowers, in the Rammelwaard, July 2018

Brimstone, in the Rammelwaard, July 2018

These beautiful flowers attracted beautiful butterflies. Like this male brimstone on a purple lythrum flower.

Common blue male, in the Rammelwaard, July 2018

And this male common blue butterfly, also on a purple lythrum flower.

Common blue butterflies mating, Rammelwaard, July 2018

These two blue butterflies were mating. Usually, it is difficult to photograph butterflies, as they move often and fast. However, these two stayed at the same spot for half an hour. Still, it was not easy to tell which species this male (left) and female (right) were: common blue or brown argus? Common blue, I think after all. The photo shows fluid passing between the bodies of these two butterflies.

Tibetan snowcock, vultures, eagles, prayer flags in China


Tibetan snowcock, 8 April 2018

After what we saw earlier that day, still 8 April 2018 in the mountains above Wolong in Sichuan, China. We saw a Tibetan snowcock. First flying, then it landed, as the photo shows.

Tibetan snowcock on snow, 8 April 2018

The snowcock walked towards a snowy patch.

Prayer flags, 8 April 2018

We saw some of many Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags of Balang mountain (Balangla in Tibetan).

A bit further, two golden eagles flying.

Bearded vulture, 8 April 2018

Then, a bearded vulture flying with a bone in its bill. It dropped the bone on a slope to crush it and to be able to eat the marrow. Probably it was a young vulture which still had to learn, as the bone fell on a patch where plants grew, not on hard rock which is better at breaking dropped bones.

Prayer flags and snow, 8 April 2018

We arrived at a mountain pass where we could again see many prayer flags and much snow.

Snow and valleys, 8 April 2018

There was a beautiful view of mountains and valleys.

Himalayan vulture, 8 April 2018

A Himalayan vulture flew overhead.

Himalayan vulture, on 8 April 2018

Prayer flags, on 8 April 2018

Time to say goodbye to the prayer flags and to the snow.

Prayer flags and snow, on 8 April 2018

8 April 2018 was our last day of seeing birds in China. In the late afternoon and evening we went back to Chengdu. On 9 April from Chengdu airport our plane took us out of China.

So, no more blog posts on the birds of this April 2018 in China. But there will be many more wildlife blog posts on this blog!

Yaks, rosefinches, snow and blue sheep in China


After 7 April 2018 came 8 April 2018. We were in the Wolong Balangshan mountains in China. This is a BBC video about Temminck’s tragopan. A bird species which we might have seen there, but did not see.

This video is about another animal species which we might have seen, but didn’t.

The video says about itself:

6 November 2017

The Wolong National Nature Reserve in southwest China’s Sichuan Province spotted 26 snow leopards.

Yaks, 8 April 2018

We did see these yaks when we came above 3,000 meter.

Snow, 8 April 2018

The higher we went, the more snow we saw.

Snowy mountains, 8 April 2018

Not only on the mountain tops further away …

Snow, on 8 April 2018

… but also close to us.

Then, on a slope above us, a beautiful male Chinese monal.

A raven.

Dark-breasted rosefinch

A bit further, in the snow, this male dark-breasted rosefinch.

Yellow-billed choughs flying.

Plain mountain finch, 8 april 2018

We saw this plain mountain-finch.

Alpine accentor, 8 April 2018

A bit further, this Alpine accentor.

Blue sheep, 8 April 2018

And then, above us, this blue sheep. Snow leopards eat blue sheep. So, though we did not see snow leopards, we did see wildlife living in their biotope.

Stay tuned, as there will be more on the birds of the mountains above Wolong!

Redstarts, other birds in Wolong, China


This 2008 video says about itself:

Join Animal Planet for Pandamonium, a brand new series that lets us experience the incredible lives of the giant pandas of the Wolong Panda Reserve in China.

The centre is now opening up its remarkable work to the world, giving us the chance to meet the dedicated team that works tirelessly to ensure the survival of this highly endangered species.

Pandas can have a hard time starting a family, so extraordinary efforts are being made to help them breed, using artificial insemination as well as encouraging natural mating.

Watch as tiny panda cubs are born and follow their progress. Each birth is vital to the survival of the species and often hits the headlines around the globe. Thanks to the pioneering research of their scientists, the Wolong Centre has brought 16 cubs into the world over the past year.

But what will the future hold for these unique and lovable black and white bears?

Very soon after this video was recorded, there was the catastrophic May 12, 2008 Sichuan earthquake; which hit the Wolong Panda Reserve and its surroundings particularly hard.

This video says about itself:

Wolong Earthquake Video from Pandas International

A brief but touching documentary of the damage done to the Wolong Reserve in China after the devastating earthquake of May 2008.

The panda reserve had to move to Gengda, 23 kilometers away.

This January 2013 video is called Crew travels up the long, bumpy road from Chengdu to Wolong.

Though there has been reconstruction at Wolong village, there are still ruins from the 2008 earthquake.

This is a 2007 video about the bridge at Wolong village. The bridge and the river are still there.

After arriving in Wolong from our journey from Chengdu on 7 April 2018, we walked to the bridge at 17:25.

There were rosy pipits there.

This is a 2012 video about a rosy pipit (at one point disturbed by a yellow wagtail).

Then, we saw a blue-fronted redstart.

This is a 2016 blue-fronted redstart video from Thailand.

A rufous-breasted accentor in Wolong.

This is a 2014 rufous-breasted accentor video.

This video shows a Daurian redstart male.

We saw a Daurian redstart in Wolong too.

And its relative, a white-capped water redstart.

This is a 2015 white-capped water redstart video from Thailand.

More Wolong birds; a brown-breasted bulbul.

This is a 2013 brown-breasted bulbul video from Thailand.

We walked along the pond, which used to be part of the panda sanctuary before the 2008 earthquake. Now, there are many pondskaters.

Stay tuned, as there will be more: on the mountains above Wolong and their wildlife!

People and flowers in Sichuan, China


This 2015 video is called Exploring China: Bullet Train from Chengdu (成都) to Dujiangyan (都江堰) Cities 150MPH.

After 6 April 2018 in China came 7 April.

That day we went from Yangxian to Wolong. Wolong is in Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan province in China. Roughly 57% of people living in that region are Tibetan. 20% Han Chinese, and 20% Qiang, a nationality with mostly a polytheist religion.

First, by bullet train to Chengdu. Then, from Chengdu to Wolong by bus.

Flowers and people, 7 April 2018

We stopped in Dujiangyan city. There was a flower exhibit in front of a shopping centre there.

Flowers and ladies, 7 April 2018

Many people stopped to watch the flowers.

Flowers and photographer, 7 April 2018

We were not the only ones photographing the flowers and people.

Stay tuned, as there will be more on 7 April 2018 in China!