Wednesday 8 October 2014

Hello everyone!

Hello everyone! Due to an old back injury which no doubt has been aggravated by too much sitting down at the computer, I have not been able to post, or visit you. The change in the weather to rainy and damp conditions has also contributed to the already existing problem. For this reason I will only return to blogging when I feel well enough to do so, I hope it won't be too long, as I truely miss you. I'm actually standing up to write this! See you all as soon as I feel better.

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Two of a Kind 2

The Magpie  Pica pica
One for sorrow, two for joy,
Three for a girl, four for a boy,
Five for silver,six for gold,
Seven for a secret not to be told. Eight for a wish, nine for a kiss,
Ten for a bird that's best to be miss.

I'm not suspicious, but was glad to see two Magpies high up in the tree tops, and not one!:)

The black and white colour pattern, and extreemly long tail, with a metallic sheen, unfortunately not seen in these poor images, make the Magpie unmistakable.


Sunday 14 September 2014

The Blister Beetle

Mylabris Quadripunctata the scientific name, belongs to the family Meloidae, and is commonly called the Blister Beetle,

The Blister beetle lives in grasslands, meadows, and cultivated fields, where it feeds on pollen.

It is usually 10-15 millimeters, of cylindrical shape, and soft bodied, with the thorax being narrower than the head.

It flies from flower to flower, like a bee, and has a defencive secretion of a blistering agent, hence the name Blister Beetle.

This toxic liquid, oozes from the articulations, principally from the femoral-tibilal joints,

The poisonous chemical, which causes the painful blistering to the skin is called CANTHARIDIN.
Cantharidin is used medically to remove warts,and was used historically also as a major ingredient in dried or powered form in so-called love potions.I have posted one photo of this beetle already, when I still didn't know what it was called.I went back to the same place the following day and saw many more beetles, but didn't want to show more without knowing more about them. My thanks goes to Bob Bushell for giving me the ID, and to all of you who tried to help. It is very much appreciated. Although a little late I am linking up with Eileen on her meme Saturday's Critters.Do call in to see critters from around the world.

Friday 12 September 2014

Tiled Entrance

Just one photo today. As I waited in the car for my husband to return from an errand, I looked out of my side mirror and saw this gate which is the entrace to a private residence and farm. Camera ever ready, I got out and took this photo. It's a slightly odd angle because we were parked on a slope and the trees kind of dominate the picture, but you can clearly see the Portuguese tiles and wide entrance. I'm linking this to Theresa's meme and if you want to see more fences from around the world, just click on the title of her post Good Fences at the bottom of this post.

Tuesday 9 September 2014

Egyptian Goose

The Egyptian Goose   Alopochen aegyptiacus 
It is a native of Africa, south of the Sahara, and the Nile Vally.

The Egyptian Goose has long legs, and feeds mainly up on dry land. They swim well but are heavy in flight. 

The Egyptian Goose has a chocolate-brown patch around eye. Both sexes are identical in plumagem, and they pair for life.   

Note the large white wing panel.
These photos were taken earlier in the year in the park. I didn't know much about them at the time, but have since learnt quite a bit. Something interesting about them is that the ancient Egyptians considered them sacred, and thats why the Egyptian Goose appears in much of their artwork.

Saturday 6 September 2014

Eight Spots.

I came across this  pretty red beetle with eight black spots the other day, but don't know what it's called. I have seen similar beetles with six spots, but never eight. It has wings, because I saw it flying. If anyone knows it's name, I would appreciate you telling me.


Thursday 4 September 2014

Cutting Cork

Cork Oak Trees.
Last week men came to remove the bark from the cork oak trees, which will be made into all manner of things.We have many such trees on our land, and some are situated on the slope just behind our driveway where you can see the balustrade.

Some are really tall, and I could only photograph the middle of this one. Cork oak are protected, and no tree is cut down.The stripping only takes place every 9 or 10 yrs, and is a highly specialized procedure. It is done by teams of men, useing only axes, as no viable mechanical method has yet been invented to do the job effectively.

Some of them lean over our driveway.

Another tall Cork Tree. This one is a huge tree.

This one is just plain sexy!:=)

There were about twenty men removing the cork, and large piles of it dotted the landscape when they had finished. It is used in flooring and insulation, as well as bottle stoppers for wine bottles, and many other things. I have a pair of cork wedged heeled sandles and girls, I can tell you they are so comfortable,it's like walking on air!

I love the look and feel of it, and saved some to put by our fireplace.
Cork oak landscapes store carbon, reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The trees store cabon in order to regenerate their bark, and a harvested cork tree absorbs up to five times more than  one that isn't.Their acorns provide food for the many squirrels and other creatures in the forest.

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Finch Family

The Greenfinch started to visit my garden for the first time last year, and have been here every day this summer. They can't seem to get enough of the peanuts and sunflower seeds I put out for them every morning.


Thursday 28 August 2014

Morning View

Morning Glory

Tendrils help it to cling on to the nearest leaf or branch.

Covering some of our grape vines.

Bees love to tunnel inside.

Covering an old pear tree on the farm.

This fence belongs to a neighbouring farm. 
The bright blue of the Morning Glory creeper is a wonderful sight. It grows profusely in certain áreas of the farm and on one wall of my garden. Every year it is cut back to ground level, and produces even more blooms the following year.They are anual climbers with slender stems, heart shaped leaves, and trumpet shaped flowers that can be pink, purple-blue, or white, which open in the sun. The vine quickly reaches a hight of 15 feet in one season, but they can be invasive, and are best trained over a pergola or up a wall or fence.

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Two of a Kind 1


The Wood Pigeon   Columba palumbus.

Looking out of my bedroom window on an extreemly dull morning one day last week, I saw these two birds silhouetted against the sky. I got closer shots of a Collared Dove the next day on the farm. It was still dull and cloudy, so even though it was nearer, they are not very good captures. The weather has been so uncertain, worst August I ever remember.

At last a photo of a Collerd Dove. I see them often in the trees, but never near enough to get a good shot. There's a pair of them, but they fly away at the first sign of my approach. Pity I couldn't have got a shot of them both, especially for this post.

Sensing I was near, he kept looking from side to side.

  Feeling uneasy, he eventually flew away, which was one more  ghost shot to add to my odd collection of strange apparitions.:) 


Saturday 23 August 2014

Photogenic Peacock.

The Peacock butterfly  Nymphalis io (Nymphalidae)









The fast flying Peacock butterfly flies from June -September. It perches with wings wide open or closed. They are particularly fond of my Statice flowers (Limonium Smuatum Statice) sometimes referred to as Sea Lavender. It's a great alternative or addition to the Buddleias which attract most butterflies. The Staice flower is commonly used in dried flower arrangements, as well as fresh bouquets, and when properly dried they retain their vibrant colours. You can grow them in a variety of colours, then just enjoy the spectacale as the butterflies appear. I prefer the purples and lilacs, but they are all very pretty. 
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