Thursday, 19 September 2013

Odds and Ends

To finish with our trip to Menorca, I thought I would post a few pictures of some 'odds and ends'. Firstly, a wonderful, if somewhat elusive bird, which was to be seen flitting about the rocks close to our apartment.  It is a Blue Rock Thrush (Monticola solitarius).
Very shy and therefore rather tricky to get close enough for a good photo, this is a member of the 'Old World Flycatcher' or 'Chat' family and has a distinct resemblance to a blue-tinged Blackbird.  The blue colour is sometimes difficult to see, unless you are lucky enough to see it in very good light.
Secondly, a smaller creature and another which was photographed around our apartment building.  This time a Bloody-nosed Beetle (Timarcha tenebricosa).
This gorgeous beetle has an almost unbelievably shiny appearance and shines with a metallic lustre as it bumbles about its business.  The name 'Bloody-nosed' comes from its unsettling habit of vomiting a noxious, red liquid from its mouth if molested, which is foul-tasting to predators.
A couple of plants to end with and the first of these is well known to anyone who likes cooking. The Caper plant (Capparis spinosa) is a sprawling shrub with large, rounded, fleshy leaves and a few nasty thorns.  The unopened flower buds of the Caper are picked and pickled in brine or vinegar and used in cooking to add a certain piquancy to a recipe.  The pickled fruit - Caper Berries - are also used in this way.  The flowers, when allowed to open, are rather beautiful.
Finally, a beautiful flower which was growing in the sand at the top of a beach, where the grasses and pine trees were starting to take over.  The Sea Daffodil (Pancratium maritimum) is pollinated by the Convolvulus Hawk Moth (Agrius convolvuli), but only when the wind speed is low enough.  The flower is scented like a lily and appears only after a period of hot, dry weather which makes the leaves wither and die.
Post a Comment