Friday, 22 June 2007

June flyer

The contrasting colors of White Admiral (Limenitis arthemis/Kleine IJsvogelvlinder) help to break up the outline of the wing, camouflaging it from predators. They have a wing span of approximately 60-65 mm and have a distinctive, elegant flight comprising of short periods of wing beats, followed by long glides. White Admiral feeds on bramble blossom and the female will lay its eggs singly on wisps of honeysuckle growing in dense woodland. The caterpillars are green with red-brown hairs. As autumn approaches it will form a tent-like structure made of leaf tissue known as a hibernaculum which it then secures to the stem with silk before hibernating. The caterpillar will then awaken the following spring and after a brief spell of feeding will moult, revealing a spiny green skin.

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Athena noctua

A few weeks ago I found this Little Owl (Athena noctua/Steenuil), not far from my home. He (or she) is very confident, having a fix perch at the roof of an old barn on a farmyard.
Since this is one of my favorite birds, I decided to make a summer evening project out of it (although this photo was actually taken in the early morning). The farmer allowed me to place a hide at a strategic position, i.e. on top of a big plastic-covered heap of silage. The Little Owl accepted the hide without any problem and it was an impressive experience to observe this predator at close range. I was especially fascinated by the various facial expressions. The owl was very much interested in UFO’s, e.g. every air-balloon was followed conscientiously.
For me personally this is more than just a registration photo, it reminds me to a perfect, small-scale and self-sustainable world where nature and human activities go hand-in-hand and even enrich each other. Okay, there is no point in denying it; after all I’m a true romanticist.
Oh, by the way, did you know that the Little Owl was sacred to the goddess Athena, from whom it gets its generic name.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Swallow of the sea

Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis/Grote Stern) is a seabird of the tern family. They are more delicate and lighter build than gulls, and have long, pointed wings, which gives them a fast buoyant flight. This one is plunge diving for fish in the small Oosterschelde harbour of the “Flaauwers-inlaag” near Zierikzee.