Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Delicious beetle

A summer ♂ Stonechat (Saxicola torquata/Roodborsttapuit) is of course more attractive to show, because of his black head, contrasting orange throat and breast, and white patches on the sides of its neck. However, I choose for this picture of a ‘duller’ ♀ because of the caught beetle which is about to be fed to her nestlings.
This small passerine bird breed in heathland, coastal dunes and rough grassland with scattered small shrubs, open gorse, tussocks or heather. The ♂ has a clicking call like stones knocking together, for which it was named.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Birth of a dragon

Dragonfly life cycle in short. Eggs are laid in water or on vegetation near water, and hatch to produce pro-nymphs which live off the nutrients that were in the egg. They then develop into instars with approximately 9-14 molts that are voracious predators on other aquatic organisms, including small fishes. After some time (varies from a few months to several years, depending on the species), the nymphs crawl out of the water for their last molt, usually in dusk or dawn, into the flying teneral immature adults. The photo above is a snapshot of that process. Here the wings are still tiny and flabby. Within an hour or so they are pumped up and gradually become transparent and stiff. These insects soon transform into reproductive adults.
By the way, this is a Scarce Chaser (Libellula fulva/Bruine Korenbout).

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Little devil

Lying on a small pier I managed to take this photo. Shooting from a low-position, being at the same height as this Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis/Geoorde Fuut), creates much more intimacy. The bird scrutinizes the water surface for aquatic life as prey. With their black head, red eye and yellow ear plumes, they look like little devils.