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w23

Week 23 = June = It’s summer! And today’s a bank holiday, which is the best kind of Monday one can ask for ๐Ÿ™‚

Here are some pictures of small lives taken this morning:ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย  (Pictures were taken. Not lives.)

(1) 2-spot harlequin ladybug (Harmonia axyridis) with two big shoulder blobs in the shape of Australia

(2) Flesh fly (Sarcophagidae) with quite impressive foot pads

(3) Hover fly (Eupeodes corollae) enjoying the moment on a poppy flower #carpediem

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longhorn

Here’s a male Longhorn (Mystacides azurea) enjoying the good weather here in Amsterdam ๐Ÿ™‚ย  It’s a kind of caddisfly with very long antennae (which unfortunately are out of focus). They’re very small, only 6-9 mm long so even if they’re quite common you really have to look for them. I took this picture with a Raynox 250 attached on my Fuji lens, not really used to handle it yet (the 150 is much more forgiving and easier to use) but I hope I’ll get there.

wake-up

The rose-ringed parakeet (Psittacula krameri) is a common bird here in Amsterdam. There’s a group of them in my backyard, and they wake me up every morning! It’s a noisy species with an unmistakable squawking call. Without exaggerating, there can be 30 of them (sometimes more, especially in the winter) in one tree. They’re nice to look at, but I do wish I had mute button (or at least a snooze button) for them ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here’s a cute little female, she didn’t scream but just sat there talking to herself (who doesn’t sometimes) which seem to be typical for them.

 

bubble

A Calliphoridae fly also known as “Blow fly”, from an older English term for meat that had eggs laid on it, which was said to be fly blown. He was blowing a bubble of water, and then inhaled it again. There are many theories for this behaviour (to aid digestion, to cool the body, being sick, cleaningย  their mouthparts etc.) but no one knows for sure.

moorhen

A Eurasian common moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) with chicks, enjoying a sunny Sunday here in Amsterdam ๐Ÿ™‚

In case anyone’s interested: There are some subtle differences in bill pattern, eye color, and shield shape between the American and the Eurasian moorhen. The easiest signs when it comes to identification are that Eurasian adults have mostly yellow lower mandibles, and a large and flat-topped shield is an indication of American.

dance

A European honey bee (Apis mellifera), covered in pollen from a yellow rocketcress. Look what a happy little bee she is! With some imagination you can even see a smile on her face ๐Ÿ™‚

She posed nicely for some shots and then took off, probably in a hurry to tell her friends all about it. When bees have found good nectar or pollen, they fly home and share the news with the others. First, she lets the others taste the nectar or pollen, so they can determine which flower she’s found. Then she performs something called a “waggle dance” which is a particular figure-eight dance. It’s like drawing a map in the air; the dance gives directions (bees have inbuilt compasses and use the sun as a landmark), the speed of dancing indicates how far away the flower is – the faster she dances, the closer is the flower.

PS. Have ever wondered why some bees buzz louder than others? It kind of sounds like the bee is angry, but that’s not the case at all. They typically do this if the pollen is hard to reach, then the bee solves the problem by buzzing loudly, and thereby create a vibration to make the pollen fall down so the she can reach it. A clever solution!

 

unfurl

A closer look at an unfurling fiddlehead fern frond

syrphidae

A beautiful hoverfly (Eupeodes corollae) on a dandelion (Taraxacum) ๐Ÿ™‚

When I was a child, I thought these flies were unusually fast little bees or wasps but their coloring is a Batesian mimicry and they’re harmless. In fact, they do a lot of good as their larvae prey upon pest insects (which spread some diseases such as “curly top”) and adults feed on nectar and help to pollinate the flowers (which probably is why they’re sometimes called flower flies).

alcedo

A male Eurasian Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), photographed yesterday. Isn’t he beautiful! ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t have a long zoom lens; the first picture has been cropped (he has a small fish in his beak), the second one not (you have to look for the bird in that one).

About the scientific name: Alcedo is Latin and means “kingfisher” and Atthis was the consort of Cybele in Greek mythology. Atthis was also a Phrygian god of vegetation and represented the fruits of the earth, which die in winter only to rise again in the spring.

 

easter17

Going on an egg hunt ๐Ÿ™‚ย  Happy Easter everyone!

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