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2018-15

There are many “firsts” this time of the year! Here are the first flies of the year as well –

The first picture shows a Flesh fly (Sarcophagidae) sunbathing on a staircase. Flesh flies look a lot like house flies, but are generally larger. They are gray, have a checkerboard pattern on the top of their abdomen, three black stripes running along the top surface of their thorax just behind the head, while house flies have four, and sometimes a reddish-brown tip at the end of the abdomen.

The second picture shows a Yellow dung fly (Scathophaga stercoraria), or – if you want to make the name sound a bit nicer, which could be a challenge for a dung fly – also known as Golden dung fly. I think it’s a female as she has a more of a green tone to her rather than yellow. These flies are very important in the scientific world due to their short life cycles and susceptibility to experimental manipulations, thus have contributed significant knowledge about animal behavior.

 

2018-14

Yay, first butterflies of the year! The European Peacock butterfly (Aglais io) usually spend the winters in buildings or trees, and therefore often appear quite early in the spring.  Before it goes into hibernation, it convert some of their blood sugar into glycerol which works as a kind of “anti-freeze” during the cold winter. Clever, eh! After hibernation (March or April), it will lay its eggs, often in batches of 500 (!) at a time and several layers deep to increase the chance that some will be protected from desiccation and birds. In the next coming weeks, the adults have lived for almost a year and they die of old age. Around the same time, the caterpillars of the next generation hatch and in July they form chrysalides, in August they emerge as adults, and in September they go into hibernation. And so the cycle goes on!

Note: It shouldn’t be confused with the American Peacock butterfly (Anartia), they’re not closely related.

More interesting information and pictures can be found on this excellent learning site here

2018-13

Happy Easter everyone!

My beloved Fuji X-T1 can only do double exposures, not multiple as some other cameras can (up to 10, I think?). My workaround was to take several double exposures and then merge them in a software. It was the first time I’ve tried it, but certainly not the last. So much fun to discover and play around with new techniques 🙂 If anyone has any advice on how to take/make ME’s, please share!

(i) Multiple exposure

(ii) Double exposure (in camera)

2018-12

The bees are back! 🙂 Three photos I shot earlier today of lovely little honey bees (Apis mellifera) collecting pollen.

The bee in the first picture as a nice basket on her hind leg:

"Unique among all God's creatures, only the honeybee improves the environment and preys not on any other species."
- Royden Brown (author of 'Bee Hive Product Bible')

2018-11

Slowly.. small flowers start to pop up here and there! Some people regard the daisy (Bellis perennis) and coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) as weed, but they are beautiful and both these are used in traditional herbal medicine so they’re useful as well 🙂

2018-10

One of the roses in Vondelpark’s Rosarium has survived the winter and is still looking quite nice 🙂

2018-9

It’s cold here in Amsterdam! People (and some birds, see below) are ice skating on the canals (link) 🙂

Ice skating for the first time

2018-8

Week 8 in 2018-

More snowdrops… Next week I’ll definitely try to find something else to photograph! 😉

2018-7

Not much to photograph during today’s walk, besides some more flowers! As you can see, it was a lovely sunny Sunday here in Amsterdam today 🙂

Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)

 

Winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis)

 

Crocus (Crocus sativus)

2018-6

The Winter Olympics are on! But here in Amsterdam I’ve already found the first signs of “spring” 🙂

Crocus (Crocus sativus)

Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)

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