@GothHobbit – You may want to invest in a child-size butterfly net, and a conveniently-sized clear plastic jar to scoop up the critter from the net in order to photograph it.
But your story was so cool!
Oh, truly, it had all the best elements: the laundry casita, an oof in the dark, squish factor…
And then The Universe spoke.
The Universe: Womp womp.
Yesterday was good for lifers, I went on a trip to the ponds of the Brenne area. I still have a lot of photos to process and observations to register.
We were greeted while on the road by a black stork in flight .
The area of central France I’m staying in right now has a serious lack of ducks, cormorants, grebes, coots and moorhens compared to Northern France (for some reason I can’t fathom, water quality due to agriculture?), so I was elated to finally reunite with old friends in serious quantities.
Then we got to the étang Cistude (“European pond turtle pond”, so let’s keep it in the original French!) which is absolutely amazing and I strongly recommend to anyone visiting central France during opening season. It might not compare with for instance the Marquenterre park in the Bay of the Somme in either quantity or diversity of birds but it feels incredibly cozy and less of a manufactured experience (“some storks nested there, it’s ok if you miss your picture, we’ve got the only angle you’re going to get on sale at the gift shop”) and more like complete colourful chaos. It’s less “looking at the Mona Lisa” and more “please help I’m trapped in a Hieronymus Bosch painting”.
This Ardea purpurea kind of stole the show, fishing very close to the hide and being generally goofy, to the point that for a while I didn’t see another lifer (Gallinago gallinago unless I’m mistaken) behind it:
As it was 35°, we decided to go grab water in the car before continuing. The lifers were understanding of my plight:
(Circaetus gallicus hovering as seen from the parking lot)
On the way back to the hides, I asked my father to pose for a photo. I’m not quite sure he had that picture in mind.
I was so excited to see Rallus aquaticus that I forgot to bump up my shutter speed:
As we left, full of memories and craving ice cream, we had completely forgotten, well, the European pond turtles of the European pond turtle pond. It was a bit late in the season and the heat waves haven’t been the best for herping, but I was allowed a singular parting gift which fittingly gets my lifer of the week spot:
This is only counting the lifers, I’ve had some of my best pictures of the usual suspects (kingfishers, little grebes, nutria, egrets…). It was very much worth almost doubling my photo backlog.
This adds to my reasons to go to France!
If my ID is correct, this is Ribbonwort, Pallavicinia lyellii, a liverwort. I love finding a liverwort that’s new to me!
As do (or so it seems) 90% of everything you see sitting on top of a leaf!
Lovely find. Congrats!
I’m finishing up a vacation in Nova Scotia and today we are (mostly) sitting in our B&B waiting for the tropical storm (formerly known as Hurricane Lee) that’s to pass over here in the Annapolis Valley tomorrow, before heading home Monday.
What’s great about the site we’re renting is that at the end of the backyard is a little arbour and 20 steps later we’re on a terrific nature trail.
But … maybe not today. Good time to review some pics. I miss my desktop and all its image editing software, but I know I will improve the posted observations once back home.
Hard to pick a fave but this one …
Allacma fusca has to be one of the weirdest springtails that I’ve come across so far.
Also yesterday, this lifer of some striped alder sawfly larvae:
Ooh, and this beautiful little patch of Dragon Horn lichen. Nothing like a coastal area for lichen lovers.
Wish you were here, as they say on all those postcards.
Today at the Wagbachniederung in Waghausel, Germany I was lucky to find and take the first photos of Contarinia echii, a species of gall midge that galls the flowers of Viper’s Bugloss. I first noticed these galls when on a path, I just walked by an Echium plant and noticed how all the flowers were closed which was odd for this time of year.
So I opened one up and inside there were 5-10 jumping, yellow larva just as the species description states. These are the first photos of this gall anywhere online.
My family and I holidayed on the west coast of the South Island, New Zealand, last week. A couple of highlights for me were this Crucibulum simile birds-nest fungus:
and this climbing clubmoss, Lycopodium volubile:
Still struggling with a fairly substantial backlog to upload, including photos of the trip I talked about last week. A fair few invertebrate lifers this week, my favourite being this little guy (Geocoris megacephalus) that landed on me while I was taking photos of Chrysolina bankii:
Honorable mention to this Micrommata sp., which only loses out due to how much of a pain it was to find a proper angle for the picture.
Ha! I think we’ve all been there.
In Java, Indonesia, we stumbled across a Red Costate Tiger Moth (Aloa lactinea) in one of the ricefields. My wife and I were both astonished by its beauty. And it was only the 14th observation of it in Java!
I, along with probably dozens of other local birders, got to witness a vagrant limpkin visiting the mountains of North Carolina. To track it down and watch it feed in a muddy little creek was quite an experience.
New bee alert! https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/183743706
My favorite flower this week is Comastoma nanum (a tiny gentian growing in the high mountains with only 12 observations on inat). It’s not in the CV and I’m not 100% sure on my id, gentians generally are very hard - and I realized I may also have seen one last month but nobody confirmed id - but what makes this one from yesterday definitely a lifer is that it also was white when normally they are blue or purple! Finger for size comparison, the petals were about 1mm long - I think the reason this species (if correct id) has so few observations is that nobody ever notices them
Also while I don’t normally observe animals I did see a group of Alpine ibex yesterday for the first time in the wild (photo taken from the exact same spot I also saw the gentian). They have a somewhat sad story on Wikipedia, hunters liked to kill them until they went almost extinct with only about 100 individuals left alive in 1820, all on a single mountain in today’s Italy. The Italian king outlawed killing those 100 remaining ones and by 1920 there was 3000 animals again and they started taking some of them out of the preserve in an attempt to repopulate various areas of the Alps (since tourists liked seeing them…) and now there’s about 45,000 again.
Hello everyone ! This week was very busy for me nonetheless i’ve added a lot of new species to my observations :)
The most fascinating for me was this species of Collembola that’s mostly found in central and eastern europe, and it’s also one of the biggest if not the biggest species of collembola in europe !!
Look at those beauties !!! Tetrodontophora bielanensis in all it’s glory :D
Oh, that’s quite a pretty bee!
Mine is probably this Cortinarius sanguineaus; just look at these gills! (I’m quite upset that I forgot an SD card and had to rely on phone pictures