June 2009

The advantage of being a bit behing with my diary-work is that I can write a single entry about more days. Or show photographs from different days so they can be easily compared. Like the ones below of the dead shrew. We came across it during a walk in 'Dal Palland', a small 'valley' only several minutes away from our home by foot. The dead shrew was laying on the trial and after photographing it I placed it in the grass just beside the trail. Only six days later I took the second picture! I also photographed a living shrew that day, but I'll write about that in a seperate entry as I saw and photographed a bit more even.

A dead shrew found on a trail in 'Dal Palland' near Beek on June 1st 2009.   A dead shrew in 'Dal Palland' on June 7th 2009.

On my way from work to house I stopped at the 'Besiendershuis' at the boulevard of the river Waal in Nijmegen to watch Swifts. It was very windy, which enabled me to take some reasonable pictures. I'll show one of the the best one of course) below, the rest can be found in the Misc. Swift pictures section.
After I got home I was able to photograph an insect I'd seen before in our back garden. I thought maybe it was the bee fly Bombilius ater, but as that's rare in the Netherlands, so not very likely to see so often in our garden. I searched around a bit and found it was another bee fly with the somewhat strange name Anthrax anthrax. It parasitizes on solitary bees, especially on mason bees...

A Common Swift (Apus apus) photographed above the Waalkade in Nijmegen on June 2nd 2009.   The bee fly Anthrax anthrax hovering in front of one of my bee blocks on June 2nd 2009.   The bee fly Anthrax anthrax on the wall of our garage on June 2nd 2009.

As I walked into the garden I noticed a small bee on the small Flax (Linum usitatissimum, Vlas in Dutch). As I took a closer look I noticed it had very beautiful eyes, take a look at the picture below!
After the dead shrew in Dal Palland it was nice to catch a couple of glimpses of the shrew in our back garden again. Always hard to photograph, fast and secretive as they are. That's why there some effort needed to spot the shrew in the picture below. They seem to always be hunting for insects, day or night...
Later I noticed a small bee walking through the grass. It didn't look very happy, so I picked it up and placed it onto a flower-'head' of the Wild Mustard (Sinapis arvensis, Herik in Dutch). It immediatly started drinking nectar from several flowers. After a while it tried to fly off, but it fell to the ground. I picked it up again and placed it on another flower-'head'. I placed it on another after it visited all flowers and continued doing so for a while as the bee seemed to remain a bit slow. I must admit I gave up on it after a while though. It kept falling off the flowers and the continuous drinking of nectar didn't seem to help. :(

A bee with very beautiful eyes on Flax in our back garden on June 7th 2009.   A shrew in our back garden on June 7th 2009.   A weakened bee on Wild Mustard (Sinapis arvensis) in our back garden on June 7th 2009.   A weakened bee in our back garden on June 7th 2009.

I went on excursion to the Eifel area in Germany with the KNNV Nijmegen this weekend. It was a wonderful experience. Such a gorgeous area. I saw loads of things I'd never seen before, enjoyed the beautiful weather and the immense richness of this area's nature. I wrote an excursion report for the website of the KNNV Nijmegen which can be found here. It's in Dutch though...
I'm not going to spend time on translating the report when I'm so far behind on my diary, so you'll have to make do with the huge amount of pictures below. As usual, hold the mouse cursor on the thumbnail of the picture to see what's on it. Not as usual, the descriptions are rather short, just the name and date.

Biesberg, June 12th 2009.   Tor-Grass, June 12th 2009.   Fragrant Orchids (Gymnadenia conopsea), June 12th 2009.   Biesberg, June 12th 2009.   Sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia), June 12th 2009.   Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur), June 12th 2009. A poor picture, but the first time I ever saw this species!   Glanville Fritillary (Melitaea cinxia), June 12th 2009.

Marbled White (Melanargia galathea), June 12th 2009.   Lizard Orchid (Himantoglossum hircinum), June 12th 2009.   Common Wintergreen (Pyrola minor), June 13th 2009.   Alendorf, June 13th 2009.   Red Kite (Milvus milvus), June 13th 2009.   Fly Orchid (Ophrys insectifera), June 13th 2009.   Linnet (Carduelis cannabina), June 13th 2009.

View from Kalvarienberg, June 13th 2009.   Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera)?, June 13th 2009.   Bird's-nest Orchid (Neottia nidus-avis), June 13th 2009.   Lampertstal, June 13th 2009.   Broomrape (Orobanche sp.), June 13th 2009.   Broomrape (Orobanche sp.), June 13th 2009.   Burnt Orchid (Orchis ustulata), June 13th 2009.

Field Cow-Wheat (Melampyrum arvense), June 13th 2009.   White Helleborine (Cephalanthera damasonium), June 13th 2009.   Maidenhair Spleenwort (Asplenium trichomanes), June 13th 2009.   Mountain Clover (Trifolium montanum), June 14th 2009.   Broomrape (Orobanche sp.), June 14th 2009.   Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia)   Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio), June 14th 2009.

Laphria flava, a robber fly, June 14th 2009.   Band-eyed Brown Horse Fly (Tabanus bromius), June `4th 2009.   Early Purple Orchid (Orchis mascula), June 14th 2009.   Lizard (possibly the Common Lizard, Zootoca vivipara), June 13th 2009.

Compare the first picture to that in the entry of May 31st: at least 30 cm's of growth! Though I don't have a comparitive picture for it, the Black Mustard (Brassica nigra, Zwarte Mosterd in Dutch) is growing even faster (the that comparison isn't completely fair though as the Spear Thistle is nearly at it's full height while the mustard is still in it's main growth-spurt. One that can be compared is the Wood Ragwort. Take a look at the picture in the entry of May 17th! Nearly doulbed it's height and making extra branches for the flowers. :)

Spear Thistle (Cirsium Vulgare) at our back door on June 27th 2009.   Black Mustard (Brassica Nigra) (amonst others) in our back garden on June 27th 2009.   Wood Ragwort (Senecio nemorensis) in our back garden on June 27th 2009.

Last year the Brown Knapweed (Centaurea jacea, Knoopkruid in Dutch) grew into a huge plant (nearly two meters high is pretty big for Brown Knapweed...) but never properly flowered. This year we have a couple more plants of this species and they are starting to flower! Good news for the insects and for us as they're very beautiful! :)

Brown Knapweed (Centaurea jacea) in our back garden on June 28th 2009.

A very typical insect visited our Spear Thistle (Cirsium vulgare, Speerdistel in DUtch) today: A Golden-bloomed Grey Longhorn (Agapanthia villosoviridescens (pff, quite a mouthful!), Distelboktor in Dutch). I'm not sure what the black things just below the beetle are, eggs or faeces.

A Golden-Bloomed Grey Longhorn (Agapanthia villosoviridescens) on the Spear Thistle at our back door on June 30th 2009.