Thursday, May 31, 2012

Creatures beating the heat

These photos were taken at the middle of our hot and humid environment, temperatures ranging 30-36C. It rained twice however, one in March and one in May. Those unusual sudden rains, that the weather people called thunderstorm rains somehow lessen the heat. But it also increased humidity which might be useful to plants but almost unbearable for mammals. The following photos of butterflies are normally absent during our previous normal dry seasons. The mentioned rains are very rare occurrence but some catterpillars braved to emerge because some shoots grow for them to munch on. A little later, these butterflies emerged unusually through this heat. They are brave enough to beat the heat and waterless environment. Moreover, nectar plants are very few these time.

 This butterfly is very common in our property, Junonoia hedonia. It is not a fast or high flyer, just under the trees and alighting on dried leaves. I am sure it is also a sure environment for it to camouflage its color. I seldom see it alight on the flowers.
 the underside of the first photo

 This one surely had its life about to end, but it still is fast seemingly not affected by the torn wings. Even its scales are already worn-out and the full shades already fading. It was the hottest time of the day, but i really wanted to document the condition of this butterfly, so pathetic but still struggling on!

 Go on butterfly, you are an idol as in IDOL.

 It has been witness to a very harsh dry season. This is my first time to see a butterfly with very dilapidated/torn wings but still coping with life.

 It is still the same weary butterfly, showing the blue sheen of its upper wings. This might be a
Hypolimnas bolina.

 The top and below photos are of two kinds. They have definitely different designs. I wonder if they are different species or just one species but different sexes. Lasippa illigera. (Thanks to Dr. Peter B. Hardy for the ID). 

  It is perched with very nice contrast to Heliconia rostrata, which has been blooming already for two months. It is good some butterflies can also get food from them.  Pantoporia nefte or Neptis mindorana, i am not sure as they are almost the same, which i got comparing it with Butterflies of the Philippines book. However, Mr Horace Tan of Butterflies of Singapore identified it as Phaedyma columella. Dr Hardy finally confirmed this is Neptis mindorana.

The above photo of a black unknown insect is perched on a citrus trunk full of lichens.  I also don't know the identity of the insect. It looks like a black ladybug.

Camera Critters

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dry Season Garden Dwellers

Our dry season this year is again wrecking havoc in the garden. Two years ago i have shown you some of our fruit trees, which were not heat and drought tolerant enough to wait for the rainy season. This year I have posted the pathetic scenes in my other blogsite. And because a negative something is always balanced by a positive one, then i must post  also the more positive aspects of our dry season. Of course, not all adverse conditions give adverse effects. The wide range of organisms give leeway for others, when most of the rest cannot. I might be biased with my choices, but i can assure you, i am surely a bit biased, haha!

This Celosia argentea, cockscomb, has been braving the heat and full sun beautifully, however it has not yet fully grown when it suddenly give up. I was not able to take its dead photo, my mother already throw it away.

This is locally called "kasupanggil", Clerodendrum intermedium. It can still flower well without watering and temperatures reaching 37C. Fruits are also produced nicely. However, the leaves wilted so much especially at noon, but get turgid again in the morning. Those berries turn black when ripe. These are volunteer plants that we consider as weeds, but i opted to leave it there for the butterflies.

 Butterflies take turns is sipping the flowers. That means nectar production is still good for them.

The above swallowtail is Chilasa clytia 

This Curetis tagalica is getting nectar from the stringbeans' flowers, i did not see it alighting in the Clerodendrum, even if most of the butterflies try it. 
A Papillio alphenor getting its food from the already struggling Lantana camara

 This Prosotas dubiosa loves the blue Duranta erecta flowers, which also dwindled because of the drought and the heat.

 Euchrysops cnejus on the flower of stringbeans.

 Cepora aspasia, also on the blue Duranta erecta. It already has torn wings.

 I formerly called this as Parantica aspasia, which is not correct, as the authority on butterflies call it Tirumala limniace.

Sincere gratitude is due Dr. Peter B. Hardy, who is very kind enough to identify my butterflies. From now on I will at last call these by their real names. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Still in Strasbourg

We attended a one week seminar on Patents jointly organized by the European Patent Office, European Patent Academy and held at the Institut Europeen Entreprise et Propriete Intellectuelle, Strasbourg, France. Our venue is also at the building of the International Space University, a university for astronauts. We are free to see the surrounding areas only after the session, which was at 4:30pm. We always hurry to board the train from school to the center of Strasbourg, and walk hurriedly to cover more grounds. We took the cruise to see wider areas in a short time, but it was already dusk and taking pictures of landscapes and buildings was already difficult. 

 I am at the hotel when i took the above photo, showing the Louis Pasteur University at the background (the round building). 

Monoprix is at the center of the 3 buildings. I've read somewhere that "when French is not your first language, every visit to a French supermarket is like walking into a three-dimensional visual dictionary"! I am glad we did not have to enter it, we just tried buying some small items at the Galleries de Lafayette, to bring home as presents.

 I love seeing blooming plants on sidewalk fences at the center of Strasbourg, however, i don't know the ID of this plant.

 This is the famous revolving bridge. Pedestrians about to cross the bridge have to wait for the bridge to be put back in place, while a boat is still passing under it, and tourists like us watched the scene in total amazement and amusement!

The photoabove shows the tourists on the boat passing under the bridge's location, while the pedestrians above them on the pavement wait for the bridge for them to go the other side. I love the idea of the revolving bridge!

A fountain is prominently located, where most of the cruises pass by.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Friday Flowers Flaunt

I have long been joining a lot of you on Fridays, flaunting our plants and flowers and link them to some memes. I get to be acquainted with temperate and sub-tropical plants, or feel envious sometimes of those which i like very much but can't grow well in our climate.  And on the rebound, i get to show you our plants in this hot (and very hot!) tropical climate. I think this is a good way of not only engaging everyone, or enticing and envying them, but also informing each one of the beauty and richness of our individual climates treasures, the richness of our biodiversity. Also, we learn here which plants are someone's discard, but another's treasure, something very well cared for in one's garden, but found invasive in some areas! Furthermore, I get a lot of inspiration from your photos, compositions, etc, etc.

Thanks to the internet and blogging, I am learning a lot from all of you, and hopefully vise-versa!

Cockscomb is a very tropical plant, suited to our hot climate, but gets invasive seeds which i don't like. This  is planted on the ground near my tomatoes, so share water seepage from them. You can see the very well developed flower combs from the many branches arising from the main trunk.

This is the trunk of the one above, isn't it also beautiful? I actually love its color. Fortunately, one plant is spared by mother's chicken.

 The stem portion of the comb is full of seeds, and the individual seeds are as small as the Brassica seeds, e.g. cabbage, mustard, pechay. Those shown are potential weeds this coming rainy season, and that is just one comb yet.

It looks like some insects are also inhabiting the convoluted flowers, i wonder if they are living there as a good hiding place or they get some food from it too!

This one is planted on a plastic pot also near the tomatoes. So when the sun gets too hot, which is everyday from sunrise to sunset, its soil gets very dry and it gets limp and dry. Upon watering in the early evening, they get turgid again but somehow the heavy flowers cannot return sufficiently upright anymore. The combs are also much smaller than the first photo that is planted on the ground. Can you see the small baby praying mantis underneath the bent comb above? It is also hiding from the extreme heat of the sun, although i shot this early in the morning before 7am. Praying mantis are territorial, so it will not leave until the combs die.

Copy this image and its link to place on your blog

ff    blumen zum wochenende

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Dramatic Beach Stones

For some reasons, my intention of posting these rocks and beach stones was always put to the background. Flowers and plants always move forward. But who can compete with very colorful flowers, or butterflies? Then when i put these stones as my screensaver, i started to realize they are like flowers too, they are very colorful. At that instant, I decided i will be posting these too and share to each one of you.  Can you blame me? Will you agree?

These are series of random shots i took at different dates but on the same stretch of our beach. I love to just walk and watch some marine organisms found in this beach. A little difficulty in walking here is neutralized by the diversity of organisms, and of course the beauty of the multi-colored stones!

Our World Tuesday Graphic    Outdoor-Wednesday-logo_thumb1_thumb1[1]

Sunday, May 6, 2012

My first foreign flowers

Blogging has created not only networks of international friends but a lot more! Some blogger friends take time to personally meet when their space and time allow. I've read many of you especially in the US, to have driven miles, took planes just to meet newly found blogger friends. You exchanged not only information in gardening but also the much coveted species or cultivars available in a friend's garden. And of course they are mostly done with wonderful lunches or dinners, or a cup of coffee at the least!

Another product of blogging networks is the sending of seeds through the posts. I have twice been a recipient of this blogger-friends' kindness. They are both from the US and being a temperate country, the seeds they sent were all experimentally monitored. Not all temperate climate plants germinate in hot tropics like the Philippines, so i germinated them without much expectations. Skeeter sent my first seeds of vegetables and ornamentals. I remember it was my interest in the birdhouse gourd which touched her to send me seeds with additional ornamental packets. However, the gourd and other cucurbits germinated but did not grow well. Only the marigolds grow favorably and they are now already in their third generation. But marigolds thrive on wide ranges of temperatures and climates. Actually, we already have marigolds in this country, although Skeeter's was my first of the pom-pom variety. 

My second seeds from the US came from The Suburban Gardener of Illinois. She is a lily breeder, sent me fourteen kinds of seeds including two bulb species. The two bulbs are growing well, but the gaillardia is the first to flower. It will be followed by coneflowers which are still in the vegetative stage. The rest either did not germinate or not able to grow. I hope she will be thrilled like me in seeing the survivors. My mother, sisters, nephew and niece (as well as the cats and chickens) were excitedly thrilled too!

We were thrilled seeing the first gaillardia flower bud.

The stingless bees want it too, even if they see this for the first time! We have both the native honey bee and stingless bee in our property, signifying ours is a healthy environment.

It is affected much by high temperatures, so maybe the stalks are so long and thin, and they might not be as prolific as their relatives in the country it came from.

A collage showing the different stages of maturity of a gaillardia flower

 The above coneflowers are another source of anticipation.

 I haven't seen flowering coneflowers, so i hope the above will be successful.


My sincere gratitude to Donna@Gardens Eye View for checking my flowers as gaillardia.
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