Friday, January 24, 2014

Skies of our Colder Days

December to February are the coldest months in our hot tropical climate. We now experience 18C in the mornings before sunrise while we are still in bed, thanks God, as this is already cold for us. Then the temperature rose to about 28C at mid day, just lovely for our hot-bloodied bodies. We are not familiar with temperatures like these, but we love it. In my case, i am hoping that these temperatures lengthen for a few more weeks after February. But that might not be possible, as March is already the start of our dry season with high temperatures and high humidity, unease and  discomfort among us. While we are at this comfortable conditions, we might as well maximize doing many things, be efficient outdoors or else we might relegate those jobs for next year.

These colder temperatures are just spill-over effects from our temperate neighbors in the north like Siberia and Northern China. They are in deep winter so the cold winds reach us still colder, despite the distance!  This time also our skies are the most dramatic. In the afternoon clouds are low in the horizon making our sunsets lovelier than during the dry season. And I will show you some of them here, again taken from my 5th Floor Window!

 The top photos are taken in the same day.

 The above three photos are the progression of the sky also in one day.

This one photo seldom happens, but i took it as a comparison that sometimes our sun is not very bright too, as seen from here. Maybe the conditions at the horizon did not cooperate to give our usual red sunset, however the clouds are still making the horizon with dramatic landscape. But this scene actually is still early, it gets a bit brighter and redder a few minutes after!

Do you agree?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Our Skies These Days

My 5th Floor Window skies are already famous in my blogposts! But I don't think I will ever stop in taking shots of my sunsets, i call it my sunsets because nobody in our building takes photos of the sunsets like me. And of course, these photos are mine, so My Sunsets!

Sunsets during the rainy season are more dramatic than during the cloudless dry season. So during the short day months I make sure that I will be here some weekends to document these skies. These are posted in pairs taken at the same day. These are sunsets taken last Saturday, Sunday and Monday or yesterday! I will not exchange my unit for another, just for these sunsets.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Uncommon Insects

Happy New Year! I have been out for a while in posting here during the holidays. But i post in my other blogsite. When you are at home in the province, things to do seem to be endless. That includes propagating my hoyas, watering them, looking at them, managing their vines, photographing them and cleaning their leaves. You might think those are not work enough, but i tell you, intently looking at them and going back and forth to them checking if the developing roots or developing flowers have already gone big, is time consuming. Doing these never stop in one day, until i realized that the two weeks already finished, and it's time to go back to my normal world in the city, the normal world which doesn't look normal at all. Now I am confused!

The above litany didn't end there, aside from the hoyas i still chase butterflies, spiders, insects and anything that comes to attention in front of my eyes! Do you think there is a semblance of any normalcy in these activities? The sad thing is, or probably the unusual thing is, these are the things i love to do. I hope there is someone who pays for doing things like these! But at the moment, i have to go back to the abnormal world, the cement jungle, the pollution, the traffic and the unwanted! Anyway, all of these will pass! Time will come!

One day my sister brought me this larva on a leaf. She doesn't know if it becomes a butterfly or a moth, but I don't know either. I photographed its many angles, until both I and the larva got tired and stop.

 I put it on a palm leaf, and it started putting the whitish materials from its saliva, apparently it is doing a lining on the leaf to be made as its cocoon. It is enclosing itself by folding the leaves unto itself. When i touched the leaf it detected the movement and it ran for its life, it went away to another parts.

 In the morning in another plant, we found this folded-rolled leaf seemingly hiding something. Apparently it was able to make a cocoon-house for itself secured from outside intruders like me.

 This is how it looked like inside. The larva seems to be quiet and resting. It also shed its outer white fluffy covers leaving the greenish larval skin. I guess it has entered its pupation stage, and endless sleep. Unfortunately, we missed the eclosion of this larva, so we will not know how it looks like as an adult.

Search from the net, it looks like the wooly butternut larva. However, we don't have butternut trees in the tropics, i wonder what alternative hosts ours has been munching on. And if my guess is true, it is not a moth nor a butterfly, but one of those stingless wasps. Moths and butterflies are Lepitopterans but wasps are Hymenopterans, they have very different parentage or to be exact, different orders.

This is a leaf of Caesalpinia pulcherrima or Pride of Barbados or dwarf poinciana. Those scattered eggs are from the yellow Eurema hekabe. I've been watching them while egg laying, which is so fast that i can't even get a nice shot. I didn't know egg laying can be so easy!

At the same plant in another older leaf has another groups of eggs. They have the same shape, but laid under the leaves in contrast with the Eurema hekabe eggs. Now i wonder what laid these, as i didn't see the owner while doing its thing here!

Two days later, i saw the new hatchlings, the very small larvae crawling just where they attached as eggs. I searched for other leaves looking bigger ones from previous layings, however i didn't see any. There are also no eaten leaves although eggs are being laid in every newly formed leaves. I am now in a dilemma what happened to the larvae, whether they were eaten by what predators! Apparently, i will not be able to see any adult emerging from these two forms of larvae. They either die and not able to reach adulthood, and I am already in the city not being able to look for them if ever anyone of them survived!

Lastly, at the corner of a tree somewhere is a lone big spider, waiting for the prey to be caught in its wide web used as a net for catching food.

You will not be bored in the province, a lot of things can be observed and done. It actually is time that is lacking. Till next time!

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