Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Honey on Monday... Cut-leaved Maples... Evening Bonks.... Woolly 2CV...

A few disjointed notes...

Saw a large raptor try and land in the small willows...
too slim to be a Common Buzzard... but too heavy for the top...
it tried the walnut... for a moment...
saw the tail as it flew on toward the Poplars... not the Black Kite...
managed to get the big 'scope on it... head "too small" for a Buze variable...
it kept stretching its neck out... panning around...
at last, a profile view... it looked like a Honey Buzzard [Pernis apivorus] Bondrée apivore!

The Honey Buzzard has a cuckoo-like profile... but with a hooked beak!
This bird was all brown, no grey head... so probably a juvenile.
Pauline's been hearing a raptor call that she couldn't identify...
need to check the call later.
The local birdbook says that they are presumed to breed here...

With the recent sun everything has warmed up...
so we've got the insects back...
butterflies through this weekend included a Great Banded Grayling...

This is a BIG butterfly... it is difficult to confuse with anything else.

lovely drifting flight... like many large butterflies...
including the almost transparent Flambé [Scarce Swallowtail - I prefer the French name: more descriptive] that I have just seen.
It had no colour and, at first I couldn't work out what it was...
so went to "'avagander" and saw that it had lost all the scales on both wings...
it looked strange, being able to see the lower wings through the upper!!
Wish I'd had camera in hand for that one... sorry reader[s?]!

A few days ago we had something go "bonk" in the evening....
large it was... bigger, bodywise, than a Stag Beetle...
For once Chinnery actually had it identified.... as Susan of LVN confirmed, once I'd sent her the pix.
It was a Longhorn Beetle... Prionus coriarius... no common names [it isn't common]...
the larvae live in the roots of trees...
"surtout les souches!" [Above all the stumps].
Most beetles have an....
"I learnt take-off, I learnt most of level flight... but boredom set in and I bunked off the landing classes!" mode of flying...
and this one was no exception!
It hit the lounge door... stopped flying immediately... and dropped!
Straight into the glass jar that is half full of Kestrel pellets.

Longhorn Beetle [Prionus coriarius]

Jaws designed to mill wood... they are offset like a crossbill's beak.

The door is 96cms wide... the jar it fell into 7cms... a one in fourteen chance...
she [female, Susan reckoned] had obviously been out with the boys when that "how to land, gracefully" class was on!

You can see by the movement that she'd begun to wake up!!
Upside down was the only way I could make her stay still enough to be recorded!
She tried to take off...
it is a Benedicta Mayonnaise jar...
it bulges to about 9cms in the middle...
this allowed her to open her wing-cases and attempt lift off...
but with the wing cases open, she couldn't fly through the opening.
I rescued her, gave her a night in the fridge to slow her down...
then photographed her in the morning.

Free at last... she makes off into a shady corner to await nightfall...
and another "blunder about"... the missing foot didn't seem to hinder her!!


When last in Le Blanc... for their Fête de la Nature...
I saw a very nice cut-leaved Maple that had been planted all over the place...
sometimes, these are nice from seed, but never like the original....
that would have been grown from a cutting.
I collected some of the still slightly green seeds and planted four of them in a pot the next day...
they've come on well... but with a marvellous leaf shape I've never seen in a maple before...

A Leaf cutter cut leaf Maple... styling by beeeeee!

...a leaf cutter bee has had fun trying to confusculate me!!

I also saw my first "recognised" wool carder bee Anthidium sp...
wearing a nappy as described and pictured here in "Days on the Claise"...
must have seen them before... just unaware!
And, on opening the '56 2CV passenger door, I found this.........

Mobile Home?
[or makeup remover]
Carder bee "wool" balls.





8 comments:

GaynorB said...

Well observed and commented on.

Tim said...

Tar muchly!

DON'T buy any salad...
come and collect some when you arrive...
PLEASSSSE!
Will throw in a cucumber as well!

Susan said...

Terrific post -- lots of fun stuff here. Love the Anthidium nest! That was one busy bee!

Prionus coriarius do have an English name. They are called Tanner Beetles, I assume because tanners would encounter them in the oak chippings used in the leather processing.

I saw my first definite Great Banded Grayling for the season on Sunday, doing my Chaumussay transects for STERF.

Jean said...

Great post!
I would have been totally baffled if I ever saw anything like all that white fluff - but now I know!
How big is each ball?

Tim said...

Jean, they are around the size of a polystyrene bobble from a floor cushion... And, strangely enough, almost as resiliant.

Amelia Frenchgarden said...

I love your mobile home nest! So far I've only managed to have one bamboo filled up by an Anthidium but I am hoping for more. I've been a bit confused by your multiple sites and I was looking on the wrong page :)

Tim said...

Apologies Amelia...
Yes, we decided that we'd have sites for each subject.
Art en Saule and Touraine Flint are the least written in... and this one the most.
This is the layperson's equivalent to Susan's Loire Valley Nature... therefore we regularly link the two by way of a post or reference... and like you, I find Susan very useful as an ident. source... she is exceptionally careful... often not giving me a reply until someone else has given an / confirmed her opinion.

Paul Newport said...

What can I say other than what a fantastic blog with superb images. A great read which I will enjoy following.
Your insect pictures are incredible. A very informative blog.

Well done Tim.

Paul