Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A new way to look at things!

Now let's see the difference!

For a kid, getting acquainted with a new toy is so much fun. For me having a new toy is seeing the new perspectives with the ordinary things I often ignored, nor didn't know exist. Having a macro lens as a new toy gave me more insights, more awareness and more information. I am inclined now to patiently wait for a very small insect to surface prominently, or to allow it go to a nicely colored background. I didn't know there are very small insects which visit a particular flower. In the past I've always been trying to follow the butterflies, the mantis, the bees. The butterflies challenged me before in learning their identifications. This time, I guess the small insects are more difficult to identify. But they are so intriguing, and I get really very curious with their habits and characteristics.

 Dewdrops have been more meaningful now as well, as I don't get so frustrated anymore in not being able to get a good shot using a telephoto lens.

 I can now limit my depth of field to a better background blur.

This is not possible before with my telephoto lens, and i take lots of photos to get a similar result. That is because my hands are not steady anymore after long hours holding a heavy camera, and tripods are not my favored companions. The above is an  asparagus fern. It has some berries which will eventually become green and then red when ripe. 

I have not been so mindful of the lovely shape of this Impatiens balsamina flower bud before. I just noticed it after getting the macro lens. 

This is the fully opened flower of the Impatiens balsamina. This is the stage which always attracts my attention, just like the common insects which favor it.

I've always been taking the whole drooping inflorescense  of this Heliconia rostrata. I agree, the whole inflorescense is really beautiful, but I am glad to show its other characteristics. The real flower protrudes at the ends of the very colorful bracts. It is at this portion where the insects congregate getting the nectar.

Above is a ~3mm long beetle on a Turnera ulmifolia flower. I've waited a long time for it to leave the center of the flower and be on the side to get a different colored background. I was a bit impatient earlier, I prodded it to move a bit sideways from the center. It was frustrating, as instead of moving just a little outward it flew away. So when i found this one, i just waited for it to move on its own. Isn't it more beautiful this way!

...and this is a marigold bud!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A White Moth

This might not be an oxygen generator, but as long as they live in our farm, they are a part of our ecosystem. They get also their food from the plants, directly or indirectly. The only bad thing about this post is, it is still NOID, i haven't learned of its identity. I am in a hurry, so please excuse my impatience. I just know it is a moth, a very clean-looking dainty moth. I am sure you will agree with me that it is beautiful.

 its pupa shell is still hanging at the top left portion, it is still drying its wings here, maybe newly eclosed

 it looks scared at this pose, or maybe it is still unaware of the dangers of its surroundings

 look at those eyes, which suddenly got aware of my presence, got suddenly black and focused

the moth's lovely white attire viewed from above, with 2 black spots at both wings

Camera Critters

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

An Exceptional Blue Flower

Pachyrhizus erosus 

I have been telling bloggers in my comments that blue and dark violet flowers are not common in our tropical climate, unlike in temperate climes. When I see them here, my attention will definitely be captured and I will not allow it unphotographed. I am still looking for the scientific explanation why blues appear mostly in cold climates, so they are called cold colors. Maybe more anthocyanins are assimilated there. If that is also correlated with the color of the spectrum absorbed by these plants, i still don't know. I hope there is someone who will give me the thorough explanation. 

On the other hand warm colors are really found so common in our warm climate. The reds, orange and yellows are widespread with us. This led me to clamour for the blues. I am so glad when i found this vine growing luxuriantly in our property, as a weed. I know it is a wild yam bean or locally called 'singkamas', Pachyrhizus erosus. The young pods are used as vegetables in the northern parts of the country. But the most commonly eaten are the roots of the more domesticated variety. These roots are also harvested at immature stage, when the vines are still about 1-2 ft tall. When the vines begin to climb, the roots are already mature and not eaten anymore. Literatures say that mature seeds are toxic to humans and animals. The leaves of the wild variety in our property are eaten by ruminants like cattle and goats.

I am so lucky to have volunteer plants like this in our backyard.


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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Oxygen Generators and Oxygen Users!

Many critters have the ability to mimic their surroundings. They normally camouflage themselves among leaves and branches. One morning I was fascinated looking for these little creatures, and I am surprised that there are also those which are taking big risks in alighting the colored flowers. The bright colors give them the big color contrast, and for me a very nice background for my photos.

A common juvenile praying mantis on a petunia flower is attractive. It is fortunate I am not a predator. The lavender flower makes the green very prominently displayed. Many of us gardeners know that the female praying mantis eats the male's head during mating, however i haven't observed that in nature yet. I was just able to see it now for curiosity in you tube. If you are as curious as I, there are many pieces posted there! But i warn you, it is not for the weak hearted among us!

This cotton bug, Dysdercus cingulatus near a green hoya leaf is also very vulnerable. I just don't know what it is eating there, as we don't have cotton nor okra in our area.

the cotton bug at the bark of Lansium domesticum or lanzones

This is a katydid, but i don't know if it is already mature or still a juvenile, nor its gender. It is reported that katydid's difference from grasshoppers is their very long antenna normally exceeding the length of its body. Another fascination is this fact. The male katydid has a spermatophylax on its spermatophore. This is being consumed by the female katydid during mating. Its function is to prolong the attachment time of the male's spermatophore to increase his paternity. It is interesting.

Camera Critters

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Insect Art FOR SALE!

Leaf Vultures

This Caladium bicolor is a very old variety common in our area. It has been in our grounds maybe even before I was born. Not many people wants it because of its ordinariness. But I am the exception, no matter how common, no matter how it looks, I still appreciate it. And once-in-a while there are unusual scenes we see involving them. The following photos are the variations or examples we see. Some artistic caterpillars left their creations on the leaves! They probably don't have the artistic plans, but their instincts made lovely patterns.

They are also very good thieves, they ran out so fast before the owners spot them. Thorough search on the area around the plants did not produce the culprits. I can't even predict what they look like.

Next time I will install a CCTV camera to give them the proper plaque of appreciation!

I am joining the Alphabe-Thursday for the first time!

I hope the word Vultures will be fine here!

Jenny Matlock

Monday, October 15, 2012

October blooms...salvaged!

I have not been fully posting here for two weeks, I've browsed and commented on a few blogs, but that's it. As much as I would like to post, my time didn't allow me to. Besides, i spent most wanted hours commuting from a place where i stayed for 2 weeks, these important hours lost mostly in traffic. I wish i had gadgets for posting while in transit. It is better if I go home to the province because WiFi are already common provisions in buses. But I still don't like lugging laptop on the road, as I still have my camera and other things for home. Better be content watching the greenery along the highways, or the white cattle egrets near their favored friend, the cow or carabao.

Then i realized it is the 15th today, OMG, I want to post for the GBBD! I have not been doing it for a while. I am a bit disappointed because I suddenly realized my external drive was left at home. Again OMG, i do not have, as in my computer has nothing because it has gone to the IT staff for the last two weeks I've been away. It was re-formatted and my documents and photos are nowhere to be found. They are in my external drive left at home. Oh great, my other new external drive which has some photos is inside my office bag. Good, I can salvage some photos. Please bear with me with these, i need to join the GBBD!

I will start with the white petunia, their stems got lanky during our dry season, but still produce some flowers. I only have the white and the lavender but they provide some fun too, notwithstanding very common. By the way, it is the first time for me to plant this in our garden as it is not good in very hot climes.

 This Chrysothemis pulchelia easily grows, but the beauty depends on the type of soil. Bronzy-green large leaves grow from soils rich in organic matter, and ours are like that. But after flowering profusely the plants become used up and becomes not so pleasant to the sight.

 Maybe some of you will remember my previous post when i pried open the still closed first leaf of this caladium. They don't produce leaves profusely as other colors, but the waiting pays, they are so beautiful. Only those three leaves are produced for more than 3 month, in contrast with the profusely growing other varieties.
 This is the gaillardia sent from the US by my blogging friend Lily of the Suburban Gardener. I planted it last dry season and continuously flowered starting from then. Even if the growths and flowering are not really as par as when planted in its original climate, those ants and I are enjoying them.

 The seed head of the gaillardia is lovely too. However, i didn't see any germination from my plantings, maybe the seeds are not self fertilized, so sterile.

 The extremely pruned blue Duranta erecta (syn. repens) is growing well and starting to produce the beautiful flowers. The butterflies love this very much. So if they are happy, I am happy too for the shoots i can do with the butterflies. I will not be chasing them too far as they want to linger around the duranta for the whole day.

 The red salvia, despite the small flowers, provide additional warmth here. Some butterflies love them too. The photo below are the still unopened salvia flowers.

 The red pentas do not still have many growing umbels, but the few opened ones already provide good food for the insects and butterflies.
 Asystasia intrusa easily recovers from pruning, and it is already blooming wildly again. However, they get so viny at once that I again intend to prune them. The bottom spike is the unopened Asystasia flowers.

 This marigold is already the 3rd generation of seeds sent from the US by another blogging friend, Skeeter. She is the partner of Tina in their blog, In the Garden. I realized that different blooms arise even from a single seed source. Last year we have the pom-pom type, but this time it is nowhere to be found. But they are resilient plants ensuring colors and beauty for the insects, although the butterflies do not like marigolds.

 a marigold bud i have to hold with the left and take photo with the right hand

 I love this flower tremendously! That is because this is the only tomato flower i can see around our area. It is a volunteer and i guess maybe a cherry tomato, a bit sour but good for our stews.

Maybe you will notice I only have two blue flowers here, the Duranta and this one. This is only a weed in our area but because I have the extreme bias for blue flowers, i have to include it here. Blues are for the temperate climes and reds are for us the hot tropics, but we love the blues too! This bloom has very thin and soft petals and remain open only for a few hours, this time it is already closing!

I thought i lack October photos to post, now realized there are still more. It really is different if you are in the tropics, you have a lot of plants simultaneously blooming, even if the garden is not as beautiful. What is the tropics for, if not for BIODIVERSITY!

My Photo  MM3   

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Invasion of the Greens

I have been away for sometime responding to a university's request to help them make applications for patent. Doing the patent documents search, which we normally call prior art search, is a bit tedious and time consuming. This is very crucial to know if the invention for new application is really novel and really involves inventive step. Afterwhich, these patent documents will be evaluated, compared to the invention in question, and the real patent application documents will be made, to show the world that a novel, commercially applicable and a technology useful to society has been invented.

I am in front of the www all the time and it somehow already borders on boredom. I cannot even browse on facebook, it is blocked in the university systems. I can do some emails, and of course, I can still make a post on my blogs. What a relief! However, commenting on other sites is almost futile as it entails time and staff in the office i am in will see that I am not doing my job. Be that as it may, I am trying to compose a post, and I did! At least I already uploaded these photos last week, so i just need some words to join them.

It really is a very soothing change of sight!

This silaginella is growing among the mosses in our yard, responding favorably to the constant rains.

The ferns look luxuriantly growing too, and they are so vigorously green.

These are mixtures of different kinds of ferns and some fern vines. The maidenhair fern prominently growing in front.

This looks like a fern, but actually it is a vine. The mature stem can be used to tie some crafts like bamboo baskets or used as binding materials.

This is a bush we call pandakaki, with white miniature flowers and red-orange fruits which also look like flowers when maturing.

The above is a yellow crested bulbul, we have lots of them in the property. Can you see it? My lens cannot do justice to the size of the bird.

This is a group of our local birds, which i don't know the English common name. They seem to be quite happy among themselves after the heavy rains stopped. They converged on branches of a custard apple, Anona squamosa.

My Cycas edentata produces young leaves only after the heavy rains. Those round fruits developed last year, and need more than a year to ripen and be ready for germination. New flowers will develop responding to the rains.

Even surfaces of rocks are not spared, they will also be conquered by the greens. Mosses particularly will be responsible for that.

Green colors are seen everywhere, giving peaceful rest for the tired eyes. And who will say that only plants are allowed to roam the face of the earth this time in the tropics? This moth disagrees totally with that. And it is looking also peacefully green!