Practical Ecology

Nature Switched On

 

 

 

 


in the Pyrenees  the first 10 years

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gallery 1: 2006-2012
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                         a   S T A M M E R  project              

2007 July 21 & 22, Saturday & Sunday


When we arrived on Saturday at midday it was raining heavily and we expected some water in the pond but to our great surprise the pond was filled to the brim and overflowing! The canals and dykes were fully functioning and I must confess that I felt really proud of this typically Dutch achievement. The pond borders were nicely level and the in- and outlets were at the places I had projected. The water was dirty with the colour of coffee, due to the recent ground works and lack of a filtering vegetation layer but I expect that the sand will sediment in the following days. In a more distant future I hope that the vegetation will ensure cleaner water while at the same time not obstruct the rainwater flow too much.
 

 

 

 

 

The amount of rainfall for these days was about 11 litre/m2 at an official meteorological station 22 km from the terrain, but I think the local amount must have been at least the double, estimating from a completely full bucket next to the caravan (unfortunately my private rain gauge had been stolen by some body or beast) .      


WWW   NSO

 

Looking south-east.
Saturday 14:26

   
  Looking south-east.
Saturday 14:28

Still raining and the water actually streaming downhill in the canal.
Looking north.

Saturday 12:24

 

 

The puddle at the foreground would disappear in a couple of hours.
Looking north.
Saturday 14:37

   
 

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In the afternoon it stopped raining and the sun started to shine, increasing the temperature from 17 to 27C in a couple of hours. This gave me opportunities for taking photographs of some mirror images of the water surface. One of the mayor attractions of a pond is just this: a beautiful smooth surface reflecting the surrounding landscape.

 

 

 

 

Looking north.
Saturday 20:27

Some Setaria grasses sticking out of the water.
Looking north.
Saturday 20:29
                             The mirror effect suppresses the brown colour of the water.
Looking south-east.
Saturday 20:31
 

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Less aesthetic is the border with the black liner sticking out. I am going to cut it back (up to 2 cm from the ground) but first I want to be sure that the pond is fully settled and level, with the correct in- and outflow of water. Nevertheless, ecologically this out-sticking liner has its merits. Weeks ago we saw an Ocellated Lizard and a fat toad under the liner and this weekend we surprised a gecko and a small toad.

In the water I detected some fast diving beetles, which perhaps are Water scavenger beetles. That could be interesting because these beetles can be voracious consumers of mosquito larvae which have caused me some worry in this pond of stationary water.

 

 

This small Crocodile gecko (Tarentola mauritanica, Western Mediterranean) was hiding under the liner.
Sunday 15:33

 

An even smaller toad  next to a finger of a glove.
Sunday 15:42

 
 

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Coincidence or not, but this weekend I spotted some beautiful dragonflies. I think they are Vagrant Darters (Sympetrum vulgatum), called vagrant because they tend to migrate from southern to northern countries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Male and female Vagrant darter matching the colour palette of Wild carrots.
Saturday 20:48

Female Vagrant darter.
Saturday 20:55

Female Vagrant darter.
Saturday 20:51

Male Vagrant darter.
Sunday 10:22
 

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July is the month when the Wasp spiders (Argiope bruennichi) become active and I detected two of them which were exceptionally fat, probably full of eggs.

 

 

 
  With a body length of more than 15 mm, an impressive Wasp spider.
Sunday 17:04

The underside of a Wasp spider. On the lower left the typical zigzag pattern of some threads.
Sunday 17:02
 

 
 

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The rain had cleaned up everything and animated both insect and plant life (or perhaps only the photographer).

 

 

 

 

 



 

   

(Not so) private affairs of some Graphosoma lineatum couples. Typical visitors of Umbelliferae like the Wild carrot.
Sunday 10:25

 
  Unknown beetle on Alfalfa (Medicago sativa).
Sunday 10:48

 

Unknown beetle on a flowering Eryngium campestre.
Sunday 10:31

Another Shield bug: Carpocoris mediterraneus on the fruit of Allium sphaerocephalon.
Sunday 12:37
 
 

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The mantis (Empusa pennata) is a fascinating creature and always nice to capture in one of its acrobatic stands. In this case in some flowers of Pale stonecrop (Sedum sediforme) which little by little is terminating its flower cycle.

 

Equally fascinating, but much more difficult to capture, are the European Bee-eaters (Merops apiaster) which were constantly flying over the terrain.

A mantis on Sedum sediforme.
Highest eastern terrace, looking south-east.
Saturday 14:51

  A group of Bee-eaters in the top of a Quercus faginea tree.
Highest terrace, looking west.
Sunday 16:49
 

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Apart from the omnipresent Wild carrots (Daucus carota) the vegetation of the central and western terraces is now dominated by Rush Skeletonweed (Chondrilla juncea). The flowers only open up with sunshine and are small but the plants has also very small narrow leaves that whither and disappear quickly so the overall effect is more yellow than you would expect.

 

Close-up of Chondrilla juncea.
It grows and flowers in the heart of the summer thanks to its deep taproots (2 m!) and strongly reduced or absent leaves on the stem.
Saturday 18:10

A field of Chondrilla juncea.
Looking north-west towards the entrance of the terrain.
Saturday 18:11
 

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Not everything is doing fine and flowering. Three of the shrubs that are quite abundantly present suffer seriously from some kind of disease or insect: Jasminum fruticans, Crataegus monogyna (Common Hawthorn) and especially the Lonicera (Honeysuckle) species. The latter started very promisingly in spring but then the flowers were infested with aphis and later on they massively lost their leaves. Perhaps a rigorous pruning in autumn will do them good.

 

 
  This Lonicera etrusca was going very strong in spring but then some disaster struck.
Central lower terrace, looking north-west.
Sunday 12:21
 

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But the general aspect of the terrain is still marvellous for the eye that appreciates the subtleties of textures, shades, forms and contrasts.

 

 

 

 

 

 
Highest western terrace, looking west.
Saturday 18:29
Highest western terrace, looking west.
Saturday 18:32
 
Nice contrast between the green  wood border and the dry field.
Higher central terrace, looking north-west.
Saturday 19:53
Carthamus lanatus on the higher central terrace, looking north.
Saturday 20:03

introduction
floristic catalogue
faunistic catalogue
contact
index
gallery 1: 2006-2012
gallery 2: 2012-

map
>> 2007 Jul 28
<< 2007 Jul 14

 

 

 


 

  

 

 

 

 

 

Latest revision on:  01/08/2018