Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Capers of Pygmy Grass Blue Butterflies on Lantana

Zizula hylax pygmaea (Pygmy Grass Blue) are incredibly tiny butterflies that freely flutter around in my garden. Lantana camara are their firm favourites.

"The butterfly is a flying flower. The flower a tethered butterfly"
- Ponce Denis Écouchard Lebrun

Their strong preference for this plant could be due to the aromatic leaves and flowers.

Unfurling a coiled proboscis into the floret of Lantana camara 'spreading sunset'.

Having a field day, hopping from one floret to another, they are simply just spoilt for choice.

Their thirst for the nectar seems to be insatiable as they flit tirelessly from one inflorescence to another.

The nectar must be like ambrosia to them.

Even flower buds are given the once over. 

The buds appear as little rectangle packages

 The buds are just as interesting as the flowers.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Geopelia striata - The Zebra Dove

Zebra Doves (Geopelia striata) are known as Merbuk in Malay. This type of doves are slender with an elongated tail. Their call is a trill of soft, cooing notes. At one time when the pace of life was slower, these birds were popular as pets because of their soothing cooing. Some of the better crooners were entered into competitions for the bird with the best voice. Often substantial bets were staked on them.
 They can often be found high up on tree tops, searching for berries, fruits or other grubs.

They are able to move from one part of the tree to another simply by walking along the branches.

 This one was seen striding along this branch, that has its own micro eco-system.

Various types of parasitic vegetation thrives on the branches.

These doves often pair up and can be seen foraging for food together.

It is called the Zebra Dove due to its brownish-grey with black-and-white barring on the upperparts. 

The underparts however are pinkish with black bars on the sides of the neck, breast and belly.

The face is blue-grey with blue skin around the eyes, extending to the beak. Women must have emulated them in the use of blue eyeliner.

Another one perched on the top of the concrete fence, with the assurance that it is safe from stray cats that make frequent visits to the garden.

The Bauhenia kockiana vine had intertwined with the stems of the Red Hibiscus rosa sinensis.

 This elevated point on the fence gave it a good view of the happenings in the garden below.

When it thought that the coast was really clear, it flew down and landed on the rim of this huge container. 

From the container, its was just a hop to the ground. Doves are often seen hopping and walking on the ground with purposeful strides.

It walked past a fallen Madagascar Periwinkle with nary a glance.

I have no idea what it was looking for. Perhaps a juicy worm or merely grass seeds.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Passiflora miniata -The Scarlet Passion flower

One year after planting a stem cutting of this Passiflora vine, it rewarded me with its first bloom. I was thrilled to bits.

The petals were reflexed, pointing backwards, indicating that it is ready for pollination.

There were many buds lined up on the same branch of the vine, taking turns to show off their glory.

The bracts have nice vein patterns.

The petals are reflexed, exposing the reproductive organ. The day after blooming, the petals are shrivelled up.

The flaming red part of the flower is made up of five sepals and five sepals.

The reproductive organ comprises five pollen pods and an ovary in the centre which branches into three red stigmata.

The outer ring of dark purple filaments makes it look like eye-lashes to die for. It encircles inner rows of white filaments.

Interestingly, the tendrils present in different forms.


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