Coat of Many Colours

Scarlet Chested Sunbird
The Scarlet-chested Sunbird

The aptly named Scarlet-Chested Sunbird, Chalcomitra senegalensis, is a strikingly colored Sunbird belonging to the bird family Nectariniidae. They feed mainly on arthropods and nectar, and can often be seen hovering around flowering plants or hawking prey aerially or plucking insects from the ground.

Scarlet-chested Sunbird sucking nectar from an aloe plant
The Scarlet-chested Sunbird feeding from the flower of an Aloe plant

The fellow in the shot is a regular of an Aloe Vera plant in my house. On one of such visits, my camera was ready

Bird

The bright colors on this bird adds to the beauty of nature and the validity of it’s intelligent design.

The Village Weaver

A location in Sub-Saharan Africa. Many nests hanging from one tree. Nests are large and coarsely structured, made from woven grass and leaf strips, with a downward-facing entrance and hanging from tree branches. Inhabitant species form large noisy colonies.

Suspect: The Village Weaver (Ploceus cucullatus

A village weaver
A Village Weaver, also called Black-headed Weaver

Weaver

AGRICULTURAL IMPORTANCE

The Village Weaver feeds primarily on seeds and grains, making them agricultural crop pests. However, they make up for some of the damage by feeding alternatively or additionally on insects, which may be agricultural crop insect pests.

They don’t just shoplift. At least they pay for half of their shopping :-D

Identity In Name

The Southern Damselfly (Coenagrion mercuriale) is one of at least four blue damselflies with black markings that seem similar at a quick glance. The others include the:

- Common Blue Damselfly (male has a domed mushroom-like black mark on abdominal segment two)
– Azure Blue Damselfly (fine “U” shaped mark which has no stem on abdominal segment two)
– Variable Damselfly (wine glass or “U” shaped mark on abdominal segment two with a stem at its base)

A Male Southern Damselfly (Mercury Bluet) spotted in Spring on the leaf of a plant
A male Southern Damselfly

The second abdominal segments bear the most distinctive markings that help in the identification of the different species.

Like its specific name suggests, the Southern Damselfly spots a distinctive marking on the second abdominal segment that resembles the astrological symbol for the planet Mercury (☿). It’s alternative name “Mercury Bluet” is therefore more fitting and descriptive.

Other identification characteristics include:

- Elliptical spots behind the eyes
– Blue bar between the eyes
– Abdominal segment 9 is 80% black

The Southern Damselfly bearing identification features
A close-up shot of the Mercury Bluet showing part of the mercury symbol on the second abdominal segment as well as other distinctive features

To the untrained eye, these species all appear the same. But it can be even more fun looking out for these unique markings that give the different species the identification they possess

POLLEN DRAPE

A Bumblebee in the full bloom head of a Common Dandelion
A Bumblebee covered in pollen in the full bloom head of the Common Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Dandelions flower at a time of the year when few other sources of nectar and pollen are available in many gardens, providing native pollinators with a ready source of early pollen for colony-building. With full-bloomed flower heads already in early spring, they are available to pollinators including the bumblebee just as they emerge from their winter nests… And these pollinators, well they don’t take the provision for granted :-)

MACRO: Beauty and ‘Brains’

Macro of the Purple Coneflower
The Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Belonging to a group of herbaceous flowering plants in the daisy family, the Purple Coneflower is known for, among other things, it’s beauty (grown as ornamental plants in gardens) and medicinal properties (including the approved use of expressed juice and dried expressed juice from fresh flowering aerial parts of Echinacea purpurea for the short-term prevention and treatment of the common cold).

Blooming is usually from Spring through Late Summer and florets within the flower head are hermaphroditic, having both male and female organs on each flower

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