Tag Archives: Wildlife

WHITE-THROATED BEE-EATER

Several weeks ago, my wife and I drove to the Legon Botanical Gardens. Now that’s a trip we’ve procrastinated on for many months, albeit it being only about 45mins away from where we live. Faithful day, we drove up there and my did nature turn up for me. Among the many was this White-throated Bee-eater (Merops albicollis) my wife spotted and pointed out to me.

A white-throated Bee-eater spotted at the Legon Botanical Gardens
A white-throated Bee-eater (Merops albicollis)

As the name suggests, bee-eaters predominantly eat insects, especially bees, wasps and hornets, which are caught in the air from an open perch. However, this species probably takes mainly flying ants and beetles. White-throated bee-eaters, like other bee-eaters rely on helpers (usually relatives) to help rear the chicks. They also are gregarious and highly social and often touch each other whilst roosting. They are considered migratory, wintering in a completely different habitat in the equatorial rainforests of Africa from southern Senegal to Uganda.

A flock of White-throated Bee-eaters at the Legon Botanical Gardens
A flock of White-throated Bee-eaters

Photographing this made my day and I hope viewing the end product makes yours! Credit to mein Schatz for spotting for me on the regular.

Info. Source:
http://www.theguardian.com/science/grrlscientist/2012/may/22/10
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/White-throated_bee-eater

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 😀

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

Corps de Feu

The large red damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula), known in French as Petite nymphe au corps de feu ( fiery bodied Damselfly), is one of the first European damselflies on the fly in spring.

A Large Red Damselfly on a plant leaf
The large red damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula)

General Description
The Large Red Damselfly has a dark red body (Corps de feu) thinly circled with black color. There are larger black marks on the upper surface of the last segments of the abdomen.
The eyes are reddish. The thorax bears a black horizontal stripe. The legs are black. Females occur in many colour forms, but all have yellow bands around the abdominal segments.

A male large red damselfly
A male species fitting above description

Photographed Species: Male, Remshalden, Germany

Passerine Expression

Bird pose: Three toes forward, two toes back, head to the right :-D
Bird pose: Three toes forward, two toes back, head to the right 😀

More than half of all bird species are known as Passerine birds, or quite self-explanatorily, Perching birds.
As exemplified by this bird, their toe arrangement (three pointing forward and one back) facilitates perching, thus the name.

Birds

The challenge now lies in identifying the bird species captured here. Any Ornithologists?