Sunday, October 10, 2010

You can't beat the natural world!

No you can't beat the natural world for entertainment. Everyday another little bit of God's creation turns up to surprise, amaze and entertain us. Last year I 'waxed lyrical' on my blog about a small plant that I watched develop as I walked the dogs early in the mornings. It fascinated me because it grew sraight up out of the dry soil, on a long sturdy stem which was topped with a cone of pretty flowers, but it had no leaves whatsoever. I no longer walk the dogs but Chris does, and he has been telling me that my plant has reappeared this year, along with several others, so I decided to go and see them. Chris wouldn't let me go on my own in case I fell again on the rough ground, so after church today, while our dinner was cooking, he came with me to the campo and sure enough the pretty cones of flowers were in evidence over quite a wide area. I am sure we only saw the one plant last year. Just to remind you what it is like, here is a photo that shows how it pushes up through the barren earth, with an inset to show its lovely head of flowers. We noticed that some of the flower heads had green praying mantis on them. (I've always rather liked them since I had a huge one resident on my sitting room curtains for some weeks, while I was living in Cyprus. They do a good job of eating the mosquitoes and other unwanted bugs). Our little outing then turned into quite a nature walk. First this beautiful bright red dragonfly hovered around us. It's not a very good photo but they don't exactly wait around for the camera! Next I was delighted to see a wild tortoise creeping along. I know there are quite a few out on the campo but we rarely actually see them. Even more surprising was that, a few steps further on, we saw a second one. They are fairly territorial so perhaps this was his mate, his brother or sister, or maybe he had an asignation with it - 'Meet me at the third bush on the right'!! We realised that we have not been out that way at lunch time before so maybe tortoise are not early risers and that's why we don't usually see them. Finally, as we were going back to the car we heard an angry buzzing, and following the noise, we found another one of my flowers with its own praying mantis, and she was busy subduing a bee, ready to have her lunch I presume. I thought black and yellow insects were fairly safe from predators, but this one had met its match and was losing the battle to break free. So now we know why the mantis sit on the flowers; it's a good spot to catch the passing bugs! Isn't nature wonderful?!

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