Wildflower Wednesdays: Anemones in the Air

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For this week’s Wildflower Wednesday, I present: a flower of whose identity I am not at all certain.

Continue reading “Wildflower Wednesdays: Anemones in the Air”

Blue

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The Blues are a subgroup of the family Lycaenidae, which comprise some 30% of butterflies species worldwide. They are a pain in the butt.

The first problem: they’re tiny. They hold the smallest butterfly in the world – the grass jewel – and often the difference between species comes to one spot on the hindwing that you can’t even see anyways. And they never stop moving.

Second problem: they’re also beautiful, but you never see that. (See point 1.) Their uper wings are a stunning blue in the right light. Unfortunately, even if the light is present, to see one sunbathing and stay still long enough for you to get close is an enormous feat of patience.

Mostly it comes down to hoping, and waiting. So this sighting, in the Western Ghats, made me extremely happy. 🙂

Lady of the Flowers

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Painted Ladies are the most widely distributed butterfly: found on every continent except for Antarctica and Australia, they’re so ubiquitous even halfway across the world, in a continent I was totally unfamiliar with, they were the sole butterfly I managed to identify in Jordan. This individual was spotted at the other end of the continental plate, in the Himalayas; you can see its long, thin proboscis feeding on the orange flower that just happens to complement the subtle colors on its wings. Sometimes Nature selects her palette perfectly.

Wildflower Wednesdays

Our hike in the Himalayas last August was not defined by its birds, surprisingly enough. Rather, it was defined by its flowers.

I tend to avoid flowers, except when as an attraction for butterflies, as a photography subject: stationary plants seem too easy, too facile. But the sheer range we saw in the mountains made me a convert, at least for the duration of the trip. The sheer range! The colors! The fields upon fields of them! (The fact I had no birds to distract me only helped matters.) And I found myself taking my camera out more and more in an endeavor to capture them. Over the next few weeks(? Months? Years? Centuries?) I’m going to be sharing my photographs with you every other Wednesday.

First up: the Cutleaf Buttercup. Not having access to a field guide (or the Internet) for that week, however, made us have to make up our own names. Thus, we named this, instead, the Kashmir Sun-glory. It’s a much better name, I think. 😛

Considering the amount we saw it, we needed a name for it. Meadows were blanketed with them – endless stretches of yellow, forever and ever, brushing the horizon, varnishing the slopes in gold. They brought a humanity to the vistas we confronted every step we took – took it down to the level of a single bee, humming its way from plant to plant; formed the ranges in the microcosm of a single petal drifting to the ground.

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The Pansy’s Pose

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I first saw a blue pansy in the butterfly field guide I picked up on a whim at a stall from our local nature society. It captivated me: I found the brilliance of its colors, elegance in its wings immensely attractive, and vowed to see it in Singapore.

It would be years (well, two) before I clapped eyes on it there – finally, it was at a carpark, of all places, in a patch of grass that tawny costers and pansies, amongst others, had decided to colonize in unusually dense numbers on an unusually hot day. (Then again, this is Singapore we’re talking. Everyday is unusually hot.)

In Bangalore, however, I was walking one day when I noticed a ragged individual in a bush. It was a happy experience, to say the least – surreal, the fact that something that pretty was right there.

And then, predictably, I found it everywhere from then on. Ah well. I’m not complaining.

Reed Life

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Pulau Ubin is the last rustic island in Singapore. Of course, here, the definition of rustic is flexible – but Ubin is about as rustic as you can get. There’s no highway connecting it to the mainland: instead, you take a bumboat to get there. People still go fishing for their food. The coconuts grow there, not Thailand. You can camp. You can hike.

Forests still remain on the island; mangroves are there, too, as are seagrass meadows where dugongs graze. It’s a slower pace of life out there, in the reeds where dragonflies roam. Sometimes you feel as if the world contains just the blue sky, and the trees, and you.