Friends in my garden- 66

Dragonflies

Scarlet Grenadier- Lathrecista asiatica

I understand that Dragonflies were among the first winged insects to evolve some 300 million years ago. These dragonflies that we see around now have wingspans of only two to five inches and are no comparison to the fossil dragonflies with wingspans up to two feet!
Here are some more interesting facts about dragonflies along with the pictures of these friends from my garden-
Dragonflies don’t sting or bite; they don’t carry diseases or germs. They are colorful and have amazing ways of flying. The flying skills of the dragonflies have inspired scientists and engineers to make flying robots, drones and helicopters.
They need water bodies to complete their life cycle. The larvae are aquatic and stay in water for one or two years! But the adult stage lasts only for a few months.
Dragonflies are natural pest control devices, so to say. A dragonfly can eat hundreds of mosquitoes in a single day. They catch the prey while in flight.
Watching dragonflies, similar to birding, is called ‘oding’ which comes from the order ‘Odonata’ to which they belong.
According to some folklore, seeing swarms of dragonflies signifies impending rain. For some cultures, dragonflies represent good luck and prosperity, especially when it lands on one’s head 🙂

Wandering glider- Pantala flavescens
Fulvous forest skimmer- Neurothemis fulvia
Scarlet marsh hawk (female)- Aethriamanta brevipennis

Landscape- 14

Beachscapes

A pleasant morning scene- Aluthgama beach

Today I will showcase a few beachscapes, each with different atmosphere, at different times of the day.
Finding comfort and relaxation is ultimately where we all want to end up. Very few places are more fun and relaxing than the beach.
Next time when you visit a beach, take a few moments and notice how it feels to have the breeze against your skin. Take a deep breath and then exhale slowly; aah…instant relaxation!
A walk on the beach can be so soothing. The sound of the waves, fresh air, and endless sky make us happy and calm.
These pictures are of some quiet beaches of Sri Lanka; backyard beaches of hotels.

Forenoon…after a rain- Induruwa beach
A cloudy morning- Wattala beach
A quiet evening- Wattala beach

Patterns and Shapes in Nature- 9

Palmately lobed simple leaf

Tapioca leaf

Leaves are the best and often the easiest way to identify a plant. We can see two types of leaves around us; that is, Simple and Compound leaves.
No…no!! No botany lesson 😊 Just for info!
When the leaf blade is all in one piece, though it may be lobed, toothed etc, it is a simple leaf.
Look at these two leaves that are basically simple but highly lobed. These palmately lobed leaves have the lobes spreading radially from a point, like fingers on a hand.
Nature is so beautiful, isn’t it?
Beyond our words!!

Papaya leaf

Smile of Earth- 23

Morning Glory

Ipomoea purpurea– Purple morning glory

Morning glory is the common name for over 1,000 species of flowering plants in the family Convolvulaceae. To make it clear, these twining herbaceous plants belong to the family of Sweet potato.
With slender stems and simple leaves their trumpet-shaped flowers come in colours of pink, purple, blue, magenta, white and streaks of colours. Morning glory flowers start to bloom in the early morning hours and wilt mostly by noon or early afternoon.
Because of their fast growth, attractive flowers and tolerance to soil conditions, morning glories make excellent hedge plants covering fences and walls.
Seeds of morning glory are used as laxative in traditional Chinese medicine. Seeds of some species of morning glory contain toxic compounds that can induce hallucination, when consumed in large quantities. Leaves, flowers and roots are also found to have many health advantages.
In the Language of flowers, morning glory signifies unrequited love and affection.

Ipomoea pes-caprae– Beach morning glory
Ipomoea violacea– Heavenly blue
Ipomoea batatas– Sweet potato

Eventide- 24

Dramatic evening sky!

Well, not sunset actually.
These are the dramatic scenes just before the sunset in the city. The pictures were captured on the move. Once the vehicle took a ninety degree turn in the opposite direction, I lost sight of the finale of the drama in the sky!
I thought these are still worth sharing. Loved the rich golden hues…hope you will like these
😊

Friends in my garden- 65

Yellow butterflies

Common Emigrant- Male

My yellow friends from the garden- lovely yellow butterflies! Let me introduce them in the order of the pictures presented here.
Common Emigrant or Lemon Emigrant (Catopsilia pomona) gets the name from their migratory nature. Females of these pretty, medium sized butterflies can be distinguished by their brown blotches and silvery spots on the underside of the lemon-yellow wings.
Common Grass Yellow (Eurema hecabe) are small butterflies with freckled brown spots on the underside of their wings. They fly closer to the ground.
Small Grass Yellow (Eurema brigitta) resembles the previous species. The distinguishing feature is the dusting of the underside of the wings with scattered black scales and small black spots.
Many myths and beliefs surround yellow butterflies.
A yellow butterfly represents joy and creativity. A yellow butterfly flying around you brings happiness and prosperity. Seeing one also means that some fun and excitement is on its way. Yellow butterflies represent new life in many cultures.
For the Chinese, a yellow butterfly denotes love. It represents the passion inside the hearts of two lovers.

Common Emigrant- Female
Common Grass Yellow
Small Grass Yellow

Landscape- 13

Vazhachal

When we think of Kerala, the first image that comes to our mind is the beautiful greenery of the State!
This place is located around the west-flowing Chalakudy River of Kerala in the verdant Vazhachal Forest of Western Ghats. It is just 5 km from entrance of
Athirappilly Falls.
Although this spot is called Vazhachal Falls, it is not a waterfall in the true sense. The falls at Vazhachal are more of a continuous series of massive rapids present throughout the entire stretch of the river at Vazhachal.
The river tumbles over huge boulders and rocks down a slope at this spot thus creating a profusion of foam and a waterfall-like impact.
The unspoilt forest region provides a tranquil getaway from a busy city life!!

Patterns and Shapes in Nature- 8

The Geometry in Nature!

I was mentioning about patterns in nature earlier.
Patterns in nature are visible regularities of form found in the natural world.
Have you ever thought about why nature likes to arrange itself in patterns? Nothing in nature happens without a reason. All these patterns have an important reason to exist. The pattern arrangements increase efficiency- efficient utilization space available and efficient functioning. They are beautiful to watch also!
Check out examples of some of these patterns the next time you go for a walk and you may be able to spot a few. Could you make out the patterns given here?

Geometry in Pine cone

Smile of Earth- 22

Pink Flowers

Gerbera

When we see a flower, what is the first thing we notice? Its size… its shape… its fragrance, or perhaps… its colour!
A flower’s colour is one of the many factors that makes nature so beautiful. Here are the pictures of a few pink flowers that I captured at various times.
Various folk cultures and traditions had given symbolic meanings to flowers and their colours. According to flower symbolism pink flowers combine innocence, playfulness and sensitivity. For some, pink flowers are the most romantic colour. Pink flowers have been traditionally associated with femininity and hence represent grace and gentility.

Geranium
Weeping cherry
Amaryllis Lily

Eventide- 23

Alpenglow!

We have heard about the ‘afterglow’ very often.
The afterglow is an intense red or golden glow of the western atmosphere long after sunset, when most twilight colors might have disappeared.
I was curious to know about the glow seen in the eastern sky after sunset and got this information that I am sharing here, along with my photographs.
This glow is ‘Alpenglow’!
During sunset on clear evenings, the atmosphere around the horizon opposite of the Sun appears as shades of orange and pink. The pink color is due to the sunlight that is shining through denser atmosphere near Earth’s western horizon, and reflecting off the atmosphere on eastern side. This reflection back towards the observer is called backscattering. It creates a pink and orangish stretch near the eastern horizon. The same light is often seen on mountain tops at sunset and hence the term ‘Alpenglow’.

San Francisco Financial district in the foreground
Alpenglow on the south-eastern side of the Golden Gate Bridge