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Smile of Earth- 2

Geranium

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You may be surprised to learn that there are more than two hundred species of geraniums that range in size, shape and colour. The common geranium comes in shades of white, red and pink with many striking bi-colours, too! Its a gardener’s delight!

The genus name is derived from the Greek word géranos meaning ‘crane’. Its common English name ‘cranesbill’ comes from the shape of the fruit capsule.

Geranium, as a housewarming gift, represents friendship or wishes for good health. Americans view the geranium flower as a symbol of happiness and positive emotions. They are often presented at special occasions such as promotions and retirements.

Geranium oil is commonly used in aromatherapy for its many health benefits. Geranium tea is a soothing aromatic drink.

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Smile of Earth- 1

Dahlia

Starting a new series of blogposts…yes of course, with stress on photographs. This time it is about the “Smile of Earth“; the Flowers!!

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First of the series is Dahlia. It is a perennial plant from Compositae or Asteraceae family. With beautiful showy flowers, Dahlia is the attraction of many gardens.

Propagation in dahlia is through tubers. The basic species is Dahlia pinnata, though many hybrid varieties are available now.

Dahlia was declared the national flower of Mexico in 1963.

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Shield bugs

This post presents shield bugs from my garden. They may be friends or foes… cannot tell easily as I couldn’t see any visible damage in my garden by these insects.

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Brown marmorated stink bug-
Halyomorpha halys

Shield bugs are also called stink bugs as they release a pungent substance from special glands on their thorax, when threatened, repelling nearly any predator that has a sense of smell.

Though we refer all insects as bugs, the term ‘bug‘ actually refers to members of a specific group of insects – Hemiptera- to which shield bugs belong and so they are “True bugs”.

I couldn’t get the scientific name of the black stink bug.

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Black shield bug
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Red Cotton Bug-  Dysdercus cingulatus
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Green Stink Bug – Plautia affinis

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Sundown at Point Reyes

These shots were taken at the Point Reyes National Park, California. Very cool evening breeze making it so very enjoyable .

A clear sky made it possible to capture the dipping orange ball, till it disappeared into the vast expanse of the ocean, leaving an etherial afterglow!

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Common Myna

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Common myna

Groups or pairs of Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis) regularly visit my garden or backyard; they can be seen foraging on the road in front and the nearby properties.

This particular one was of interest as it frequented the backyard and moved in circles. A close encounter showed the reason for this circular motion… it was blind in one eye! May be a fight between the members in a group or a disease.

I noticed the disability as it flew down from the palm tree where it was perching.

I have seen it always alone and its absence is noticed since a month.

Common myna is considered a flourishing species. The prefix ‘common’ distinguishes it from ‘Jungle myna’.

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With the damaged right eye

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Two bugs

Two guests from my garden that are not so welcome. They are pests of my plants…

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Pest on eggplant

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These are pictures of a pest on Brinjal or Eggplant- Coccinellid beetle (Henosepilachna vigintioctopunctata). These bugs eat away the green portions resulting in the skeletonizing and drying of the leaves. The bugs are of 5-6 mm in size. They are also named as ’28-spotted potato ladybird’.

Now certain bugs on Curry leaf plants.
These appear to be new entrants as I have never seen them before! These pictures show the larvae and adult of Tortoise Beetle (Silana farinosa) that damage the plants by skeletonizing the leaves. The bug may be 5-6 mm long.

Larvae have a deceptive shape. The globose structure is the poo carried by the larvae, mostly to scare away the enemies!

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Larvae
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Adult tortoise beetle

Katydid

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Katydid- female

Katydid or long-horned grasshopper….  The species is green and grows to one and a half to two inches in length. The forewings have “veins” that resemble the veins of leaves, helping to disguise the insect. The filamentous antennae can even exceed their body length.

I found these on my geranium plants and looks like they like to eat geranium leaves.
The first picture is that of a female Katydid with a brown coloured structure, the ‘ovipositor’, clearly visible. This structure helps the female to stick her eggs together in clusters.

The male  is shown in the second picture. Poor guy, he has lost one of his hind legs!

Katydids can make shrill sound by rubbing special structures on their forewings together.

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Male

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Golden hour at Cherai

These sunset scenes were shot a few years back, when still getting the hang of photography and handling only a P & S Cam. Nevertheless I love these pictures of Golden hour!

Hope you will also love these scenes  🙂

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Red-whiskered Bulbul

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Red-whiskered bulbul

This pretty Red-whiskered  Bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus) is a regular visitor to my garden.

During  breeding seasons a pair of them fly around my terrace garden, unmindful of my presence, drink water and bathe in the shallow pan I have provided for the birds. They take turns and cool off!

Red- whiskered bulbuls are beautiful with brown upper-parts and whitish underparts with buff flanks and a dark spur running onto the breast at shoulder level. It has a tall pointed black crest and  red face patch. The tail is long ; the vent area is red.

They feed on fruits and insects.

Their shrill sound reverberates in the morning and evening hours and needless to say, I enjoy it.

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Cooling off on my terrace

 

Ground Skimmer

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Female Ground Skimmer
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Ground skimmer-male

Ground skimmer (Diplacodes trivialis) is a dragonfly that is commonly found in gardens, fields and playgrounds, in both dry and wet areas across India.

They generally fly closer to the ground and perch on low bushes and hence the name. If you have caught a dragonfly and played with it in your childhood, chances are that it is a ground skimmer  🙂

I have male and female Ground skimmer here. Male is more bluish and female is pale greenish. They are Friends from my garden. Male looks a bit old.

Two more pictures are here.

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