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The day the Dr ordered...part 4

Friday, March 15, 2013

I know I said I would do the birds next, but I realized when seeing the photo's that they didn't come next. They were on the last leg of my 7.2km walk.

So having left behind me some serious looking creepy crawlies, I walked through the bush on my return to the camp site and enjoyed looking at the variety of plant life in this area.
The most interesting for me were the mud-wasps abandoned homes.

This was one of the wasps that made those incredible homes called caches out of mud.

This is a cache still being used, you can see the hole where the wasp would enter.

I found a tree with a broken branch which would hopefully allow us to see inside the cache, but not wanting to get tooo close to the stinging little things. Mind you, these were dull in color, and generally speaking that makes them non-stinging, its the brighter colored ones that are the stingers. But you know how it is being around a wasp cache....makes you all edgy and each time my hair touched my neck, I could feel my skin prickle with nerves.

And yes we could see inside. Quite INCREDIBLE. The larvae hatch after eight days at the earliest, but in some exterior conditions, they may remain in the egg for several months.
The optimal temperature for the larvae is around 25°C (77°F) if the temperatures gets above 30°C (86°F) or below 6.2°C (43°F), the larvae die which is why I'm not sure if these will survive.

This is what a tree covered in caches looks like. Sadly, the tree will die, because during the stages, the larvae live off surrounding fungal tissue, until they reach the inner wood. They eat through the summer wood, and finally towards the heartwood. Near the last stage, they usually reach their maximum size. The adults eat through the bark, but, depending on the weather, they remain in the hatch hole for up to three weeks before they leave the wood in warm and sunny weather.
All that munching of the tree from inside and out, explains why the tree dies. Pity about the tree, but thats nature...eat and be eaten.

There were other beautiful flowers along the way like these. So delicate.

One day I hope to invest in a book about the flowers of my area. I already have one for the bird life. I'm keenly interested in knowing the names of things in my surrounds...just a few anyway, there are so many varieties which I could never learn all the names of. But if I could just identify them in a book, I'd know more about what makes them "tick".
These ones looked like worms growing from a base, and to the touch they were quite strange and rubbery.

I loved the furry center of these little succulents. I didn't feel them because all too often those furry bits have microscopic hooks or barbs which end up sticking in your flesh and creating all kinds of havoc. I'm well again after being terribly sick, and not messing with that state.

Even the wild grasses are beautiful in this setting. The more I see of natural plants, the more I feel like pulling out some of my cultivated ones and filling the slots with wild plants, especially the grasses....I love the seeds and grasses.

Some dried seed pods on a tree I passed.

I got to a line of giant trees all leaning heavily to one side which indicated strong winds in their early days as saplings. They were so stately, even leaning as they were.

A giant tree felled...or at least one giant bough of the tree. High winds??

Well after this, it would be the home stretch and the birds next. That will come in my next and final blog on the subject. It really was an awesome day.
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