Thursday, March 1, 2012

Back to normal

This morning I joined Mimi to complete the plant transects at Neot Hakikar. It is amazing how low plant diversity is, because of the hyper salinity of the soil and water. Only few bushes can survive in such harsh conditions, and only one or two species of annuals. However most of the bushes are very unique and are on our red list.
I had my first substantial flock of White Storks this season - about 200. Their main migration route is much farther west, but today a crazy westerly was blowing that pushed this moribund flock off its course. Weather conditions were really disgusting with lots of dust in the air.

One of the special bushes found in the saltmarsh is Toothbrush Tree Salvadora persica. It was used by Bedouins for tooth brushing as it contains fluoride and antiseptics in its leaves and branches. Its fruit are favorite food for birds, and the big bush we found had many Lesser Whitethroats and Chiffies feeding on it.

Toothbrush Tree Salvadora persica

There is one specific butterly to the Salvadora bush - Blue-spotted Arab. Its larvae feed exclusively on Salvadora persica leaves.

Blue-spotted Arab Colotis phisadia

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