Blog launched: Sept 1, 2010

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Season wishes

Xmas wishes 2019

Background downloaded from:
http://www.awesome11.com/awesome-and-best-christmas-wallpapers/

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Psittacula krameri

304_5098 [Psitacula krameri]


304_5107 [Psitacula krameri]

This parrot species mainly lives in the natural environment of Africa and South Asia but it has also been introduced into populated areas of Europe and The Middle East. Some of them seem to have reasons to like our garden as they visit it at least once a year.


Both of these pictures were taken from the balcony of my apartment

in Holargos on November 14, 2014

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Tabanus sudeticus

302_7290 [Tabanus sudeticus]

Once upon a time
three of us were shooting wild flowers on a mountain. Suddenly, a swarm of Tabanus sudeticus started flying over our heads. Their buzz was frightening. Someone recognized the dangerous “flying objects” and shouted “They’re Tabanus! Get into the car”! All of us rushed into the car. I sat at the driver’s seat but the driver’s window was open. One of the insects landed on the door only a few inches away from my left shoulder. I remained still, almost petrified but the insect looked at me with a big green eye and said: “Don’t be afraid. I come in peace. Just take a picture of me and I’ll go.” I did. Fortunately, it kept its promise and we went on shooting happily ever after. [This starts and ends like a fairy tale but it's a true story!]
 

Tabanus sudeticus is a giant horsefly (body length about 25 mm) that bites painfully.

Photographed on Mt. Paggeo on June 05, 2010

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Crocus cartwrightianus

803_5659 [Crocus cartwrightianus]

This crocus, found in Central Greece and Crete, flowers from October to December and grows up to 5 centimeters in diameter. It is widely considered to be the direct ancestor of Crocus sativus [cultivated for saffron].
Although it usually comes in lilac, we sometimes see it in white.

See picture below.


803_5666 [Crocus cartwrightianus - Albus]

Both pictures were taken on Mt. Hymittos on November 11, 2019 

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Majestic trees 2

Cercis siliquastrum
803_1349 [Cercis siliquastrum]

Cercis siliquastrum is another notable example of majestic trees in the area of the Holy Trinity [see previous post].
It might not be as big as Quercus but it is admittedly more colorful with its beautiful flowers. [See below.] 



803_1342 [Cercis siliquastrum]

 This tree is found in the wild but it is also cultivated for its beautiful flowers.

Both pictures were photographed on Mt. Parnitha on April 12, 2018
 

Please click on the pictures for a better view.



Saturday, November 9, 2019

Majestic trees


Quercus robur
803_1353 [Quercus robur]

In the area around the church of The Holy Trinity shown in the previous post
there are majestic trees that contribute to the beauty of the scenery.
Quercus robur above is a notable example.  


Focus on the trunk of the same tree
803_1356 [Quercus robur]

The trunk of Oaks like this, according to Wikipedia, can get as much as 12m in circumference! Trees of that size can be found in Great Britain, Latvia and elsewhere in Europe. They also seem to hold a record in longevity since they are believed to live for centuries. According to the same source “Two individuals of notable longevity are the Stelmužė Oak in Lithuania and the Granit Oak in Bulgaria, which are believed to be more than 1500 years old, possibly making them the oldest oaks in Europe”. 

  Both pictures were photographed on Mt. Parnitha on April 12, 2018
 

Please click on the pictures for a better view.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

The Holy Trinity Chapel

801_9506 [Holy Trinity Chapel]

This beautiful little chapel, found at a height of 600 meters on Mt Parnitha, is located in an environmentally privileged area and constitutes a highlight of Ippokrateios Politeia: A community of 1000 people lives permanently there in more than 600 houses. This chapel occasionally hosts under its roof believers from this community and certainly constitutes a highlight for crowds of visitors who come here in search of natural beauty.


The interior

801_9525 [Holy Trinity, the interior]

IMHO, the view of the interior is rather disappointing. It stands between simplicity and … lack of interest. It would be nice, I think, to see some changes for the better some time.


A structure nearby

801_9511 [Holy Trinity, a structure nearby]

Opposite the entrance to the chapel - only a few meters away - one can see an elegant little structure that offers fresh water to the passers-by. If close enough, they can read an inscription on its face that reads:

“ΝΙΨΟΝΑΝΟΜΗΜΑΤΑΜΗΜΟΝΑΝΟΨΙΝ”

It’s a Greek phrase that can be read from left to right or from right to left and means:
“Wash off your sins. Don't wash your face only”.


All photographed on Mt. Parnitha on April 30, 2015

Please click on the pictures for a better view.

 

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Sternbergia lutea


803_5617 [Sternbergia lutea]

Photographed on Mt. Hymittos on October 16, 2019


301_3969 [Sternbergia lutea]

Photographed at Grammatiko on October 15, 2008

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Beauty in Simplicity

IMG_5633 [Beauty in Simplicity]


This little chapel is dedicated to St. Nicholas who is considered by the Greeks to be the patron saint of all seamen. It stands on a cliff near the port of Rafina and overlooks all ships moving in and out day and night.
See picture below.

Photographed at Rafina on May 29, 2018


[Rafina - Myconos!]

Photographed at Rafina on August 21, 2016

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Colchicum bivonae

803_5438 [Colchicum bivonae]


803_5437 [Colchicum bivonae]



803_5486 [Colchicum bivonae]




302_1967 [Colchicum bivonae]


An early flowering colchicum: end of August to early November.
Beautiful, poisonous, cup-like, attracts your attention even from a distance. My favorite.


All photographed on Mt. Parnitha on September 27, 2019

For a n older post with a slide show of bivonae please click HERE.




Saturday, September 28, 2019

“Men in Black”

IMG_3519 [Men in Black]

I was going up in a glass elevator to explore the Niarchos building in Athens when the people in black outside attracted my attention. They reminded me of the film “Men in Black”. Not having a camera with me, I immediately raised my mobile phone.

Photographed in Athens on April 23, 2017


Saturday, September 21, 2019

Alectoris chukar

803_4567 [Alectoris chukar]

 Photographed on Mt. Hymittos on April 11, 2019

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Colchicum lingulatum

803_5316 [Colchicum lingulatum]


Photographed on Mt. Parnitha on September 08, 2019

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Posidonia oceanica

IMG_3538 [Posidonia oceanica]
Photographed at Schinias on April 26, 2017

This strange hairy ball attracted my attention on the beach, very close to the water but I had no idea what it was.

There were tens of it relatively close one to the other – I have also seen piles of it elsewhere - something that made my curiosity grow.
 


803_1425 [Posidonia oceanica]
Photographed at Schinias on May 03, 2018

Thanks to my friend RK – who often functions as my inexhaustible database of information – I've learned that these curious brown balls are made of fibrous material that comes from dead leaves that surround the rhizomes of Posidonia oceanica: a plant that forms large underwater meadows [see photo below] along the Mediterranean coastline and is considered to play an important role in maintaining the marine ecosystem heathy. The dead leaves are continuously drifted by the sea waves until they take a round or oval shape and are eventually washed up on the shore. Thank you RK!



 

   Photo: Courtesy of Rena Karakatsani

By the way,
did you know that Posidonia oceanica was originally a land plant and that, even though it lives in the sea today, it develops roots and has flowers, fruits and seeds?
I didn’t!!!

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Sideritis raeseri subsp. attica

803_0204 [Sideritis raeseri subs.attica]

This is a rather unattractive view of Sideritis raeseri, a plant that grows wild on rocky mountain slopes at heights between about 1000-2000 m. It was shot at the end of September (2017) which means long after its flowering season. If it had been shot a month earlier, it would have been "naturally decorated" with plenty of yellow flowers (see below).

Sideritis is widely known throughout the country as ‘mountain tea’. People can collect about 17 different varieties on the Greek mountains and enjoy a fresh, aromatic and flavorful cup of tea (whether they prefer it cold or hot).



803_0065 [Sideritis raeseri subsp. attica]


803_0068 [Sideritis raeseri subsp. attica]


Both closeup pictures of the flower were taken
on Mt. Parnitha on September 5, 2017




Saturday, August 24, 2019

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Himantopus himantopus

304_5849 [Himantopus himantopus]

A European bird that is most commonly seen near the Mediterranean Sea.
It lives on swamps and lagoons with fresh water.
It builds its nest on plants in shallow waters or in mud on the ground.
 

It is about 35 cm long with a wingspan of about 70 cm.
If lucky, it can live up to ten years.

Photographed at Schinias on May 10, 2016




Saturday, August 3, 2019

Pancratium maritimum

300_6801 [Pancratium maritimum]

The flower:
when time comes, it will turn into the fruit (below).


300_6826 [Pancratium maritimum]

The fruit:
when time comes, it will hopefully provide us with another beautiful Pancratium maritimum to shoot!
 


Both photographed at Legrena on July 31, 2018



Saturday, July 27, 2019

Limenitis reducta

803_5001 [Limenitis reducta]

803_5000 [Limenitis reducta]
This butterfly is fairly common in most of southern Europe with the exception of Spain. It favors open woodlands, forest edges and flies from May to July in levels up to 1500 m. Its wingspan is about 5 cm.

Photographed on Mt. Hymittos on June 08, 2019

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Passiflora caerulea

IMG_7471 [Passiflora caerulea]


When I was young, I found this flower fascinating. Today, a few decades later, it is still one of my favourites.
I see it as an unquestionable proof that Nature’s creativity is unsurpassable!

Photographed with my iPhone in Holargos on June 21, 2019



Saturday, July 6, 2019

Scrophularia heterophylla

801_4438 [Scrophularia heterophylla]

 Photographed on the Acropolis rocks in Athens on April 26, 2014



Saturday, June 29, 2019

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Communication

303_9818 [Communication - dolphins]

Photographed in Athens zoo on September 19, 2012

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Verbascum sinuatum

803_1406 [Verbascum sinuatum]

Photographed on Mt. Kitheronas on April 20, 2018

Please click on the picture for a better view.




Saturday, May 18, 2019

Ursa constellations

803_3342 [Ursa constellations]

Inspired by my High-School teacher of Physics some decades ago, I have developed the habit of looking at the stars at night whenever possible and enjoy finding constellations in the way he had shown us. On a short vacation in a small hotel on Mt. Vardousia and when everybody had left the roof garden opting for the warm bed around midnight, I was left alone to enjoy the starry sky. No lights anywhere. Only dark mountains around and the starry sky above. Shooting the stars seemed to me a good way to go.

Constellation stars were highlighted in processing to make Ursa Minor and Major prominent.
 

Please click on the pictures for a better view.


803_3351 [Milky way]

I was hardly done with shooting the constellations above when I turned South and noticed the Galaxy waiting patiently for me behind Mt. Vardousia. I moved my equipment for a few meters and took another shot. I love vacations on the mountains!
 

Both photographed on Mt. Vardousia on September 9, 2018



Saturday, May 11, 2019

Chondrilla juncea

304_6927 [Chondrilla juncea]

This is a thin, noxious weed native to Europe, Asia and North America but it can also be found in many other parts of the world. It produces small daisy like yellowish flowers that eventually turn into the fruit topped with a pappus. Although it can reach a meter in height, it usually passes unnoticed to the photographer’s eye. I wouldn’t have noticed it if it hadn’t been for my friend N.N. who not only brought it to my attention while in the field but also informed me of its official name. Thank you, N!



300_6925 [ Chondrilla juncea]

Looking at the pappus at close range.

Both photographed on Mt. Parnitha on Sept. 21, 2018