søndag 5. august 2012

Morocco continued Orthoptera and pope´s hat

So we continued our days in semi dessert areas passing the kilometers in the sun. Have i mentioned how hot it was there? Because it was fricki´n hot. But also beautiful and such an alien landscape for a Norwegian person. Also I have to say that the Moroccan people were great and full of humor, hospitality and smiles, even though most of the time our skills of communication were far below any decent level. 
Eventually we gt to more of a agricultural areas with water irrigation and good farmland. Still hot and dry but with good soil. Here there were a lot of different grasshoppers. I found several other different groups of animals here and they will be taken care of in another post.
Orthoptera suborder Caelifera  family Acrididae
Quite well camouflaged

The first thre photos are taken in a different locations and they were quite a bit smaller than the fully adult shown below. This might be because they are a different species or they are just juveniles.

So then we moved up into the mountains close to Taza where we found a wonderful agricultural area. Here the first thing i came across was this great cricket with a visor on top of its head. 

Sciobia ssp.

The species is a bit hard to determine since the differences are small details.  
This is a male distinguished from females based on the size of the visor or "hat". I must admit it kind of look like the pope hat mitre. However it looks better on this guy.

søndag 29. juli 2012


On my trip to Morocco we were traveling arround the countryside near Guercif and Taza.
So we were having some fruit after lunch under a tree. Well really it was a huge watermelon we bought out of a van. After wards we were waiting for the sun to fade a bit since it was such a hot day. I picked up my camera to have a look around to see what I could find. Firstly I saw several species of grasshoppers, but it was only after I lifted some of the stones this wonderful creature revealed itself. I must admit that I got carried away seeing how this is the first Solifugae I have found in the wild. I am pretty sure it is a Galeodidae. It was quite docile and hence a treat to photograph.    


There is a dead ant right behind her probably her latest meal.

lørdag 21. juli 2012

More animals in the Moroccan desert

First of some really nice dipteras.  
Maybe a Stratiomyidae?


Stillits Carduelis carduelis
Definately within the Carduelis carduelis carduelis group and is maybe Carduelis carduelis parva as a subspecies.  

Guineafowl Numida meleagris


Gråspurv, House sparrow; Passer domesticus in flight

Common tiger blue Tarucus theophrastus

Theese ants were great fun to see. Quite large and with long legs carrying them verry fast. They were speeding along searching for food.

Finaly some more photos of a great landscape that left me in awe several times.

mandag 9. juli 2012

Moroccan desert

So I had the good fortune of traveling through Morrocan desert-land. Witnessing a great landscape and experiencing not so great temperatures for a norwegian. More than 40 degrees celsius is a bit too much for this guy. Later in the evening my head felt like it had been hit by a bat (type baseball). It is a very bright lighting naturally, so that is important to think about when taking pictures.    
The first thing I noticed was the amount of grasshoppers around. They were everywhere and different species.

Identification will be up shortly,

Here you see the great camouflage they use. I had to see them move to find them. 

And here on cactus as I am talking about a desert habitat had to have that. This cactus was actually long time ago planted to serve as a fence. Much better than any barbed wire I have ever seen. On the same fence of cactus i found this net   

This aturally made me search untill i came across this beautiful spider

Right here and now i do not have the genus here due to lack of litterature. Tomorrow i will have a name here.

Crawling on the ground was the only reason why i was able to see this detail on the ground. Sadly there was no spider in there, however i am confident that this was the home of a trapdoor-spider.

Walking in the same area I saw in the corner of my eye, something running fast on the ground. I must admit that for a split second i thought it would be my first live cicindelidae, but I was also equally happy to see it was the strangest Mantodea i have ever seen. I will come back with a better identification shortly 

Ok that is it for this time i will have more...much more verry soon

Morocco 1

So this is the first of probably many posts on animals from Morocco. I have to say that for being there only for a week it is amazing how much diversity I was able to witness. It was truly a great visit to a marvelous country. We visited mostly the north of the country landing in Nador in the north east. From there we visited towns and cities like Meknes, Fez, Guercif, Taza, Azrou, and smaller towns on the way. We passed everything from scorching dessert lands with 40 degrees to high mountain passes with cooler air. Were also houses were built to handle snow in the winter.   

Beautiful desert landscape close to Guerzif, with temperatures above 40 degrees in mid day.

Landscape photo up in the mountains where the sheep were grazing next to a cedar tree forest.

Like churches in Europe there is not a single village or a small place without a mosque. Even in the most remote areas with around 5 houses there would be a mosque. And every larger city had lots of them.  This is one of the nicer one in the city of Azrou. Here mostly interesting for the cool colony of Herons in a nearby tree. This one was taken from a table with a timer, and with my Tamron 28-300. Not easy to get as it is nighttime with passing cars and hence changing lights. Well I will upload some more landscapes with my other photos but it is about the bugs and animals. I will also distinguish from desert habitat and more humid areas to mountain habitat.  

tirsdag 3. juli 2012

Escarabajo de san juan

For 5 nights I have been out trying to get photos of a specific beetle that comes out at this time of year around midsummer. The Polyphylla fullo of the scarabeaoidea family. For these nights it is buzzing around trying to find a mate just at the time of dusk. There were not exactly millions of them this year but sufficient for me to take photos. They also are a welcome dietary supplement to the Falco eleonorae Eleonora's Falcon or Eleonorafalk in Norwegian. The beetles make a hissing sound to ward off predators. I think if I am not mistaken they produce this noise by forcing air through their spiraclers.

                         Male                                                Female

These wonderful birds sit in the trees and wait for dusk until they start swooping down and catching their prey. On the return home you could se dicarded elytras and heads on the side of the road.

onsdag 27. juni 2012

(Some) Birds of S ́albufera

This last spring i have been several times to this natural park. Mostly this has been at night time for bugs, but also to see birds.  

crested coot, knoppsothøne, Fulica cristata A bird quite distinctive with its two red protrutions in the top of the head

Triel, Eurasian Stone-curlew, Burhinus oedicnemus This is a somewhat large nocturnal bird with large eyes and a loud screaching sound. Photo was taken at dusk on the last rays of the sun for that day.

Gråfluesnapper, Spotted flycatcher, Muscicapa striata

rødhodevarsler, woodchat Shrike,cfemale This is a female because of its small white patch right above the beak. Cool little bird that eats everything from lizzards to larger insects and even other birds.
These three great photos were taken by Cecilia and are posted here with her permission.
On the top photo we see the grey heron Ardea cinerea who just caught a huge fish. Were were watching this for a long time, while the heron was trying to figure out how to devour its slightly oversized meal. 

The next photo is of a Eurasian coot Fulica atra searching for a meal below.

The last photo is of the Sardinian warbler sylvia melanocephala (Svarthodesanger) Singing high and mighty at that time of the year to attract a mate.

OK that is it for this time. Today..or more correctly tonight i am off to S ́albufera once again. This time to look for Melolontha melolontha.