Hooray, Steve the bug is back!

One of the great things about blogging is the ability to reblog interesting posts and so spread the word. However, because one of my favourite blogs is on Blogspot it dosn’t have a handy reblog function. That won’t stop me! I’ve reproduced the start of Steve’s blog and then you can use the link to whisk over to the rest of his blog where it looks better. I’ll give you a warning though, if your read his blog a couple of times I guarantee you’ll be hooked.

Somehow I missed the September post, but its good to have you back, Steve.

Fruits of Autumn
The vernal equinox has passed and it’s time we got down to some serious exploring after all our loafing about at the Porto Belissario for the last two weeks. We spent the earlier part of the year to the west of the village, predominantly in the Milonas Valley, so let us strike out east and see what we can find.
Plants have many methods of seed dispersal
It’s a beautiful early morning and just look at how the sun is catching the sandstone giving it a rich, golden glow. Many of the plants, like this lentisc or mastic bush, are throwing out their fruits just now, which is the equivalent of animals having babies. It’s a similar process involving eggs and sperm but somewhat more complex as flowering plants undergo double fertilization; the first producing the seed and the second producing the surrounding food storage tissue which nourishes the seed during development. So when you eat a grape and spit out the pip you are consuming part one of the process and ejecting the second. This is just what the grapevine wants you to do as by the time the grape is sweet enough to eat the seed has developed sufficiently to start an independent life and you are merely the chosen agent of seed dispersal (ever felt you were being used?). Some plants, like this Greek Spiny Spurge, positively explode their seeds away from the parent plant like ejecting a stay-at-home teenager from the family home with a cannon while these cistus plants on the other hand just drop their seeds where they fall. This seems a strange thing to do but the plants are full of volatile oils and burn easily in a wildfire. The seeds are cunningly designed to germinate after such a fire. 
Spotted Flycatcher, Muscicapa striata
Many bird species are involved in the dispersal of plant seeds as well being great consumers of berries but not so this little fellow perching, guardsman straight, on the telephone wire. He’s a spotted flycatcher and, as his name suggests, his diet consists mainly of flying insects such as flies, beetles and wasps. These birds pass through on their way from northern Europe to Africa between August and October returning between mid April and mid May although I have seen the odd straggler in February and March who didn’t see the necessity to go any further south. He’s watching that patch of open scrub down there so let’s go down and see if we can disturb a few insects for him.

– See more at: http://cretenature.blogspot.gr/2015/10/fruits-of-autumn.html#sthash.jAzEkiOg.dpuf

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