Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Lugano To Venice



As our next port of call, literally, is some distance from the city of Venice I thought I'd book us in at a midway point between the two. By sheer chance the hotel is only a short walk from the 19th century Forte Marghera which is now a cultural centre and wildlife refuge. I think that this will be a good place to start our explorations. A good place to build a fort, surrounded on all sides by a double waterway and the wildlife starts here below the bridge in the shape of this crab mumbling his way through the residents of the green algae.




The place is an absolute haven for insects. There's a Shield-backed Katydid in the grass alongside a Click Beetle; a Mediterranean Spotted Chafer Beetle getting itself covered in pollen as it feeds on a mallow flower and a rather handsome Leaf Beetle of the Lachnaia genus down there. Hang on, I'll just root him out for a second so that you can have a closer look.




Hello, looks like we've got a bit of wildlife action on this Mallow over here. A ground crab spider, Xysticus sp. has taken a fancy to a small bee for its lunch. You can tell that it's a bee and not a fly mimicking a bee because you can clearly see all four wings and flies only have two. Bee mimicking flies also have much shorter antennae than bees but I think that the spider has them in its jaws. Talking of lunch there's a nice rustic looking restaurant here so I propose that we adjourn.


That was delicious and very reasonable. I liked the complimentary bottle of home made wine. I think that all restaurants should adopt that policy. Shall we go and have a look at Venice? Very pretty, now get me out of here. It's full of hat and tat stalls and camera clicking tourists. Let's find a quiet backwater and have a civilised cup of afternoon coffee. If I hear one more person singing 'Just One Cornetto' they're in for a ducking. Giovanni Capurro, who wrote the original lyric to O Sole Mio, must be turning in his grave.




I have another reason for visiting this part of Venice. Did you notice that small park that we passed earlier? That is the Giardini Papadopoli and it is one of the scenes in my novel, The Magic of Nature of Magic which is now complete . I just want to go and soak up the ambiance and sit with the Lizzies for a bit. These are Common Wall Lizards, Podarcis muralis, and I see that we are being watched over by a Yellow-legged Gull, Larus michahellis. These predominate over their pink legged cousins that you find further north.

Talking of books, The Quick Guide To Creepy-Crawlies is now under final revision and proof-reading stage. I was hoping to produce a paperback version and a Kindle version but as Kindle cannot handle internal hyperlinks (What???) I've had to abandon the Kindle version.






Crete Nature Catch-up




A light-hearted look at life through the eyes of the fairer sex.

Kindle Edition 1.99 pounds sterling (or equivalent).
Click on the link to the right to read two complete stories for free.

Paperback Edition 4.99 pounds sterling (or equivalent)..
Read snippets, samples and stuff at Steve's Books




*********************************************************************
LINKS:
Share your nature thoughts, photos and comments on Naturalists (the facebook page that accompanies this blog)

Explore the region with the #CreteNature interactive Hiking and Nature Map


Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Strasbourg to Lugano


After that beautiful stopover in Strasbourg we are now burrowing our way through The Alps like a maggot through Swiss cheese, emerging from long, dark tunnels into beautiful vistas of lakes and snow capped mountains. A quick change at Basle and then on to Lugano on the Swiss Italian border.



Hitched a lift on the local bus up into the mountains and was told where to get off by a beautiful young music student who sat next to me. (No, literally: she informed me where to disembark as her stop was a few before mine). This is the Pensione Agra run by Annemiek and Fritz and was my favourite place of the whole tour.



Surrounded on three sides by Lake Lugano it is a magnificent place for hiking through upland meadows and woodland and we have another free day with which to explore. Walking through the village, lizards scurry along the walls through clumps of Ivy-leaved Toadflax.



Butterflies are everywhere, along with a whole host of other inverterbarates while in the woodlands songbirds of every description orchestrate the air but remain firmly out of sight in the dense summer canopy.



A weird humming noise fills the air which I took to be a swarm of beetles such as this fellow but it turned out to be hundreds of bicycle tyres on tarmac as dozens of Swiss clockmakers hurtled down the hill to make sure that they got to work on time.




Crete Nature Catch-up

Steve's Books (well, just the one at the moment but 'The Quick Guide to Creepy-Crawlies' is nearly complete and I hope to publish it later this month).

Not Just For Twisted Women by Steve Daniels 


A light-hearted look at life through the eyes of the fairer sex.

Kindle Edition 1.99 pounds sterling (or equivalent).

Click on the link to the right to read two complete stories for free.

Paperback Edition 4.99 pounds sterling (or equivalent)..  Read snippets, samples and stuff at Steve's Books





*********************************************************************
LINKS:
Share your nature thoughts, photos and comments on Naturalists (the facebook page that accompanies this blog)

Explore the region with the #CreteNature interactive Hiking and Nature Map




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