Thursday, 15 June 2017

Croatia June 2017: Part 6 - the last

My final post on Croatia and I thought I'd share my impressions on the country. On the basis of what we saw and experienced in Istria, the most northerly and westerly province, we'd give it 10/10. Friendly people, very pleasant countryside, interesting coastal and inland towns and quiet roads. The cuisine can be described in one word 'Italian', which is not surprising given the history of the country. Definitely a place to revisit.

For our last afternoon at our rental villa, I occupied myself by wandering around and about the immediate vicinity with my camera. I'll close with some of the shots I took.
A view across fields to our nearest town, Visnjan. It had a good bakery, an excellent restaurant, a cafe and a supermarket. What else could we need?
Here and there poppies added a splash of vivid colour to the verges. Quite eye-catching.
I'm not sure what thus plant is but it looks too big to be an ordinary dandelion. Is it an allium of some sort? I'll confess that a little post-editing on the camera has brought out the colours sharply.
One of my favourite insects - the Hummingbird Hawk Moth. I never tire of seeing them and never tire of trying to get the 'definitive' shot. I've not yet achieved that but I'll keep trying. They love lavender and in warmer climes that's the place to head for if you want to see one. I've only seen it once back home but it does appear to be seen regularly around and about our area.
In an earlier post (here) I showed the insect above and questioned what it was. Obviously not a Hummingbird Hawk Moth and it's actually a Bee Fly, a member of the insect family Bombyliidae. Their mimicry of bees gives them a measure of protection against predators that have learnt to avoid the sting of true bees. Things to look out for if you see one: typically large fly eyes, large straight proboscis for getting at nectar, odd angle to the legs and the transparent wings. They are parasitic on solitary bees and their larvae feed on the larvae and pupae of their prey.
Here's a day flying moth not often seen in the UK - the nine-spotted moth, although the exact number of the spots is variable. It doesn't breed in the UK and is a rare immigrant but it's quite common in Southern Europe and that's where I saw it. This one was about 3 cm long. Look closely and you can see the white tips to the antennae.
A Marbled White Butterfly. Common across Europe but restricted to the southern counties of England. Despite its appearance, the Marbled White is more closely related to the subfamily known as the 'browns' rather than the 'whites'.
The Spotted Fritillary is absent from Northern Europe but quite common in Southern regions. A very striking butterfly with very intricate patterning on its upper wings.
And that on the lower surface is just as intricate, with orange/yellow bands with spots.

Oooh, I thought, a little black insect. Nothing much to look at.
That is until it started flying and revealed its large striped abdomen. Thus far I have failed to identify what it is. Can anyone help?
A sight-seeing boat catching the light of the setting sun. What setting sun?
This setting sun. The gull was enjoying looking at it as well.
A metaphor for us saying 'goodbye' to Croatia and sailing off into the sunset to return home.

No comments: