Saturday, May 1, 2010

Camera Critters: Volksdorfer Teichwiesen

The Volksdorfer Teichwiesen is a nature reserve in the northeast of Hamburg. It's an area with marsh meadows, a small lake and some sparse wood and it's home to many protected and rare plants and animals. The first photo shows a Kingcup (Caltha palustris), a flower that's getting rare in Germany since it needs marshes or wet soil to grow - not something often found along straightened rivers.
It's early in the year, so the Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa) is in full bloom. It will disappear once the trees have grown leaves since it won't be getting enough sun then.
a bee collecting pollen from a dandelion
the flower of a currant bush, I think
and a ladybug (Coccinella septempunctata) looking for aphids on the same plant
alder leaf beetles (Agelastica alni)

the lake, home to geese, ducks, Great Crested Grebes and a ton of other animals we didn't see. We saw some well-hidden critters, though:
I don't know what those spiders are called, but they live among the leaf litter and it's very hard to get close enough for a photo. They will feel the vibrations of your steps when you are still several yards away and they can run and jump very quickly. They also hunt for their prey instead of building a net.
a Viviparous Lizard (Zootoca vivipara) - right in the middle of the picture, in case it's too well camouflaged for you. I constantly lost it even though I knew it was there and if it hadn't moved when I was looking, I would never have seen it. They give birth to live youngs - the eggs are hatched inside the mother's belly or the babies hatch right after the eggs have been layed. In warmer climates, there are populations of Viviparous lizards that lay eggs that take some time to hatch, but being vivparous helps the species to conquer colder habitats as well.


eileeninmd said...

beautiful flowers and cool critters. Neat capture of the snake.

Vernz said...

so little, so lovely... love them all.. great capture!

Cats and Women

Grace and Bradley said...

Very nice capture, I like the ladybug macro.

Snap said...

wonderful plants, flowers and critters! nice, informative series.

Helena said...

Very cool photos! Love the little lady bug!

jabblog said...

Great captures and well done on managing to get a shot of the lizard. They move so quickly once they realise danger is near.