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Wednesday, 21 December 2011


Just a quick plug for Santa Tracker HD one of Onteca's flagship Apps. For this year's version I was asked to do a flashy 3d globe which Santa zips around at several million miles an hour delivering presents.

The app also has sightings, and advent calendar, an entertaining blog written by Santa himself, and lots more. You can get it for iPhone/iPad from the App Store. Search for Onteca + Santa and you should find it no problem.

Tree Trim

Wildlife Wednesdays #24

Sunday, 4 December 2011


Scenic Sundays #25

The Isle of Arran dominates the skyline from the sleepy hamlet of Millhouse.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Friday, 25 November 2011

One Mushroom Post

Fencepost of the Week #33

Another one from this year's mushroom season.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011


Wildlife Wednesdays #23

So... what kind of wildlife has Brighton got going for it? Top of my list has to be badgers - there is a healthy badger population in the surrounding countryside and in the city itself. Being shy and mostly nocturnal, I might not get any good photo opportunities, so here's a picture instead.

Badger footprints are one of the most distinctive animal tracks in the UK - look for the broad heel pad, with four toes in front and one a little to the side - almost like a pudgy human hand - and the big claw points some distance ahead of each toe.

There are plenty more kinds of wildlife that I am looking forward to encountering now that I'm down here - dormice and crayfish and Lewes's burgeoning marsh frog population, and hopefully grass snakes.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Knotty, Bleached and Split

Fencepost of the Week #32

This rough-cut fencepost is in a position exposed to the sun and wind - not much grows on its surface, but it is still full of character.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Walk The Eck Flyer

I was asked to do a generic background image for all the flyers for forthcoming Walk the Eck guided walks. If you're in the area check them out - they will be great excursions despite my absence. 

Here's the finished painting:

Now that I'm in Brighton, hopefully I will find the time to brush up on my ink-wash techniques - I feel I could do so much better...

Sunday, 23 October 2011

El Torcal

Scenic Sundays #23

El Torcal is a massive, otherworldly maze of weathered limestone. Here it is on google maps.

 Normally I love to lose myself in a landscape, but here I kept to the path, as getting lost could have easily led to a really serious situation.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Enclave & Fungus

Fencepost of the Week #31

A mossy enclave, February 2011:

 ...and then in September with some additional colour:

This fungus is Calocera viscosa which loves long-dead coniferous timber. There is a similar fungus - Calocera cornea - which deals similarly with hardwood timber, but you rarely see that on fenceposts.

 I am moving to Brighton this weekend - I hope I will able to find some wonderful fenceposts in Sussex to continue this series, but I fear that fenceposts may only really flourish in the mild, damp west coast climate...

Monday, 10 October 2011

The Sickener

Monday Mushroom #22

This bright, little mushroom of the boggier conifer plantations goes by the name of 'The Sickener'

Russula emetica - The Sickener

Russula emetica - The Sickener

When starting out, russulas are one of the most easily recognised mushroom genera - they have a distinct look - the stout, brittle stems, white or off white gills and flesh and smooth, regular, often brightly coloured caps. But there are many different species, and identifying the individual species is quite tricky - which is a shame as many are good edibles, but quite a few are - like the sickener - likely to cause gastric upsets.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Dark in the sun.

Scenic Sundays #22

A dark, sunny day in late February.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Lady Scorpion Flies

Wildlife Wednesdays #22

I posted a photo of a male scorpion fly a while back, below I am pleased to present the female of the species:

Tuesday, 4 October 2011


Tree-fetish Tuesday #23

Holly trees have some of the meltiest bark of all - full of ripples, and puckers and bubbles.

If exposed to a little chafing, it becomes shiny, smooth and red - rather like leather.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Excitable May Beetles

Wildlife Wednesday #21

These May beetles were very excited about something - possibly by the presence of other May beetles - and wouldn't sit still for one second.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011


Tree-fetish Tuesday #22

Join me for a little adventure around the forests of Glenfinnart on the 15th of October, as part of Cowalfest.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Kilmun Arboretum

Scenic Sundays #21

Kilmun Arboretum is a tree-ish place - well over one hundred different species, and has been one of my favourite haunts for quite some time.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Cup-Lichen on Black

Fencepost of the Week #30

I was very pleased to see fenceposts and their accompanying lichens getting at least a little exposure in the news this week:

Monday, 19 September 2011

Angel Wings

Monday Mushroom #21

Angel Wings - Pleurocybella porigens
Pleurocybella porigens has been considered a good edible mushroom for many, many years. 

Then in 2004, 17 people died in Japan after partaking of an unusually large crop of them. 

Scientists have since isolated a toxin in the mushroom that might be able to cause the kind of brain lesions found in the victims. It is a very unstable molecule that would normally be broken down, but eating very large quantities of the mushroom could lead to poisoning - particularly in people whose kidneys are not functioning well.  Nearly all of the victims already had poor kidneys, and an average age of 70. 

It seems the deaths were caused by eating a glut of mushrooms that are normally only available in small quantities. The distinction between poisonous and edible fungi is not always clear cut.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Who Turned the Colour Off?

Scenic Sundays #20

It's been a bit autumnal and blustery of late - the weather seems to have washed all the colours away...

Friday, 16 September 2011

Monday, 12 September 2011

Polyporus badius

Monday Mushroom #20

Polyporus badius

Polyporus badius
Polyporus badius has pores so fine, that its undersurface appears perfectly smooth under all but the closest scrutiny. Polyporus tuberaster, on the other had seems positively spongy, even at a distance.

Polyporus tuberaster

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Down the Eck and Up the Massan

Scenic Sundays #19

Looking down on Invereck

Looking up Glen Massan

Friday, 9 September 2011

Striding Arches

Fencepost of the Week #28

A dark, little landscape on the side of a fencepost, deep in the forest.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Bring the Moss!

Tree-fetish Tuesday #21

You might not know it yet, 

And you might not agree,

But sometimes all you need is a really, really... 

...Really mossy tree.

Monday, 5 September 2011


Monday Mushroom # 19

Cortinarius alboviolaceus
There are many, many species of cortinarius and most are very difficult to tell apart - but this one, with its curious, silvery-purple skin is usually quite distinctive.

Some cortinarius mushrooms are deadly poisonous, in fact I suspect that one of the most common types growing around here is Cortinarius rubellus, but I couldn't be sure, as there are so many other reddish-orangeish-brownish cortinarius species in the books.
Cortinarius rubellus?

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Gairletter to Blairmore

I'm leading a walk for the Cowal East Paths Group next Sunday. If you fancy coming along, you'd be most welcome! 

Hopefully this will be the first of a monthly programme of walks and other events held by us. We have a website at where you can get further details.

The Other Side

Scenic Sundays #18

If you look out over the Clyde to the East you can often see another land on the farther shore. A mysterious place with things called 'towns' They are a bit like villages, only more.

This one is called Largs.

 'Fairy' boats will take you there, so I've heard.

Greenock - it's about the same size as a peat hag.