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Friday, 31 August 2012

Anthropomorphic Groyne

Fencepost of the Week #39

A groyne isn't a fence, but a groyne post is pretty much the same as a fence post... Anyway, here's a beautifully weathered old man of the sea, Winchelsea Beach, Rye.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012


Wildife Wednesday #31

Here is a tiny, tiny snail - it is sitting on a nettle leaf, so the size of the leaf serrations is probably your best guide to how small this snail actually is. It is also beautiful!

I have been taking quite a lot of close up photos recently, but I'm always struggling to get enough light - this first photo is with the aperture fully open - F2.8 There is hardly anything in focus, but it is correcly exposed.

The second photo is taken with the aperture down to F10 - more details, but the whole thing is underexposed - grainy and washed out.

I may have to try experimenting with artificial light if I want all the details. I'm loth to do it as the available light is an important part of my photography...

Monday, 27 August 2012

Cramp Balls

Monday Mushroom #30

Cramp balls are black globs of brittle, charcoal-like matter often found emerging from ash wood.

Daldinia concentrica - Cramp Ball

 In cross-section they show a distincive pattern of concentric rings.

Daldinia concentrica - Cramp Ball

They are sometimes called King Alfred's Cakes in reference to the this old story (2nd paragraph.)

The other common name - cramp balls - rises from a belief that carrying a cramp ball about your person makes you immune to cramp. Certainly I have never suffered from cramp while carrying a cramp ball.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Scotland, Solway, England

Scenic Sundays #30

Views from Dungarry hill-fort, looking southeast over the Solway Firth towards England.  

Friday, 24 August 2012

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The Shadow

Wildlife Wednesday #30

Tarentola mauritanica - Moorish Gecko
Too dark to blend in with your chosen substrate? Align yourself with the shadows instead...

Monday, 20 August 2012

Clustered Bonnet Cap

Monday Mushroom #29
Mycena inclinata - Clustered Bonnet Cap

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Egyptian Grasshopper

Wildlife Wednesday #29

Anacridium aegyptium - Egyptian Grasshopper
This is one of the largest european grasshoppers, here seen hanging around on a Mallorcan fencepost in early April.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Forest Frog

Wildife Wednesday #28

Forests are not generally fertile hunting grounds for reptiles and amphibians in Scotland. This far north, they tend to favour more open terrain - bogs and moors are usually good. However, here is an exceptionally dark frog being exceptional in an oak wood.

Rana temporaria - Common Frog

Rana temporaria - Common Frog (exceptional!)

Monday, 6 August 2012

Orange Birch Bolette

Monday Mushroom #28

This mushroom only grows next to birch trees. Quite a few mushrooms are very specific about which trees they associate with.

Leccinum versipelle - Orange Birch Bolette

  Many of these specialists form close symbiotic relationships with the tree in question - there is a mutually beneficial exchange of nutrients going on between the mycelium of the fungus and the roots of the tree.
Leccinum versipelle - Orange Birch Bolette
This one seems to have had some difficulty pushing through the surface. I came back a few days later to see if it would straighten out, but something had eaten it.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Snakelocks Anemone

Wildlife Wednesday #27

Anemonia viridis - Snakelocks Anenome
A handsome sea anemone from the rockpools of the English Channel. The green colour is actually from symbiotic algae living inside the anemone's tentacles. Wikipedia tells me that they are eaten fried in batter in southern spain, though they are stingy when raw.