Monday, 13 June 2011

The Cats are Back!

That's it, I have had enough!

Everytime I come to my blog, I see those same old photos over and over again. OK, so they might be nice photos, but I really don't want to look at them forever. So, the time as come to post something new. And can anyone possibly think of anything more beautiful to look at than my cats!?!

I haven't been around for quite some time due to a little bit of surgery I had a while ago - April 1st, to be precise. The date seems quite fitting, since I was a fool for thinking that I would be up and running and back to normal in a few short weeks. Idiot! I am still not back at work, although I am finally starting to feel a little more like myself. For part of my convalescence, I have been bird watching. Nothing too strenuous - mostly sitting on my patio with a pair of binoculars or at my bedroom window watching the pair of eagles sitting in the tree at the end of my garden. Every-so-often, we get a sunny day, and I go and sit at the end of my garden and watch the birds in the trees from the shade of my little old pear tree. Of course, the cats follow me where ever I go, which doesn't really help my bird watching pursuits, but, as always, they put a smile on my face as they slither through the long grass that is my own personal meadow. Well, yes, we could cut the grass, but why would we? I just love the way it ripples and waves in the wind, the sun highlighting the heads of the grasses. I also love watching my cats trying to avoid all contact with it when it is still wet from the early morning dew while still trying to cross the open space as quickly as possible so that they don't get eaten by the eagles!

It is raining again today, so I guess it is back to indoor bird watching. I suppose I could go back to the house renovations? Ah, but no, I am still recovering. I wonder how long I can get away with that excuse?

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Some Soothing Photos.........

Well, my surgery was cancelled yesterday, so I thought I would pass some time looking at some old photos........ a few soothing photos to keep you readers happy in my absence.........

A goose on the Fraser River near Steveston, British Columbia

Gansbaai, South Africa - a stroll at sunset

Sunset at the waterhole, Etosha National Park, Namibia

I shall be back soon......even sooner if they cancel again!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Macro Monday - Northern Flicker

The other day, I was sitting at my computer, staring out the window, daydreaming working really, really hard, when, all of a sudden, someone decided that it would be a good idea to start using a pneumatic drill on my roof. I was not impressed and neither was my cat.

"What the bloody hell!" I declared

"Prrrrruupppp!!!" she declared.

We both craned our necks out of the window and what should flash by? A red-shafted northern flicker (Colaptes auratus). Not a pneumatic drill, afterall - which I was quite relieved about, since I don't recall giving anyone permission to use a drill up there. These most beautiful of birds are quite common around here and the males like to communicate and declare their territories by drumming on things, including, apparently, my roof. Unlike most woodpeckers, they actually like to eat ants and other creepy crawlies down on the ground. They use their rather impressive beaks to find their lunch in your lawn and their long barbed tongues to ensnare innocent invertebrates.

So, I was quite the happy birder when, yesterday, we manage to catch one of these woodpeckers in one of our mist nets.  It was a female and she was just fabulous!

While I was out nerding birding, a little oregon junco flew down and posed quite nicely for a few photos before tweeting goodbye. No, he didn't have a cell phone - he really did tweet.........

For more Macro Monday, go here.

Oh and just so that you don't worry about me over the next few weeks, I will be going AWOL - the time has come to deal with the not-a-baby-bump and apparently they don't have WiFi at the hospital - what!?!?! Useless public health system. I bet if there was a private option, they would offer WiFi........

Thursday, 24 March 2011


.......and no, I am not talking about my brother!

Nope, I am talking about this:

 A supermoon is, and I quote astrologer Richard Nolle, 1979:

"A new or full moon which occurs with the Moon at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit (perigee). In short, Earth, Moon and Sun are all in a line, with Moon in its nearest approach to Earth."

This happened on the 19th  March, 2011, so I am a little late with my posting, but better late than never, eh?

Oh, and there is no truth to any comments about the supermoon being responsible for natural disasters, such as the Japanese or Indonesian earthquakes and tsunamis. It is all just a bunch of hooey (sp?), much like most other things reported in the news today. I could get into a little (big?) rant about this, but apparently I don't have to - Baino has already taken care of it for me. Thanks Baino!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Macro Monday: Woodlice

Woodlice, aka "armadillo bug", "carpenter" (Newfoundland), "cheeselog" (Reading, Berkshire), "cheesy bug" (North-West Kent), "doodlebug" (also used for the larva of an antlion), "pill bug" (usually applied only to the genus Armadillidium), "potato bug", "roly-poly", "sow bug", "roll up bug", "chuggypig" or "chucky pig", "slater","gramersow" (Cornwall), "butcher boy" or "butchy boy" (Australia), and "wood bug" (British Columbia, Canada). Thank you, Wikipedia!

Cheeselog - really!?!

No idea how it managed to get all of those names, but I discovered 50 million of them in my compost heap this morning, so I thought I would take some photos. I believe my woodlice are European woodlice (Oniscus asellus). Thanks to Dave Ingram for the ID help.

Help! I have fallen and I can't get up!

I think from now on I am going only going to take photos of things that can't move......I am guessing that it is a hell of a lot less frustrating.

Trying to Escape!
For more Macro Monday, go here.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Macro Monday : Grass of Parnassus

Last week, I posted what I thought was a fiendishly difficult Macro Monday Mystery. Obviously, I was wrong, since nearly all of you guessed what it was.

Sooo, I thought that I would skulk off back to my archives to find something nobody could ever possibly guess - mwah-ha-ha! But then I got sidetracked and found this delightful flower instead. So, you are spared from the agony of a macro mystery and can ponder the beauty of nature instead.

This is the flower of the grass of Parnassus, aka a bog star - not quite such a glamorous name, so I shall stick with the Parnassus name. Parnassus is, of course, a mountain in Greece, sacred to Apollo and home of the Muses, perhaps. This photo was not taken in Greece, or anywhere near Greece for that matter, but in Denali National Park in Alaska, at the base of the slopes of Mt. Denali. Spectacular place, with stunning scenery and wildlife, although I can't really recommend the weather, at least not in July !

For more Macro Monday, go here.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Macro Monday : Mystery # 10 - The Answer

Funny really - whenever I think a Macro Mystery is easy, hardly anyone gets it, but when I think it is a difficult one, nearly everyone gets it!?!

So, well done all of you that correctly identified the photo as a macro shot of some coral.

Here is a shot of a simlar coral from further away:

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Macro Monday : Mystery # 10

I know, I just did one of these, but as I was scanning through some of my photos I noticed this one. It is an unusual photo and I think that it will be quite the challenge for you this week. It almost looks unreal, or perhaps it looks so macro that it could be a component of one of your cells. Now, while I do like really macro and I like to get really close, even I don't have an electron microscope at home! So trust me, you do not need a microscope to see one of these.

Anyhoo, here is your photo:

Since I did not put much effort into this week's photo, I don't really expect you to either. I shall also give you a few clues.........

You will definitely not find this in your garden, now or at anytime of the year, no matter where you live.

Try looking at around 60fsw, and remember, don't stay down too long and never, ever hold your breath on the way up!

Oh, and just so that you know, fsw does not stand for friction stir welding, female sex worker or Fox Sports World!

For more Macro Monday, go here.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

I Had a Little Nut Tree........

And the answer is............hazel!

The first photos are photos of the female flower of the hazel - very small and very sticky, to catch any pollen drifting by.

The third photo is the end of one of the male flowers - the pollen-producing catkin.

Well done Jane!

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Macro Monday - Macro Mystery #9

I know, Macro Mysteries just annoy people, but I am going there again anyway. See, I got my macro lens out today, then I got my macro slider out, and my flash and my (actually Cortes' - thanks Cortes!) inverted 50mm lens and then I spent quite some time taking photos, thinking all the time that I really should set things up properly and perhaps find somewhere to set the camera where it wouldn't wobble all the time - that kind of really messes with a set of stacked photos.

Anyhoo, since I put all that effort into taking the photos, I figure you can put a little bit of effort into identifying them. They are all from the same source, just different parts.

Note the pollen dusting this structure.

This structure, from the same plant, produces the pollen.

Other hints - this plant was picked from my garden a couple of days ago and is very common in North America and Europe. Remember - this is Macro Monday and these are very macro!

Answers in the comments section please. And no, there are no prizes - sorry.

For more Macro Monday, go here.

Monday, 21 February 2011

A Log at Sunset

I have lots of photos.....I know, we all do. I was thinking of starting up a separate photography blog, but hell, I can't even keep up with this one, so I thought that I would just start posting a few photos here from time to time - just as I did last week with The Ghost Ship.

So, for no other reason than I like it - A Log, at Sunset.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Macro Monday : Night-time in the Jungle

I am not known for getting things done quickly. I will nearly always get things done on time, but rarely quickly. So, if I have a deadline, I will get whatever needs doing done. But if it is just up to me to get things done whenever, well, whenever can be a very long time. Take these photos, for example. They are from my "recent" trip to Ecuador - back in August! Oh well, better late than never.......

 Before you look at the photos, make sure you get into the right frame of mind. Think hot and humid, think  squeaks and squeals, screams and sighs, think clicks and clacks and whoops and wails. Think of a million different noises, none of which you can identify, and all of which probably belong to some creature that is out to get you. To eat you, to sting you, to bite you or to just scare the the pants of you.......


Who can resist the adorable cuteness of this tree frog? No  really, frog or not, this guy is CUTE! Not out to get you at all and completely harmless.

A very leafy katydid, doing a very good impersonation of a leaf, including a bite out of its backside.

A stick insect - one might not want to assume that all stick insects are harmless herbivores. Some, and I suspect that this is one of them, given its red legs and antennae, squirt nasty chemical cocktails out of glands at the back of their heads or sides of their abdomen. You have been warned!

I know, you have seen this one before, but I can't talk about the jungle at night without including this nightmare-inducing beauty, can I? Actually, the more I look at it, the less horrific it looks. In fact, I swear the creature is doing its best Bugs Bunny impersonation! Not so scary, afterall.

For more Macro Monday, go here.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

The Ghost Ship

Where did it go?

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Macro Monday : Galapagos Lizard

I seem to have found a little downtime this week, between marking, writing lectures and hanging doors.

So, here is a cute little guy from the Galapagos - not one of the more famous marine or land iguanas, but just one of the many little lizards that dance around your feet as you rock hop your way amongst the pitted and gnarled volcanic rocks. They nod a greeting as you leap gracefully by and smile a little as you topple off your intended rocky target, about as graceful as a hippo in a tutu. Oh well, you get a better look at their multitude of colours at ground level.

For more marvellous Macro Monday, go here.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Macro Monday Mystery #8

So, did anyone miss me? Has anyone noticed my absence in the blogosphere over the past few weeks? Probably not....... And I wouldn't get too used to me being back since I might not be around all that much for a while. Things happen you know. Sometimes a blog just seems more like a chore than it should and it just gets lost in all the crap that is life. But, I am here, at least for one week, and so......

Macro Mystery #8 - and, for once, it is not anything cute, furry, living or breathing. Nope, it is just something that I see everyday and everyday I think hmmmm, that would make a nice photo. Today, I finally dusted my camera off and took a shot. I am hoping that this might get me back into my photographic groove and I might start snapping away again. But for now, these two photos will have to do.

What do you think it is?

For more, much better, Macro Monday photos, go here.

And the answer is.........