Posts tagged with ‘flowers’

Bird of the Year 2014: best performances in a supporting role

Happy New Year, everybody. Keen followers of the Bird of the Year Awards will notice a change in the categories this year. Butterflies and moths receive a disproportionate amount of my insecty attention, so I think it makes sense to split them out into their own category. Realistically, I could just split all invertebrates into […]

Bird of the Year 2012: best performances in a supporting role

I guess I should post this before the end of January. Not a lot of outstanding sightings to report, though. Best Plant I was quite tickled to see some Marsh Mallow plants down in Kent. Because, yes, they are the original stuff that marshmallows were made from. Best Insect This Poplar Hawkmoth was a pleasing […]

Bird of the Year 2011: best performances in a supporting role

I’ve been rather laggardly about doing BOTY this year because I had such an underwhelming year for birds. But I thought I should keep up the tradition, and  as the end of January approaches I’d better get on with it. Best Plant I went on a jaunt to a quarry in Essex which has some […]

A palate cleanser

OK, enough with the all the Murdoch-ery. Time for something a bit more wholesome. Summer isn’t a great time for birding; you can tell when summer is well and truly here because bird bloggers start posting pictures of moths. Moths are like birdwatcher methadone. So it seemed like a good time of year to check out […]

Wildlife round-up

I’ve actually done quite a lot of birding this spring, making the most of the freakishly hot weather, but I haven’t really blogged about it. So here are some pictures and whatnot. First, some audio; this is all recorded with the built-in microphone on my phone, so apologies for the quality. These are marsh frogs, […]

Bird of the Year 2008: best performances in a supporting role

I know it’s getting slightly late for yearly round-up posts, but hey-ho. Best Plant The wildflowers on the cliff-tops in Wales were quite something: gorse, foxgloves, bluebells, red campion, sea campion, thrift, kidney vetch, burnet rose, dodder, spring squill, centaury, ox-eye daisies, cowslips. It really was spectacular. So it’s really just a matter of picking […]

I have returned!

I am back from Wales. Debriefing, holiday book report, lots of photos, and musings on the Welsh language and widescreen television to follow. Possibly. In the meantime, here’s a shot of ox-eye daisies with cliffs and sea in the background. Not only does it illustrate some of the many pretty flowers to be seen in […]

Rain, rain go away

Don’t get me wrong, this place looks beautiful even when it is raining, but I think I’m ready for some more sun now. I would say it was no more than I expect of Wales — it’s not a coincidence that the principality is famous for sheep rather than, say, vineyards — but in fact […]

I’m in Wales

In a cafe in St David’s to be exact. I spent the last couple of days in the southern part of Pembrokeshire, in a village called Marloes; it’s the kind of place which, in England, would be one street, one pub, one shop and one church; being Wales, it has a pub, a shop, a […]

The Thames path, Putney to Kew

And two months later, I get back on the Thames Path again. One exciting addition to the routine: sunscreen. Yup, proper sunny weather; spring turning into summer. And it made for a very pleasant walk; this section of the path feels almost rural. Admittedly, for much of the walk the rurality consists of little more […]

Bird of the Year 2007: best performances in a supporting role

Best Plant There’s lots of choice here; I’ll just give a hat-tip to the big trees of Kew Gardens and Greenwich Park which I got over excited about in the autumn. But most of the possibilities were in Crete. Crete has more species of plant than the UK, and a bundle of them are endemics. […]

Blogger Bio-blitz #3: Lasithi plateau

The last of the three locations in Crete that I bio-blitzed was the Lasithi plateau, where I was from the 27th-28th of April. The plateau is just the prettiest place in the world, as well as providing some good birding for me. Apparently, it’s formed by the build-up of silt from the surrounding rivers creating […]

Blogger Bio-blitz #2: Paleohora

Paleohora is a little town on the south coast of the western end of Crete. It’s an expanding resort town with plenty of tavernas and cafes, but still small and quiet compared to the established resorts. Especially quiet in April, which is really before the tourist season starts in earnest. The town sits on a […]

Lasithi

Well, I spent a couple of days in Tzermiado on the Lasithi plateau, which is like a little chunk of Holland – flat fields and fruit trees – randomly inserted in among the Cretan mountains. Some good birds (wryneck, quail, cirl bunting, black eared wheatear, griffon vulture, peregrine, blue rock thrush), and up on the […]

birding at Aghia Triada

‘Aghia Triada’ is ‘Holy Trinity’, and it’s a monastery on Akrotiri. I went there not just to look at the monastery, but mainly to do birding. It was a good birding day, I’m pleased to say. Lots of birds, but the most notable were the black-headed race of Yellow Wagtail, Golden Oriole and two which […]

bird of the year 2006: best performances in a supporting role

Best Plant All those rainforest plants were nice, and I enjoyed taking wildflower photos while I was in Spain. But, not least because it’s nice to pick a winner that I can actually identify, I’m going for the Galapagos Prickly Pear, Opuntia echios. On islands where there are giant tortoises and land iguanas, they’ve evolved […]

Fruit of my Seed

I was walking in the park behind the house today and, just growing in a little scrubby patch, found a sunflower and a hemp plant. Both of them are probably growing from seed I put out for the birds. I’m slightly suprised that no bored local youth has taken the hemp plant for personal use. […]

Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture

I was looking for an internet copy of Thomas Chippendale’s The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director (which is a large collection of the most elegant and useful designs of household furniture in the Gothic, Chinese and modern taste) and found the University of Wisconsin’s Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture. Not only does […]

Bomb-sniffing flowers

Scientists in Denmark, the US and Canada have all been working on producing a genetically-engineered plant whose flowers will come up red instead of white in the presence of underground explosives. The idea, of course, is that you can use them to to test for the presence of landmines by dropping the seeds from the […]

The ternness of terns

George Szirtes discusses people’s need to identify things – flowers, birds – something he doesn’t share. Indeed he sets up (but slightly backs away from), an opposition between the botanist’s way of looking and the artists’s way. He ends like this: Yet all the time I am aware that even an urban citoyen of the […]

Macro

I love the fact my camera has a macro mode. There’s something very satisfying about getting really close to things and taking pics of them. The sand dunes are just covered in flowers – vetchy type things in scarlet, spikes of ghostly broomrape, mesembryanthemums, pink thistles, big daisies, all sorts of things in all shapes […]

a pensée

Although my own main interest is birds, I think if I was advising someone on a natural-history related hobby to take up, I might suggest flowers or insects. I think it’s a great virtue to look closely at the little things. You miss the real action if you tromp through the hills, admiring the view […]