A little bit of artistic license here. This was a photo I took and played with a little. But do you not think the National Trust should use this photo for promotional purposes? They are welcome to have it for free!
Arctic terns are in my opinion one of the most beautiful birds in the world. The problem I have with them is that when they lay eggs and produce chicks, they become the most protective of all parents. This translates into them pecking the head of every visitor to the Farne Islands! this year 2013 is the worst they have ever been, for reasons I am unsure about. A 3 hour visit to Inner Farne was accompanied by around 100 pecks!
The Farne Islands have been a regular destination over the last 10 years and each year we get some special and very often different photos. This year was no exception. Billy Shiels ( or to be precise William Shiels MBE), runs some special trips most days. The one to go for though is the all day photography trip. The only downside is the depression created by seeing how seemingly everyone has bigger lenses and better camera equipment. The upside is that they all struggle to carry it on the boat and off!
I have not yet sorted all my photographs but here are a few to keep you going. A few warnings attached. Arctic Terns. Beautiful looking birds but beware when they are protecting their young. Folks are warned to wear a hat and this year they were the angriest they have ever been. My head/hat got pecked more than 100 times in a 3 hour visit. The little chicks are like balls of fur and one needs to watch out for them on the walkways around the island.
There are plenty of special photo opportunities as the arctic terns collect sand eels in the same way the puffins do. The seagulls just steal them, they are the criminal fraternity of the Farne Islands. Lots more photo updates coming but enjoy these to start with!
Over the last few years I have become more cogniscent with nature and insects due to the interest from my 12 year old. Sitting in the garden last week I saw what I thought was a piece of paper or rubbish in the plant pot that is filled with bright blue and yellow pansies and reed type leaves. On closer inspection it was moving and had legs. Quick rush to get camera with Macro lens attached.
Told 12-year-old when she got home and cue excitement and Google searches. No doubt it was a Crab Spider. Now this must be a particularly stupid one as one of their attributes, other than that they resemble a crab, is that they change colour and can camouflage themselves. Considering the pot is filled with bright blue and yellow pansies and green reed type leaves, said Crab Spider did not do a good job being bright white.
Few facts about Crab Spiders. Crab spiders (Thomisidae) resemble crabs. Their first four legs extend out to the sides and are longer than the back four legs. Crab spiders are almost always found outdoors. They do not make a web; instead they catch their prey using their front legs. The crab spider can stay in the same place—a flower or a leaf, for instance—for days, or even weeks, waiting for its dinner to arrive. The good news for me is that the spider is not poisonous, well to me at least, and lives worldwide especially in North America. We recently had a Texan visitor so I am blaming him as all sorts of strange things come from Texas, and most things seem dangerous and poisonous there!
This spider has very strong front legs, and it uses them to wrap its prey. The spider then injects venom into the prey to immobilize it. It eats insects and bees. This is bad news for the many Bees that live in our garden. Crab spiders are reminiscent of water crabs in both shape and movement. They can walk forwards, sideways or even backwards. Crab spiders range in color from pale yellow to white or green. They change their color to match their background, so you may have to observe a flower or leaf for a long time to be able to detect a crab spider sitting on it. Goldenrod crab spiders can change their color to match the flower they are sitting on. It takes about 10-25 days for the goldenrod crab species to change its color to match the flower it sits on. So lets see what our little specimen manages to do in the most few weeks. The good news otherwise for Crab Spiders is that they do live 2 years!
Doing a search on Google images, there are many different types of Crab Spider but this one most definitely is one!
One of the more hateful denizens of our garden, squirrels are the chief suspect, seems to have knocked down one of the growing poppies. Resultingly this humble little angiosperm had to be taken inside to be cared for upon which two large petals fell off. Cue time to get the Macro lens and get some spontaneous poppy photos. Enjoy.
The 12- year old went to Marwell zoo on an educational school trip recently and having been allowed to take their cameras they can enter into a form competition only one photo each. But which one? We have narrowed them down to this selection and would be interested to know which one you think she should enter. The entrants are
In summary I really like this city. Although have not seen a great deal of the buildings or architecture, the people are nice, the ambience is warm and importantly the wine is superb. Dinner in a venue like below is not done that often. The food is interesting and relies on veal, either served in small burgers or as Weiner Schnitzel. The streets are complex to cross to avoid meeting trams coming head on but unlike in Milan the aim of the tram is not to hit you but preferably miss you. I shall return.