spiralsheep: Martha laughing (Martha Laughing)
[personal profile] spiralsheep
The harlequin ladybirds, Harmonia axyridis, are awakening from their hibernation in my window frames. Yesterday one of them walked across the carpet to my tiny plastic Dalek and bit it repeatedly all over, so I got my camera out. I'm not sure it counts as common nature exactly....

Tiny Dalek suffering an unprovoked attack by an even tinier harlequin ladybird saboteur
spiralsheep: Flowers (skywardprodigal Cog Flowers)
[personal profile] spiralsheep
Beach between Minehead and Dunster in West Somerset, UK, on a midsummer day with onshore winds of 30mph+/48kph and temperatures as high as 12C/53F. :-)

03 Beach with flowers, Minehead 06-15

The flowers are red valerian, Centranthus ruber, and yellow horned poppy, Glaucium flavum.
spiralsheep: A raven (spiralsheep Raven Logo)
[personal profile] spiralsheep
Common house martins, Delichon ubicum, are migratory passerine birds who breed and nest in Europe then overwinter in Africa and tropical Asia. I capped a flock of them working in pairs to collect beak-fulls of mud, from ruts in a church car park, to daub the nests they build hanging under the eaves of houses.

2 images. )
spiralsheep: Flowers (skywardprodigal Cog Flowers)
[personal profile] spiralsheep
Watching parental robins at an urban railway station: the local robins at University station in Birmingham know which side their bread is buttered, and have begging from the commuters down to a fine art. I was eating my breakfast, a saffron fruit bun (translation from EnglishEnglish: a very buttery bread-textured roll with raisins, sultanas, currants, candied peel, and saffron spice), when an extremely bold robin approached me closely to ask for a share. I picked off a few small pieces until the robin decided its beak was full and flew away to its nest. It quickly returned and made begging-cheeps for more, so I obliged, and then it returned a third time. It was only on the third round that the adult robin ate any crumbs itself. I’d finished my breakfast when it returned a fourth time so I showed it my empty hands, which it understood immediately and went off to look for food elsewhere. (Note: the high animal fat content of my saffron bun makes it better for robins than most processed human foods.)

Tree blossom and Priory, Malvern, Worcestershire 05-15

Watching young birds having learning experiences: I saw an inexperienced wood pigeon attempt to land on my neighbour’s shiny corrugated plastic shed roof and skid along a groove. It then proceeded to attack some overhanging willow leaves, first pecking them and then wrestling them with mighty vigour, before giving up and wandering out of sight. Although it wasn’t quite as funny as the very surprised young crow who recently attempted to land on the same corrugated plastic roof when it was wet, and aquaplaned the length of the roof, lol.

Bluebells, Worcestershire 05-15

How are the seasonal changes moving where you are?
blackmare: (nightingale)
[personal profile] blackmare


Happy Sparrow 7, 10" x 8", ink and watercolor on cotton paper. These bold little birds stay here in Minnesota all winter long, and I feed them because I enjoy having them around -- and taking photos of them to turn into art. They're actually an invasive species, European house sparrows, but they're well established and never going away, so I may as well simply appreciate them.

spiralsheep: Flowers (skywardprodigal Cog Flowers)
[personal profile] spiralsheep
Blackberry bramble, Rubus fruticosa, Herefordshire 09-14

Blackberry bramble, Rubus fruticosa, Herefordshire 09-14

False ladybird, Endomychus coccineus, on pink granite, Herefordshire 09-14

False ladybird, Endomychus coccineus, Herefordshire 09-14


July bugs

Jul. 15th, 2014 08:26 pm
theora: (sunset)
[personal profile] theora
yellow coreopsis with bee-mimic hoverfly
This is a hoverfly, I think. The coreopsis was very busy with a variety of small bees, wasps, and bee-like creatures. I'd hoped to catch a green sweat bee (I've seen them here before), but no luck today.

Lots of interesting bug stuff in my garden today )

Common Crow

Jul. 8th, 2014 12:55 pm
blackmare: (griffin)
[personal profile] blackmare
This wasn't the shot I wanted to get, but the birds all flew away when I stopped my car to photograph them. I caught only this one, lifting off from the top of a big metal sign. The energy and motion made it a keeper despite its flaws, so I goofed around with the color and contrast to bring out what I liked.


Sometimes I think about how it would be if common crows weren't common, but rare, and rarely seen. No doubt they'd be highly valued for their intelligence and their dramatic, iridescent black cloaks. Familiarity really does breed contempt. :-) 

spiralsheep: Flowers (skywardprodigal Cog Flowers)
[personal profile] spiralsheep
Iris of the golden wings whose riches lie folded in the bosom of Flora…. /mangled quotations

03 Yellow Flag (Iris), Iris pseudacorus, Worcestershire 05-14

Two more images of yellow flag flowers )
spiralsheep: Flowers (skywardprodigal Cog Flowers)
[personal profile] spiralsheep
- May flowers (but no mayflowers) and the lifecycles of lepidoptera and gall wasps: details in rollovers or click through to flickr.

Garden tiger moth, Arctia caja.

01 Garden tiger moth, Arctia caja,  Worcestershire 05-14

Horse chestnut tree flowers, Aesculus hippocastanum, and horse chestnut leaf-miner moth, Cameraria ohridella. :-(

Flowers, moths, and wasps, 9 more small images. )
blackmare: (nightingale)
[personal profile] blackmare

These little ones are 6" x 6" basswood panels with pencils, oil paint, and wax medium. A nice change from all the works on paper I've been making. Drawing/painting forces me to pay a lot more attention, so now I know stuff I didn't notice before, like the particular shape of robins' heads, the way their upper-leg feathers are grey rather than red, the individual variations in the white markings around their eyes.

Individual photos under the cut!

Cut cut cut )
blackmare: (fox 2)
[personal profile] blackmare

Blue & Gold #4, 5 x 7", the final one in this set.

I really enjoyed finding the mimosa flowers to use for this fellow, as I needed the golden yellow color but didn't want autumn and had enough of the forsythia for now.

We're about to have anywhere from 6 to 12 inches of snow dumped on our heads over here in the Twin Cities, so I'll take all the golden sunshiny colors I can get. :-D

blackmare: (mystery flower)
[personal profile] blackmare
... because one person commissioned the first piece, and then everyone loved it, and now I've made three.


Blue and Gold, 10 x 8", mixed media on paper. This was the first of the series.

Two more under the cut )

If you'd like to find me in other places online, that information is here. All I ask is that you don't link my DW/LJ username with my real name in any place Google will find it.
spiralsheep: Captain Scarlet is the god of redshirts (spiralsheep Captain Scarlet Redshirt God)
[personal profile] spiralsheep
(Note: I didn't take any of these caps but I have credited as many as possible. Please click through to flickr for further information or ask me in comments.)

The flood defences built in Worcester (pop. c.100,000) and the surrounding area, especially Upton upon Severn and Bewdley, after the record floods of July 2007 have worked despite new record high river levels in the Severn and Teme but there were only a few centimetres to spare and there are about 50 homes flooded in Worcester, mostly around the suburb of Diglis (I think?), with more in the wider local area. The fastest/largest flow/volume of water through the centre of the city was about 500 metric tonnes per second under Worcester bridge (built 1781 and 1841). The only road bridge and both pedestrian bridges in the city were all closed at least temporarily but the Carrington Bridge across the Severn, for the bypass south of the city, remained open. It’s invidious to pick out one token worker or act of bravery but, for example, at one point two Western Power electricity workers waded through three feet of fast flowing water to fix a flooded electrical substation.

Floods and defences, 13 images total )
spiralsheep: A raven (spiralsheep Raven Logo)
[personal profile] spiralsheep
Six small images in total. )

Tree with tangled branches.

4 Tangled tree, Malvern 01-14

A hole in the tree trunk, about a metre above ground level: who lives in a house like this?

Knock, knock. Is anyone at home? )
spiralsheep: Flowers (skywardprodigal Cog Flowers)
[personal profile] spiralsheep
In December I went for a walk on the Malvern Hills and spotted a midwinter fungus, probably a Clitocybe.

6 Midwinter fungus, probably a Clitocybe, Malvern Hills 12-13

At one point I seemed to have strayed into Middle Earth and saw what appeared to be HUGE fantastical gates in the forest of Broceliande below.

2 more images. )
spiralsheep: Flowers (skywardprodigal Cog Flowers)
[personal profile] spiralsheep
Common: Parasol, probably Macrolepiota procera (marvellously toadstoolly cap)

1 Fungi, Parasol, probably Macrolepiota procera, closed, 10-12

4 more fungi pics. )


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