Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Gulls Galore

I often see large flocks of gulls, usually travelling from one field to another. A couple of days ago there were more than fifty all soaring round above the same part of the village. Often swooping down just like enormous Swallows. I would guess they were hunting insects and spent a good half hour cruising the same area before moving on. Given the number of gulls and the length of time they were around there must have been a lot of insects though they were too high up to make any out.

I grabbed the 70D with the 300mm zoom half expecting the gulls would have gone by the time I was ready to shoot - which is what usually happens - but this time I was able to get some aerial shots, at times nearly falling over backwards as I tracked them directly overhead.

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I assume from their markings they were all Black-headed Gulls in their Winter plumage.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tuesday Twister - Guess What

STAR02

The first batch of new virtual gold stars goes to Adrian and TexWisGirl who correctly identified the twisted photos of a Horse Chestnut seed (conker) last week.






STRA03

The first of the new virtual silver stars goes to Wilma who worked out it was a seed or nut.







 My thanks to all who take part.


      DSCN3446


Back to a single twisted photo for this week's mystery object.
Guess What:
 IMG_0745

Please leave any guesses in the comments.
They will be revealed, along with the answer, next Tuesday.
No prizes, just for fun and possibly a virtual gold or silver star.


Monday, September 29, 2014

A Star is Born

I found a great free app for the Mac for making artistic text which can also work with some built in shapes. The app is 'Art Text 2 Lite'. I wondered whether I could design a new gold star for the blog.

The first idea was to have a plain textured gold star:

STAR01

Then I decided to personalise it to the blog and make a silver one as well:

STAR02     STRA03
The app does everything really. I just fiddled around with various choices and settings until I was happy with the results. The app can be very slow at showing the result when more than one layer is used.

It can do fancy things with text:

MJ01

MJ02

MJ03

MJ04

Even though the Lite app is a cut down version of the paid app there is still plenty to go at and experiment with. The full version allows the import of your own photos and patterns, full control over vector shapes and has many more built in shapes and backgrounds.





Sunday, September 28, 2014

Fly - Mesembrina meridiana

My ivy is in full flower at the moment and I have never seen so many flies, bees and wasps visiting at the same time. One lone fly caught my attention as the orange on its wings and face parts almost glowed even on a dull afternoon:

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After a bit of searching I found the identification on the GardenSafari site. It would appear to be a Mid-day fly. This one doesn't normally enter houses. It lays it eggs on dung. Can't remember ever seeing this particular type of fly before now.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Camera Comparison Nikon S9050 v iPod Touch5

Just how good is the 5Mpixel camera in the iPod Touch5?
Yesterday I spotted a spider in its web between a water butt and the shed so I took close shots with the Nikon S9050 (which has 12.1Mpixels) and the iPod Touch5. I took three hand held shots with each as the web was moving in a gentle breeze and chose the best result from each camera. On the iPod I used the Camera+ app.

First the full shots:

Nikon:
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iPod:
IMG_0137

Then crops which were auto enhanced in iPhoto:

Nikon:
DSCN3487c

iPod:
IMG_0137c

As far as I am concerned the 5Mpixel camera in the iPod Touch5 does an outstanding job!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday at the Flicks - Young Goldfinches + Hungry Hedgehog

Two young Goldfinches of different ages looking at the amount of red on their heads:



An evening gobbling just about every dried mealworm in sight:



Have a great weekend observing the wildlife around you.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Invasion

Many will have noticed the emergence of Crane Flies (Daddy Long-legs). This year they are particularly numerous. There are scores of them hunting round the nettles on the edge of the cricket field. They are harmless to humans and pets though they can be a nuisance when they come indoors. Fortunately for us they only live about two weeks, just long enough to mate and lay eggs but are a good supply of food for many birds.

This one was resting on my kitchen window:

Crane Fly DSCN3475

They have one pair of wings. Instead of the second pair they have a pair of halteres or rocker arms just behind the wings which vibrate and help to maintain balance when flying. They are the two club shaped bits with round 'weights' on the end:

Crane Fly DSCN3475

As I opened the back door yesterday this green Shield Bug fell on the floor:

Green Shield Bug DSCN3479

Photos taken with the Nikon Coolpix S9050

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