Thursday, 22 June 2017

Zoo Quest in Colour

I wonder how many of you in the UK watched 'Zoo Quest in Colour' on BBC4 recently. The original 1950's David Attenborough programmes were b/w as they were broadcast before the days of colour television and were ground breaking in showing wildlife from many parts of the globe.

Recently the original film stock was found and behold, it was shot on 16mm colour negative film. Quite a bit of that, sometimes alongside the original broadcast b/w, was shown and I must say the quality, sharpness and naturalness of the colour is astounding. If the programme is repeated it is well worth an hour and a half of your life to watch it. Personally I think the colour quality beats much of today's digital offerings. Some fantastic macro shots where the cameraman had to make his own extension tubes as that was a new idea for film making.

The programme is punctuated with interviews with David and Charles Lagus, the cameraman, who explain how they set about the three ventures which made up the Zoo Quest series. A fascinating insight into the making of early wildlife documentaries.

Some info on the BBC site here.  Don't know whether it works for those outside the UK.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

The Magpie and the Egg

When I made my Penny Poo check in the garden this morning I saw two Wood Pigeon eggs on the ground under the tall Leylandii then promptly forgot about them until:

DSCN7389 Magpie

I have seen a Magpie around the garden these past few mornings and today I watched as this one started one side of the garden and make its slow, cautious way across to one of the eggs.

DSCN7390 Magpie with Wood Pigeon egg

Once the Magpie had flown away I went to see the result:

DSCN7393

As is her habit when I do anything around the garden, once I had moved away Penny had to go and investigate to see what was so interesting:

DSCN7394 Penny

I'm not sure whether the eggs were blown from the nest in yesterday's blustery winds or helped on their way by the Magpie. Either way I was pleased as the Wood Pigeon population around the village is increasing rapidly. Every street lamp in the village seems to have a layer of WP guano under it.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Can't Beat Home Grown

For the first time I have been growing some early (Vibrant) strawberries in planters in the greenhouse.
Lovely jubbly:

DSCN7384 Early Strawberries Vibrant

Thursday, 8 June 2017

A Weird Night

With so much wet and windy weather there is not much to report recently.

Last night was one of the weirdest I have had for many a long year.

1) Woken up apparently to the sound of Penny yelping. Got up to find her sleeping peacefully.

2) Later: Weird dream / nightmare. Mother comes in my bedroom. Ignores me and walks past to stare at a fireplace just past the end of the bed. She keeps bending and looks as though she is examining something but I can't see what. I wake up screaming.

3) Still later: Dream father comes in my bedroom. Ignores me and climbs a dusty wooden staircase to a dark doorway. He looks furtive as he checks to see if anyone is watching before slowly opening the door. I wake up sweating.

4) Even later: Wake to the apparent muffled sound of something bouncing off the roof and landing in the gravel in the front garden. Get up again to check. Nothing seen.

I very rarely remember any dreams so two vivid weird ones in one night was disconcerting to say the least. Both my parents passed away many years ago. Needless to say the fireplace, staircase and door do not exist in real life.

To bring things back to normality here is a frog I disturbed a few days ago:

DSCN7378 Common Frog

Monday, 29 May 2017

Tiny Green Bug

When I went to clean out one of Penny's stainless steel bowls a few days ago my attention was caught by a tiny beetle scurrying round it. In the sunlight it was shimmering green or blue, depending how the light caught it:

DSCN7361

DSCN7359

DSCN7360

DSCN7363

To say the least it was very difficult for the pocket Nikon to focus as it rarely stayed still and at maybe 6mm long it was a very small target.

The nearest I can get with identification is the Green Dock Beetle Gastrophysa viridula.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

A New Garden Youngster

As I was clearing out some of the long grass next to the garden pond I spotted something brown move:

young toad

Usually I disturb frogs but this time it was a pleasant surprise to see it was a young toad:

young toad

This is the first young one I have seen.  My guess would be it is about 2 years old.
I have never spotted any toad spawn in the pond but they could well have joined the frogs.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

A Lucky Escape

Once again while cutting the grass I was startled as one of the garden frogs broke cover:

Common Frog

Common Frog

It was a good job this little beauty had jumped out of the way of the mower.


One photo I forgot to use last time.
A view across the Lincolnshire farmland from the footpath round Covenham Reservoir. Difficult to tell from this photo is just how steeply the ground falls away around the edge of the 218 acre reservoir which is man made and part built above ground level. The footpath is about 20 ft above the surrounding countryside:

DSCN7351

Monday, 22 May 2017

Covenham

Following the torrential rain of Saturday, Sunday started beautifully sunny and reasonably warm. I decided it was time for a trip to Covenham Reservoir hoping there would be some sailing action to watch. We arrived getting on for 2 o'clock but the first boat was only just being launched:

IMG_4617

IMG_4620

We went for a walk along the footpath which circles the reservoir to see what wildlife was about.
Not a lot really, at least not along the area we walked. My joints are no longer up to walking the full 2+ miles it takes to walk right round and Penny was getting quite warm even though it had clouded over.

A few ducks:
IMG_4621

and the odd gull:
IMG_4628

no Wagtails this time, maybe later in the year.

I kept my eye on the only bit of activity:

 IMG_4640

 IMG_4632

As we were about to leave it looked as though there would be more activity later on:

 IMG_4644

but it was time to go back to the car and let Penny have a well deserved drink of water.

Finally a short part of our journey back.
Leaving the reservoir car park and travelling through the two villages called Covenham. They are adjoining and each has its own CofE church.



Some information about  Covenham can be seen on the GENUKI site.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Five Years of Retirement

Not me. Penny. How time flies. Five years since she joined me.
It's a hard life supervising me as I potter round the garden.

My 40 mph couch potato:
DSCN7227 Penny


Weather yesterday.
Just a bit on the wet side:
Weather 17 May 2017

More rain (38mm 1.5in) in one day than the whole of last month.
UV has been up to 7 on this scale recently. Well down yesterday.
Same thing with solar radiation which recently reached 700 - 800 watts/sq m..

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Scarce Fungus Weevil

Scarce Fungus Weevil - Platyrhinus resinosus

I was about to move a planter I have hanging on the fence when I spotted what at first I thought was a dollup of bird dung but on closer examination turned out to be alive:

 Scarce Fungus Weevil - Platyrhinus resinosus

It was such a strange looking creature the like of which I had not seen before.
I just had to take several photos from different angles to give me a chance of identifying it:

Scarce Fungus Weevil - Platyrhinus resinosus

Scarce Fungus Weevil - Platyrhinus resinosus

Scarce Fungus Weevil - Platyrhinus resinosus

Scarce Fungus Weevil - Platyrhinus resinosus

Scarce Fungus Weevil - Platyrhinus resinosus

Scarce Fungus Weevil - Platyrhinus resinosus

Next job was to find an identification. I ended up on the Naturespot web site and after scrolling through dozens of bug photos eventually found a perfect match.
Size: about 10mm. Common name: Cramp-ball Fungus Weevil.

This weevil is not as scarce as its name would suggest.
You can see more information on this page at Naturespot.
 

 

Orchid Pruning Scissors

Found these little beauties on eBay.
Also on Amazon and could well be available at other places:

Orchid Scissors

Total length about 6.5 inches (17cm) with sturdy sharp stainless steel blades. Spring effective but doesn't need a lot of effort to close the blades and cut flower stems. They are ideal for getting into tight spaces without damaging surrounding foliage.  Soft grip handles are comfortable to hold and use. Not just for Orchids of course. Prices seem to vary between £6 and £9.


Monday, 15 May 2017

Growing

There are quite a few large frog tadpoles swimming round the garden pond:

DSCN7284

My one and only large strawberry plant grown from seed continues to develop:

DSCN7297

Early strawberry plants (Vibrant), bought bare root and listed as fruiting next year, are producing flowers for this year:

DSCN7314

A couple of Outdoor Girl tomato plants in an automatic watering system are now showing their first flower buds:

DSCN7316

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Poor, But the Best So Far

Had to stop and watch a while when I saw two Swallows flying around as we went walkabout mid-morning today. Fortunately they eventually settled on an old outhouse which is being converted though quite a distance away even on full zoom:

DSCN7312

a cropped version:

 DSCN7311

Disappointing clarity though probably the best I've managed to date with Swallow photography.


Saturday, 13 May 2017

Red-tailed Bumblebee

Bombus lapidarius, probably a queen, just outside the back door this morning:

Red-tailed bumblebee

Red-tailed bumblebee

Red-tailed bumblebee

Quite lethargic as it was still fairly cool outside.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Wordless Wednesday

IMG_8675
Phalaenopsis


IMG_8679
Cymbidium

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Manby Church

As our Post Ofice was closed years ago and the remaining village shop is closed for about three months while extensive alterations are made I had to go to the next village to do a bit of shopping. As it was beautifully sunny, though with a bitter wind, I decided to take a look round the outside of their church.

The tower from the west end:
Manby Church

and from the north side:
Manby Church

A closer view of the entrance porch:
Manby Church

Around the top of the tower are the inevitable gargoyles:
Manby Church

Manby Church

Manby Church

A close view of one of the spire pinnacles which stand atop each corner of the tower:
 Manby Church

Taking photos with a camera with a decent power of zoom lens is one of few ways to get a decent view of intricate carvings which are so high up.

A few of the grave markers:
Manby Church

Manby Church

Manby Church

Don't often see any this shape.
Difficult to tell from the photo that both taper along their length:
Manby Church

Another day I must have a look round inside.
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