Monday, January 26, 2015

Nature Notes: Snow Day

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There are three hours between the photos. The first snow this winter that actually stayed around.

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The backyard at Mr Ook's flat. The wood pigeons hog the place under the feeder, sometimes there are six of them, and they chase away any other bird that tries to forage there. They are too big to reach the feeder itself, but the tits and finches who feed there throw enough on the ground for them.

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Two days later, all the snow is gone already. I would have liked the world to stay white a bit longer.

A Nature Notes post

Monday, January 19, 2015

Nature Notes: Sunset

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Sunset in Hamburg, after a beautiful, but cold day.

A Nature Notes post

Monday, January 12, 2015

Nature Notes: Rhinoceros Iguana

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A Rhinoceros Iguana at the Wilhelma in Stuttgart. These iguanas are massive animals, males can weigh up to nine kilograms. They feed mostly on plants, but will take the occasional insect or even carrion. There are only about 15,000 of them left in the wild. More about them on Arkive.org

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a Nature Notes post

Monday, December 1, 2014

Nature Notes: Scorpionfly

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These are photos from February, but I never got round to posting them. We discovered that huge maggots were living in Mr Ook's ficus tree pot and we left them there to see what would hatch. We had all but forgotten about them when one day, this gangly fellow popped up in out kitchen.

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It's a female scorpionfly (Mecoptera) and I believe she belongs to the Bittacidae family, also called Hangingflys or Hanging Scorpionflys. In any case, she will live on other insects and maybe pollen. Males will offer choice insects as a gift during mating to be accepted. I believe she is female because most male Scorpionflies have more or less elaborate appendages on their abdomen to grasp females during mating.

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They are not very elegant animals and fly just as badly as craneflies do (that body shape is probably not the most aerodynamic), but they sure look cool.

More Nature Notes at Rambling Woods

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Nature Notes: Bees in Autumn

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This is a photo from September. The hive was busy getting rid of all their drones, which is why there are so many dead bees lying at the bottom. The workers were grabbing drones and throwing them out, when I opened up the hive, they used the chance to just tip the drones over the rim instead of carrying them through the flight holes.

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And here's the hive in late October. They have quite a lot of honey now and I stopped feeding them. I think they should make it through the winter. It has been fairly warm, but I am going to close the bottom of the hive tomorrow anyway. And then I'll leave them alone, except for a treatment against Varroa mites when it's cold enough that they have no more brood.

More Nature Notes at Rambling Woods

Monday, October 6, 2014

Nature Notes: Fallow Land part 2

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European dewberry - looks a lot like blackberries, but tastes gross

ladybird

ladybird

pilze

I think a snail snacked on one of those mushrooms

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puffball

rosa blüte

I don't know what that is, but it's fairly common

schlehe

blackthorn/sloe berry

more Nature Notes azt Rambling Woods

Monday, September 29, 2014

Nature Notes: Fallow Land

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johanniskraut
Aaron's beard / St John's Wort

These photos were taken on a piece of fallow land near my workplace. I go there often during my break and it's a great place to watch birds. I didn't catch any birds on film, but a couple of other animals and a variety of plants that grow there.

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the excavation mound in front of a rabbit warren
bunny
and one of the inhabitants

earthworm pile
earthworm droppings

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acorns

feenkreis
half a fairy ring

green beetle
some kind of beetle

bunte früchte
no idea what those are

hagebutte 2
rosehips

more Nature Notes at Rambling Woods