Mushroom Hunt Pictures – The Finale

Yes, this series is starting at its end, in my kitchen.

Today I took a day off of knifemaking. And by that I mean completely day off, I tried to not even think about knives (at which I failed). I went on a long walk to the forest to look if there are some mushrooms to collect. And there were, enough for me and my father to have a big lunch and a whole bunch that was cooked and put into the freezer for future use.

I did take my camera with me, but we already had a series of mushroom species. And anyway, what I collected was about 90%  blushers and other species were sparse or not there at all yet – the true season comes in August/September.

Blushers are one of those mushrooms that have their own very specific taste – a bit like meat. So the recipe that I have used was very simple – I chopped them up, salted them, added a bit of cumin, basil, oregano, and a tiny amount of ground pepper bolete. Then I softened some onion on lard, added the mushrooms and I stewed them for at least thirty minutes with frequent stirring until most of the water was gone.

So if you cannot expect pictures of mushrooms, what can you expect? Well, I made random pictures of flowers and roadside stuff that I will post one-two a day until I am done. Unfortunately, there were not that many interesting insects around either, but that might be because I was looking for mushrooms, not for bugs. Do not expect some great art, but some of those pictures would look quite good as a screen background, in my opinion.

I Wish I Were This Strong

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

She was carrying the dead beetle for several meters already when I caught up with her, and she still had several meters to go. And it was by no means easy to get a sharp picture, but she took a breather for a moment here.

If you have ever wondered where end all those insects and little critters that you step on in your garden – now you have an answer.

Blackheaded Cardinal Beetle

This little buddy has climbed out of a hollow brick yesterday when I was processing dog-daisies into chemical weapons against wooly aphids infesting my bonsai trees (long story).

It was kind enough to remain in place for quite some time, allowing me to take pictures from all possible angles.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

This Little Fellow Gave Me Quite a Start

Today when I went into the workshop  I had to light the fire because, despite reasonably sunny weather, the temperatures are really low. And this little fellow was sitting on one piece of wood and he gave me quite a start, for I have mistaken him for a wasp. Which is the point of its coloration, of course.

Unfortunately, I was only able to make these two pictures. The beetle was quite sluggish in the cold workshop, but when I took it outside in the sun, it warmed up quickly and flew off before I could make more with better camera settings. I hope my entomologist friend will be able to identify the species. Preliminarily I think it is some species of longhorn beetle that has emerged from a pupa in firewood.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Monday Mercurial: Duck, Duck, Goose!

The usual residents on any pond are mallards, who I think are underappreciated for their beauty, both male and female, just because they are common. Makes me wonder if people who live in places with colourful parrot that make us ohh and ahh see them the same way as we do with out local wildlife.

Anyway, mallards also feature in the best known German children’s song: Alle meine Entchen (all my little ducks):

It’s a 150 years old and will probably last at least another 150 years: It features animals, is easy to sing and play and describes something even city kids may see and know.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

We also got a pair of Egyptian geese at the pond. While originally coming from, you guess, Egypt, they are now pretty common around Europe. They can cause trouble in places where humans like to spread on laws they consider THEIR lawns, but are for the rest harmless.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Yellowhammers Visit.

I had this visitor a few weeks ago, but the light was bad and I was unable to identify the species. Luckily my biologist friend was able to forward it to an ornithologist who was so very kind and identified the bird for me. So when yesterday they returned in good light, I knew what I am looking at.

The ornithologist also sent some bad news with the identification. He confirmed my subjective observation that there are significantly fewer birds. Some species are actually becoming rare – the whole genus Carduelis for example (greenfinches, goldfinches, siskins). This winter I have not seen a single specimen of these three species, whereas in previous years greenfinches and siskins came in flocks counting dozens.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full

And yes, we finally had a few cms of snow. This week seems to have been the actual winter, what we had before was merely agonizingly long and dark fall.

Residence Sunflowers – Part 7 – Great Green Bush Cricket

I nearly missed her, despite her substantial size, so well does her color blend in with the sunflower stalks and leaves.

I remember that as a child I caught one of these in bare hand and it bit me rather painfully.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Residence Sunflowers – Part 6 – Itty Bitty Facehugger

Last year I have shown you bright yellow crab spider who was munching on bees. This year I did not see a grown-up one, only this one little baby. Still white, slightly translucent and tiny, about the size of a pinhead. Sorry for a bit blurry pictures, but the little bugger did not stop, it kept wandering about and performing strange gymnastics. And I have forgotten to take my monopod with me, so this is shot completely freehand.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

 

The circle of life

Nature as we imagine for children is this sweet place with fluffy bunnies with chequered hankies, and when we grow up we still call it “Mother Nature” as if it were some nurturing, benevolent entity. Actual nature doesn’t care for that shit. It’s a cruel and violent place where 90% of baby bunnies don’t get to see a second summer. But in nature, death is never wasteful. One animals tragic death is another’s lucky find. So here’s an unlucky shrew and a been grass snake, and some very happy insects and ant.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Poor Spider Didn’t Stand a Chance

When watering my citruses today, a movement caught my eye in one of the bowls. A tiny black parasitic wasp in a struggle with a spider twice its size. I did not have my camera with me and of course, I could not go and get it, so I snapped at least a few pictures with my phone. I assume the wasp has won and laid the spider aside for afters because it has left it lay there all limp and motionless, danced around a bit and then left.

Pictures below the fold – content warning spiders and predation.

[Read more…]

June Light

It’s that wonderful time of the month when Nightjar shares her portraits of light.

In the month of the Summer Solstice sunlight is brighter than ever and nature is bracing for the dry season. Many wildflowers have gone to seed and are drying out already (some are doing weird stuff like the wild chive in the last photo… perhaps confused by the unstable weather?) and bugs are very busy. Backlighting is trickier this time of the year but I tried to play with June Light from all angles and I think it was worth it.

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

[Read more…]

Flowers and Aliens

First, remember the not black tulips? Seems like the package contained two varieties, with the pink ones being earlier and the almost black ones being later. Here they finally are:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Next one is true kingcups that grow along our little creek. I wanted to get closer but then chose dry feet…

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Dungbeetles are no aliens, Sorry to disappoint you. But I quite like them.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

This, OTOH, is aliens. I guess at some point they are replaced every year by ordinary fern plants, but this is  not something that just grows, it’s the result of extraterrestrial mingling.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved