Just for PZ (and assorted arachnophiles)

Lasz week I came up the stairs from the cellar and look what I found!

I have no clue what species this is, apart from “fucking big”, as it is about two inches across. I took some pics and then carefully relocated it to where it was less likely to lead to demands of “immediate violent death” from other people.

In case you’re wondering the strange surface, the previous owners glued carpet scraps to the stairs. If there’s a hell for bad DIY, the dude is going to spend eternity scraping glue off things. Pics below the fold.

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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

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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:

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

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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

Wednesday Wings: It’s a Hoot!

There have been multiple exasperated conversations here about how wildlife, especially birds, refuse to cooperate with our attempts to get pictures. I swear that there is a memo going around when I leave the house as to whether I carry a camera or not. Last week was no exception. On Monday, when we had our friends over, I took my camera for the walk. I also took many pics the days before, the ones posted on Saturday, so I left the camera at home on Tuesday. When we arrived at our fountain we took a small break and sat down. I looked up at the old willow tree and was like “This branch looks strange. It is fluffy. It also wasn’t there yesterday and trees don’t grow thick, short, fluffy branches over night.” I took a closer look and it turned out to be a young owl, drowsing there in the branches of the willow.

I was so fucking angry. This was the first time in my life that I saw a wild owl. Oh I hear them almost every night, no problem, but seeing them? Only at the zoo. And no camera but the crappy phones.I told Mr “I’m going back and I’m going to get the camera and heaven help this owl if it is no longer there!”

So that’s what I did. 1 km back home, 1 km  back to the fountain, so about half an hour later I was there again and of course the owl had moved! But only a few metres and it was actually two owls. Back home I tried to identify them and my most likely guess is a tawny owl, since they’re also the ones I keep hearing, but honestly the pics I found all look very much alike.

To cut a long story short, I saw owls and here’s the evidence:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

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Spring Comes to the Woods

From my regular walks. Some flowers are in my garden, but the delicate clover blossoms are in the woods, where they’re grabbing the sunlight now before the trees grow their leaves.

©Giliell, all rights reserved
I planted these last autumn, and the package promised almost black flowers. Well, never trust a package, but they ARE lovely.

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Will I ever get people who use poison against dandelion? I hope not.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

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Monday Mercurial: Bee happy!

Apparently, one side of our garden has been overtaken by common sand bees/ mining bees, andrena flavipes.

I noticed a lot of activity last week and right now it’s all buzz and swarming. I was at first confused since wild bees are usually solitary and it took me all of my google -fu to find out that the most likely explanation is that it’s a nesting aggregation and the huge traffic we’re seeing right now is the drones hanging around to have a lot of sex before they die, so in a few days the whole thing will be over.

This is a relief because in about two weeks the workpeople will start rebuilding our garden stairs and stuff and I was worried that the bees would get in their way or would have their home destroyed. As far as I’m concerned, having those bees here is like a knighting for my garden as an insect friendly space.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

At work!

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A different kind of wild bee.

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That fruit tree is currently BUZZING.

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Friday Feathers: The Birds of Spring

First, a solemn fellow or two. Or proof that life is fucking disappointing, because whenever in  a fantasy novel a crow or raven lands in front of you they have a message from some overlord or lady that sends you off on an interesting quest. All I got was being croaked at.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

What a Mess

Our woods are a nature and water reserve which means that there is no commercial use of the wood. Trees that have fallen or are at risk of killing people are just cleared off the paths and left to rot, which means that you get to see decay in a way you really get to see in our tidy, tended to world.

It’s also wonderful for loot for crafting…

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved
I love you, too

They also offer space for animals, like those ants. I discovered them when I wanted to place my resin stuff on the top to take pics. I decided against it.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

A Day at the Zoo 15: A Different Kind of Tit Picture

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Don’t say I didn’t warn you! Our orang utans are doing their best to help with the species conservation, although they demonstrated well that humans can’t plan everything. About 12 years ago a mature orang utan lady and her daughter moved in, hoping that the lady would breed with our male. Turned out the female adult was pregnant already, surprising everybody with a baby in summer. But even after the baby was grown quite a bit, the lady told the dude in no certain terms that he could stuff his dick into the meat grinder or she’d do that for him.

He waited a few years until the daughter had matured and then successfully mated with her, having several kids. He got sent to a different zoo last year to see if could keep up his good work in the conservation of this wonderful species.