Z Is For Zinnia.


Zinnias make for wonderful summertime garden flowers, attracting all kinds of pollinators and many birds which feed on their seeds. Snails (and slugs) also seem to like them, not only the flowers but especially the seedlings. It’s kind of a spring tradition for me, sow zinnias and hand-pick snails and slugs around them every night until they grow to a certain stage or until snails estivate. This photo was taken in November, when snails are active again, and some zinnias are still standing.

Oh, what a poignant and beautiful photo! Click for full size.

© Nightjar, all rights reserved.

Jack’s Walk


©voyager, all rights reserved

It’s raining today and rather than get muddy on one of our trails Jack and I decided to stay close to home and walk on the nice, clean concrete sidewalks in our own neighbourhood. We haven’t done that in a while and it was fun to check out everyone’s gardens and see what’s come up and what’s been newly planted. Yesterday we celebrated Victoria Day, and traditionally this holiday weekend is considered the safe date to plant outdoors with no risk of frost. That means that gardeners all around get busy and get their hands dirty. It also means the end of spring bulbs and I do hate to lose the tulips. They’re one of my favourite flowers and they come in so many colours, all of them bright and cheerful. To mark their ending I’m posting these beautiful tulips belonging to one of my neighbours. I think they’re a double tulip, but I don’t know the variety.

X Is For Xerophyte and Xerófito.

Xerophyte. Xerófito.

Xerophytes are drought-adapted plants, commonly found in environments where water is scarce.  An example is the cactus Opuntia ficus-indica. The fruits, seen here, are delicious but harvesting and peeling them can be quite tricky because of all the small spines, it is almost guaranteed that at least one will find its way into your skin no matter how careful you are (speaking from experience here). Bonus wasp!

The wasp looks so tiny! Click for full size.

© Nightjar, all rights reserved.

W Is For Wings.


I think this may be a Melecta albifrons, but I’m not sure. I am sure it has wings and decided to use them with excellent timing! :) Bees flying away when I’m taking a photo is not unusual, but staying both in frame and in focus is less frequent.

Stunning shot, click for full size!

© Nightjar, all rights reserved.

U Is For Uranium and Urgeiriça.

Urgeiriça is a Portuguese village known for having been the center of the country’s biggest uranium mining complex. The first mine opened in 1913, the last closed in 2001, radioactive management throughout was always very poor to nonexistent. The environmental and human health impacts were huge and are still being dealt with, there are still people living in contaminated homes, former workers and their families waiting for compensations for occupational diseases (needless to say, that’s mostly cancer). Environmental rehabilitation is being done, slowly. Here is shown a phytoremediation plant at the mine of Cunha Baixa, in which buoyant plant mats are being used to clear contaminated waters. In the second photo you can see a close up of those heavy-metal-loving plants, they take up the heavy metals (including uranium) from the water and accumulate them in the leaves, clearing the water.

Click for full size!

© Nightjar, all rights reserved.