Patterns in Ice

From Avalus,

A muddy, frozen puddle by the roadside.
Boring, one might say.

©Avalus, all rights reserved

But, what interesting patterns in the ice, indicating the shrinking liquid underneath.
Let’s look closer.

©Avalus, all rights reserved

Structures emerge between the layers!
Let’s look even closer.

©Avalus, all rights reserved

The ice sheet that seemed so uniform from afar is structured, almost like cathedral glass, from many tiny crystals of ice.
Everywhere, there is beauty in the universe.
(This was pretty much my thought process when I came by that frozen puddle. That, and my cold feet, reminding me of my poor choice of shoes I took for that walk :D)

Evasively Cute

As mentioned previously, tufted tits (more correctly, European crested tits) have been a tough customer for me. They are shy and hyperactive, plus their camouflage markings make them difficult to see, as they prefer to remain in the hedgerow as opposed to coming out in the open. So today’s exemplar is uncooperative. In other words, find that tit!

Such a pretty little bird, as you can see… (c) rq

A little bit of yoga, to stretch the neck and spot those seeds! (c) rq

Not looking at you… (c) rq

Unfortunately, that’s the best I could do. I really love them, but they could manage to hold still long enough, couln’t they…?

Here’s someone else’s photo to get a better view:

And in honour of today’s Perseverance rover landing (hopefully!) On Mars – David Bowie’s “Life on Mars.

 

Blue Tits!

Here’s the first set of this winter’s tit pics. The blue ones are rather rare this year, but there’s one or two regular visitors willing to put up with the great tits and sparrows. I have to say the weather this weekend was that perfect winter mix of sun and frigid, no wind.

So, let’s all be 12 together and check out some blue tits, shall we?

Blue tit with walnut (c) rq

At the other feeder (c) rq

The walnuts are for the corvids, but they haven’t been by for a while. (c) rq

Warming up… (c) rq

… for the acrobatics! (c) rq

Note: most photos are taken through a selection of windows, one of which is tinted, so the lighting can be a bit odd.

Another cover today, but hey, it’s winter, warmer under the covers!

Leonard Cohen’s “Famous Blue Raincoat”, performed by Eivør.

Bramblings Whoosh

This year we have snowy winter. The snow came late, but it came in droves. And with plenty of snow also came bramblings, a flock of about 30 individuals. They returned multiple times, and I have managed to get some pictures, although the light was less than ideal.

© 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.

Northern Parrot Substitutes

Hi everyone, things are nuts, but what can you do. I’ll complain later.

Winter has come, with so much snow, it’s wonderful. Never a better way to get the kids outside.

This year I also decided to tame some crows (progress: none), since they were stealing the walnuts anyway. As a side effect, I decided to feed all the little birds, too. I put out large nuts for the large birds, and keep the others supplied with sunflower seeds and pork fat. The nuts disappear, but I still have no crow friends to gloat about…

Anyway, I can’t compete with Charly’s amazing birds, he’s certainly got some wonderful rare species showing up, but I’m quite pleased with this year’s feeder flock. Tit pics later, currently I’m most proud of my bullfinches because at least two couples live nearby and visit.

They obviously don’t mind each other’s table manners… a match made in heaven!

Taking care of the competition… (c) rq

 

Wipe your beak. (c) rq

 

I got one photo of both together, then the male walked out of the frame. (c) rq

 

No napkins in nature, I guess! (c) rq

 

Fungi Friday

It’s unusual to find mushrooms in the winter, but Avalus has a good eye and found a few to share with us. Enjoy.

Here are some photos I took over the last few days of January mushrooms.

These two I found in front of the department building. I really like the colour of their tops, they look like leather. The undersides look fascinating too. (photos 1 & 2)

Yesterday we had some snow as well and today I found this little fella, poking out the fresh snow. (photo 3)

Photo 1, ©Avalus, all rights reserved.

Photo 2, ©Avalus, all rights reserved.

Photo 3, ©Avalus, all rights reserved.

Snowy Glitter

Yesterday we had a rare occurrence – a sunny day in winter. With pristine snow.

It did not lure me outside, I loathe winter with a passion and winter sports even more. But I did point my camera out of my window and did some clickety-click. It looks pretty. From the inside of a warm living room.

© 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.

Merry Holymas

Merry whatever you celebrate. I personally would not mind a little war on Christmas, I hate the holiday and everything it officially stands for (hint- it does not stand for love and family, that is most people’s personal addition). But I love the winter solstice and the promise of longer days and shorter nights again. We had an extremely warm bud muddy and gloomy fall so far, but today, finally, winter has begun for real – we had our first real snowfall of this year.  That has cheered me up ever so slightly.

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

I might have to dust off the snow of the bonsai trees, if it gets wet, it could break them.

Winterfest Photofest

Welcome to the last day of our Winterfest Photofest. I know you’ll enjoy this last set of pictures that all have a quiet, contemplative quality.

 

First, more delicious photos by Dan Cates, who was introduced to us yesterday. I think Dan’s photos have a lovely, tranquil feel to them, and this grouping is no exception.

©Don Cates, all rights reserved.

©Don Cates, all rights reserved.

©Don Cates, all rights reserved.

©Don Cates, all rights reserved.

©Don Cates, all rights reserved.

©Don Cates, all rights reserved.

©Don Cates, all rights reserved.

©Don Cates, all rights reserved.

©Don Cates, all rights reserved.

©Don Cates, all rights reserved.

 

Next, two evocative and moody photos from the camera of Marcus Ranum (Stderr)

Fall ice in the yard ©Marcus Ranum, all rights reserved.

Ice on the pond ©Marcus Ranum, all rights reserved

 

Finally, a serene and perfectly titled photo from JacqueG.

Ice Candles©JacqueG, all rights reserved.

I’d like to thank everyone who submitted photos and made Winterfest such a success. I’d also like to thank everyone who made donations to our Winterfest fundraising campaign. If you haven’t done that yet and would like to contribute, you can do so here.

I’d also like to remind everyone that Affinity loves getting photo submissions any time of the year, so if you have any photos you’d like to share, please feel free to send them in. Our address is always in the left sidebar, underneath the colourful percolating head.

 

Join Jack and voyager for a walk in the woods.

This is my first attempt at making a video, and it shows. The Pace is slow, it’s a bit rough in places and there’s some wind noise in the background that I couldn’t get rid of. It’s been a pretty steep learning curve for me, and I’ve barely scratched the surface. I had planned to add a bit of music, but I couldn’t find anything that I liked better than the sound of rustling leaves, so the soundtrack is just us walking with a bit of commentary from me. I had also hoped to end the video with Jack and I singing, but Jack’s been under the weather and hasn’t been in the mood to make music. He is slowly improving, though, so perhaps next month we’ll make another short movie full of raucous, rollicking fun.

I hope you can get a sense of how much both Jack and I enjoy walking in the woods.

 

 

Winterfest Photofest

Welcome! Today we have 2 submissions that are all about looking at things close up, including a few birds and a wannabe bird at the end who will make you smile. Let’s go take a look.

First, a well-captured, tall bird with beautiful amber eyes from Pieter L. Harreman.  It reminds me of the heron who lives in or park, but the white hghlights of this bird make him look more dapper and elegant.

©Pieter L. Harreman, all rights reserved.

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Next, a set of photos full of pattern and texture from the camera of Dan Cates. (you’ll be seeing more of Dan’s photos tomorrow on our Winterfest wrap-up)

©Don Cates, all rights reserved.A

©Don Cates, all rights reserved.

©Don Cates, all rights reserved.

©Don Cates, all rights reserved.

©Don Cates, all rights reserved.

©Don Cates, all rights reserved.

©Don Cates, all rights reserved.

©

©Don Cates, all rights reserved.

Thanks to you both for taking the time to send these photos in. They all make wonderful additions to our Winterfest collection.

 

 

 

 

 

Winterfest Photofest

Welcome back. The first set of photos today is wildly creative and comes from the mind and camera of Avalus. I’ll let him explain,

I don’t have a Christmas tree at home, but in the lab, a reaction I did today provided a splendid alternative. Here are some glittery fotos. Below them, I will go a bit into the details of what you see there. 

©Avalus, all rights reserved.

©Avalus, all rights reserved.

©Avalus, all rights reserved.

These shiny metal balls are beads of molten potassium sitting on top and inside of a potassium alcoholate/alcohol compound (the white crystalline, snowlike stuff) that slowly dissolves into the boiling hexane.

What happens here is that the potassium replaces the hydrogen of the OH group of the alcohol, forming a potassium-alcoholate and gaseous hydrogen, so the metal will slowly disappear over the next few days. In the end, the resulting potassium alcoholate will be liquid at room temperature, which is pretty cool, because most alcoholates are solids with high melting points.

This stuff will be used in my PhD research of weird alkalimetal organic complexes.

©Avalus, all rights reserved.

An accidental self-portrait on a liquid metal surface, warped by passing of hexane, running down the walls of the vessel.

Have a good (and maybe science-y) holiday season, everybody!

 

*******

The next set of photos today are all about texture and pattern, and they come from the camera of our own Charly.

©Charly, all rights reserved

©Charly, all rights reserved

©Charly, all rights reserved

 

*******

Lastly is a compelling group of landscape photos sent in by Peter Lindsay. Peter lives in southwestern Manitoba (Canada) and tells us that the landscape there is quite unique. Peter does photography in every season but notes that winter is a favourite time of year. They also tell us that they’re fond of loan trees, which I’m sure you’ll note in these stunning pictures. Peter has sent us a link to their pubic Flickr site, which I encourage you to check out. The collection is brimming with delicious landscapes from around the world that are well worth seeing.

Dec. 1, 2020, ©Peter Lindsay, all rights reserved.

Dec. 2, 2018, ©Peter Lindsay, all rights reserved.

Dec. 22, 2018,. ©Peter Lindsay, all rights reserved.

Dec. 25, 2019, ©Peter Lindsay, all rights reserved.

Thanks to all three of you for sending in these photos.