Wednesday, 31 December 2008

New Year's Eve

a star to guide us by, Venus sitting by the newish moon, maybe this conjunction indicates next year will be a happier one for us all

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

more red things

is it midday in Penzance, or New York? The end of a cold fine day is marked by a misty surreal sunset (much the same as last year at this time). Even though I am not that old, I reckon that in my lifetime winter has become very dry, and we have a new season, the monsoon season, that runs from May to September.

Monday, 29 December 2008

classic robin photo

a very friendly, and chubby, robin helping us with our garden chores today

Friday, 26 December 2008

this large grey heron was seen over Carthamartha fleeing the scene, but I doubt that herons top and tail fish, I am sure they swallow them whole

Harriet finds her Christmas lunch

Harriet found and consumed the head of a salmon, and then found the tail about a mile away and consumed that on the way home. No fish as big as this swims in the Inny (it would run aground). All sorts of explanations spring to mind, but I think the most likely explanation is that someone had salmon for Christmas Eve supper, and something has scavenged the remains. Fox? No waste around here.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

at the rock face

intricate and mysterious imagery from the quarry at Kit Hill. It looks like a natural (wild) version of a Japanese garden, or vice versa

Sunday, 14 December 2008

a welcome visitor

a goldfinch, fat from eating thistle seed, pausing to pose. A fugitive from the flock.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

the evidence accumulates

four days later the twig is bare, not a sign of a fungus or lichen. It was a cold morning but not frosty. It seems increasingly likely to me that this is ice, but I am puzzled why we only see it in areas of deciduous wood, and why I have never seen ice in this form before. A question for the New Scientist

Sunday, 7 December 2008

ice fungus

at almost the same time of year last year, and under similar very frosty conditions, we found these peculiar looking excrescences on dead twigs and branches in the woods (see link for more pictures). It puzzled me at the time that I could not find anything remotely similar in the (many) reference books in Spot's library when it was so very distinctive. After much searching, we have found a similar picture on Google images, at the University of British Columbia botanical forum (link). There it is suggested that this is in fact ice, not a fungus at all. This is certainly consistent with its sporadic nature in cold weather, and it looks just like wispy snow. Can this be true? If so, finding it out is yet another demonstration of the phenomenal information power of the internet, and Google in particular.

rapt attention

heavily disguised and almost invisible in the winter canopy, a buzzard watching Spot hare about in the early morning frost.


a delicate little mushroom looking very like a Japanese parasol, one of the many mycena species.

flocking together

I think the birds in the pages below may well be gulls, seen above today gathering in a field. The collective name for gulls, a flock, seems very appropriate.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

more mooning about

flocks of large birds flying south, in great wide V's, plus the occasional straggler("wait for me"). It is difficult to identify them, possibly curlews. They came in wave after wave, like images from world war 2.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Jupiter, Venus and Us

I know, it just looks black but there is Jupiter, Venus (below the moon) and the moon hanging out together, setting over our little village. I knew there was something strange going on up there. Thanks to Spike and the Laurel Cottage crew for pointing out this wonderful spectacle.