Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Tuesday Twister - Guess What


The first batch of new virtual gold stars goes to Adrian and TexWisGirl who correctly identified the twisted photos of a Horse Chestnut seed (conker) last week.


The first of the new virtual silver stars goes to Wilma who worked out it was a seed or nut.

 My thanks to all who take part.


Back to a single twisted photo for this week's mystery object.
Guess What:

Please leave any guesses in the comments.
They will be revealed, along with the answer, next Tuesday.
No prizes, just for fun and possibly a virtual gold or silver star.

Monday, 29 September 2014

A Star is Born

I found a great free app for the Mac for making artistic text which can also work with some built in shapes. The app is 'Art Text 2 Lite'. I wondered whether I could design a new gold star for the blog.

The first idea was to have a plain textured gold star:


Then I decided to personalise it to the blog and make a silver one as well:

STAR02     STRA03
The app does everything really. I just fiddled around with various choices and settings until I was happy with the results. The app can be very slow at showing the result when more than one layer is used.

It can do fancy things with text:





Even though the Lite app is a cut down version of the paid app there is still plenty to go at and experiment with. The full version allows the import of your own photos and patterns, full control over vector shapes and has many more built in shapes and backgrounds.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Fly - Mesembrina meridiana

My ivy is in full flower at the moment and I have never seen so many flies, bees and wasps visiting at the same time. One lone fly caught my attention as the orange on its wings and face parts almost glowed even on a dull afternoon:





After a bit of searching I found the identification on the GardenSafari site. It would appear to be a Mid-day fly. This one doesn't normally enter houses. It lays it eggs on dung. Can't remember ever seeing this particular type of fly before now.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Camera Comparison Nikon S9050 v iPod Touch5

Just how good is the 5Mpixel camera in the iPod Touch5?
Yesterday I spotted a spider in its web between a water butt and the shed so I took close shots with the Nikon S9050 (which has 12.1Mpixels) and the iPod Touch5. I took three hand held shots with each as the web was moving in a gentle breeze and chose the best result from each camera. On the iPod I used the Camera+ app.

First the full shots:



Then crops which were auto enhanced in iPhoto:



As far as I am concerned the 5Mpixel camera in the iPod Touch5 does an outstanding job!

Friday, 26 September 2014

Friday at the Flicks - Young Goldfinches + Hungry Hedgehog

Two young Goldfinches of different ages looking at the amount of red on their heads:

An evening gobbling just about every dried mealworm in sight:

Have a great weekend observing the wildlife around you.

Thursday, 25 September 2014


Many will have noticed the emergence of Crane Flies (Daddy Long-legs). This year they are particularly numerous. There are scores of them hunting round the nettles on the edge of the cricket field. They are harmless to humans and pets though they can be a nuisance when they come indoors. Fortunately for us they only live about two weeks, just long enough to mate and lay eggs but are a good supply of food for many birds.

This one was resting on my kitchen window:

Crane Fly DSCN3475

They have one pair of wings. Instead of the second pair they have a pair of halteres or rocker arms just behind the wings which vibrate and help to maintain balance when flying. They are the two club shaped bits with round 'weights' on the end:

Crane Fly DSCN3475

As I opened the back door yesterday this green Shield Bug fell on the floor:

Green Shield Bug DSCN3479

Photos taken with the Nikon Coolpix S9050

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

When is it Butterfly Time?

When it's butterfly o'clock:



Bet you didn't know Red Admirals could tell the time!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Tuesday Twister - Guess What

gold star

One full virtual gold star for Wilma who recognised my summerhouse in last week's twisted picture. I think Adrian and TWG should share one. At least they recognised a shed / room like structure:

2014-06-23 12.53.31     2013-04-24 10.01.55

This week's twisted object is displayed slightly differently. I used the iOS app 'Video Album' which can make photos and or movies into a video collage. This was in the nature of an experiment as it's the first time I've used that app. There are three different twists to the same object.

Guess What:

Please leave any guesses in the comments.
They will be revealed, along with the answer, next Tuesday.
No prizes. Just for fun and a virtual gold star.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Hedgehog Visit Last Night

A hedgehog visit captured last night:

That time it was disturbed and scared off by Penny going outside but later it, or another, returned. After feasting on dried mealworms in the hedgehog house it went to sleep in there for a while before departing.

Saturday, 20 September 2014


Season of mists ......


...... and mellow fruitfulness


So starts John Keats poem "To Autumn" and that is just what it has been like here for the past few days. Thick cloud, mists with only occasional glimpses of the Sun.

Also spotted the usual start of Fall (Autumn):


The beginnings of next Spring's crop of catkins growing on my corkscrew hazel bush:

Embryo Catkins on corkscrew Hazel DSCN3457

These are only 7mm long and will stay tightly closed until the return of warmth when they will grow and open to about 50 to 60mm long.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Friday at the Flicks - Homeward Bound

On our trip to Alford the other day I took videos of the journey both to and from. This is our return journey home. 4x speed using the usual Hyperlapse app on the iPod Touch5:

Soundtrack music was found on archive.com.
Not a bad recording considering it was made in 1926 and released on two 78rpm records.

This is how the iPod is mounted on the windscreen:


Surprisingly it does not interfere with driving vision or distract as it is showing exactly what I can already see through the windscreen - which still needs a good scrub!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

To the Vets and a Look Round Alford

Yesterday morning it was an early visit to the vets for Penny.  Her gums are still giving trouble so we came away with another dose of antibiotics. Penny doesn't care what the reason is for a trip out. She would happily jump in any car or van which has an open door. She is the perfect passenger sprawling out on the back seat and usually dozing throughout the journey.

After lunch I decided on another trip. This time to Alford to drop off some items at the Greyhound Rescue shop:


There she got plenty of fuss, a bite to eat and spent her pocket money on a new cuddly toy. I decided we would have a bit of a walk round and bought some dog food and dried mealworms for the Hedgehog from one of the market stalls, it being market day in Alford:


After dropping the shopping back in the car we then went for a walkabout to look at the old manor house, an old two storey building with a thatched roof. It houses a museum which I have looked round in the past:



Walking round the side of the Manor House I spotted the original chimney work was leaning though this has been altered a couple of times to straighten it up as can be seen by the different size and shape of bricks:

DSCN3406    DSCN3407

Further round is an outdoor display of old farm implements, mainly ploughs from the days when they had a horse in front and a man behind to keep things on a straight path:





Also spotted was this old millstone, possibly from the windmill which still stands on the outskirts of the town and is kept in working order:


On the way back to the car park we detoured past the parish church which is built on land which is higher than all the surrounding town:



The tower has been used from time to time for abseiling, usually to raise money. I was almost tempted one year but with my vertigo I don't think I would have been able to step out over the top. I took these photos many years ago:

Abseiling 2      Abseiling

After a last look round we went back to the car and Penny sprawled out and dozed all the way home where she was re-united with her new cuddly toy:


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Tuesday Twister - Guess What

gold star

Last week's twisted photo didn't give any problems for Ragged Robin, Wilma, Keith, Adrian and TexWisGirl who get my congratulations and their virtual gold stars for identifying the slug:

IMG_0713     Large Black Slug DSCN3310

I wonder whether this one will stump people. Maybe this will be the first time I manage to keep all the virtual gold starts to myself.

Guess What:
2014-06-23 12.53.31

Please leave any guesses in the comments.
They will be revealed, along with the answer, next Tuesday.
No prizes, Just for fun and a virtual gold star.
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