Friday, 31 October 2014

Friday at the Flicks - Ivy Visitors

Ivy Visitors

A bit of video of some of the insects visiting the Ivy flowers:

Have a great weekend observing the wildlife around you.

 photo halloween2.gif

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Ivy Visitors

 Ivy Visitors

Not many in the way of flowers for insects to feed on these days. The one exception is Ivy. This must be the best years I have seen for the amount of flowers on my Ivy. Some in the front hedge and a clump at the back have been attracting scores of flying insects.

While the Sun was out yesterday one clump was attracting bees which were filling their pollen sacs.


Outnumbering the bees were flies by the score:


They are making the most of the dwindling pollen and nectar supply as the flowers are fading fast.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Tuesday Twister - Guess What



The virtual gold star winners this week are TexWisGirl, Keith and Ragged Robin who all identified the Water / Pond Lily.


 A consolation virtual silver star for Adrian for guessing it was a lily.

IMG_0791       Water Lily

I wonder how people will get on with this week's twisted photo.
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 maybe a virtual gold or silver star.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Shaggy Inkcap

 Shaggy Inkcap

Midday most days we go for a walk down the lane next to the cricket field.


At one place there is a gap in the hedge I use to watch and photograph the nearby fields. Three days ago there seemed to be nothing but grass, nettles and brambles growing nearby but the next day from the ground had sprouted fungi. I am always taken unaware by the speed they seem to grow.  It was a cluster of Shaggy Inkcap (Coprinus comatus):

Shaggy Inkcap DSCN3653

Shaggy Inkcap DSCN3648

Shaggy Inkcap DSCN3651

Easily recognised by the shaggy white cap that slowly rots to a black inky mess:

Shaggy Inkcap DSCN3654

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Flight EIN661

As a few of you may have seen over on my MidmarshPi blog I have a Raspberry Pi using the software piaware to track aircraft which fly over my part of the UK. Aircraft con trails are nearly always visible from here so it is nice to be able to find out what they are, where they are from and where they are going. The Pi is connected to the internet and feeds the information it picks up to the FlightAware web site. Between the two I am able to see local aircraft movements in real time on a map.

Flight EIN661

Saturday afternoon one particular aircraft caught my attention (top right). As it was recognised by FlightAware I could go to their site and find more information (bottom). At the same time I could see it in the air from home (left hand photo).

The flight was Aer Lingus 661 "Shamrock" on route from Vienna to Dublin. A flight of 2hr 28min. Speed 394 kts at an altitude of 36,000 ft.

FlightAware Photo
Photo Courtesy of

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Napoleonic Wars 1810

Years ago I used to visit the occasional historical re-enactment. One such visit was to Lincoln Castle, parts of which date back to the Roman Occupation. This time the re-enactment was of a battle which took place in Central Spain when it was occupied by French troops. It was a very lively event and, believe me, even when muskets are firing blank rounds they are still loud!  I happened to be shopping in Lincoln that day and the sound of musket fire was what caught my attention. These photographs were taken with a Ricoh XRX SLR and are scans from the remaining enprints I have. It was also an excuse to try out PhotoScape some more:

Scan 6      Scan 4

napol02      drummerb

Scan 5


Scan 2    

Scan 3

Friday, 24 October 2014


PhotoScape collage

I tried out a few free programs / apps while trying to create an animated GIF header with the above nine pictures. The simplest for Mac is PicGIF Lite. Add the stills which will make the animation, set the output size by choosing from preset sizes or make your own custom size, chose forward or reverse, choose number of frames per second then save the GIF. Included are some picture processing facilities. The only problem for me was not having the choice of no repetitions as I wanted the animation to run once only.

That brings me to my discovery of the program / app PhotoScape  which is free and available for Mac and Windows. Not only can it make animated GIFs from a series of pictures but gives individual control of the timing of each frame and can make non repeating GIFs.

PhotoScape is not just a GIF maker but also has photo viewing and editing facilities,


includes collage making (one example is the top collage)


and can batch process photos.

A few trial efforts made last night:

 collage 1



Pencil Flower 2

The main facility missing is the lack of layers, otherwise there are a vast range of effects to play with. There are many more facilities in PhotoScape including text and speech bubbles, red eye removal, etc..

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Tuesday Twister - Guess What



Once again everyone who made a guess for last week's Guess What was correct. Congratulations and virtual gold stars to Adrian, Ragged Robin, TexWisGirl and Wilma for correctly identifying the church stained glass window.

IMG_0761     SGW Image1

On to this week's twisted photo. Although the programmer who wrote the Living Planet app I used to use for twisting photos told me there is an update with Apple, so far it hasn't been released so here is another from the Circular app which makes kaleidoscope like pictures:

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 maybe a virtual gold or silver star.

Monday, 20 October 2014


Just as we returned home from our early morning walk the clouds rapidly changed colour as the rising Sun illuminated them. All taken with the iPhone4:


Sunrise 201014

Sunrise 201014

Sunrise 201014

 Sunrise 201014

 Sunrise 201014

Sunday, 19 October 2014



We had a Sunset worth watching last night. The first part which caught my attention was this cloud formation:


I had a look through a Met Office pdf of examples which can be used to help identify different cloud formations but I still can't decide what type that was.

The gradual deepening of colours made a perfect end to a day which saw mid October temperatures reach 19.3C here.

Temp 2014-10-18





I also set up the iPod Touch on the off chance of getting a decent time lapse:

That was 944 stills taken at 2 second intervals.
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