Thursday, 29 October 2015

Creating a Video for Halloween

I had been toying with the idea of a display for my bay window on Halloween:


I'm still not sure whether I will use it as it may be too scary for any little ones who see it so I decided to use it as the main character in a video I've been working on which will be uploaded Saturday rather than Friday.

The Skull has several 12V LED lights, one inside it and others around it. They are controlled by an Arduino programmable mini computer so each is switched on and off at random intervals. The lighting is a mixture of a white skull with red and green surrounding lights. In total darkness the effect could look very scary.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Web's Eye View

The one nice thing about misty and foggy mornings is the way the water droplets form on spiders' webs making them much more visible:




For the following four photos I held  a small LED light to the side of the web:




Every water droplet in the last photo shows a reflection of the ring LED lights which were in front of the camera lens for this macro shot:

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

All Gone Now

Just a couple of photos of Autumn colours taken a week or so ago:



All that is left now are bare branches and fallen leaves blowing in the wind.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Monday Mystery - Guess What



Congratulations and the virtual Midmarsh Gold Star go to Adrian, Ragged Robin and The Weaver of Grass who all recognised the Pheasant in last week's mystery photo.

05    IMG_3546pheasant

Now for a new object scrambled in this week's mystery photo.
Guess What:

Please leave any guesses in the comments.
They will be revealed, along with the answer, next Monday.
No prizes. Just for fun.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Nature's Helicopter

A very close view
 2015-10-23-08.56.44 ZS PMax2

A bit further away:
 Snapshot Cal 151023_0001

A bit more .....
Snapshot Cal 151023_0002

Can you tell what it is yet?
Snapshot Cal 151023_0000

This should be easier:

A Sycamore seed:

They start in joined pairs designed to twizzle round in the breeze as they fall from the branch and have a better chance of finding a clear space in which to grow. Unfortunately it is not all fun for horse owners as I see there are warnings again for horse owners to take care where their animals are grazing as these seeds are poisonous.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Friday at the Flicks - Life in a Clump of Algae


When I went to clean out the bird bath I noticed three green mounds in the water.
This was the largest at about 20mm (3/4 inch) across:


I decided it was time to have another microscope session to see what, if any, life forms were living in it. To that end I transferred the largest splodge to a plastic dish:


I had hoped to see a few bits of microscopic life but was blown away by their sheer numbers in such a small place as you will see later in the video:

A screen grab from the video. Each life form is less than a tenth of a mm in size.
I think the star shaped objects are Staurastrum:

Screenshot 2015-10-17 at 01.03.57 pm

Another screen grab of a larger life form, about 10mm long and 1mm thick, possibly a midge larva. All the tiny pale specks are the things shown in the first screen grab:

Screenshot 2015-10-17 at 01.02.17 pm

On to the video:

Have a great weekend observing the wildlife around you, whatever its size.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

A Great Month - so far

It's been a time for getting my money's worth out of the NHS. Apart from my usual month's supply of various medication there has been the annual flu jab, a blood test, a shingles vaccine and finally a pneumonia jab. Better make the most of it before Dithery Dave, his posh rich friends and those with spurious, worthless titles decide the best way to dismantle it.

On tenterhooks yesterday awaiting BT to make the transfer to fibre broadband. I get my broadband through Zen Internet but BT own the street furniture where the connections are made. It could have been done any time between  8 a.m. and 6 p.m.. Finally at about 3.30 p.m. my internet connection dropped as the old system was disconnected. I had been advised re-connection could take up to an hour but as it happened everything sprang back into life in less than 15 minutes. I had been saving up dozens of iPad app updates to download and a video for Friday to upload so I had some decent amounts to make a real life speed test. Brilliant. The downloads were steady at 38.8Mb/s (about a 5.4x increase in speed) and the upload at 9.8Mb/s (about a 20x increase in speed).

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Feathered Thorn Moth

Not one of my favourite subjects but I couldn't resist photographing this beauty:

Feathered Thorn Moth

A Feathered Thorn Moth (Colotois pennaria) male. Size about 45mm (1.75 inches) and a glorious brown colour. Unfortunately this specimen had folded its big feathery antennae out of view as it rested in the morning Sunlight. They are more common the further South you go in the UK.

Full description can be found on the Garden Safari site.

Hoping for a smooth change over tomorrow. Broadband fibre to the cabinet has finally arrived in the village and tomorrow my connection gets moved to that. Should go from the present maximum download speed of 8Mb/second (I actually achieve 7.2) to a maximum of  38Mb/second. I could have gone for double that speed but I'll see how this one goes first as it only costs me an extra £1 a month with unlimited data use. I think the maximum upload speed is around 9Mb/sec which will be a vast improvement on the present average of 400Kb/sec. It should be able to handle a live video feed easily if either of the camera nest boxes are occupied next Spring.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Monday Mystery - Guess What



Congratulations and the virtual Midmarsh Gold Star to The Weaver of Grass, Wilma and Ragged Robin who recognised my 'cubist' style Daffodil flower:

 03    Daffs2

On to this week's mystery photo.
Hope it doesn't ruffle too many feathers.
Guess What:

No prizes, just for fun.
Please leave any guesses in the comments.
They will be revealed, along with the answer, next Monday.

Sunday, 18 October 2015


A few days ago I spotted what, at first, I thought was a piece of polystyrene stuck on my fence.
A close look showed it to be a cocoon of some sort:


I was wondering whether the owner was also the owner of this orb web which is very close by:


I will have to keep my eye open for any spiderlings.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Stan's Horses

From time to time we take a different route to see whether Stan's horses are out in his paddock. Not often at this time of year but fortunately they were a few days ago, on the furthest part of the paddock:


DSCN5464 2


Thursday, 15 October 2015

Friday at the Flicks - Walkabout


I haven't taken any video this week so here is a compilation of still shots I took when we walked one of my favourite public footpaths. A narrow, well shaded, uneven route which is narrow but easily passable except for the final stretch which tends to be overgrown with nettles:

Have a great weekend exploring the wilder areas around you.

soundtrack: Honky Tonk Saloon, royalty free music from Purple Planet

Fungi by the Score

Out walkies I spotted these growing on the North side of a high fence:


and a few more


scores of them:


Even that wasn't the whole lot.
It made quite a dramatic sight among the nettles and ivy.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

A White One

A couple of weeks or so ago I bought four new Lithops (Living Stones). They are all mature plants and one has flowered for me. Of the first batch all those which flowered were yellow so I was really pleased to see at least one of the new ones has a white flower:




The flower first showed, closed, several days ago and with such dull weather conditions I began to wonder whether it would ever open. Then on Friday we had a glorious Sunny afternoon and, like the others, it opened after being in Sunlight for a few hours and soon after the Sun had moved past.

To give an idea of size, they are all in 2 inch (50mm) pots.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Monday Mystery - Guess What



Congratulations and a virtual Midmarsh Gold Star to Adrian, Wilma and Ragged Robin who worked out correctly that last week's mystery photo was a frog:

02   4445008471_99d74987db_o

Thank you to all who are brave enough to have a go.

Now for the new mystery.
I hope it's not too blooming difficult.
Guess what:

Please leave any guesses in the comments.
They will be revealed, along with the answer, next Monday.
No prizes, just for fun.

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