Thursday, January 30, 2014

at the end of the road

what we really went to see, the magnificent, unearthly and ethereal Northern lights. We were fortunate to see a very active aurora on an crystal clear night. The photographs are deceptive in that the eye does not see such vivid colours, but they do capture the shapes and sense of movement that one can see. What a wonderful place (see link, Spot doesn't usually do ads but this hotel deserves it)!

Northern colours

dusk, coral beach at Sommaroy

the evening view from the Arctic Hotel, Sommaroy

dawn pictures

at this time of year dusk and dawn last for several hours creating some amazing scenes and colours.


some wild life on the road around the island of Kvaløya

the white tailed sea eagle (see link)


the huskies at Villmarkssenter (see link) making a hell of a racket as they get excited about mushing. This is a link to my facebook page where there is a fun video of the huskies setting off (link)

a trip to the North

things we didn't see in Venterdon, Tromso, at night

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Spring bugs

It has been warm, almost Spring-like today. This is the hawthorn shield bug which overwinters as an adult, and has been fooled by the mild weatherinto waking up two months early, although it was quite dozy. I wonder why it earned its scientific name (see link) ?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

hard to tell

I think this is a brambling in winter plumage, one of a small flock making high pitched "tink" to each other in Wareham woods today. These conifers are adjacent to some open fields.

A winter visitor to Britain, the Brambling is sometimes described as the Chaffinch of the north, for in the pine and birch forests of Scandinavia it seems to replace the Chaffinch as the commonest bird. In all plumages, Bramblings can be recognised by the obvious orange on the breast extending across the shoulders onto their wings. In winter the head and mantle are usually a blotchy grey-brown but in some birds these wear away to produce a stunning black head, even before they depart back to Scandinavia. In flight they show a neat rectangular white patch down the rump as well as white and orange in the wing. (from Guide to British Birds see link)

Friday, January 17, 2014

rain over Dartmoor

raincloud over Dartmoor this evening, illuminated by the evening sun; very striking.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

communal bathing

starlings enjoying a wallow

on Shaptor

at long last Spot has found a dog stinkhorn (badly photographed unfortunately), smaller and more slender than its common cousin, but much more dog like (!, or maybe more appropriately :-). If only.

Sunday, January 12, 2014