|New little hawthorn leaves|
and tiny flecks of lichen.
March 25th 2013
I've been having a bit of a crisis. Here am I with two blogs and hardly any posting. Have I lost interest? NO! Am I ailing? NO!
People expect different things from blogs. I don't know what each reader expects when they arrive at Loose and Leafy but it's not a scrap book. There's a point to every post. Which is the rub. I've been out and about and looking at things almost as much as usual but the light has been so low and so many of the days rainy, photographing has been more of a challenge than fun.
But for all that Loose and Leafy is a blog anyone can read, it's also my own record, a kind of index to what I've seen. So if I don't post, I'm missing out. I'll lose my personal thread.
March 14th 2013
SO . . . I'm going to be selfish. There will probably ensue a fleet of random posts. Maybe some will be nothing more than a picture. Bits and bobs are better than silence. Hopefully, this won't be too irritating. If it is . . . you can always give Loose and Leafy a miss for a while and come back when the text is better. On the other hand, you can hang around and, with me, say 'Oh look! There's a duck!'.
This, then, is a catch up with some of the bits. (Bobs will follow.)
When the hedges are dripping and waiting for warmth, one potters off elsewhere - like the seashore.
There have been storms at sea. At one point the cross channel ferry service had to be suspended because waves were too high for the boats to cope. And on shore - huge deposits of seaweed that must have been churned up have been chucked over the sand. Here's an Oyster Thief (Colpomenia peregrina) - a green alga that looks like a bubble. Well, it is a bubble. That's how it gets its name. If it mistakes an oyster for a rock and sticks to it, the air inside can lift them both and they can float away together.
|Worm cast at the rear end of a Blow Lug hole.|
About two inches across and high.
March 14th 2013
The tide was out, lug worms were burrowing. They are the moles of the seashore, with the sand and mud excavated from their burrows pushed back in whirls like this. Except these are not endearing little creatures with soft skins and paddle feet - they are fearsome looking worms. Fishermen dig them for bait and I've stopped to chat a couple of times. One day, I'll ask if I can take a photo but they are so disgusting (the worms, not the fishermen!) I feel it would be a bit like stopping and taking photographs of someone who's leg has just been mangled in a machine. Not quite the right thing to do. The ones I've seen (they don't crawl around randomly on the surface, I've only seen them when they've been dug out) have been about seven inches long . . . oh, click the link if you can bear it! Blow lug - Arenicola marina on the Marine Life Information Netowork. (Sorry, they are fascinating. I don't know why I'm being squeamish.)
|Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)|
March 28th 2013
Another day . . . head for a fresh-water lake . . . and a famous bird. This individual, I mean. Not its kind in general. It's a Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus). When I took the photograph, I didn't know there was anything special about it. I just thought 'Oh, there's a nice duck, I'll take a picture of that.'. Later, I found out it's a North American bird that has been hanging out with tufted duck on Radipole Lake (part of an RSPB reserve) for a few years now. When it first arrived, bird watchers got very excited, thinking it was truly wild and had flown (or floated?) across the Atlantic. It's now thought to be an escapee from a collection. I get the impression that this, for bird people, is a bit of an anti-climax. According to the train spotting approach to bird watching (see-it-and-tick-it) it doesn't 'count'. But I reckon it's still a pretty duck, wherever it came from.
|This is a misleading picture.|
The coot's feet were much whiter than they seem here.
March 28th 2013
Sometimes, as I've said often before, there's an enormous advantage in not knowing things because whatever you come across is exciting and new. You may remember how bowled over I was when I first noticed Coots' feet. (Coot - Fulica atra.) Apart from their extraordinary shape, I was stunned by their blueness. Yesterday, I was stunned by their whiteness. The blue tint shows more in this picture than seemed to be there in real life. It was the palor which struck me. That and that it was happily slurping up white bird excrement. (I didn't stay to find out whether this was its own or somebody else's - I'd noticed the merganser by then.) So - next task - which you might help me with . . . do coots change the colour of their feet from blue to white in the winter?
And the last of random images from my 'what I've been looking at' post . . . Wall screw-moss (Tortula muralis).
|Wall Screw-moss (Tortula muralis). March 28th 2013|
Oh, dear. A scrap book post. But that's life in erratic weather.
The Hooded Merganser (and a whole load of coots)
can be found at the RSPB reserve at the Radipole Lake and Reserve
in Weymouth, Dorset.