Just Blossom & Magnolia.

Not much else to say really ….

other than it it believed that the first flower, which existed 140 million years ago, resembled a Magnolia https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/revealed-the-first-flower-140-million-years-old-looked-like-a-magnolia/ and that they were therefore in existence before bees!

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The Fibonacci sequence in nature

When I saw this plant, ‘Fibonacci sequence’ popped into my head. I have heard of the term ‘Fibonacci sequence in nature,’ but know little about it. So I did some investigating. The Fibonacci sequence starts like this: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55 and so on forever. Each number is the sum of the two numbers that precede it. 

It appears throughout nature from the design of shells, to the way tree branches grow out of trees, to the development of leaf veins, the pattern of seedheads, the positioning of flower petals (think roses), even the shape of tropical storms. It has been described as “the code of nature’ and runs through the cosmos – even appearing in spiral galaxies. Isn’t nature clever?

 

Memories of Iceland

Sometimes you re-discover photos you forgot you had. Here are some from Iceland.

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The ever-changing Icelandic weather.

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The statue of Leifur Eiríksson outside Hallgrímskirkja, the first European to arrive in America.

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View from Reykjavik harbour.

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Alaskan lupine. An invasive plant species taking over Iceland. https://www.hakaimagazine.com/features/why-iceland-is-turning-purple/

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View from the top of Hallgrímskirkja, looking towards Reykjavik harbour.

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Geysir geothermal area – iron rich soils contrast with the azure hot springs.

Re-visiting the Beast from the East

Just over a year ago, we had a ‘polar vortex,’ which resulted in some severe weather conditions for the U.K. (- we love talking about the weather don’t we?). We experienced temperatures of -11 celsius, not including wind chill factors. We had heavy snowfalls, blizzards and snowdrifts. A total contrast to the balmy conditions of 21 celsius we experienced a couple of weeks ago. What IS happening to our weather???

Recently, I came across a picture of an icicle that someone had posted on WP. I remembered the one I had taken during last year’s extreme cold spell with my macro lens; if you click on the picture below on a large screen and enlarge it, you can actually see melted snowflakes within it. 

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Trapped air bubbles within the icicle.

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My best attempt at trying to capture a snowflake, I was really hoping it would snow again this year, so I could practice it again! I love the star bit in the middle! 

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It was so cold for a few days, that all kinds of birds suddenly appeared in our garden and came very close to the house that you wouldn’t usually see, in search of food. This was a migratory Fieldfare.

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This blackbird came so close, it was almost feeding out of my hand.

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On a walk in a nearby country lane, several birds took shelter on the lee side of the hedge. They had scraped away the top soil (I suppose looking for food) and had made little holes. They made little attempt to fly off, like they normally would.

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The Yorkshire Dales

A bit of landscape photography from the Yorkshire Dales. A tranquil scene of snowdrops growing beside a small stream, protected by moss-covered dry stone walls.

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There are many sheep farms. Worth a look … Yorkshire shepherdess

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Traditional farming landscapes of field barns and dry stone walls in the valley of Wensleydale. In Winter, cattle were kept in these barns and fed with hay. The landscape has been farmed for thousands of years, without it, woodland would cover the moorland.

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The Yorkshire Dales is famous for its limestone scenery. The grey rock was formed from the shells and skeletons of billions of sea creatures, laid down millions of years ago in tropical oceans. Ancient glaciers moving over the landscape and then rainwater over thousands of years, produced the cracks (or grykes) of the landscape that exists today. 

In the distance is the Ribblehead Viaduct, build by 1000 navvies in Victorian times. It has 24 arches and is part of the Settle to Carlisle railway line.

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A dilapidated building in the middle of the moors.

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Dry stone walls are the largest man-made feature of the dales. There are approximately 5000 miles of them. They are ‘dry’ because there is no mortar holding them together.

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Seal study – Part 2

Seals are intriguing creatures. Looking at the way they look back at us, they probably find us quite interesting too. They are playful and expressive. I tried to find out a bit more about their behaviour, but other than the fact that they are “highly intelligent marine mammals,” not much is known about their “subtle nuances.” (Cornwall seal group research trust). 

They are certainly fun to watch from a distance – guidelines suggest 150 feet. Not only can they bite, but they can pass on some infectious diseases to humans. They can suffer stress, or even abandon their young.

Seals look almost dog-like, yet also like big blubbery, furry fish! There are many stories written about seals. Selkie stories from Scottish and Irish folklore, are about creatures which are seal-like in appearance in the ocean, yet take on the human form on land. Many of the stories are classed as “romantic tragedies.”

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Seal study – Part I

I was fortunate to get quite close to an Atlantic grey seal and Common seal colony with my telephoto lens.

Bulls live for 25 years, but cows live up to 35 years. It is important to keep your distance because they can move fast and bite. They may also abandon their pups.

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This seal had beautiful fur. It reminded me of a leopard! 

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Look at those teeth! Seals feed on a variety of fish and shellfish. The smell hangs in the air…

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It is thought that seals bask in the sun in order to remove parasites from their skin. They don’t move a lot.

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A seal breeding area is called a rookery!

More pictures to follow in a few days, but I am keeping hold of my best ones for now… I have other plans for those!

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