Posts Tagged ‘nature’

1st April, first day of the ferry across to Inchmahome Island on the Lake of Menteith…….


Lake of Menteith

And we saw lovely swans…..here’s one landing….

Swan landing

and here’s one skimming the surface of the lake…

Swan cruising

and here’s one taking off…

Swan take-off

Have you ever heard a swan landing or taking off?
What an amazing noise!
Have you ever just stood and watched them flying onto and off the surface of the water? You’ll be amazed they can actually do it. For birds which look so supremely elegant as the sail across water, their landings and take-offs are really something to behold. You wouldn’t predict it.

By the way, take a better look at that swan cruising over the surface of the lake. Click through if necessary to see the image in its large size and look at the sun shining through its further away wing, highlighting every single feather.
Beautiful. Just beautiful.
You couldn’t make it up.

Read Full Post »

This isn’t a quiz….well, at least, not in the sense that I know the answer! I came across these strange marks on fallen trees in a forest recently. Have you any idea what makes this happen? Is it a fungus? An insect? A worm?? Look at the variety, it’s quite astonishing!

tree marker

tree marker

tree marker

tree marker

Read Full Post »

delicate plant ghosts

This tiny little plant is only about the size of my little finger. It’s so small, it would’ve been easy to miss it, but I’m glad I didn’t.

It inspires me for so many reasons.

I love the fact that what catches the attention is the spaces. They’re the first thing you notice. Almost as if when looking at a net you’d see the holes first, then the thread. And what was in those spaces? Some kind of seed I expect. This framework was most likely the structure that held the seeds in place, raised them up to the sky and waited till the wind blew and took them away to settle somewhere else. That got me thinking about seeds, and how many amazing ways plants have to spread their seeds around the world, how they’ll use the wind, insects, birds, really pretty much any way they can to hitch lifts, travel far and wide without any power to move in the seed itself. This set me thinking about the interconnectedness of everything, of how the world is a vast interconnected network, how really you can’t understand anything or anybody without knowing something of the world they live in and some of their vast web of connections, influences, links and bonds.

Then I got to thinking about how this little group of circles held up the past for inspection. Look, said the plant, here is where my sons and daughters were, and now they’ve all flown and I’ve only the spaces now in my life, where they used to be. And that’s just how it should be.

I had other thoughts too, but I’d be interested to hear if this little plant inspires any thoughts of your own!

delicate plant ghosts

Read Full Post »



Read Full Post »

Come take a walk with me up the path towards Mont Sainte Victoire. Let’s start down here by the dam…

mont st victoire

and we’ll take this path…

the path to mont st victoire

The first surprise was seeing a helicopter collecting water from the lake

collecting water

and practising dropping it again

spraying water5

On the way to the top I stumbled across these strange tree roots….


…and these tiny, tiny acorns…


These pine cones were unusual too….

pine cones

This was high enough for me to go today

mont st victoire

On the way back down I came across the first butterfly of the year


and this lovely little ladybird. Look how red it is! Hardly any black spots!


The sun was hot and some of the trees were oozing their sap


There was lots of rosemary and thyme, but very few flowers so I was really pleased to come across exactly these four crocus plants!


What I can’t share with you is the warmth of the February sun, the sweet, fresh smell of the air, or the almost total silence of the countryside up there. You’ll need to go yourself to appreciate that.

Read Full Post »

Natural inspiration

Which of these creatures inspires you? What, if anything, could you learn from them?

busy bees
snails pace
morning rabbits

Read Full Post »

butterfly and bee

While wandering around yesterday I stumbled across this lovely butterfly. It’s not easy to get a photo of a butterfly cos they don’t stay still for very long, but this one seemed to be taking its time more than the others. It got me wondering. What do butterflies eat? And how do they fly the way they do? Their flight seems most erratic, apparently lacking the consistency of movement that you see in bird flight for example. I realised I don’t know very much about butterflies at all! I certainly don’t know anything about butterfly classification! What “kind” of butterfly is this?

Well, when I got back home I checked out wikipedia. Turns out butterflies only eat liquids which they suck up through their long, tube-like “probosci”. They live on nectar and they can drink water from puddles. I would have guessed they lived on nectar but I hadn’t realised they had a fluid only diet. As for how they fly, well, that’s even more interesting…….it turns out nobody understands it. Their mechanism of flight – the aerodynamics and the physics of it – has never been fully explained. About four different ways of flying have been described but they don’t provide a full explanation and nobody knows how they manage to switch between the different flight modes so quickly.
I’m quite happy about that. I do like to learn but I also enjoy having that feeling of wonder and amazement. What I like best is a mixture of understanding and marvel. Butterfly life fits the bill!

Read Full Post »

golden seedhead

Has anyone any idea what this plant is? I just stumbled across a few of these on a walk (I’m staying just outside of Aix en Provence in the South of France just now). I’ve never seen anything quite like this and there were quite a lot of them growing in twos or threes straight out of the ground, about a foot high. The seedhead itself is about the size of a clenched fist.

Read Full Post »