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Melantrys’ Page » nature

Archive for the ‘nature’ Category

Spot the pheasant!

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

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As you all had so much fun with the bird riddle I figured I could feature another one.
To make things easier, the search photos contain a much larger bird.

The pheasant.

Of all the scatterbrained fluffballs populating this country, the pheasant seems to range among the most scatterbrained.
Usually a very shy bird, it tends to shun populated areas, except in winter when it comes sneaking in to eat the grains the smaller birds drop at their feeding places.

It will take off - emitting loud and somewhat hooting noises - when spotting a human. The same applies for scary noises, like the “clonk-twanggggg” that the lock of our door leading onto the terrace makes when finally yielding to our wish to pull it open.

On the other hand, the pheasant is the bird that discomfits me the most when spotting it by the roadside.
It will sit in the grass staring at the road.
It will continue to do that until your car is almost upon it.
Then it will leasurely start crossing the road.
If it looks as if you’ve been really close already and will pass the bird before it reaches your path, it will then speed up in a spirited attempt to still get flattened by your car.

Feathered lemmings they must be, I dunno.

Oh, yeah, right, here’s some photos of our winter guest:

first glimpse through window
first glimpse through window

Then I decided to chance going outside, which startled fluffybrains into running into the shrubbery.
Can you see him hiding from the two-legged noisy monster?

spot the pheasant 1
spot the pheasant 1

spot the pheasant 2
spot the pheasant 2

I then sat down inside the doorframe (freezing my ass off, I might add) and waited.

After a while sillywings seemed to be unsure about why he was sitting behind a bush.

Had there been something that posed a danger or not? Hm.

Apparently not willing to chance too much, he then started strutting up and down along the fence, occasionally ducking behind a convenient shrub.

pheasant 1

pheasant 2

pheasant 3

.

Now, the odd thing is, at least two pheasants seem inclined to stay here for good.

When I came walking around the house three days ago to pick the first budding autumn crocus ramsons, there was a hectic flapping of wings and some hooting emanating from a pheasant fleeing into the next garden behind the fence.
After a while I heard some other noises, and discovered that there were two pheasants on the neighbours’ lawn, having a heated discussion concerning territory.
I ran and fetched my cam, but the damned buggers kept moving about so fast that there was always something in my line of vision.
This last photo was the only one I managed to snap off, showing at least one of them, with the other one being behind the neighbours’ rhododendron.

pheasant fighting
pheasant fighting

Looks like they’re moving into the village for good.

.

In other news, there will be a bunch of photo posts coming up shortly.
This is mutating into a photo blog.

Frozen roses

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

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In spite of all the frost and snow we got in January, the sun was rather strong at times. Strong enough at least to melt quite a lot of the snow on our roof.
It seems the segments of our roof gutter don’t fit that tightly just above the roses. Thus, quite a lot of melt water dripped onto the roses, immediately freezing again in the cold air.

Here’s some impressions.

Without words. :)

roses 1

roses 2

roses 3

roses 4

roses 5

roses 6

roses 7

Birdies!

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

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Each winter when there is frost or snow we use the plum tree as a feeding place for the local birds.
“Local birds” being every two-legged, feathered creature in the vicinity, apparently.
It really wouldn’t surprise me (much) if I were to look out and see an ostrich among the assembly.
Even the crows find something acceptable to eat in the form of the fat & seed balls meant for tits1 which they simply drag up to the branch they’re sitting on, clever buggers…

The pigeons are too big and unwieldy to partake of the feed suspended from the tree and too brainless to do as the crows, but luckily the smaller birds are messy eaters, so they don’t have to go hungry either.

fluffed up pigeons
fluffed up pigeons

The deep snow sure made for some funny impressions:

'duck' on a pond
‘duck’ on a pond

Here’s one of the messy eaters:

feeding bird
feeding bird

And if you’d all take a look at the original photo, I have a riddle for you.
Apart from that yellow birdie at the feeding station there is one other bird in the photo. Can you spot it?

feeding bird - riddle
Spot bird number two.

Eyes smarting already? Ok, let’s get on with the photos.
Here’s some sorting through the seed mess on the floor.
Note the duck impression the one in the back is giving. ;)

bird assembly
bird assembly

These two don’t have much going for interspecies relations, stolidly staring off in opposite directions.

not talking
Pigeon and magpie: not talking

Two more birdies feeding:

lookout
lookout

And for those who need it - the solution to the riddle above:

feeding bird - solution
spot the bird - solution

.

  1. The songbirds of that name, Caesar, the songbirds… :P [back]

Winter returns

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

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So, it snowed again today.

After spending some time cussing (with good reason…) and shovelling the snow off the driveway, I grabbed my cam and took a few pics.

Enjoy:

snowy fence
the neighbours’ fence

snowy crown
snow supported on hibiscus seed pods

advancing snow
snow invading the partially roofed backyard

Path, what path? 1
Path?

Path, what path? 2
What path?

the greenhouse
the greenhouse

paw prints 1
paw prints…

paw prints 2
… from the neighbours’ tom

snowy blanket
snowy blanket covering every pot, shrub and barrel

Kasteel Doorwerth - pt. 3 - the surroundings

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

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I may have neither the know-how nor the impressive gear that Kik has, but still we have one thing in common: give us a camera and some nature and we’re happy as a pig in the muck, and cavort around, taking pictures of just about anything.

Which we then did.
As you might have guessed.

I tried to narrow it down to a certain type, but did not succeed, so all I can say is that the following pictures show mallow.

pink flowered mallow
pink flowered mallow

pink flowered mallow, zoomed
zoom on pink flowered mallow

pink flowered mallow, closed buds
closed buds of pink flowered mallow

pink flowered mallow, opening bud
opening bud of pink flowered mallow with bug

white flowered mallow
white flowered mallow

Near a pasture I found a patch of white clover (Trifolium repens), which stunned me somewhat:

giant white clover 1
white clover

“Well, yes, that is white clover,” I hear you say. “Seen it, searched for the four-leaved ones, thanks to those never-quite-dying superstitions… But those are all only trefoil, so what’s the big deal, Mel? Don’t get out much, do you?”

“No, no,” says I, “I know my clover. Actually, we have tons of it growing in our lawn, unfortunately.”

“Well, it looks a bit tatty,” you say, trying to be polite.1

Ok, it seems you’ll never guess, so I’ll just show you, ok?

giant white clover 2
OMG, it’s teh giant man-eating clover, ruuuun!!!

*coughs*
Sorry.
Got a bit carried away there.

Anyway, a bit further on we found some normal sized clover, which came as a bit of a relief for me.

normal white clover
normal white clover, with bee

And there was more - albeit less astounding - flora to see:

thistle
thistle

grain
some grain growing wild, with insect

white campion
white campion (Silene latifolia)

But what’s a foray into nature without some buzzing insects?

soldier beetle
soldier beetle, on flowering goutweed, if I am not totally mistaken

Then someone got it all wrong about photos and how they are taken and alighted on the telephoto lens of Kik’s camera…:

common scorpionfly
common scorpionfly (Panorpa communis) being “photogenic”

Let us now get to the point Pandora has already been demanding in part two of my castle posts:
The shy creatures that were on the pasture I mentioned earlier on.

sheep 1
“Bummer, that two-legged creature found our hiding place…”

sheep 2
“… let’s go, Lizzy.”

landscape 1
And last but not least…

landscape 2
… a bit of a view.

P.S.:

baaa
“Who’re you lookin’ at?!?”

.

  1. I can’t help the feeling that this sounds like the type of conversation I might have with Pandora…. [back]

Kasteel Doorwerth - pt. 2 - the moat and some oddities

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

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Like any good castle the Kasteel Doorwerth of course has a moat.

bridge
moat, bridge and castle

The most important picture I took, I think:

stick
stick beside the moat

through arch
moat, seen through an arch

water lilies
water lilies

ducks
ducks, in and out of focus

plants
some plants, as seen from a bridge

huh?
Anyone got any idea what those baskets are for?

determined plant
determined plant, clinging to the wall of the moat

ugh
Um, ugh, ok….

Push to call…. the Vikings?!?!? Um, better not….

strange device
strange device at one of the doors

garbage
could be so authentic… except for the plastic….

Kasteel Doorwerth - pt. 1 - the castle and the old tree

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

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The day after seeing Disturbed we did not lazily recuperate but drove to a castle that is not very far from Kik’s place: Kasteel Doorwerth.

Dating back to the 13th century (and originally named Kasteel Dorenweerd until around 1800) the castle has been burned and bombed (ahem…) to pieces a few times and has been through the hands of various owners, including German ones through the 17th and 18 century.

These days you can come and gape at the castle and the surrounding landscape, visit a museum situated inside or eat at a restaurant there.
We settled for gaping and snapping photos.

turrets
turrets, as seen over outer wall

court
a view from the inside court

from behind
view from behind

castle gardens
the castle gardens

gate to nowhere
gate to nowhere

Growing inside the the court is a somewhat tattered (*cough, cough*) black locust tree, or false acacia (Robinia pseudoacacia), which is said to be the oldest one in the Netherlands.
Considering that it was apparently planted in the first half of the 17th century, only shortly after the North American tree was introduced to Europe by the Frenchman J. Robin in 1601, this sounds very likely indeed.

close-up 1 Robinia pseudoacacia
close-up 1

close-up 2 Robinia pseudoacacia
close-up 2

close-up 3 Robinia pseudoacacia
close-up 3

Robinia pseudoacacia
false acacia in all its splendor

Another jolly finger post

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

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Welcome, dear readers, to another episode of “Trying to Mutilate Yourself in Six Easy Steps” with Melantrys.

Step 1: Pick a tree that sneakily started to grow on its own behind the lilac. Better yet, pick two.

Step 2: Fetch a spade and start to dig.

Step 3: Dig closer to the trunk by hacking at tree roots with the spade.

Step 4: Forget you are working close to a fence.

Step 5: Hit fence post with a finger in mid-hack. For good measure, don’t just hit the post, but scrape along it as well.

Step 6: Sink to knees while pressing your hand to your chest.

finger 1
Is this my finger joint?

finger 2
Actually, I don’t want this to be my finger, ‘k?

finger 2a
Actually, the whole of the photo is way more horrid than the cutout I posted above (Update 2009/07/10)

It’s a shame, really, that the colour isn’t coming out so well in the photos. In real life the joint is a truly interesting shade of blue.

Update (2009/07/04):

Went to my regular doc yesterday, and he was happy I’d already had x-rays done to rule out a break cos from the looks of my finger he’d have suspected one.

Here’s a pic of my finger today. Add a bit of blue in your mind; the cam’s still eating some of the colour.

I think it’s fascinating how the blood is wandering off into various directions (lower finger joint: purple; upper segment of finger and knuckle: blue to purple to green)….:

finger 3
Look at the pretty colours!!!

The restless are going native

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

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So, is this writer’s block, or plain laziness?
I don’t know, but I’ll try to ramble in a vaguely interesting way for a while.

*sips some Grüne Witwe*

*draws a blank*

Maybe it really is writer’s block then.

Anyway.

My Lilium Erotica has survived the relatively tough winter and shily put forth its first flower today.
The Lilium Perversum looks like it might soon follow. Well, all I can hope for then is that the flowers will distract from the otherwise really sad look of the poor thing.

A good week ago, when I went to water the lilies I discovered that the leaves of the red one were thoroughly riddled with holes.
There were a lot of bright red bugs sitting close to the stem, and they were kind of looking guilty, so I picked them out of the lily, threw them onto a stone and stepped on them. *squish* The few eggs that I found I rubbed between my fingers. *mash* :shifty:
And before you call me evil, firstly, they were responsible for the bedraggled look of my lily, and secondly, despite their nice, friendly colour and all, those bugs gave me the creeps. I had to seriously force myself to reach out and grab each one of them. The German wiki has the best photo; the English one might be more comprehensible to most of you though. ;)

What else….?

Have been working at work, and here at home weeding, weeding, weeding…. Why do weeds grow so much better and faster than pretty, pretty flowers and veggies, eh?!

Got a variety of tomato plants inside the greenhouse and out, also peppers sweet and hot, chilis, eggplants, freaky decorative eggplants, courgettes in light green, yellow and “white” (Thank you “Uncle Bob” Bobby Seeds!), and round ones.

Furthermore we ordered some stuff from a mailorder gardening shop: thornless brambles, a blueberry shrub, figs, interesting strawberries, and an ‘erb with annoying habits.

When the plants arrived in early spring, I planted them all out into the garden. The spring starflower, which they are selling here as Andean garlic, was already merrily in bloom. As the flowers are edible too, they made for nice deco on the odd salad. :)
Then the first one seemed to dry off and die. Shortly afterwards, the second did the same. The third and last held on a little longer and appears to be lying in its death throes now.
But.
Little green shoots are suddenly growing out of two empty patches in my herb bed and out of the middle of the “dying” third plant.
From what I just read when I went picture-hunting, that’s absolutely normal behaviour for that plant…. ‘K.

And a last garden thing…
For my birthday I got a flowerpot from the neighbours. Guess it was on discount, as it looked rather Easterly, with a huge fake white egg and a bow made out of greenery stuck into the middle of it… :lol:
Anyway, the main inhabitant of the pot was a hydrangea with white flowers. A, not to put too fine a point on it, shrub. Growing rather nicely out of the 20 by 20cm pot it came in.
Once the weather was stable enough for me to dare allow it out into the wilderness, I got a surprise. Most of the room inside the pot was taken up by plastic foil. The actual inner pot size was about 8cm.
The kind of pot I put my veggie seedlings in.
So.
What kind of plant hating gardener puts a shrub into such a small pot?
I don’t have to mention that it contained more roots than soil, do I?

Oh my, now this is almost a pure garden post.
You poor readers. :P

Let me quickly add another topic:
Music.
These days I am listening to a lot of Malicorne, while occasionally cussing the fact that they don’t exist anymore.
If someone invents a time machine, please let me know, I’d really have liked to see those guys live.
*sighs*

Here’s some “videos”. Enjoy the songs (hopefully)!

A capella:
Le Prince d’Orange

Quand je menai mes chevaux boire

Branle/La Peronelle

La fiancée du timbalier

And for those with more than 10 minutes to spare:
La fille aux chansons (Marion s’y promène)

Now it’s almost 1am, I am feeling tired and headachy and almost sure that the title of this post is more amusing than the post itself. ;)

Good night, everyone!

A peace offering…

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

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… to all my impatient readers:

A few photos of a recent sunrise:

sunrise 1
the sunrise of…

sunrise 2
… last week’s Sunday

A word to the wise: Never, ever get a bathroom that faces east.
Or west for that matter, I suppose.
Or anywhere that might turn out to be a good subject for a photo.

Let’s just say things were quite urgent by the time I was done with running to fetch the cam and shooting photos. ;)