A tangled bank or two

“It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex…

Little blue Spanish belle

I have been trying to identify this lovely little blue flower which I see all the time when in Galicia, Spain. At first I decided it was Scrambling Gromwell (Lithodora diffusa), also known as Lithospermum diffusa (which is a synonym or alternative name), a species which occurs in the Iberian Peninsula (1). It is also…

Broomrapes are funny plants

Broomrapes, or broom-rapes, are parasitic plants which grow on the roots of other plants, such as ivy, vetch or clover. They are native to temperate regions in the northern hemisphere and the family (Orobanchaceae) contains a single genus with more than 200 species. I regularly see two species when I visit northern Spain, Ivy Broomrape…

Pond skaters on the Rio Sor

I was first attracted to these insects by the dancing patterns on the river bottom as I walked along the Rio Sor (of which more in another blog) in Galicia, northern Spain.  The shadows were cast by the reflections of indentations or depressions in the water surface made by pond skaters (also called water striders). As…

Don’t eat me: I’m poisonous!

Some of the most beautiful colour patterns in nature are in fact, warnings. The yellow and black colouration of the wasp is a classic example. Another appealing combination of colours to our eyes, is black and red. These so-called, aposematic colourations are screaming out to would-be predators, saying watch out, I am poisonous! You will not…

The Tawny mime is a mimic!

The Tawny Mime (Papilio agestor Gray, 1831) is a tropical papilionid butterfly with a wide distribution, from Pakistan across northern India, Nepal and Bhutan and down through Myanmar into south-east Asia as far as peninsular Malaysia. It is usually found in hilly areas, between 1200 and 2500 m, such as the foothills of the Himalayas. …

Views from the top of the mountain

It was rather cold and misty when I visited Doi Inthanon – the highest mountain in Thailand – in early November (08/11/2013).  The mists were swirling around the mountain near the top on the Kew Mae Pan Nature Trail, where these photographs were taken. The mist (clouds!) were moving about and the scene changed from…

More gibbon photos!

Posting a few more photos of this lar or White-handed gibbon (Hylobates lar) from Chiang Mai Zoo.  This gibbon must see hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of humans every day, so he does not take much interest in people as we stand there trying to catch his attention.  Only the click of the camera shutter seemed to…

Chiang Mai Zoo

Chiang Mai zoo is a large (200-acre) zoo, just north of the University in Chiang Mai, on the Huay Kaew Road which leads up the mountain (Doi Sutep). Apart from the caged animals, it is quite a good place to look out for wild birds and insects, or just to have a good walk (but…