Om Mani Padme Hum – the sacred lotus

ओं मणिपद्मे हूं Om Mani Padme Hum (‘the gem of truth lies in the lotus’). The lotus is an extraordinary plant; beautiful and mysterious. Seeds of this plant were still viable and successfully germinated, after lying dormant for over a thousand years (1,288 ± 271-yr-old) in an ancient lake bed at Pulantien, in Liaoning Province, China (1).…

Mollusc musings

“It’s a lovely day” said the snail. “Yes” said the slug. “It’s been raining all day and everything is damp and wet”! “I think I’ll slide off for a bite to eat” said the snail. “Watch you don’t slip up” giggled the slug. “With that shell and all”! “What’s the forecast?” said the snail. “Brilliant;…

A young turnstone

I came across this turnstone on the edge of the Ria Ortigueira. It was busily feeding – yes they really do turn over stones! – looking for invertebrates (insects, crustaceans, molluscs) along the shoreline. It looked young, and was extremely ‘confiding’ as bird watchers say. Almost fool hardy in fact; not flying or moving away…

Heron food

  I watched this Grey heron (Ardea cinerea) feeding in the Ria Ortigueira, Galicia, Spain,one evening this week.  It suddenly picked up what looked like a ‘beakful’ of seaweed and algae from the shallow water. After a series of deft manoeuvres, it managed to dislodge the vegetation, whilst still retaining its prey, which was probably…

New gulls on the block!

I have watched the new Herring Gulls growing up this summer in Scarborough. Starting off as ugly ducklings (gullings!) on the roofs where they hatched out, waiting for their parents to come back and feed them something tasty. They are still begging in September, when their parents fly past, but they are learning to fend…