Kittiwake kittiwake!

The cliffs along Marine Drive, Scarborough, are bare and strangely quiet now that winter is coming. The kittiwakes have long since left and are far away, over the ocean. Only a pair of lonely peregrine falcons keep watch on the cliffs now, waiting patiently for their sandeel-packed lunches to return in the new year! According…

Bumbler bees and foxgloves

Sometimes when you take a photograph you only notice something unusual about it when you come to examine the image closely on the computer. I took this image of a foxglove flower – something about the inside of the flower caught my attention – but it was only when I looked closely at the image…

Shiny bronze beetle

I came across this attractive ground beetle in Galicia, Spain. It was quite large, over an inch long (at c. 27 mm), with an attractive bronze sheen (1). Its taxonomic name is Carabus (Ctenocarabus) melancholicus costatus Germar, 1824, and occurs in the northern half of the Iberian Peninsula (2). Further south in Spain, there are two other subspecies: R. m.…

Grasshopper legs

I came across this grasshopper at a site I have blogged about before, called Punta Corveira. This beautiful headland is located on the north coast of Galicia – between Cedeira and Valdoviño – in Galicia, Spain. In spring and summer it is covered with wild flowers, and one can see many interesting birds, including red-billed chough,…

A weird and wonderful plant

This very strange-looking flower originates from South Asia, where it occurs from Bhutan to Bangladesh. There are more than 500 species in the genus Clerodendrum L. (Family: Lamiaceae), widely distributed in tropical and subtropical regions. Many of these small trees and shrubs are used in traditional medicine and are known to be active against ‘a wide…

Rose of the jungle

I came across this amazing flower – rose of Venezuela, or rose of the jungle – in Bogor Botanical Gardens, Java, Indonesia. It originates from South America, where for millions of years it existed as  understorey plant of Amazonian rain forests (endemic to Brazil, Ecuador, Honduras, Venezuela and Colombia). Once discovered by Man, it has…