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,…

Northern Gannets at Bempton cliffs

Northern Gannets at Bempton cliffs. The great news about gannets – the northern gannet (Sula bassana) – is that their numbers are increasing (2). With all the horror stories about wildlife suffering depredations – mainly at the hands of Man – around the world today, its uplifting to find a species that is actually thriving. They…

Northern Gannets at Bempton cliffs

Gannets are amazing! Not only are they sublimely beautiful – well the adults are, perhaps not the chicks! – but they exhibit such marvellous aerial behaviour: soaring flight, hovering and plunge diving. Northern gannets only lay one egg and they take very good care of their offspring, brooding the chick to keep it warm and…

A carrot by the sea!

This attractive member of the Carrot family (Umbelliferae) grows near the sea on rocky cliffs and headlands. Perhaps it likes the views! It’s hard to imagine a more aesthetically pleasing shape than this globe of tiny white flowers! Sea carrot (Daucus carota subsp. gummifer) is a subspecies of wild carrot; the central umbel is white…

Forest walk

Visitors to Chiang Mai usually head up the mountain to visit Wat Doi Sutep. Beautiful and impressive though this temple is, it can get quite crowded on weekends and holidays. But just beyond the temple, and hardly visited at all, is a lovely peaceful national park (Doi Sutep-Pui NP) where it is possible to walk…

Darwin’s finches: evolving into the future

A recent paper published in the journal Nature, reports the results of sequencing the genomes of all fourteen of the so-called Darwin’s finches, found on the  Galápagos islands (1). These, now famous bird species evolved from a common ancestor as recently as 1.5 million years ago (possibly 2.3 mya) according to previous mitochondrial DNA dating, adapting to…

A sea-going lizard

Marine iguanas (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) have probably been living happily on the Galápagos islands for over 10 million years (1).  The first human being they saw was the Bishop of Panama in 1535 (2).  I don’t suppose they took much notice!  They look to me like they are not easy to impress.  I guess 10 million…