Monday, August 29, 2011

Wildflowers of Sweden's alpine region... help with ID on two if you can...

collage of images as described
It seems my notes weren't as complete as I'd thought... I know the Common Yellow Violet and the Forget-me-not... but I do not know the two flowers on the right side of the collage (see ADDENDUM below for update on one of the unknowns). Click the collage for larger view; for the two unknowns, a closer view of the top right and/or bottom right may help with an ID if you think you know either of them. And if you do, please advise! And thanks for looking. I will be traveling soon and may find it difficult to post while on travel. In the meantime, this is my post for Macro Monday over at Lisa's Chaos... come on over and join the fun!

ADDENDUM: As montucky pointed out, this looks like Bunchberry dogwood (Cornus canadensis) and is, in fact, its sister species, the Swedish Cornel (Cornus suecica). According to one reference I found, "both have flowers that bloom explosively." And if you thought it looked like a dogwood blossom, you won't be surprised to know that this tiny shrub is a member of the dogwood family.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Backyard Birds... Spring and Summer, 2011

Hope I make the deadline for World Bird Wednesday... whether or not I do, you should check it out! Feel free to click the collages to see a larger image of each.

collage of images as described
Female Cardinal wondering what I'm doing; male Cardinal escaping from the deck and male House Finch posing.

collage of images as described
Female (or young?) House Sparrow doing who knows what... have never seen such a pose! I put out some bread crumbs and blueberries on the table outside... the Sparrows didn't know what to make of the blueberries and left them behind when eating the breadcrumbs... I'm not sure which of the many birds visiting my garden finally ate the blueberries. Maybe a bluejay! In the last image, I imagine the sparrow is yelling to come and get it before he eats all of it!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Hoverfly approaching wildflower... whirr of wings... Sweden, 2011.

Oh dear... it's very late in the evening, or early in the morning... and I just realized I need a post for Macro Monday over at Lisa's Chaos... so here you go! If you haven't stopped by yet to check out the lovely macro images, do stop by and have a look.

hoverfly on approach to wildflowerThis is an image from our visit to the Västerbottens open air museum in Gammlia, Umeå, Sweden. If you'd like to read more about that visit, please check my vacation blog. As for this image, I just happened to wander over to some lovely flowers for a closer look and spotted the hoverfly... I've never managed to capture one 'on the move' before so hope you like this!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Busy bee on wildflower... High Coast of Sweden, 2011.

Still wading through images from my trip to Sweden in mid-June... posted another day of travel on my other blog if you want to have a look. In the meantime, here are a couple of bumble-bee images from our visit to the High Coast area of Sweden. This bee is different from our bumble-bees here in the US and I don't know the wildflower either!

bumble-bee on wildflower
Busy Bumble-bee on unknown wildflower.

bumble-bee in flight
Busy Bumble-bee heading off to visit somewhere else...

I'll be posting this to Macro Monday over at Lisa's Chaos... come on over and join the fun!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sharp-shinned Hawk revisited... from the winter of 2011.

In March, as some of you may recall, I posted a single image from a series of images captured while photographing a Sharp-shinned Hawk perched in a neighbor's silver maple. He was EXTREMELY interested in the House Sparrows that he could see and hear cheeping in fear while 'hiding' down below him in the brambles of a wild rose bush that is about 10 feet in diameter and over 7 feet tall. The sparrows were either gathered on the ground or perched on the lowest limbs of the rose bush and were inaccessible as far as the raptor was concerned.

I was having breakfast when I spotted him on a cold day in March so I grabbed my camera and dashed outside, hoping to not spook him. He was clearly more interested in the sparrows than any silly photographer and I snapped pictures until I nearly froze because I'd run out without putting on a coat or gloves! While revisiting these images the other day, it occurred to me that some of them tell a story so here you go.

Is this my best side?
Or is this?
OK, I can hear the sparrows... but where are they?
What? Those sparrows are hiding in the rose brambles???
That's too bad... I think I'll see what's on the other side of the garden.
Aren't you tired of taking pictures yet?!
Between the previous perch and this one, he landed within 10 feet of me on the fence... I don't know who was more surprised between the two of us... the hawk or me! He didn't stay long here and by the time he landed here, I'd been out for 20 minutes or more in freezing cold so was finished taking pictures anyway!

I'll be posting this to World Bird Wednesday later on... if you haven't found your way there yet, do drop by and have a look!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Mystery Flower from travels in northern Sweden - 2011

In the category of you can please some of the people some of the time but you cannot please all of the people all of the time... at least one of you expressed appreciation for my images being posted full size rather than the smaller size used for the previous post. And although I quite agree, I am going to continue posting smaller size because people using an iPad to view my images won't see the larger ones properly.

I appreciate the suggestions I've received about Google's blog code doing things automatically... but I hacked the template I'm using now when I first started writing my blogs because NONE of the templates worked to display the images 'out of the box' the way I wanted to display them. One of these days, I will investigate using a different blog template to see if I can resolve this dilemma. In the meantime, I'm happy to have worked out the code to allow you to click the smaller image to reveal the full size one!

This lovely little wildflower is one of many we saw in northern Sweden while hiking with our cousins near their home in Vägsele and again near their summer home in Tärnaby. I had written down the name, both common and Latin, but have no idea what happened to those notes. If any of you know what this is, please enlighten me. (Addendum: august2011 of August Break knew that Melampyrum pratense is commonly called Cow-wheat and kindly supplied the ID for me!) The tiny, tubular flowers are approximately .75 inches (20 cm) in length and the plant is low to the ground and grows in forests. (I cannot recall whether or not we also saw it growing in full sun.)

I'll be posting this to Macro Monday over at Lisa's Chaos... come on over and check it out.