Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Birds on the Hainberg area

Some birds from the Hainberg, a nature protected area near Nuremberg. The birds are shy, with a high escape distance (there are many joggers, mountains bikers and dogs) but I had the luck to see a Cuckoo and a Winchat.

Common Cuckoo on the Hainberg
A calling Cuckoo.

Common Kestrel  on the Hainberg
Waiting for food, a Kestrel.

Common Starling on the Hainberg
Starlings are one of the most common birds on the Hainberg.

Winchat on the Hainberg
The Winchat
Linked with Wild Bird Wednesday.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Roselle plants

The Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is a species of Hibiscus coming from West Africa. The plant is used for many different purposes; the red calyx or fruit is for the production of juice, tea or other beverages. I have seen the field in Gambia and later, back in Germany, I saw the dried flowers in stores for sale as tea.

a field with roselle plants
A field with roselle plants in Gambia.

 fruits of roselle plants on a field in Gambia
The fruits of roselle plants.

roselle plant macro photo
Roselle plant
Shared with I Heart Macro and Macro Monday.

Chimpanzees in the Kalinzu Forest

The Kalinzu Forest is a protected area in western Uganda near the Queen Elisabeth National Park and famous for his chimpanzees. Beside the Bwindi National Park with the Mountain Gorillas, the Forest is one the highlights for safaris in Uganda; it is fascinating to see the chimpanzees in the wild.
I made the photos on a guided tour some years ago. The chimpanzees are habituated but they are not so peaceful and close to see, like the mountain gorillas. We had a two hour trek through dense forests and had the great luck to find a group of 8 apes including a mother with child. They were hidden in the trees and made, in the first moments, a very aggressive impression with a lot of yelling, jumping around and throwing branches after us. After a few minutes they have calmed down and we were able to watch them about 20 minutes; before they disappeared in the forest.

Chimpanzee in the Kalinzu Forest in Uganda
He is watching us, a chimp in the trees.

Chimp in the Kalinzu Forest in Uganda
He's exited about us. 

Chimpanzee mother with child in the Kalinzu Forest
A young artist; a Chimpanzee mother with child.

Chimpanzees in the Kalinzu Forest in Uganda
These two were probably the leaders of the group.

To see the chimps is not guaranteed, in the guest book of the park administration were many entries of groups who saw no animals. The walk through the forest is great, the dense vegetation with tree ferns and an almost closed canopy make a unique atmosphere. We saw only few other animals; some fast black and white Colobus monkeys and Olive Baboons living on the edge of the forest (our guide told us, that the move into the forest by farming pressure).

Olive Baboons in the Kalinzu Forest in Uganda
Hidden; Olive Baboons in the Kalinzu Forest.

Inside the Kalinzu Forest in Uganda
In the Kalinzu Forest.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Cloudy sky

This was the sky last week as a storm raised. We have always rapidly changing weather in April and the change between blue skies and rain can go fast. In this case, the hail came within a few minutes.

a cloudy sky in southern Germany
Cloudy sky.

rain front
The rain comes.

rain comes

Shared with Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The lichen acid of the Common Orange Lichen under the microscope

The lichen acids of the Common Orange Lichen (Xanthoria parietina) under the microscope. The small crystals are extracted by sublimation from the lichen.

The lichen acid of Xanthoria parietina under the microscope
The lichen acid of Xanthoria parietina  under a microscope (200x and polarized light).

Common Orange Lichen (Xanthoria parietina) on a tree
Common Orange Lichen (Xanthoria parietina).

Canada Goose

Canada Goose
A Canada Goose on the river of Main in southern Germany.
Linked with Wordless Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Common Firecrests

I was lucky to see some Common Firecrests last weekend. They are one of our smallest birds with just 9 cm in length. In my area they are relatively rare, life hidden in dense spruce forests and can sometimes observed at forest edges. We had a fast meeting and they disappeared in the bushes. It was almost night and the light conditions were medium.

Common Firecrest (Regulus ignicapilla)
Hidden in a spruce.

Common Firecrest in  tree
Common Firecrest (Regulus ignicapilla)

Common Firecrests in a tree
Common Firecrests.
Linked with Wild Bird Wednesday.

Eating Muskrats

I have seen this couple of muskrats last week in a small lake. Their main interest was eat, swim and eat more; with a curious style of swimming. One lay without moving in the water and stuck her tail in the height.

Muskrat swimming in a lake
Swimming muskrat.

Muskrat swimming and eating in a lake.
Muskrat swimming and eating .

Muskrat swimming and eating in southern Germany.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Gravitropism by Fomitopsis pinicola

This is an old Red Banded Polypore (Fomitopsis pinicola) that’s grown on a spruce. After the tree was overturned, he had to change the grow direction. The process is called gravitropism and means a turning of growth in response to gravity. 

Fomitopsis pinicola with gravitropism
Red Banded Polypore (Fomitopsis pinicola) with gravitropism.
 Linked with Macro Monday.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Cardinal Woodpeckers

It was a brief encounter in Gambia. First I saw only a red spot in an old tree and recognized the Cardinal Woodpecker.


Cardinal Woodpecker in a tree in Gambia
Cardinal Woodpeker in a tree.

 Then came the female and replaced the male in the tree.

Female Cardinal Woodpecker in Gambia
The female.


Cardinal Woodpeckers in Gambia
Cardinal Woodpeckers.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Moonwalk

The moon seen during a walk last week.

the moon in the forest

Moon in the forest

Linked with Skywatch Friday.

Food under a microscope

This is a collection of posts with photos of food or food compounds under a microscope. Many of them are chemicals used as additive for conservation or coloring. The photos are made on a polarization microscope and show crystallized, dry samples. The structures become colored and visible by the polarized light. Few are extracted by micro-sublimation (like caffeine). Sometimes it's incredible what we eat every day, some samples form very aesthetic and surprising structures. The collection has no scientific purpose and is made of samples that can be found in products of daily life.

Sugar under the microscope
Vanillin sugar.
The collection is in alphabetical order and will be expanded in the near future:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Hypogymnia physodes and lichen acid

The lichen Hypogymnia physodes is very common in Germany. It grows on trees bark with a low pH or on trees grown on silicate soils. This specimen was grown on an old stup.
Hypogymnia physodes macro photo
Hypogymnia physodes 

The lichen has no fluorescence or color changes under ultraviolet light, like other lichen.

Hypogymnia physodes under ultraviolet light
Hypogymnia physodes in ultraviolet light (254 nm).

Lichens are small chemical supermarkets. The constituents are called lichen acids and can involve more than 600 different chemicals. This is the lichen acid of the Hypogymnia physodes lichen extracted by micro-sublimation. It is made of small white crystals in polarized light.

Hypogymnia physodes lichen acid
The lichen acid of  Hypogymnia physodes (200x).

Monday, April 14, 2014

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