Monday, 13 July 2015

harry the crab

First up there's this video from the dip at Ravensheugh. Think of it like modern art where not much happens and you'll be less disappointed. Mary's comment: why are you wearing a white jumper. The camera was a paranoid distance from the action and water since it wasn't the waterproof job. It was VERY invigorating, but you had to be there. (Note: there's a gull diving into the water on the right hand side at 33s)

That was Friday. On Saturday Mary and I returned to Gullane for a wee run and a swim. The Tri in Sept means we have to become familiar with swimming half a k in a wetsuit. Sometimes this seems possible, other times less so. I think the secret is becoming au fait with the kit so that on the day it is all second nature. Anyway first we went for a run. I was still in butterfly mode - the abundance of wildflowers and grasses all burgeoning from the rain and warmth seems to have encouraged a large army of bugs and butterflies to go on manoeuvres.

On the way to Gullane we stopped off in Causewayside to drop off 2 bikes I no longer use that were just taking up space in the hall. The Bike Station will either recondition them or use them for spare parts. As we were leaving we noticed the above portal to another dimension.

about to go pop

They are so pointing their cameras in the wrong direction.

Small Tortoiseshell

Burnet time

I used to think the (6 spot) Burnet was rare. Mainly because you will only see them June and July. (It is a daylight moth often confused for a butterfly.) However they are quite abundant at the moment and I like them loads because they don't fly away at the merest provocation. ie they don't mind a camera being shoved in their faces. Quite like the Cinnabar Moth I had on my hand last week, especially in flight: red underwings visible as they go past with a light buzz. I was assuming these were the 6 spotted variety. Only some seemed to have fewer than 6 spots. Turns out there are loads of different sorts. They might be the 5 Spot Burnet or the Narrow Bordered 5 Spot Burnet. Life was easier when there was only the 6 Spot. Here is a pdf with lots of confusing information. I'm just going to drop the numbered forename. The reason they aren't flighty is they contain cyanide making them bad to eat. The colours warn of this so they don't have to fly away from predators or cameras. 

Don't know what these tiny dudes were - Mary was trying to stretch to get out some gas or shift Falko's (allegedly "moist" Yoghurt) Scone (no raisin brioche left today) so I looked for bugs in the long grass while she took a breather on the pavement.

Meadow Brown
These plane janes of the grasslands are also very difficult to pin down for long enough for a portrait. I think this one was asleep in the long grass and I saw it before it saw me. 

Bee for Mary

Mary asked why I wasn't snapping the bees. Just a bit boring really. And commonplace. Yes I know the earth will grind to a halt the day after they buzz off for good but frankly they don't have much of an aesthetic or (as yet) rarity value. Also I think the whole bee-less world collapsing is another science scare story like global warming and giant tsunamis. Its not that I am in denial of the possibilities, its just, well, you know how these telly folk like to peddle cockwash about giant asteroids and how we are on the brink of imminent demise pretty much constantly. Whether it is a new ice age or being burnt to a crisp, or both at the same time, or one because of the other, or one inside the other. At least when they bring out a film like Sharknado you know where you stand. Wow I just googled Sharknado and there is Sharknado2 and 3 already. I love the strap line for the original, "Enough Said". As Rotten Tomatoes reported: "Proudly, shamelessly, and gloriously brainless, Sharknado redefines 'so bad it's good' for a new generation."


Now if the varieties of Burnet were sent to test us then the Fritillaries are just having a laugh. Firstly they do not hang about for a photo: this was the better of 2 duff efforts as half a dozen frittered by. They are fab and orange and this one maybe hilariously either a Dark Green Fritillary or a High Brown one. How do you tell the difference? Here's the heads up from UK Butterflies...

Dark Green F                  High Brown F
And there are at least 4 more near identical Fritillaries.

For many more laughs in telling identical butterflies apart here is a page of beauties. (Highly recommend the Essex Skipper vs Small Skipper, former having black underside to his antennae tips (not brown!!!)) I am going to go back to just posting photos of dead things on the beach.

So into wetsuits and into the water. About 16' warm today and a bit choppy. But we both made good progress and were in for maybe 20 minutes. The tide was out which gives one the opportunity to see more interesting things on the sea bed if you swim out a short way. One of the reasons Mary was keen to get a decent waterproof camera was because she had made the acquaintance of Harry the Crab sometime end of last year. And she wanted to go back for a photo. I had a feeling today was the day so swam out a bit and holding my breath scoured the depths. I was wearing my scuba goggles from the dive shop which are too large for proper swimming (must get some decent swim goggles) too ugly for photos but give you a glorious 3D panorama of the underwateryness. Sure enough there was Harry and his friend Philip the Flounder, looking at me with both his eyes on the same side of his face. The video I took looks like the last reel shot by a non-survivor of the Titanic and I think there is quite a bit of room for improvement. But I did channel Steve Irwin briefly. I will try and screen grab from the video a double portrait of Harry and Philip. 

I can't really wear the widescreen mask close to the beach because the large nose-covering seal looks like revenge reconstructive surgery. 

Harry and Philip

I had another look at the video and when slowed down and tweaked and cut it is no worse than you'd see in a contemporary art gallery. And it's strength is brevity. I will post it below shortly. I had to slow down Philip the Flounder by a factor of ten to display his prompt exit when I got too close. And I love the way Harry is totally up for a pagger - pincers up - come ahead if you think you are hard enough!

Nearly forgot, Mary got a new towelling beach robe. She has been hankering for one for ages but was disappointed the adult designs weren't as funky as the children's. Since they are basically 2 large towels stitched together with holes for your arms we might have to make our own, assuming we can get some technicolor towelling. Not just stylish they are of great assistance if you are not keen on getting naked and exposing yourself in the car park as Mary demonstrates....

practical AND stylish

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