Readers’ wildlife photos

We have a two-part post today. The first is not about wildlife, but about Hurricane Ophelia that is besieging the west coast of Ireland. Its effects are being felt all over the UK, though. Matthew reported that the skies in Manchester were dark and the sun looked red.  Here’s a report from London by reader Mark Jones, whose words are indented.

I thought you might like these. Yesterday Hurricane Ophelia dragged some Saharan dust up across the UK, giving some typical London scenes an eerie orange glow. I was visiting Hampstead in N London expecting the forecasted blue skies. Everyone was discombobulated!

This is Hampstead Heath (home of a great pub, the Spaniards Inn):

The stately home is Kenwood House on the north side of Hampstead Heath, dating originally from the early 17th century.

The Hampstead street is Streatley Place.

And Stephen Barnard of Idaho sent some “funny photos”. The descriptions are his:

1. Going green. [He apparently bought a Tesla.]

2. Experimenting with fish-eye photography. Spot the net.

3. Great Blue Heron [Ardea herodias] caught a vole. Natural selection.

4. Hitch with crazy eyes, mid shake after cooling off in the creek.

5. Check out this move, ladies! Sandhill cranes [Antigone canadensis]:


  1. BJ
    Posted October 17, 2017 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    That hurricane made for some amazing pictures. Hampstead Heath looks like a lovely place. I would like to see it some time.

    • Posted October 17, 2017 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      Well worth a visit. It’s a small world – I was brought up within walking distance of the heath, and worked in the Spaniards during my Uni holidays as a barman. That was 40 years ago, though:-(

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted October 17, 2017 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Be prepared if you go out on Hampstead Heath. For petty much anything. Wombles you’re safe from (Wimbledon Common for them, IIRC) but … well … and exciting or interesting range of human (mis-) behaviours are likely to be on display. If the press reports I see are half-way correct.

      • BJ
        Posted October 17, 2017 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

        This is all very cryptic. I’m not sure if the things I should expect are fun things or horrifying things…

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted October 17, 2017 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

          Depends on what you find fun and what you find horrifying.
          No, it doesn’t help.

        • Steve Bracker
          Posted October 18, 2017 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

          Yes indeed. Soviet agents blowing away poor General Vladimir, and George Smiley poking about amongst the trees looking for clues. Seems just yesterday… Had there been wombles around, they might have recycled the evidence before Smiley found it and changed the whole course of history.

  2. Randy schenck
    Posted October 17, 2017 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Crazy dog. Assume that is a fast charge set up in the garage for the Tesla? Wondering what size breaker you need for that – 30, 40?

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted October 17, 2017 at 8:45 am | Permalink


      • Randy schenck
        Posted October 17, 2017 at 8:58 am | Permalink

        Oh, I guess it’s necessary to put in another box. Not many have 100 amp to spare.

        Thanks for the info.

        • phoffman56
          Posted October 17, 2017 at 9:16 am | Permalink

          The Volt (see below) with much smaller battery, charges on ordinary household 110-120 volts overnight.

          But it’s 3 times faster on 240 volts if desired. This can be done apparently for about $150 at home, no need to buy any expensive stuff. But be sure of yourself and your home insurance if you don’t pay an electrician and buy a fancy charger.

          • Stephen Barnard
            Posted October 17, 2017 at 10:34 am | Permalink

            I have a 240v plug-in at my cabin in Stanley. I’m told that the Tesla charger ($500) is friendlier to the car’s battery, but that may be a myth. I used a supercharger (free for my lifetime) for the first time in Boise, which is just out of my round-trip range.

      • Liz
        Posted October 17, 2017 at 10:04 am | Permalink

        Nice. Very nice. I test drove one once and it was incredible. I have a Prius.

  3. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted October 17, 2017 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    ASCII characters on a screen cannot express* the delicious mood of those England pics.

    *Why does iOS autocorrect “express” to “Express”? And why am I asking here?

  4. KD33
    Posted October 17, 2017 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Twice I’ve seen a Great Blue Heron stalk gophers in a field behind our house. They stood quietly for some time, then stabbed their big beaks downward. The then pointed the beak straight up into the air and held it there for a few minutes as the poor rodent presumably slid down the gullet.

  5. phoffman56
    Posted October 17, 2017 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    “Going green. [He apparently bought a Tesla.]”


    My 3-month old Chev Volt is not pure electric, but in 5000km (>3000 miles) it’s done 87% pure electric. Seems like Chev’s claim to do 85km, before any engine, is true, maybe it’s even better: in warmer weather anyway, we’ve been getting 95. I was able to get 115km one time without driving below speed limit and being annoying. But winter will likely drag it down, though unlikely below 85. As hybrid, seems like near 50 miles per US gallon, so pretty good. Haven’t got round yet to filling the tank for only the second time.

    Just one criticism: they shouldn’t have called their pure electric one the “Bolt”.

    Above sounds like a sly advert, but it isn’t, just an encouragement to those with the resources, and need to renew their car.

    Because of ground-based heat pump and charging the Volt battery (overnight–it costs about $1.15CAD, i.e. < $1US), my solar panels no longer give the grid more than I use. But tradeoff, for << pollution, is more than worth it.

    I must admit Ontario rebates and panel energy payments help a lot, probably more than needed to get people going, me anyway. But better to do it, once their policies have been instituted, despite thinking maybe ⅓ less would be best.

    Stephen Barnard's pics are extraordinarily good, aren't they?

  6. Liz
    Posted October 17, 2017 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    The first three pictures are beautiful.

  7. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted October 17, 2017 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    On the East coast here, just moderately high winds overnight. Much reduced now.
    It’s almost 30 year to the day sine my first trip offshore, when we got hit by the “not-a-hurricane” so infamously mis-forecast by Michael Fish. At 60ft drilling draft, though stood off with a hurricane packer in the string for an emergency unlatch, we were getting foot of water swashing the main deck when a wave came up through the drilling or diving moonpools. Very peaky though- 6 hours later we were “back on bottom and boring a cranium,” to quote the day’s operations log.

  8. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted October 17, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    All excellent pictures. Strange to see a hurricane heading that way, but I suppose such things will be getting more common.

    • Jonathan Wallace
      Posted October 17, 2017 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      I believe it is very unusual for a hurricane to develop so far east in the Atlantic. By the time it reached Ireland it was no longer a hurricane but still a very severe storm (and proved itself capable of wreaking considerable damage including, sadly, three deaths). It is not uncommon for hurricanes from the western Atlantic to head north-east across the Atlantic once they have finished ravaging the Caribbean region but they lose energy on the way and by the time they reach the British Isles have declined to mere storms.

      The strange yellow/red sky we experienced in Britain yesterday were – as noted above – the result of dust from the Sahara in the air streams but this was also augmented by smoke from forest fires currently burning in Portugal.

  9. Jenny Haniver
    Posted October 17, 2017 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    I could (and do) get lost in reverie contemplating that fish eye.

  10. Posted October 17, 2017 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Nice photos Stephen. Love the fisheye! 🙂

  11. Mark R.
    Posted October 17, 2017 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful photos in Hampstead Heath. Even without the eerie light they would be great, but the light really picks them up.

    At first I thought it was a frog eye, silly me. I guess the Tesla averages out the Cobra. 😉

  12. Posted October 17, 2017 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Jerry, and thanks for the kind comments folks!

  13. Posted October 17, 2017 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Great photos!

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