Jessica’s Nature Blog is written by Jessica M. Winder who has a background of ecological studies in both the museum and the research laboratory, is passionate about the natural world right on our doorstep, enthusiastic about capturing its beauty through photography – wanting to open the eyes of everyone to the fascination of nature.   

COPYRIGHT STATEMENT © Jessica M. Winder and Jessica’s Nature Blog, 2009-2020. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including both text and photographs, without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jessica Winder and Jessica’s Nature Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  

Jessica can be contacted by e-mail at

Jessica M. Winder  


153 Replies to “About Jessica”

  1. Hi, Rob

    Thank you so much for your comments. I am very pleased that you like the blog. I get a great deal of enjoyment from walking the beaches, taking pictures and writing about what I find – as I guess you do too. I must have a look at your own blog.

  2. Hi Jessica,

    You left a comment on my blog back in February, which I’m sorry to say was ‘captured’ as spam, and I’m afraid I do a terrible job of reading through the things so marked, so I only saw it today. I’m *very* happy to have heard from you though, and sorry that I didn’t respond earlier.

    I had actually taken down the post about the survival of different oyster valves, as I had only used very small assemblages which I didn’t think was wonderful from a statistical point of view, and I’m now in the process of going through all the published reports I have with a view to trying again (the right valves ARE in the lead). I shall let you know when I’ve finished that. It’s also worth noting that aside from one Romano-British assemblage, the valves I had used were all from post-medieval contexts. Did you ever look over your results?

    I took a moment to look at a few of your pictures and was absolutely delighted by them. I try to visit the Dorset coast every couple of weeks, and have seen many similar sights to the ones you’ve captured so well here, and I’ll certainly be subscribing to your blog’s feed.

    Thanks for getting in touch.

  3. Hi, Matt
    It’s good to hear from you.
    Back in February, I did have a look at some of the figures I had for better oyster shell right valve survival in archaeological deposits. I have a lot of unpublished as well as published data. The results did seem to confirm my original assertion. I will send you the information as soon as I can find it again – it’s at the bottom of the filing heap somewhere. Over time I have examined a substantial number of oyster shells from samples dating from a range of periods from Roman to Post-Medieval and ‘modern’ – so the data is fairly comprehensive.
    I am pleased that you like my nature blog. I really enjoy writing it. Thank you for your kind comments.
    I’ll contact you shortly with my oyster findings.

  4. Hi Jessica
    I keep stumbling across your blog and am most impressed.
    You take some wonderful pictures, just beautiful, but I also love the depth of your knowledge on all the things you look at… to me it’s just seaweed, but you actually know all their names!!!
    I’ll be returning for more

  5. Hello, Richard
    Thank you for your kind remarks. I simply love all these seashore things and taking photographs of them. When I see something interesting or new, I just have to know more about it. And then, of course, I want to “show and tell”.

  6. Hello,
    I was looking for information on some trace fossils I found near Richmond, Virginia, US and was pleasantly surprised to see your pictures of identical fossils, in what seems to be indentical matrix. Very exciting!
    To find what seem to be the same fossils thousands of miles away puts a lot of the earth’s story in better perspective. Keep up the good work.
    Thank you,
    Vicki Stephens
    Beaverdam, Virginia, USA

  7. Hello, Vicki
    I am so pleased to hear that you have found my blog useful. Thank you for your comments. It is very interesting to learn that similar trace fossils are found in Virginia too. Although most people are excited only by the perfect and removable fossils like shells and bones, it is also fascinating to find the tubes and burrows in which animals lived; and the trails and footprints they left behind.

  8. Hi Jessica,
    I have just looked through your wonderful photos on your website and now found your blog. I’m amazed at how we are drawn to the same subject matter, but find it interesting that you have a natural science background while mine is in the social sciences. Maybe I’m a closet naturalist and don’t know it.

    Are the sea creatures, flotsam and shells all from Dorset? I would think the New England and England coasts would have similar beings, but not all are familiar to me.

    Thank you for your nice comments on my blog. Keep up your good work of capturing the beauty and detail around you.

  9. Hi, Lynn
    Thank you for your kind comments. We do seem to be drawn to the same kind of subject matter, don’t we? I think that most of my pictures are what you might call ‘documentary’ – although sometimes the abstract patterns, colour, and textures form themselves into images that are a bit more artistic. Your own compositions with the skilled capturing of the light both transmitted and reflected are masterful.
    I photograph the seashores in two areas. One is the World Heritage Site called the Jurassic Coast, which is where I live in Dorset (the sea is the English Channel). The other is the Gower Peninsula in South Wales which has the Atlantic Ocean washing its shores. It is interesting to see the similarities and differences between the natural history of the two places here in the UK – and between this side of the Atlantic and yours. I did not realise that you lived in New England but could see, for example, that the crab and some seaweeds in your photographs looked unfamiliar.
    Thanks for looking at my blog and website. I look forward to visiting your site again soon.

  10. Thank you for creating the link, Ian. That’s very kind of you. Funnily enough, I have examples of calcareous tubes on a great range of objects, including a hub cap that washed up as flotsam (how did that get in the sea?) but I have never found them on beach glass. I’ll have to really keep my eyes open next time I’m at my favourite haunt for collecting beach glass.

  11. I’ve been a bit busy lately….. but I’ve just uploaded a new photo onto Sea Glass Lovers site, now you’ve prompted me!

  12. Hello Jessica.
    thank you very much for the information about the creatures that causes holes in the seashells.
    i’m a Seashell collector, and some of my specimens had theese holes and calcareous tubes. thanks to you, now I know why.

    Greetings from Argentina.

  13. Thanks, Ezequiel. I’m happy that you were able to find the information you needed in my blog.

  14. Dear Jessica,

    my compliments to your outstanding blog. I have taken the freedom to place some links on my pages about sea shells. I am very glad I found your blog!

    Kind regards from Germany,

  15. Dear Jessica

    My name is John and as I am only four years old, my daddy is writing this note. My daddy is from England (and knows many of the places you have photographed) and my mummy is from America. We live in Long Island, NY.

    I just want to say how much I love your pictures. I may be small but I am a budding geologist. I collect things – particularly rocks, pebbles, shells, pieces of wood and leaves – whenever I leave the house and am learning lots about the natural world.

    Your pictures really help me to understand how things came to be in the world I live in, and my daddy discovers things anew through my eyes. Thank you. I shall be a regular visitor.


  16. Thank you, Robert. You are very generous. I am pleased to hear you like my blog and have placed some links to it on your own mollusc site. Sorry for the delay in acknowledging your comment but I have been away on holiday.
    Best wishes


  17. Hello, John

    Thank you so much for writing to me and telling me how you like my pictures. I am delighted to hear that you are an enthusiastic naturalist even at such a young age. I am glad that you are finding the information that you need in my blog.

    It is interesting to learn that your Daddy is from England and knows many of the places I have visited – I wonder what part of the country he comes from.

    I am sorry to have taken so long to reply to your message but I have been on the Oregon coast in the US. In fact, I have been busy all summer – out and about taking photographs of all the wonderful natural things I have seen around me – lots of stones, sea shore creatures, seaweeds, and sunlit seas. I will soon be writing articles for the blog again to tell you all about them.

    Best wishes


  18. I appreciate your focus (play on words intended) on the abstract in nature: excellent! And you’re so prolific; I’m impressed that you can post so often, with so many photographs and such extended text. Two weeks ago, at

    I began a blog devoted to the photography of nature in central Texas. Where you deal mostly with the maritime world, I document primarily the native plants of my region, and sometimes inevitably the small creatures that live on them. My goal is to make botanical “portraits” in the same spirit as the portraits we make of people. It’s so much fun, as you must know from all your photography.

    I’m also interested in words, and I just learned a new one from your blog: spalting. It seems to come from the provincial verb spalt, which the 1913 Webster’s Dictionary defined as ‘To split off; to cleave off, as chips from a piece of timber, with an ax’.

    Nice to make your acquaintance.

  19. Thank you so much for leaving the comment. I am pleased that you like the photographs and accompanying text. I spend a lot of my time observing natural history phenomena – and reading up about the subjects I photograph in order to understand them. However, I am just an amateur photographer using a bridge camera. Your own photographs of nature, in your new blog, are truly superb and reflect your consummate skill as a photographer and your technical expertise with the sophisticated equipment. Your botanical portraits are stunning.

    In English vernacular use, the term spalt or spalting is used specifically by woodworkers and wood-turners to describe the abstract and highly decorative black patterns in the timber caused by certain fungal infections. [See, for example, Left to natural processes of decay, the damage caused by these fungi would eventually result in the wood decaying, breaking, and splitting or splintering off.

    Thank you, for writing to me and taking an interest.


  20. Thank you so much for sharing the details and the big picture of nature in the way that you do. Sometimes I cannot even find the words for the stunning beauty I find… in nature and other’s blogs!
    Thank you for letting us see what you see!

  21. Thank you, Starbear. You’re very kind……but I think you underestimate your own ability to communicate how you feel about the spirit of nature. Your WordPress blog is perfect evidence for the special way you think and talk about nature and capture it through excellent photographs. Well done!

  22. Hi Jessica,
    I am doing a project for school about the jurassic period. I discovered your website and funny enough my last name is Winder as well! I wonder if we are somehow related.

  23. Hi, Reagan. I hope you found the posts on Jurassic things, like rocks and fossils, useful for your project. There seem to be a lot of Winders around, especially in the United States. I wonder if we are somehow related? I guess it would be rather difficult to find out.

  24. Hey Jessica, nice work 🙂 I’m a student studying natural forms as part of my fine art A level…I am required to study the texture and forms of objects as you have done; the qualties of you subjects have come through brilliantly. What camera have you used for the pictures of driftwood? I’m looking to invest in one and it seems whatever you are using would fit my needs.Please email me if you have time 🙂

  25. Thanks for the message. Sorry for the delay in replying but I have been abroad for several months on urgent business. My camera is a Panasonic Lumix FZ100, with x 24 zoom and 14 megapixels.

  26. Hi Jessica,
    Fab stuff here – I came across you whilst trying to discover what beetle bores holes into driftwood so that it looks almost lace like. I also walk but I collect stuff and make sculptures. I’ve come across driftwood with beetle burrow patterns like you describe and wonder if it is the same beetle?

  27. Hello, Juliet

    I am pleased to hear you like my Blog. Thank you. It sounds as if you do some really interesting creative work with your driftwood sculptures. The beetle tunnels under the bark of driftwood that I photographed were caused by a terrestrial beetle before the wood went into the sea. The lace-like tunnels that you describe in your driftwood could be caused by marine invertebrates like shipworms or gribbles (also described in my Blog). Maybe you would like to send me by e-mail some pictures of the lace-like damage so that I can try and identify which type of creature was responsible?

  28. I sent an e-mail, but I’ll post here too. Over the last weekend the shimmering luster of the wild ostrea lurida I was collecting for dinner caught my eye. It was particularly evident near the shell lips of a few of the shells. Once the shells dried they lost the color and appeared whitish, but the color was evident when they were wetted. I oiled one and was able to bring back the green/purple/gold coloration but not the luster. Does the European ostrea ever show like this?

  29. Thank you for your question. From what I have read, I can tell you that the Pacific or Olympian Oyster (Ostrea lurida Carpenter) which grows wild along the North-West Pacific coast of America (in the 1960’s it was found from Charlotte Bay in British Columbia to San Diego Bay in Southern California), is extremely variable in colour. It can be anything from white to black-purple and may have purple-brown or yellow stripes. This species also lacks the outer dull brown thin periostracum layer which is present in so many other bivalved mollusc species, for example, mussels. The specific name of lurida may indeed be a reference to its greatly varying colour.

    Wet shells always look more interesting than dry ones, and the moisture enhances the details of the texture and the vibrancy of the colours. I find that photographs I take of shells on the beach as they wash ashore are always better (more colourful and textural) than when I take the shells home to photograph – a problem that I often overcome by spraying the shells with water before I take the photo at home.

    Around the edges of the shells is the active growth zone. The shell has two basic layers – both created by the fleshy mantle that envelops the oyster animal within the shell. The outer layer of shell is formed from an organic matrix of a proteinaceous substance called conchyolin on which calcium carbonate crystals are arranged more or less at right angles to the direction of growth. This layer tends to be more opaque and dull. The inner nacreous layer of the shell is formed from crystals that are arranged rather like over-lapping tiles parallel to the direction of growth – it is this layer that is truly pearlescent – mother-of-pearl.

    As the shell is being constructed, the nacreous layer is usually formed first and consolidated afterwards by the thicker outer layer. The area of new growth, the growth shoot, rapidly formed during warmer weather, can frequently be seen around the edges or lips of the oyster shell. If growth is very fast, then the growth shoot may be translucent and composed entirely of nacreous material.

    The shell of the European oyster O. edulis can vary in colour naturally during life but I don’t think it would be as colourful as lurida.

    I hope this helps to explain what you have been observing in the shells of oysters that you collected for your dinner.

  30. Dear Jessica,
    I am flabbergasted at all this beauty in one place.
    I jsut discovered your blog and I shall visit often.

  31. Dear Jessica – Just have to agree with others here that this is a wonderful collation of information and images – everything about the shoreline and intertidal zones and small creatures – it’s just beautiful to read and so obvious why it has absorbed you as a researcher.

  32. Hello Jessica, I’ve just discovered your inspirational blog, whilst trying to identify sea gooseberries, which I saw yesterday whilst walking along Three Cliffs Bay beach.
    I’ve been coming to the Gower Peninsula for many years but have been living here since April.
    I’ve seen many of the things that you’ve photographed and it’s nice to learn things about them that I didn’t previously know.
    Whiteford sands has always been a place for finding the unusual and unexpected, from dead animals including ponies and seals to unexploded bombs!
    May even find you there one day! 🙂

  33. Thank you, Ray. I’m glad you find the blog interesting. Say “Hello” if you see me among the debris on the strand-line or sitting in a rock pool photographing limpets.

  34. Jessica thanks for visiting my blog post ‘Stone’. From reading your interesting profile, I can see how you were drawn to those amazing geological abstracts.

  35. hi Jessica
    love your ‘pebbles with holes’ post
    i used to wear one on a silver chain round my kneck, found on the shore on Lismore (off Oban) Argyll & Bute. It was black with fine white lines, beautiful and mysterious, don’t know where it is now
    Thanks for visiting my ‘connections’ post, best wishes, Liz

  36. Hello, Liz. Thanks for looking at the pebble post. Pebbles with holes in them seem to excite the curiosity of all who find them. In four years of blogging, that particular post has received more views than any other via the search engines.
    I really love your paintings. They are not only aesthetically beautiful but they are redolent with atmosphere and evoke an immediate emotional response. I look forward to seeing each new work.
    Best wishes, Jessica.

  37. I just discovered your blog. A few months ago I started attending a Parent/Child nature preschool with my son who is now 15-months old. It’s so exciting to see him explore the beauties of nature and to encourage his curiosity. Thank you for sharing your adventures. I look forward to following your blog!

  38. Thank you so much for your comments and for following the blog. You are certainly starting the right way to engage your son with the beauty and wonder of the natural world.

  39. What a wonderful resource. Thank you for putting together such lovely photos with very informative text. I’ll enjoy exploring this – and my kids will love it too!

  40. Hi, My name is Nathan and I am currently doing Photography as an A Level. I am doing research on the topic ‘Natural World’ which is what I have chosen to do for my exam in April of this year.
    At the moment I am studying the topic ‘Natural World’ and I have chosen to do a Photographer research paper about you and your photographs. It would be really helpful if you could please tell me what camera functions, techniques and what camera you use when taking your photos as the information would help a lot when I come to writing my paper.
    I have read through your blog and am really fascinated with the photos you have taken and the research that you have come up with too. I, myself love paleontology and have visited many places and have learned a lot from those experiences. Your blog has taught me a lot of new stuff as well and I look forward to future updates.
    I hope you can help me as it would be much appreciated.

  41. Hi, Nathan. Thank you for writing to me. I am pleased that you have found the posts interesting. I have sent a full reply to your enquiry by e-mail. Good luck with your A Level Photography. Best wishes, Jessica.

  42. Hi Jessica we met in the Post Office Dorchester this week when I told you of the unusual shells I had seen at Ringstead. Great to see your photos of the Goose Barnacles and to learn about them, thankyou. Barbara

  43. Hello, Barbara. Glad you found the site and the goose barnacle information. They are weird looking things aren’t they? You’d never guess they were barnacles.

  44. Just stumbled upon your site. I also have a fascination for the dynamic ripple patterns. You mention Chaos Theory, there is also an inherent ‘musicality’ as we can see complex ‘ringing tones’ in the forms of the ripples themselves, which are continually modified by the shifting structure of the underlying sand as the water flow and ripple tones modifiy their shape. Interestingly as the tides are a product of cosmic forces, notably the gravitational effects of the moon and sun, poetically we could refer to these ‘ripple tones’ as ephemeral expressions of the ‘music of the spheres’… I also have a collection of these patterns on video mainly from around the Gibralta Point (UK) area, where I have also created some environmental sound art projects.

    I’m currently doing a review of research papers on this subject, which is equally fascinating. And I also fascinated by various mathematical / physics / acoustics modeling of these flow patterns, which seem to occur over a vast range of scales.

  45. Thank you so much for telling me more about these ripple patterns on the beach. I will have to spend a bit of time absorbing and understanding your musical ideas which are quite new to me. I will visit your site again to learn how you are getting on with your investigations into the science behind these flow patterns.

  46. Dallas,

    You might be interested in spontaneous pattern generation (you can Google that phrase).
    I found it interesting when researching patterns in Nature some years back. That concerns all sorts of patterns, including temporal ones – which are obviously closely related to what humans call music.
    Here’s an example:
    ‘Dynamic pattern generation in behavioral and neural systems’
    G Schoner, JA Kelso, 1988
    Abstract: “In the search for principles of pattern generation in complex biological systems, an operational approach is presented that embraces both theory and experiment. The central mathematical concepts of self-organization in nonequilibrium systems (including order parameter dynamics, stability, fluctuations, and time scales) are used to show how a large number of empirically observed features of temporal patterns can be mapped onto simple low-dimensional (stochastic, nonlinear) dynamical laws that are derivable from lower levels of description. The theoretical framework provides a language and a strategy, accompanied by new observables, that may afford an understanding of dynamic patterns at several scales of analysis (including behavioral patterns, neural networks, and individual neurons) and the linkage among them.”


  47. I’ve just found your lovely blog while trying to identify some seashells from my recent holiday in Wales (I think they’re spire shells). Wonderful pictures and interesting, detailed information.

    I’ve learnt a lot just reading through your responses to comments in this ‘about’ page – how oysters grow, and some interesting ideas about ripples in sand. I love it!

  48. Dear Jessica, I have just returned from a days fieldwork at Kimmeridge to measure and map the “megapolygons” on the wave cut platform, and found your beautiful blog whilst doing further research.

    You might be interested to know that from what I have learnt, the “megapolygons” are suggested to have been formed in two ways, either through expansion in the rock, when the original calcite changed into the dolomite which forms the bed (diagenetic changes), or as a result of larger regional tectonics, during the alpine orogeny, which occurred when the continent of Africa collided with Europe and squashed everything in between!

    These aren’t the most detailed of explanations, but hope they are of some use!

    Thanks for constructing such an interesting blog,


  49. Thank you for the information and comments, Nikki. It is good to get your feedback on this phenomenon and, with your permission, I’ll add it to the appropriate posting in due course. Much appreciated.

  50. Jessica, your love of nature and the way you have shown them thru your photography is just fantastic, I have a summer camp on the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick Canada, that has many of the same rocks, pebbles and formations that you have pictured. We enjoyed looking at all your pictures
    Thanks again

  51. Thank you David. It is indeed a wonderful area for a holiday. I am pleased to hear that I have captured in my pictures the reality of the Bay of Fundy coast with its varied geology. I hope to visit it again soon; there is so much more to see.

  52. Dear Jessica, What a perfect way to spend a cold and rainy day off! I discovered your blog while searching for geological information in my area- and there I was- on instant vacation! I’ve always been one to walk and walk- and look, absorb, collect, study…From the Maine coast to my current location in Virginia. Thank god for internet where I can actually look things up and find answers! Your blog has already answered a number of questions- about geology-and holes in pebbles/rocks- along with so many others here;) It’s a rare treat to find a blog that’s neither too technical nor too fluffy. Big Huge Kudos to you!

    I had to take a moment to thank you for doing such a wonderful job of documenting all that you see- and with such deep knowledge, skill and care. It’s so clear you love what you do. I look forward to checking out your website- and to forth-coming blog posts!

  53. Thank you so much, Abbey, for your comments. You are very kind. I am pleased that you are enjoying Jessica’s Nature Blog and hope that you continue to find items that interest you in future postings.

  54. Hi Jessica

    Our family recently moved to a small island surrounded by ocean, to be closer to it as my son wants to be a Marine Biologist. It’s been an incredibly exciting time for us and we are all so happy!
    We are constantly going to the beach and every time we go we find some new and interesting creature or ‘thing’! I was wondering, may I email you pictures of some of the things we find because we can’t figure out what they are. Despite my 13yo sons rather extensive knowledge we do only know ‘so much’. I suppose you can imagine that we have no idea what A LOT of it is. HAHA!

    Cheers and Thank you!

  55. How exciting for you all to live on a small island. How lucky your son is that you were willing and able to move somewhere to nurture his interest in marine biology. I would be happy to help you identify things you find on the beach, as far as I can. It would be good to know your exact location because that will help me find out what the things are; different places have different species. You can send photographs of things you find direct to my e-mail address

  56. wow after viewing the 1st few pictures, I instantly added you to my favourites bar. your work and eye is brilliant. I too love nature and as im doing a project on nature, fossils and sediment layers I instantly fell in love with your work its breath-taking. Wow some of your pictures speak a thousand words. Bill ; )

  57. Hi Jessica
    I was searching the inter web for pictures of bats for a jewellery project I have in mind
    Google turned up your beautiful fruit bat pix from May 2013 . These have the best silhouettes that I have seen and are just the ticket for the design Im thinking of
    As one creative person to another I respect your copyright but am hoping you will allow me to copy your pics purely for my own inspiration. Please?
    I too live by the sea and love nature.
    You have a beautiful and inspirational site
    I would like to follow you but your site does not like my email
    Kind regards
    Rosie Price

  58. Found your Blog via a Seaweed search on Google and enjoying your images and commentary very much. I live on the North-east coast near Redcar and it’s a fossil paradise particularly for the Gryphaea ( Devil’s Toenails ) the extinct oyster – bivalve. Also love your rust studies- something else the old ironstone workings and seams at Saltburn cliffs are rich with . Thanks !

  59. Thank you for your comments, Zetacharlie. Looks like I should be scheduling a visit north to Redcar and Saltburn to see what visual delights the natural world has to offer there!

  60. Your nature blog is really special – you have captured many unique shots of ordinary plants etc. Really enjoyed looking at them! Thank you so much, Jessica.

  61. Hello Jessica,

    We have just moved to the western isles of Scotland .
    I have looked at your blog to help identify things with my children on our local coastline.
    Many thanks for your informative blog.

  62. Thank you, Lesley. I am pleased that you have found my blog useful. How lucky you must be to live in the such a beautiful and interesting place as the western isles of Scotland.

  63. I’ve just discovered your blog as a result of doing some Google image searching for iron mining that was inspired by my reading of “Rape of the Fair Country.” I am enthralled by your writing and photos and will be back again and again. I think I can “follow” it in my WordPress feed.
    Thank you for such wonderful photos.

  64. What a great blog it informed me a lot about the Cornish coast which Iam now walking,
    I also found that you visited my home town Chillagoe
    thanks Duncan

  65. Thank you, Duncan. I am pleased that you are finding Jessica’s Nature Blog useful for your Cornish walking trip. I must go back there again soon myself as it is a fascinating place – though it must be pretty bleak on a windy and wet day like today.
    I am amazed that your home town is Chillagoe. I really liked my short stay there. We had hoped that the little observatory would be open but it was closed. We contented ourselves star gazing from the comfort of reclining deckchairs and were rewarded with the incredible sight of a flaming meteor crashing down into the outback.

  66. I’m a ‘long time ago’ MSc environmental biologist, Jessica, living near Burry Port, but continually wandering field, woodland and shore, as I’m a keen nature photographer too. At least I try to be. Just wanted to say thankyou for your interesting and informative blog, which I stumbled upon today, re- heart urchins and large spiny cockles. I’ll bookmark and subscribe to updates if I may. Regards. Wayne (Gelert Photography)

  67. Hello, Wayne. Thank you for your comments. A very long time ago I was at Swansea for my first degree and my best friend lived in Burry Port. That is when I became interested in coastal ecology and geology. I didn’t develop a real interest in photography though till much later in life and am still very much an amateur but my images serve to communicate the messages.
    Your own website demonstrates that you are a brilliant photographer with many beautiful images that would grace anyone’s wall.

  68. Hello Jessica, I’m wondering if you can help me out as I have a query that seems to be falling between text books – somewhere between geology, geomorphology and marine biology. I’m investigating (as an artist) the rock face and associated beach pebbles and single shell organisms on Marloes Sands. Images are here on my blog:
    All the reading I have done points towards the white lines in the rock face being calcite but I can’t quite get my head around the age/process of deposition/calcification that is talked about as the rock face only features the white lines to a certain height after which the lines are still there but as empty crevices. I assumed the extent of the lines up the rock face to be associated with the single shell organisms that find their home in the crevices (perhaps decaying and calcifying here?) and that there was a limit to their ‘reach’ from the shoreline hence the ’empty’ crevices above. I guess I am wrong but it would be good to know what is going on. Also, am I right to assume that the pebbles with the white lines in them are from these rock formations? Any help you can give would be much appreciated.

  69. Hello, Elaine. Thank you for the interesting questions. I will have to do a bit of investigation before I can answer properly but I’ll get get back to you by e-mail as soon as I can.

  70. hello Jessica I’ve sent you an e-mail today regarding iron pyrites “iron pebbles” hopefully not received as spam. I shall look to hear from you.

  71. Dear Jessica. Thank you so much for all of your beautiful work. Your photos are absolutely stunning and you completely spoil us by sharing all the wonderful knowledge you have accumulated. You help us understand by showing us what you have understood. What a gift to share!

  72. Dear Jenny, Thank you so much for your lovely supportive comments. It is good to know that you have found my posts useful. I have enjoyed my exploration of the natural world, learning new things every day, and writing the articles to share on the blog.

  73. Randomly found your sites when I was searching for a photo to help me identify a tiny fossil in limestone from County Clare. I always thought I was the only person in the world who took these kinds of photos, but your sites have blown away that idea – and HOW!

    I’m not the first and I won’t be the last to congratulate you on your magnificent ability to see the beauty in the detail and patterns of our world and to share what you see so generously! ‘Thank you’ seems hardly sufficient!

    Loved your photos of the Gower, where I lived for 8 years and wandered and climbed all those limestone faces of Mewslade, Three Cliffs, etc. My favourite place of all, Bishopston Valley and Pwll Ddu which was my ‘secret walk’ in fair weather and foul. Your photos of Ireland remind me of many days of trudging over rocks and along beaches laden with treasures and steeped in history.

    Your east coast of Canada photos must be complemented some day with ones from the West Coast of Vancouver Island! Let me know if you’re planning as trip out west!

    Paddy O’Reilly

  74. Thank you, Paddy, for your kind comments about the blog. Gower is one of my favourite places and I visit it as often as I can. The trips to the Maritime Provinces of Canada have been fairly recent adventures and reflect my growing interest in geology as well as natural history in general. Some years ago I did actually cross Canada from Toronto to the west coast by The Canadian train and Rocky Mountaineer. I spent a week in Vancouver and a day on Vancouver Island but I did not have my interest in rocks back then, and I had not changed from a film to a digital camera. Seems like I should revisit!

  75. Yes you must! And if/when you do, we can point you towards great places to visit and great people to meet and perhaps even host you when you arrive. It wouldn’t be the first time stangers have arrived at our door!

    Now, you’ve inspired me to finally start scanning my caving, mountaineering and nature 35mm slides from the 70s onward and putting them online as well as more recent digital adventures. I’ve been procrastinating despite having all the necessary equipment and know-how. Story of busy retirement?


  76. Thank you, Paddy. If I get to Vancouver again, I’ll be sure to get in touch. Meanwhile, I look forward to seeing some of your newly digitised old photographs and slides. Let me know where you post the images on-line.

  77. Hello Jessica – your new post” Protected: Hemarina Lugworm Casts” will not allow viewing coming up as pasword protected ? not sure if this is an error in setting Best Wishes Andy

  78. Hi, Andrew. Thanks for your message. This is not an error. The post is password protected because it is a selection of unedited full size images for private viewing by a biotech company undertaking research on the medical properties of certain components of lugworm blood. Many of the photographs appear in edited versions in earlier posts on Jessica’s Nature Blog.

  79. Hola Jessica
    very interested in your sand patterns found in Rhossili Beach
    I do find a very similar pattern in a beach south of Acapulco in Mexico
    Would like to know if you are aware other places in the world where those patterns have been documented, and if positive where to find them in the web?
    Also, have you researched with some oceanographer or marine biologist the causes or origins of those shapes?
    Hope you will reply since I am very interested in the topic and would like to add them to the web in some way or form.
    You can see my photos in my web
    under the section Galleries…The hand of God….
    best to you
    good night

  80. Hello, Riccardo
    I am not certain which of my Rhossili sand pattern pictures you have been looking at as I have hundreds on my blog – but I have had a look at your own wonderful sand pattern photographs and think they could be particularly good examples of rhomboid or rhombohedral backwash patterns or ripples. Your patterns have a special dimensionality to them. Fluid mechanics engineers (rather than marine biologists or oceanographers) do the most research into how sand ripples are formed. There are very many different pattern types. If you Google rhomboid ripplemarks, or rhombohedral backwash patterns, or something like that, you will see a number of research papers about them – although you may need special access to see the full articles or publications
    I hope this gives you a starting point to find out more about your beach patterns and where else you might find similar ones. I am fairly certain that they are not uncommon, and would occur where the beach sediments, the curve of the shoreline, and the prevailing currents and wave action are similar, regardless of location in the world.

  81. I am thinking of visiting the island in mid September, my first ever visit.. Have you been at that time of year? Are there wildflowers? Birds? Is it cold? Would be grateful for any insight you can provide. Thanks a lot.

  82. Hi, Fern. Could you let me know which island you are hoping to visit in September? I have written about several. I’ll get back to you as soon as I know which island you are interested in.

  83. Hello, Fern
    Grand Manan is a wonderful place but unfortunately I was only able to spend 2 nights there (also at the Marathon Inn) on a grand tour of the Bay of Fundy. It was late spring when we were there and plenty of flowers were in evidence. I understand that flowers are still around in autumn too. I know little about the birds but there is plenty of information about both birds, flowers and seaweeds on the internet and here are a few links:


    The Grand Manan Museum is a treasure trove of information (particularly on the geology of the island) and there are Facebook sites dealing just with the flowers of Grand Manan. The Marathon Inn was a lovely, quirky, but comfortable hotel and the staff really went out of their way to make us feel welcome. In the evenings we could watch white-tailed deer grazing in the hotel garden. Hope you have a lovely time on the island. The Road Scholar trips look ideal.

  84. Thank you very much for all your information. It is very helpful. If I may please ask just one more question: At the Marathon Inn did you stay in the Main building or the Annex and do you think one matters over the other? Thanks again. PS your Kew Gardens orchids photos are gorgeous.

  85. Hi, Fern. I stayed in the main building which is the right-hand building in the photograph. I think the left-hand part would be the Annexe which I did not visit. I should imagine that both buildings are equally well appointed. I gather that there are many staircases and corridors throughout the complex of buildings which might make it a bit of an adventure finding your way around.

    The Marathon Inn on the island of Grand Manan in New Brunswick, Canada.

  86. For any reader who is curious about the island of Grand Manan that has been the topic of the latest few comments, it is a small island in the Bay of Fundy, just off the coast of New Brunswick on the east coast of Canada.
    There are several posts in Jessica’s Nature Blog featuring photographs from this island:

    Glimpses of Grand Manan
    More Glimpses of Grand Manan
    Red Point Rocks on Grand Manan
    Gabions made from lobster pots on Grand Manan
    Smoking Herrings on Grand Manan
    Beach Stones and Pebbles at Whale Cove
    Beach Stones & Pebbles at Pettes Cove

  87. Jessica
    I went down to Rossili beach today and decided to go for a swim. When I walked towards the high tide mark I noticed that there were lots of small blue dome shaped jellyfish lying on the sand. When I entered the water there were more blue jelly fish floating around me. I decided to walk back and out of the water. My question is do these blue jellyfish have a dangerous sting?

  88. Dear Mackinder, it is difficult to decide exactly which creatures you encountered at Rhossili without a picture. By-the-wind sailors (Velella velella) are blue and just a few inches long and are generally fairly harmles. They are roughly oval in shape and have a thin transparent sail on their back. However, there is a small blue jellyfish called Cyanea which does sting but not dangerously. Rhizostoma octopus, the barrel jellyfish is common at Rhossili and can grow as big at a metre across with a pale blue dome – yours may be small immature individuals of this species. They may sting but are not particularly dangerous. But the Portuguese-men-o-war are blue, sometimes looking like an inflated blue bag above the water with long trailing tentacles below and these cause severe stings requiring urgent medical help. Basically, you did the right thing by getting out of the water just in case.

  89. Hi Jessica – I want to enquire about purchasing digital images with high resolution, but don’t see the information on your website. It would be to draw the bark or foliage as you can see if you look on my website (, where all the drawings are from my own photographs. I’m looking to possibly advance my own interpretations with work from others. Love your work!

  90. Dear Janna.
    I have replied to your request directly by e-mail giving you details. You should receive the message shortly, and I look forward to hearing from you.

  91. Hello Jessica, I occasionally find sea peat found on Dunwich Beach, Suffolk, from the North Sea. Mostly the pieces are about the size of a hand but in early January this year some larger pieces were washed up. I wondered whether you can tell me more about sea peat, particularly in this area. Is it unusual to find it? Should I record these finds with anyone? I would appreciate any information. Many thanks Barbara Dinham

  92. Hello Barbara. The Suffolk Coast is an area about which I know very little but I do not think that it would be very unusual to find pieces of peat washing up on the beach at Dunwich. Peat is found on many beaches from a time when coastal areas were submerged by rising seas some thousands of years ago. The peat often becomes buried beneath subsequent layers of marine sediments and clays but stormy weather and coastal erosion can bring it to the surface. There is an excellent book called Tides of Change: Two million years on the Suffolk Coast by Tim Holt-Wilson available to view and download online. Dunwich is described in section 9 on page 16. Blocks of peat are shown on the shore in a picture from Benacre Broad in section 5 on page 10. The book was produced as part of the Touching the Tide Project which has a contact page. Maybe they would be able to put you in touch with someone like Tim Holt-Wilson who you could ask about the geology of Dunwich Beach. Hope this helps answer your question.

  93. Thanks so much Jessica. That’s exactly what I need. Will read Tim Holt-Wilson.
    Best wishes

  94. That’s OK Barbara. Seeing the information about that stretch of coastline makes me feel it would be an excellent idea to visit sometime. It looks very interesting and very different

  95. Hi Jessica! I came upon a blog in a search for why some native mussel shells here in Manitoba, Canada are black and some are white (on the same beach). I was so surprised to find out that it is a process that happens after the mussel has died! Now, digging into all the wonderful information here on your blog! Keep posting, it is all fascinating!!

  96. Hi Jessica,
    I found your site while in a search trying to identify a large, heavy, “holey” rock we have. It’s approximately 27 inches across and one of the holes that goes clear through the rock is about an inch in diameter. It takes two men to lift it. It has been on our South Dakota ranch for more than 75 years. My husband used to play by it as a child and we have no clue as to how or when it got to our ranch. Since it has always been special to my husband, we brought it to our current home in Washington state.

    We first thought it might be a meteorite, but now it seems that it might be one of your special sea, worm hole rocks. But, how could that end up on a semi-arid South Dakota ranch?

    I took some photos of it and wonder if you would mind looking at them and sharing your thoughts. Thank you for your reply and very interesting blog.


  97. Jessica, did you get my emails first from gmail and then from genext? The photos are in the genext email. Gmail just didn’t seem to work.

  98. Hi, Margaret. I have just found your messages and photographs which had been sent to my spam folder. I will do a bit of online research about the geology of your area and get back to you with ideas about what the rock might be and how it might have arrived on the ranch in South Dakota.

  99. Hi Jessica,
    Thank you for this explanation…. I was just thinking that my emails got lost in “outer space”…. : ) ….Fossils of various animals have been found in the state of South Dakota and the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology has done research on fossils…. I don’t know what their opinions are on various findings…. We have never contacted them about this rock…. Now we have it in Washington state because my husband wants things from his childhood memories, and we are beginning to think more about it in our old age ….

    I hope the photos from my little Sony Cyber-shot are sufficiently helpful…. I don’t often focus well for photographing because my aging eyes…. But, I can try to do a better job if you would like more detail in certain areas….

    Thank you for your interest and expertise.

  100. Thanks Jessica for making all your photographs and wide knowledge accessible. I found your blog when trying to find out what the hollow fine round body skeleton collected from Oxwich Bay. It was a Sea Potato.

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