Jessica Winder has a background in ecological studies in both the museum and the research laboratory. She is passionate about the natural world right on our doorsteps. She is enthusiastic about capturing what she sees through photography and wants to open the eyes of everyone to the beauty and fascination of nature.
She is author of 'Jessica's Nature Blog' at https://natureinfocus.wordpress.com.
Jessica has also extensively researched macroscopic variations in oyster and other edible marine mollusc shells from archaeological excavations as a means of understanding past exploitation of marine shellfish resources. She is an archaeo-malacological consultant through Oysters etc. and is publishing summaries of her shell research work on the WordPress Blog called 'Oysters etc.' at http://oystersetcetera.wordpress.com
'Photographic Salmagundi' at http://photosalmagundi.wordpress.com is a showcase of photographs and digital art on all sorts of subjects - not just natural history.
One of many fiddler type crabs (Uca spp.) found on the low-tide mud at Port Douglas in Queensland, Australia. These small colourful crustaceans with their tall stalked eyes emerge from their burrows as the tide goes out to feast on the surface biofilm of the sediments. The one in the video clip is shielding itself, and protecting its territory, with its large right claw while it daintily scoops up mud and food with its tiny left claw and pops it into its mouth. This specimen has a blue patterned carapace about an inch across (2 cm).
…….or is it ants on a beetle? These delightful creatures with their bright green abdomens belong to the Weaver or Tree Ants (Oecophylla spp.). They make their nests by ingeniously folding living leaves on the tree and binding them into position with silk. The beetle was one of many of that type we saw when we were on this trip to Queensland in 2011, where most were alive and resting on walls in daytime but some had died and were being investigated by ants, hoping to find a way through the outer hard exoskeleton to juicier bits inside. The beetles were referred to as Christmas Beetles (Anoplognathus spp.) and I cannot say if this was an accurate identification but internet sources support it. They range in size from 15 – 40 mm in size and they belong to the Scarab family (over 3000 species in Australia), which also includes flower and cock chafers, and fiddle beetles.
I love to take short video clips. I have many of them and they can be viewed with perfect clarity on my desktop computer screen. They even look good when they are first uploaded to posts on my blog and viewed from the admin side in the Media folder. However, once they are actually inserted into the post, they become too pixelated to view. This is very disappointing. I have contacted WordPress on a couple of occasions and it does not seem to be anything to do with their software. I have even tried posting them on You Tube and the same thing happens. I have concluded that it is something to do with my latest camera. I have experimented with conversions to other file formats without success. I think it is something to do with the specific way this particular camera captures videos – I mostly use the zoom to get fine detail. This is confirmed by the fact that the short clip shown here of a spoonbill and accompanying egret, taken with an earlier camera in Cairns 2011 seems OK.
I had a lovely day out at Kew Gardens in London this weekend. It was especially good because there was an exhibition of sculpture and art in the open air setting as well as indoor locations. I thought you might like to see some of the pictures I took showing the artwork among the wonderful autumn colours.