Nature Sometimes Comes To You


Varied Carpet Beetle (Anthrenus verbasci) – I found this little beetle on my bedroom windowsill. They are around 2-3mm (1/8in) long. Double-click image for a closer look.


Varied Carpet Beetle Anthrenus verbasci

© Peter Hillman ♦ 16th March 2020 ♦ Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Underwater

Gutweed Ulva intestinalis

I love how the sunlight sparkles and shimmers within the rippling movement of the waters on the coast. These are abstract worlds which I would like to glimpse more often than I do, full of the richness of life and wonder. These images feature what I believe is a seaweed called Gutweed (Ulva intestinalis).

Gutweed Ulva intestinalis

Gutweed Ulva intestinalis

Gutweed Ulva intestinalis

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Shanklin Beach, Isle of White, England, August 2018 © Pete Hillman.

Nature As An Artist

Frozen Pond

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This is a small rectangle of my garden pond which has frozen over again. The textures, the palette, and the forms and patterns in this one small section make for a painting done by Nature herself.

Photograph taken January 2017, rear garden pond, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2017. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Nikon 18-55mm lens.

Coral Weed

Corallina officinalis

Coral Weed (Corallina officinalis)

This seaweed has a feathery appearance with its regular, opposing branched pattern. It varies in colour due to age and lighting conditions. The deeper it is it grows dark pink. It has a pink, disc-shaped encrusting holdfast which helps it anchor itself to rocks, shells or other larger seaweeds. It can grow up to 12cm in height.

Coral Weed (Corallina officinalis)

It is typically found lining the edges of mid-shore rock pools. It is common and widespread.

Coral Weed (Corallina officinalis)

Coral Weed (Corallina officinalis)

Photographs of Coral Weed (Corallina officinalis), taken August 2015, in rock pool  Meadfoot Beach, Torquay, Devon. © Pete Hillman 2015. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Prasiola stipitata

Prasiola stipitata

This is a small, dark green lettuce-like algae when wet, which forms flaky coatings over rocks and boulders. Length 1cm.

It grows on rocks and stones in the splash zone, mostly frequented by seabirds which drop their faeces from which it gets its nitrates to flourish. A common and widespread species, but mainly seen in spring and early summer.

Prasiola stipitata

Photographs of Prasiola stipitata taken April 2013, Llandudno, Wales. © Pete Hillman 2013. Camera used Nikon Coolpix P500.

Sea Belt

Saccharina latissima

Sea Belt (Saccharina latissima)

Also called ‘Sugar Kelp’ or ‘Poor Man’s Weatherglass’, this is a long, belt-like brown to olive coloured seaweed with wavy edges and a crinkled centre. Length 4cm.

It grows in deep pools and around the low tide mark, usually on sheltered rocky shores attached to rocks with a small branching holdfast. A common and widespread species.

Photographs of Sea Belt (Saccharina latissima), taken August 2015, in rock pool  Meadfoot Beach, Torquay, Devon. © Pete Hillman 2015. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Egg Wrack Wool

Polysiphonia lanosa

Egg Wrack Wool (Polysiphonia lanosa)

A brownish-red seaweed which is tufted and made up of branching filaments which gives it a wool-like consistancy. Length 70cm.

Egg Wrack Wool (Polysiphonia lanosa)

Found middle to low shore, and grows mainly on Egg Wrack (Ascophyllum nodosum) for physical support, known as an epiphyte. It makes use of the hosts buoyancy at high tide so it will gain more sunlight. Common and widespread throughout the British coastline.

Photographs of Egg Wrack Wool (Polysiphonia lanosa), taken August 2015, in rock pool  Meadfoot Beach, Torquay, Devon. © Pete Hillman 2015. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Toothed Wrack

Fucus serratus

Toothed Wrack (Fucus serratus)

Also called “Saw Wrack’ or ‘Serrated Wrack’, this is an olive to golden brown seaweed, flattened with a prominant midrib and saw-toothed fronds.  Length 60cm. Frond width 2cm.

Toothed Wrack (Fucus serratus)

Found on the lower zone, it latches onto rocks on more sheltered shores. A common and widespread species.

Photographs of Toothed Wrack (Fucus serratus), taken August 2015, in rock pool  Meadfoot Beach, Torquay, Devon. © Pete Hillman 2015. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Spiral Wrack

Fucus spiralis

Spiral Wrack (Fucus spiralis)

Also called ‘Flat Wrack’, it is a dark olive-brown or greenish seaweed with a prominent midrib with no gas bladders. There are often pairs of swollen reproductive bodies on the tips of the frond branches. The fronds have a tendency to twist. Length 15 to 20cm.

Occurring on the upper shore, preferring sheltered to moderately exposed shores, where they cling to the hard surfaces. It also extends well into estuaries. It reproduces from July to September. A common and widespread species.

Photograph of Spiral Wrack (Fucus spiralis) taken June 2012, Llandudno, Wales. © Pete Hillman 2012. Camera used Nikon Coolpix P500.

Channelled Wrack

Pelvetia canaliculata

Channelled Wrack (Pelvetia canaliculata)

This seaweed is dark greenish-brown in colour when dry and yellow when wet. It has no gas bladders, the fronds have no midribs, and they are curled along the length forming a channel. Height 15cm.

Found on the upper shore attached to rocks. Reproduces from August to September. It is very resiliant to desiccation, and can survive for up to eight days without water. A common and widespread species.

Photograph of Channelled Wrack (Pelvetia canaliculata) taken June 2012, Llandudno, Wales. © Pete Hillman 2012. Camera used Nikon Coolpix P500.

Egg Wrack

Ascophyllum nodosum

Egg Wrack (Ascophyllum nodosum)

Also called ‘Knotted Wrack’, this is a yellowish to olive-green seaweed, which has long, narrow chain-like fronds with gas-filled bladders. This is a slow-growing seaweed which has no mid-rib. Height 0.5 to 2m.

Found on rocky shores, often on the mid-shore, preferring sheltered conditions, extending into estuaries and usually attached to rocks. It reproduces April to June. Egg Wrack Wool (Polysiphonia lanosa) is commonly found attached to it in clumps. A common and widespread species.

Photograph of Egg Wrack (Ascophyllum nodosum) taken June 2012, Llandudno, Wales. © Pete Hillman 2012. Camera used Nikon Coolpix P500.

Flesh-fly

Sarcophaga sp.

Flesh Fly Sarcophaga speciesThis can be a dificult fly to accurately identify as it is one of several similar looking species. This is a large fly with an attractive greyish-black and white chequer-patterned abdomen, a greyish-black and white striped thorax, with large red eyes and large padded feet. Length up to 15mm.Flesh Fly Sarcophaga species

Adult females deliver larvae rather than lay eggs onto rotting flesh which they consume rapidly. They also feed on dung.Flesh Fly Sarcophaga species

They are seen throughout the year, but mostly during the summer months. Found in various habitats, including farms and houses,  and are often found basking in sunshine or feeding on nectar on flowers. They rarely venture indoors into houses like some other species of fly. Common and widespread throughout.

Photograph of Flesh Fly (Sarcophaga sp.), taken August 2016, rear garden , Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Gutweed

Ulva intestinalis

This aptly named bright grass green seaweed forms an inflated, tube-like frond which resembles an intestine. Length up to 80cm.

Found attached to rocks and stones on sandy or muddy shores, in sheltered estuaries and rock pools on the upper shore. A common and widespread species.

Photographs taken April 2013, Llandudno, Wales, and August 2015, Meadfoot Beach, Torquay, Devon.

Sea Lettuce

Ulva lactuca

A pale to dark green seaweed, which has no midrib. It has wavy edges and translucent green fronds.  Length 40cm.

Sea Lettuce (Ulva lactuca)

The Sea Lettuce is tolerant of most conditions, except extreme exposure. It is found throughout the intertidal zone on rocky shores, estuaries, and free-floating. It may also be discovered attached to rocks or stones in rockpools. A common and widespread species.

Sea Lettuce (Ulva lactuca)

Photographs taken June 2012, Llandudno, Wales, and August 2015, Meadfoot Beach, Torquay, Devon.