Amethyst Deceiver

Earlier this week I took my grandsons to Cooper’s Hill in Ampthill, Bedfordshire. Whilst they were climbing trees and having fun I was spotting fungi. And then I found some purple fungi…..I’ve never seen purple fungi before so I was very excited and out came the trusty camera. Research led me to finding out that they are called Amethyst Deceivers and are edible (though I’m not going to be frying them up for dinner!).

I used the flash on this one hence the brightness.
I think this one is a young ‘un with its little frilly edges!

This is probably going to be the first of a few fungal blogs as there were so many different ones at Cooper’s Hill!

That’s All!

See Ya xx

Kaffir Lilies in the Rain

I most enjoy bright sunny days for photography…..however, the rain can produce some lovely effects. These Kaffir Lilies have just come out in the last week and very pretty they are too…..

And one from above!

Hope you like them!

That’s All!

See Ya xx

An Ode to the Stinking Iris, Poor Thing!

We have many stinking irises in our garden-they are very hardy and will survive almost anything including very vigorous hack backs by myself! They are so prevalent that I sometimes forget how pretty the flowers are and how striking the seeds and seedpods too…..

Quite complicated and pretty!

And here’s the seed pod….

Bursting with seeds!
Wow!
Ah purdy!

Now sometimes I can be inspired towards poetry and today I found myself pondering the rather brutal name of such a pretty flower and why someone would have called it a ‘Stinking Iris’ when I have never detected unpleasantness in its vicinity…..ahem…..

An Ode to the Stinking Iris..

1) Oh what, pray tell, did you ever do

To deserve such a horrid name?

For surely you are pretty

Who can be the one to blame?

2) Was it that chap who crushed your leaves

And you, in your defence,

Released a rather pongy smell

An odour quite immense!

3) “Oh me oh my,” he shouted

“What stench assaults my nose?”

He glares at the poor dear iris

While the stink around him grows!

4) He snarled, “I am a botanist

And you have got me thinking

Your name is no longer just ‘iris’

I’ve added the adjective ‘stinking!”

Well-if you wanted to find out more about “Iris Foetidissima” click here.

That’s All!

See Ya xx

The Most Amazing Hoya!

I was given a Hoya Carnosa about 4 years ago and it did nothing for 2 years. I then moved it to an upstairs windowsill with sun in the afternoon…………….

Oh me oh my! I think it likes it here! It had one lot of flowers last year and this year it has 6! It is also called the Porcelain plant or the Wax plant.

It is the most amazing (as in the title) textured plant!

These are the flower buds-they look very much like plastic.
In this photo you can see the closed buds, some half opened and the fully opened flowers.
When they are fully open, they seem to produce a thick, sticky liquid which I presume is nectar of some sort.
And this is the flower from behind!

I find them fascinating and as I sit here I can tell you they also have a sweet perfume!

That’s All!

See Ya xx

Arenal-Costa Rica

Arenal, the home of a volcano that last erupted 60 years ago! Sadly for us, there was a lot of cloud and we didn’t manage to fully see the volcano, but we did hike up to see the cloud surrounding it a little clearer!!

However, I was very excited on the way up as we saw the bird I most wanted to see….the Keel Billed Toucan……….

Those colours!

Now-in Europe we don’t see hummingbirds, so there was great excitement a brewing for me as I knew there would be lots……Here’s my first ever photo of a hummingbird….IN REAL LIFE!!

A Rufous-tailed hummingbird
Here’s a bedraggled one in silhouette after a heavy downpour!
When I first saw this bird I thought it was a cardinal, but then I thought it was a tanager….I’m still not positive but he was lovely all the same.
And apparently I’m partial to the Social Flycatcher who is all over the place in Costa Rica but very pretty with it!
And I suppose I need to include a photo of the half obscured volcano!

That’s All!

See Ya xx

Costa Rican Flowers

On our recent holiday to Costa Rica, I was amazed at the vivid brightness of the flowers that were everywhere! But first, where did we see them? Here’s a map of Costa Rica and a cunningly placed arrow showing where I took the photos of these particular flowers! Tortuguero-which is on the Caribbean side of the country-is very hot and surprisingly wet for the dry season! I think they should rename their seasons ‘The Wet Season’ and ‘The Even Wetter Season”!

This is a passion flower native to Central America.
Small heliconia
Bamboo orchids grow everywhere and they grow to about 2 metres tall and have lots of flowers.
Achiote harbouring a small bug! This is sometimes used as a food colouring.
I don’t know what this is!

And to finish…….

I believe this plant is called Hooker’s Lips?? I wonder why!

That’s All!

See Ya xx

Costa Rica!!

We have just got back from Costa Rica, a holiday of different weathers, temperatures and birds!

Our first stop was Tortuguero, which is a National Park and the hotel we stayed at was only accessible by boat!

This little chap was everywhere-he’s a social flycatcher.
This is a Little Blue Heron sitting quietly waiting for some unsuspecting fish….

Whilst we were in Tortuguero it was very hot and fairly wet. The next picture is at about 5.45am and the weather is both sunny and rainy, though we had just had a downpour!

We were on an early morning boat safari……

This beauty is a Bare Throated Tiger Heron.
This one looks rather like a cormorant but is an Anhinga.

So that’s a just a few of the first birds we encountered in Costa Rica….more to come!

That’s All!

See Ya xx