Wildflower Wednesdays: Clusters of Color

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Ladies and gentlemen, I present you the clustered rhodiola.

It isn’t the standard wildflower: hasn’t got a visible pollen center, not strictly defined petals. It survives all year round, favoring rock crevices, where it can grow easily, but flowers from June till August.

This one was spotted at Tarsar Pass, overlooking the beautiful blue Tarsar lake and after nearly an hour of hard trekking up a slope far too steep to look back down. The red is striking in a world of grey and blue and green, a little clump of fire at the top of the world.

Red

RedFungi_ProcessedLogoIt has been raining in Singapore lately. Not, of course, as much as Chennai – but enough that the patch of grass outside our home is filled with a different fungi each day, and that we can set our clock to the 3:00 monsoon.

These red pinwheel fungi are one of the results of the rain, seen on a rotting log in Lower Pierce Reservoir. Often the most beautiful, delicate things can come from the most crass.

Of Paintings and Project Noah

Some of you may recall my recent post of a lilac-breasted roller we spotted in Kenya. If you don’t, refresh your memory. This bird was at the top of my to-see list in Kenya, not despite and in fact because it was so common there. Satisfaction guaranteed. (I also had a second, non-official list, which essentially consisted of the entire Birds of East Africa field guide.)

In addition to the blog post, I also posted the photograph on Project Noah. In case I haven’t fangirled about it before, this site is the best thing ever. (It’s also what got me started on this craziness. In case you can’t tell.) It’s essentially a social media for wildlife spottings. Think Instagram, animal-style. Through it I’ve met so many fellow ‘crazy nature people’ and learned so much about – well, everything. It was a distinct high point for me last year when my spotting of a black rhinoceros received Spotting of the Day, something I’ve been wanting ever since I got started. (Also, on the main page, in the header where all the spottings are featured, click on the fungi icon and scroll a little to the right. You might spot a familiar photograph. STILL NOT OVER IT.) If you love wildlife, and photography, Project Noah is the thing.

I’m not paid by them. Promise.

Anyways, back to the roller. I got a comment on my spotting from Karen Lockyear, a biologist-turned artist, asking if she could paint the photograph, and possibly sell prints of it.

My first reaction: what.

Seriously, I consider my photography to be mediocre at best. I enjoy it, yes, but someone wanting to paint it?

…woah.

So, yesterday I get an email from Karen with the completed painting. And I’m still in a little shock of how beautiful the thing is.

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I MEAN, LOOK AT IT. She has taken my photograph and transformed into something way, way beyond. All things bad about it have disappeared. I do not know this witchcraft.

She hasn’t yet set up her Etsy store, but when that’s up I will definitely link that here. Because. I mean. The above.

So: thank you, Karen. I look forward to seeing more of your work.

If you want to read about snakes instead of paintings, check out my recent post on my other blog, Saving MacRitchie, and learn about some of the fantastic wildlife in the Central Catchment Reserve.

Buzzing Time

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This gigantic bee was spotted at an altitude of above 3,000 meters in the Himalayas. The largest social bee in the world, Apis laboriosa, is found in – fittingly – the largest mountain range in the world. While the species above is not Apis, it is, however, a telling reminder to not forget that which buzzes and crawls in our quest for flying treasures.

Plumbeous Pride

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Plumbeous Redstarts are the other species of the two I found on the banks of the Tirthan River. While initially they appear to be a dull black, in proper lighting their glistening slate blue coat is revealed. Though I usually found them perched precariously on a rock dangerously close to the rushing river, this one flew into one of the trees by the riverbank for a moment. These birds are very protective of their habitat and behave aggressively towards any trespasser on their territory. Perhaps that’s the reason why they were less abundant than their relative, with only one or two on the stretch of the river I birded on at the time.