Day 4 – My wild garden

I like growing things and I like things growing, but I’m not too fussy what it is. Here’s a few wild spots in my garden, I spent the evening looking at them quite intensely after I mowed (most of) the lawn.

I spent a lot of time watching the tadpoles after feeding them some fish food. Here’s some footage of a feeding frenzy that was already under way, I think it’s a bit of cannibalism! Or perhaps it kinder to say that they’re taking advantage of some available protein….

I’m really chuffed with the pond (apart from the visible lining of course!) It’s my first pond and it only took a couple of hours to make. It took a while longer to fill but that’s another story…

I’ll be looking at the pond in more detail later in the month, and hopefully I’ll be able to tell you more about the newt that has moved in.

Day 3 – A Stroll by the River Frome

This is my new favourite lunchtime spot. It’s 2 minutes from where I work, just past the canal.

It’s like a little oasis of wildness, yes there’s road noise from the A419 that runs parallel to the River Frome, but the wildlife doesn’t seem to care.

It is called Frome Banks and is looked after by the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and Stroud Valleys Project. This riverside woodland is a Key Wildlife Site and was established in 1990 and actually grew out of a rubbish tip. It’s a real triumph of nature. The work carried out originally to make this area into part of Stroud’s green heritage was by Gloucestershire Wildlife Management, the Stroud Valleys Project and the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. I love them for it. ALOT. I’m not sure what the current status is, but a couple of years ago – it was under threat from developers. It’s making me get a bit tearful thinking about losing this lovely site, I only discovered it a month or so ago and I’ve had some of the best nature experiences of my life there already – on my lunch break. I saw Kingfishers fledging a couple of weeks ago! SO MANY KINGFISHERS!!! <3

Today I didn’t see any Kingfishers, and I saw lots of things that were too quick to photograph but I did manage to film a Dipper dipping ๐Ÿ™‚ I filmed it at 50 frames per second, so I was able to slow it down and at the end of the video below, I zoom in so you can see a slow motion dipper dive! I also put a bit of music on there because slowed down river noise sounds a bit scary!!

I also took a few snaps:

Day 2 – Windy After Work Walk With Whippet

Wind, lots of wind. Blowing the trees, blowing the barley.

It had stopped raining, so when I got in from work, I relented to the puppy eyes and took Mojo the Whippet out for walk. It was still pretty wild, and I did get the fear while walking under trees (beware of falling branches!)

Here’s a little slow motion video of a sunburst and the wind blowing the barley (music clip Adrift – Tycho):

I also took some snaps ๐Ÿ™‚ Mojo was getting involved in going wild – he had a little wild snack of Goosegrass

Day 1 – Watching the Moorhens – 30 Days Wild

So June the 1st was pretty wild! Weather-wise I mean… I’m glad I popped out between downpours on my lunch break, otherwise I might not have had anything to show at all!

I took the opportunity to head down to the local canal (Thames & Severn Canal) to check on the four Moorhen chicks I saw a week or so ago. I only saw one:

The Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) is also known as ‘swamp chicken’ apparently and is the most common rail species in the UK (approx 270,000 breeding pairs).

Apologies for the maximum zoomed, shaky mobile footage! I promise I’ll be upping my wild game over the next few days ๐Ÿ™‚

UPDATE: I popped down again today and saw TWO chicks. So that’s nice. You can see the other one in the pic above.

UPDATE: On Day 3, I brought my DSLR into work and took a couple of nice pics of the Moorhens on the canal, while I was on my way to the river ๐Ÿ™‚

30 Days Wild

I’ve signed up to the Wildlife Trust’s ’30 Days Wild’ campaign, and I plan on actually blogging on here every day (I know right!) with details of my wild antics.

I’m not *really* organised enough to plan 30 days of activity in advance and weather will always play a part but I like to ‘go wild’ as often as possible, so I fully expect to be able to pull this off ad-hoc…

I joined my local Wildlife Trust on my birthday this year (and the local Fungus Group – thanks Auntie Janet!), so I’ll try and visit as many local sites and reserves as possible and share some pics/stories.

Snake’s Head Fritillary are off the list, but I had the pleasure of seeing them while they were in flower in Cricklade North Meadow National Nature Reserve a few weeks ago!

Correct location to mount a permanent drive in linux

There isn’t one.

I have a CIFS network drive mounted in /mnt/cifs on a Debian system at work, I’m then symlinking that to a subdir of the Apache web directory to enable me to get around that old issue of not being able to easily link to ‘local’ files due to differences in cross browser implementation of UNC… (it works BTW).

However, I noticed that the mount had stopped working today. I tried a few things, ‘mount’ was telling me it already existed, but I couldn’t see the directory in /mnt

I asked another guy who has access to the server (and who also knows a hell of a lot more about sysadmin than me) if he knew what might be going on, he said “Yeah – that was me, I needed to temporarily mount a drive and that’s what /mnt is for”.

He’s right too, I saw a few discussions of this while I was trying to find out what was wrong, one here another here and yet another here. Like I said, there is no place ‘correct’ place for permanently mounting a drive in linux, but it sure as hell isn’t in /mnt if you’ve got more than one sysadmin.

I think I’m going to go with the option of creating a new dir in root /network and mount any more permanent drives in there. But that lonely /srv directory is pretty tempting…

The Wood Wide Web

I recently became obsessed with fungi (as anyone who follows my instagram will know!) and this article on the BBC Earth site helps explain why I am becoming more passionate about mushrooms the more I find out about them:

It’s an information superhighway that speeds up interactions between a large, diverse population of individuals. It allows individuals who may be widely separated to communicate and help each other out. But it also allows them to commit new forms of crime.

No, we’re not talking about the internet, we’re talking about fungi. While mushrooms might be the most familiar part of a fungus, most of their bodies are made up of a mass of thin threads, known as a mycelium. We now know that these threads act as a kind of underground internet, linking the roots of different plants. That tree in your garden is probably hooked up to a bush several metres away, thanks to mycelia.

Read much more here: Plants have a hidden internet

There’s also a great little set of videos by the Open University here that cover some of those topics:


iPlayer gets deep linking back

Earlier in the year, BBC rolled out a new version of iPlayer and one of the ‘updates’ was removing the deep linking facility – where you could share a link to a specific point in the audio/video. That was really useful.

So I got in touch with them to ask if they’d put it back:

“We’ve been using the ability to deep link to a specific point in time on iPlayer content for years (e.g. ?t=2m13s) but we’ve just noticed that it doesn’t seem to work any longer. Could you please explain why it is no longer possible? If it is possible another way, please let me know how?”

“Thank you for contacting us at BBC iPlayer.
We understand you valued the ‘deep linking’ facility that was possible with a previous version of iPlayer.
This feature was removed from the new versions of iPlayer. We appreciate that you would like it to be reinstated. We do encourage people to use the play controls to navigate to the exact point within the programme that they wish to use.
Other detail about the features which have been developed and introduced, together with the issues involved in those kind of decisions, is available on this blog here:”

Anyway. A couple of months pass, and then I notice the ‘chapters’ functionality on BBC iPlayer Radio – it turns out they’ve rolled out a new version of the deep linking!
They’ve dropped the question mark and gone for hash # instead, like this:

It doesn’t autoplay, but that’s fine by me.

Moar Timelapse – and a bit of lightning

I shot another timelapse yesterday – this one contains the tail end ofย Hurricane Bertha according to the met office:

Also – here’s a clip of some lightning I managed to capture the other week when we had a day full of electrical storms. I tried for hours to photograph a bolt of lightning but failed every time – so in the end I gave up and filmed a patch of sky at 50fps (and then slowed the video down but kept the audio the same):

Timelapse experiment

Here’s a little timelapse experiment I did today on my HTC One using a free app called TinaTimelapse – it works really well! You’ve just got to remember to manually put your phone to sleep with your power button, rather than letting it go to sleep – as it doesn’t work, at least on my phone. It can be quite disappointing when you come back a few hours later and you only have 7 pics ๐Ÿ˜‰

Tina Timelapse has a number of settings options, for this one I set resolution to 1280 x 720 with 80% quality and 20 seconds between photos, white balance of ‘cloudy-daylight’, scene mode of ‘landscape’ and focus mode of ‘infinity’.

The individual images were stitched in Vegas Movie Studio, like this. The panning was done in post, I think I like the original better…