What I saw while I was out (a general purpose nature or whatever thread)

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I couldn't find anywhere to say what I'd seen while I was out walking yesterday so I thought I'd make one. It doesn't have to be nature ofc; you might have seen a man with a nose like a cucumber.

Ngolo Cantwell (Chinaski), Sunday, 9 February 2020 12:44 (seven months ago) link

Contrasts:

Yesterday was like the birth of the new year: skylarks, woodpeckers drumming, goldfinches drinking from puddles, sky all cascading light. Today started at 7.30, unpeeling the trampoline from next door's fence, where it had been unsummarily dumped by the storm. Since then, two fence panels have blown in and a young oak has come down. Thank god for the cricket.

Ngolo Cantwell (Chinaski), Sunday, 9 February 2020 12:47 (seven months ago) link

Today we went out to see a local waterfall because of all the rain and my gf was kind of apprehensive because of all the wind. On entering the woods where the falls are situated we heard a loud crack and watched a substantial branch break off a tree and crash to the ground about 15 yards ahead of us. We didn't get to see the waterfall

or something, Sunday, 9 February 2020 22:22 (seven months ago) link

I went out this evening in the dark in quite calm conditions compared to earlier and was taking note of all the big shorn bits of tree on the ground that would have been deadly projectiles earlier.

calzino, Sunday, 9 February 2020 23:53 (seven months ago) link

Just been up through the woods to pick my car up from the pub. Sheeeit. So much water; so many fallen trees. Water changes the whole dynamic of the woods: as it rushes and plunges you notice different slacks and hollows; where the subtle shifts in height are; the camber from west to east. There's loads of odd freight, too, brought down from the claylands where the river rises: fertilizer bags, eyeless dolls, footballs. I walked up to lock and it seems they're having to flood the playing fields. The rugby posts were shin-deep in water.

Ngolo Cantwell (Chinaski), Sunday, 16 February 2020 17:37 (seven months ago) link

I walked out into a thunder storm tonight. Hid under a dormant colliery bridge for a bit, but was already drenched at this point. I live for this shit!

calzino, Sunday, 16 February 2020 18:15 (seven months ago) link

I think Venus is looking awesome tonight

calzino, Sunday, 16 February 2020 18:35 (seven months ago) link

It's blazing up there.

Ngolo Cantwell (Chinaski), Sunday, 16 February 2020 18:54 (seven months ago) link

one month passes...

I saw a line of about a dozen satellites earlier in the night sky in a dark area with a good view. There haven't been any aircraft in the skies for days now, and this is in a zone on the descending part of the flight path to Leeds/Bradford airport so there isn't a lot else to distract your attention at the moment. They were moving soundlessly in a beautifully precise looking constant velocity and briefly I was quite puddled and thinking are these pig drones checking on us all lol? before settling on they must be satellites.

calzino, Sunday, 29 March 2020 21:57 (five months ago) link

Satellites do formation manoeuvres? Maybe they were geese.

threnody for the victims of alan shearer (Matt #2), Sunday, 29 March 2020 23:01 (five months ago) link

I knew i should have put this on the caek thread. it was neither geese nor aircraft, I'm fucking sure of that.

calzino, Sunday, 29 March 2020 23:08 (five months ago) link

That was probably SpaceX's Starlink sattelites: https://www.space.com/spacex-starlink-satellites.html

help yourself to another slice of apple ... crumble (Willl), Sunday, 29 March 2020 23:13 (five months ago) link

*satellites even

help yourself to another slice of apple ... crumble (Willl), Sunday, 29 March 2020 23:13 (five months ago) link

Although to the observer low Earth orbit satellites move at about the same apparent speed as commercial aircraft

ah thank you Willl. I knew I wasn't talking bollox!

calzino, Sunday, 29 March 2020 23:14 (five months ago) link

"Satellites do formation manoeuvres?"

yes they do, it's pretty much a big deal to them lol!

calzino, Sunday, 29 March 2020 23:32 (five months ago) link

first heard, then saw: the biggest owl i've ever seen up atop a tall pine on a walk through nearby wooded hills on saturday.

never have i been a blue calm sea (collardio gelatinous), Monday, 30 March 2020 04:55 (five months ago) link

Cool! Did you see it take flight? That's always impressive

A True White Kid that can Jump (Granny Dainger), Monday, 30 March 2020 05:11 (five months ago) link

I saw a line of about a dozen satellites earlier in the night sky in a dark area with a good view. There haven't been any aircraft in the skies for days now, and this is in a zone on the descending part of the flight path to Leeds/Bradford airport so there isn't a lot else to distract your attention at the moment. They were moving soundlessly in a beautifully precise looking constant velocity and briefly I was quite puddled and thinking are these pig drones checking on us all lol? before settling on they must be satellites.

― calzino, Sunday, March 29, 2020 11:57 PM (yesterday) bookmarkflaglink

I saw them too!! I was out for a fag last night and called my gf away from Antiques Roadshow to check it out, so she wouldn't think I'd lost the plot :) At first I thought I just saw the ISS going from west to east, but then it was followed by another one. And another one. I caught seven of them, all with the exact same distance between them, same velocity.

Disappointed they're Musks toys instead of our alien overlords tbh.

Le Bateau Ivre, Monday, 30 March 2020 07:47 (five months ago) link

yes for a few minutes I thought am I losing the plot here or wot as well! I have seen singular objects that is probs ISS or other bigger satellites that are sometimes visible, but never so many of them at once.

calzino, Monday, 30 March 2020 08:16 (five months ago) link

https://www.theverge.com/2020/3/24/21190273/spacex-starlink-satellite-internet-constellation-astronomy-coating

To figure out Starlink’s exact impression on the night, McDowell made a comprehensive simulation based on what we know about where all of the Starlink satellites are going. Ahead of launching its constellation, SpaceX had to file multiple requests with the Federal Communications Commission, detailing where the company planned to send all of its spacecraft. Using that information, McDowell came up with a snapshot of which areas will see the most satellites overhead and what times of night will be the worst for observations.

In the more northern and southern latitudes, Starlink satellites will dominate the horizon during the first and last few hours of the night. In the summertime, it’ll be much worse, with hundreds of satellites visible for those in rural areas away from city light pollution. “Where I live in Boston, I can see the planes hovering over Logan Airport on the horizon,” says McDowell. “That’s what it will look like, but it’ll be satellites and it’ll be a lot of them.” SpaceX declined to comment for this story.

Number None, Monday, 30 March 2020 08:36 (five months ago) link

Cool! Did you see it take flight? That's always impressive

I didn't, but it did turn its head to its right for a second, catching the last light of the setting sun.

never have i been a blue calm sea (collardio gelatinous), Monday, 30 March 2020 12:34 (five months ago) link

five months pass...

One unexpected result of lockdown is a weird kind of nature fatigue. I guess what I mean is that I've been walking my patch so much, it's become another room - almost an extension of the trap that is my house. I do have what amounts to a pathological aversion to retracing my steps but the landscape has always subverted that by its 'ever-changing same' aspect. I'm not getting the same cleansing Otherness I've always experienced and it's troubling. A pretty privileged problem all in, but there it is.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Sunday, 13 September 2020 12:19 (one week ago) link

I don't feel similarly-- I take great pleasure in the most minute of differences day to day-- but I will honestly say that my dog has gotten quite bored, and so I now go further afield to keep her interested...not comparing you to my lovely pup, of course!

But I do understand the unease there. When I lived in a mountainous region, I sometimes had to stop and remind myself that I was on a sacred and unrivalled spot of the planet, and that my being five minutes late to work didn't really matter all that much.

healthy cocaine off perfect butts (the table is the table), Sunday, 13 September 2020 12:31 (one week ago) link

I never get bored of outdoors, there is usually something interesting. Me + the kid were watching this farmer for a very diverting 10 minutes while he was using this device on the back of his tractor that picks up giant bales of hay and twirls a black polythene wrap around them, it was fucking aaamazing!

calzino, Sunday, 13 September 2020 12:59 (one week ago) link

I love seeing distant fields full of spool shaped bales of hay, like some giant toddler has left its toys strewn about. It beats the hell out of main roads and bustling metropolises and riding on rona trains!

calzino, Sunday, 13 September 2020 13:11 (one week ago) link

Those hay bales also have a lovely, sweet grassy scent when you get next to them, btw

healthy cocaine off perfect butts (the table is the table), Sunday, 13 September 2020 13:17 (one week ago) link

Happy to be compared to your hound, table!

I don't think it's boredom as such, more a numbness? That sounds dramatic but it's certainly in that zone. I'm going to go up into the hills for a walk now. Need the light and the air. I'll sniff a hay bale while I'm out. (I always think they look like massive liquorice allsorts. They're great to sleep next to.)

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Sunday, 13 September 2020 14:20 (one week ago) link

there is probably some ancient bylaw that makes it perfectly legal for a farmer to shoot you with a crossbow if you are caught bale-sniffing!

calzino, Sunday, 13 September 2020 14:25 (one week ago) link

It'll be worth it just so I can ring in sick tomorrow and say 'sorry, can't come in - got shot up the arse by a farmer'.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Sunday, 13 September 2020 14:27 (one week ago) link

I have walked up across and around the Common literally every day since the lockdown has been lightened (and through the Common into the Woods beyond at least once a week) and I never stop being astonished at how much it changes, at how it is different every time, the subtle changes that rain or sunshine make to the colour of grass (there are a couple of natural springs in various places in the fields, and it's astonishing how vividly you can see them during dry spells) the paths, the muddy areas that become winter bournes, whether leaf litter stays and turns to mulch, or is washed away into little rivulets. The different flowers that have their turns one after another, the different fruits that come into season (blackberries are almost all gone, but the *apples* right now are out of this world!)

My favourite thing in the world right now - there is this random man who, every day at around 5 o'clock or so, walks through the Common - starting up in the woodland, then slowly making his way down through the pastures, and around the parkland - improvising beebop jazz on a saxophone.

I'm not even a jazz fan, but this guy is so good - it's just incredibly uplifting, haunting, mesmerising, beautiful music, that seems to be emmanating from the woods, the trees, nature itself - it is the most magical experience to hear him slowly approach, blowing his tunes, caught on the wind. Every time I manage to hear him perform, it is the high point of my day.

Grebo X Performance (Branwell with an N), Sunday, 13 September 2020 15:06 (one week ago) link

you do get a better standard of eccentric mavericks in London, I'll give you that. When I lived there and was working in a N London branch of Sainsburies in the 90's there used to be this lovely, possibly Nigerian accented guy, who'd wander around the aisles repeatedly shouting The Best, The Best! every day like clockwork. It was a nice distraction from the tedium of stacking shelves in the provision dept!

calzino, Sunday, 13 September 2020 15:46 (one week ago) link

I went through a phase, starting around 10 or 12 years ago, of teaching myself everything I could about nature - from plants, trees and to cloud formations, geology and the history of the landscape. I kept a pretty detailed journal (and a blog, for a bit) and was pretty obsessive about it. I don't consciously do that 'watching narrowly' stuff anymore, instead it just sort of hums along in the background. I miss it, but it's still great just to drift.

Today's sightings: a cloud of linnets settling on telegraph wires, a field of millet and a family of posh sods, racing their son (Jeremy) against their whippet (Winnie) and a drone.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Sunday, 13 September 2020 16:45 (one week ago) link

I love sax man, Branwell!

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Sunday, 13 September 2020 16:46 (one week ago) link

Beebop Jazz Saxophonist is really the best!

I think that’s the thing, Calz - when you live in London you deal with such a constantly shifting mass of people you never see again - that to see a stranger so distinctive that they stick out each time you see them feels far more notable than if you only ever saw the same people in a small town.

Who won - the posh son or the whippet?

Greta Grebo (Branwell with an N), Sunday, 13 September 2020 16:53 (one week ago) link

i Who won - the posh son or the whippet?

The son face-planted early on, so the whippet, by a country mile.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Sunday, 13 September 2020 17:09 (one week ago) link

I heard (but did not see) beebop jazz saxophonist again yesterday, he was really effusive in the warm weather, and it was amazing.

At the moment, my astonishment at the sheer quantity of acorns has moved on temporarily to the plethora of ash keys. It really is a mast year!

Greta Grebo (Branwell with an N), Wednesday, 16 September 2020 08:12 (one week ago) link

I was out for a walk yesterday and saw a duck that looked like this.

https://quiz.natureid.no/bird/db_media/eBook/a28b7a1dc6aaaf330a129e6770608a6c51b69d8c.jpg

When I got home I looked up ducks of the UK and I think that I might have seen a smew. However, I live in Glasgow and apparently these are only found in the south of England in the winter, so maybe it wasn't a smew.

paolo, Wednesday, 16 September 2020 08:56 (one week ago) link

I think I'd like to get into birdwatching when things get back to normal.

paolo, Wednesday, 16 September 2020 08:57 (one week ago) link

Nice duck! I found a couple of reports of people around and about spotting smews in winter (e.g. Gartmorn Dam Country Park, Loch Leven), so I bet you did see one. Where was it?

Eyeball Kicks, Wednesday, 16 September 2020 11:06 (one week ago) link

So maybe I did see one. It was in the White Cart in Langside hanging out with a mallard.

paolo, Wednesday, 16 September 2020 12:02 (one week ago) link

I've seen two kingfishers in Linn Park during lockdown as well. It could have been the same kingfisher twice I guess.

paolo, Wednesday, 16 September 2020 12:03 (one week ago) link

U shd totally get into birding now, fwiw. Fall migration is on

Its big ball chunky time (Jimmy The Mod Awaits The Return Of His Beloved), Wednesday, 16 September 2020 14:00 (one week ago) link

I'm not brilliant on IDing ducks, but a smew in Scotland wouldn't be especially unusual, I don't think.

I taught myself birds over the course of a few years and being able to ID by sound is the key. Like most things, it's practise and persistence. This site is amazing for recordings of birds' song and alarm calls: https://www.xeno-canto.org/

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Wednesday, 16 September 2020 14:19 (one week ago) link

Also sound helps u find the fucking things

Its big ball chunky time (Jimmy The Mod Awaits The Return Of His Beloved), Wednesday, 16 September 2020 14:20 (one week ago) link

GOOTTA CATCH M ALLLLLL

Its big ball chunky time (Jimmy The Mod Awaits The Return Of His Beloved), Wednesday, 16 September 2020 14:20 (one week ago) link

Taking long walks in nearby forest preserves and nature trails has been such a balm over this summer, I'm really going to struggle without even that this winter.

We've seen dozens of deer, a giant snapping turtle, a heron with a massive wingspan and a stunning array of birds. Which doesn't sound all that amazing to folks who live in actual rural/outdoor areas I'm sure, but for all of this being within a 20-25 minute drive from our house in the third largest metropolitan area in the US, it's been really nice during the pandemic.

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Wednesday, 16 September 2020 14:24 (one week ago) link

yeah we really hve to fight for space in NYC and we've only recently felt comfortable going to the major parks (transit anxiety - misplaced; crowd anxity - not misplaced but we just plan for everything to take longer)

Its big ball chunky time (Jimmy The Mod Awaits The Return Of His Beloved), Wednesday, 16 September 2020 14:38 (one week ago) link

even I see deer and heron occasionally in this grim formerly heavily industrialised northern part of England and its never gets old for me. I'm usually so awestruck when I see deer, by the time I think - ey lets take a pic - they are dots on the horizon and they are so fast and can vault over dry stone walls and wire fences like they are nothing. Can also never get over the colony of wild parakeets in one of my local parks, that have been living there for over 3 decades apparently. The RSPB site and wiki-page on feral parakeets in the UK seem to think they are all concentrated in the South East because in the North we'd either eight 'em or force 'em to smirk tabs and drink beer!

calzino, Wednesday, 16 September 2020 14:39 (one week ago) link

We have parakeets in the ancient woodland nearby! They’re so beautiful and green and also LOUD! I love them. Other than that I’m quite bad with birds - I’m far more into botanising.

My ‘someday I’ll get into birding’ is to become an FUNGI FORAGER - I’ve been on a couple of mushroom walks but it’s a whole new world even for a fairly comfortable botaniser! If anyone knows any good books on fungi, send suggestions my way...

No saxophone today unfortunately. All the crows were having a party on the lower common though.

I sat for ages in my favourite bench, it used to be I front of a hedgerow but the hedgerow has grown up around it so it’s like a secret green cave under an oak and surrounded by scrubby elm suckers - you can see out down the meadow, but no one can see in.

Greta Grebo (Branwell with an N), Wednesday, 16 September 2020 15:50 (one week ago) link

I loved listening to the late Antonio Carluccio talking about how he'd forage for mushrooms in some London park and then turn up at some random Italian restaurant with his haul and ask to cook them himself in their kitchen because they weren't worthy!

calzino, Wednesday, 16 September 2020 15:55 (one week ago) link

but jesus you've got be careful with those mushrooms. I personally can't stand the psilocybin ones just as the varieties that might just slowly kill you.

calzino, Wednesday, 16 September 2020 16:00 (one week ago) link

Tbh a lot of the joy I've pulled from seeing these deer is watching my 9 year old get super excited when we come within 10-15 feet of a deer after making a turn or cresting a rise on the trail.

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Wednesday, 16 September 2020 16:02 (one week ago) link

Ha! Yes, that is why it remains an unfulfilled dream! You gotta be really careful. I went mushrooming once with Will Carruthers - as a chef and a psychonaut he really knows his fungus, but even then I was worried - “if I eat this is it gonna kill me or make me see little green men?” (Neither, it was simply delicious- but I did make him eat one first!)

I just want to learn more about mushrooms in general after reading Anna Tsing

Greta Grebo (Branwell with an N), Wednesday, 16 September 2020 16:06 (one week ago) link

Branwell I just finished Merlin Sheldrake's Entangled Life and can't recommend it enough if you are interested in learning not just about mushrooms in their variety but fungi in general

error prone wolf syndicate (Hadrian VIII), Wednesday, 16 September 2020 16:34 (one week ago) link

Oh, is that good? I read an interview with him in the Guardian and it seemed interesting. I will probably order it, then, so thanks!

Greta Grebo (Branwell with an N), Wednesday, 16 September 2020 16:43 (one week ago) link

there's a raggedy old park very close to where i live where i run almost every day. lots of inexplicable wetlands (i'm still not sure exactly how the water enters the park and where it goes - lots of tunneled water in this area as the mountain creeks enter the valley). it's overrun by large thickets of russian olive trees, which are considered a trash tree but which i think are beautiful in a gnarly, messy way. there is an area at the edge of the park where over the fence a group of foxes hang around - i've seen a man throw them eggs several times. once one of the foxes darted across the path in front of me when i was running. they're nice to watch with their light-as-air movements and black hind legs.

i can relate to "nature numbness" having run the same paths over and over and grown tired of the same scenery and routine. sometimes i find being outside to be a melancholy or grim experience. mostly though i can't do without it and find myself suffering if i am primarily indoors for more than two days.

i'm going to a fairly remote red-rock area this weekend, remote in the sense of just not having a lot of people around, even though the land has of course seen human use. it's where ponderosa forest slopes downward to red rock drainage on the colorado plateau. it is a very beautiful place. the night sky there is the darkest i've ever seen it. we're staying at a "resort" because we both hate all the work of camping but it's still very rustic, 10 miles from a town with a population of 250 people which is hours from other towns. it used to be a ranch until someone bought a parcel of it, they've done a lot of restoration of the area around a small creek that runs through. beavers have come in and are doing their thing which helps. there is a 'main cabin' with a deck you can sit on with a view of the grounds and the wilderness beyond. last time we were there we witnessed a funny scene from said deck - two couples let their dogs meet each other and play. one couple was pretty obviously from a bigger city, like us. the other couple looked very much like they lived in the nearby town or even on the premises. their dogs acted accordingly - the ranch dog, some kind of herder, ran circles around the city dog, which was a collie or retriever, attempting endlessly to goad it into its much greater capacity for play-related ecstasy, which it approached but then backed away from. the city dog seemed coddled and a bit immature. at one point the ranch's cat approached the scene. the city dog barked and ran towards the cat. cat arched up and hissed and the city dog yelped very loudly and ran away terrified with its tail between its legs. we both died laughing.

Give me a Chad Smith-type feel (map), Wednesday, 16 September 2020 16:45 (one week ago) link

Branwell, where do you reside, if you don't mind my asking? I know all the mushroom guides by region for the US, my man is a mycologist. Some of our first dates were staying up all night writing graffiti and fucking and then walking to the Marin headlands to forage for boletes.

healthy cocaine off perfect butts (the table is the table), Wednesday, 16 September 2020 19:56 (one week ago) link

Anyway, we're very lucky to live near a national wildlife refuge, as well as numerous parks, and I'm grateful to be able to see all kinds of bird life— herons, hawks, osprey, bald eagles, owls— as well as more water and earth-dwelling critters so often. I see white-tail so often that I don't even really think of it as remarkable!

healthy cocaine off perfect butts (the table is the table), Wednesday, 16 September 2020 19:58 (one week ago) link

Table, I live in London - so Southeast England.

If your partner has any suggestions for good general audience reading on fungus, I would be very grateful for them! Somerset House had an art exhibition on fungus earlier this year (where I got Tsing’s Mushroom At The End Of The World) which really whet my appetite to learn more (fungus has like 200 sexes! It can consume radioactivity! It’s neither a plant nor an animal - it is decay itself!!! Would love to confirm / deny / discover more) so if you / he have any reading you can recommend that would be amazing.

Greta Grebo (Branwell with an N), Wednesday, 16 September 2020 20:13 (one week ago) link

I barely know anything about mushrooms. I was vaguely suspicious of Sheldrake as I have a sense of his old man as a bit of a charlatan but that book sounds great. And table, that sounds like a great way to spend an evening!

They've recently released some white-tailed eagles on the Isle of Wight. I'm keeping an eye out (I live in the south) but nothing yet. I went to a place in Sussex recently and saw the storks that have bred here - for the first time since the 1400s. They're getting beavers soon, too. It's all happening.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Wednesday, 16 September 2020 20:42 (one week ago) link

Our wildlife in the UK is a little more modest. We have to take what we can get!

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Wednesday, 16 September 2020 20:47 (one week ago) link

the UK govt have discovered it's much cheaper to award contracts to beavers to work on UK flood defences than money-grubbing construction behemoths like Kier, Balfour Beatty etc...

calzino, Wednesday, 16 September 2020 20:48 (one week ago) link

Branwell, we actually have the Marren book that is much more useful in the UK context, tho still a fine read here in the US, too...if one is into that thing. He's a good writer!

healthy cocaine off perfect butts (the table is the table), Wednesday, 16 September 2020 20:48 (one week ago) link

Among others, the Tsing book being a household favorite for obvious reasons.

healthy cocaine off perfect butts (the table is the table), Wednesday, 16 September 2020 20:49 (one week ago) link

Beavers = cheaper *and* more effective. And they look awesome with all their teeth and shit.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Wednesday, 16 September 2020 20:51 (one week ago) link

I haven't read her myself, but a friend was telling me about Robin Wall Kimmerer the other night and now I really want to read her book about moss

not right at all (rob), Wednesday, 16 September 2020 20:57 (one week ago) link

We've got 'Braiding Sweetgrass' on the to-read pile atm

healthy cocaine off perfect butts (the table is the table), Wednesday, 16 September 2020 22:42 (one week ago) link

I dug a new bed in the garden today and jesus h the amount of acorns I had to bag up to get rid of! And about another 439 have fallen in the interim.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Sunday, 20 September 2020 18:21 (six days ago) link

For the record, our garden isn't massive. Oaks grow in the alley along the back and hang over the garden.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Sunday, 20 September 2020 18:22 (six days ago) link

There is an absolutely astonishing abundance of acorns this year! I’ve never seen anything like it.

Masonic Lockdown (Branwell with an N), Sunday, 20 September 2020 19:02 (six days ago) link

Oddly, the same is true here in the states. Wonder what that's about.

healthy cocaine off perfect butts (the table is the table), Tuesday, 22 September 2020 16:15 (four days ago) link


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