unknown flower

I can’t help thinking I’m missing something obvious on this one. It looks familiar, has nice straightforward id features, and should be straightforward to key out. But it eludes me. I don’t have a picture of the stems but here’s a close up of the flowers. Lots of glare from the sun so they appear … Continue reading “unknown flower”

I can’t help thinking I’m missing something obvious on this one. It looks familiar, has nice straightforward id features, and should be straightforward to key out. But it eludes me.

I don’t have a picture of the stems but here’s a close up of the flowers. Lots of glare from the sun so they appear more washed out than they really are. Colours are generally pale blues, whites and lilacs:

4 petalled flower

Four separate petals with a noticeable vein along the centre of each one. Note that the petals tips look (to me at least) un-notched. More rounded than notched.

I used a hand-lens to try and examine the stigmas and stamens but they appear to have gone AWOL. In fact, the flowers themselves have been out for a while and are probably past their best, suggesting May as the peak flowering month.

I don’t have a good shot of the stems but this one shows them a little:

It might not be clear from that image that the stems are rounded and slightly hairy. And here’s how they look from a distance …

So far so good, and a visit to Frances Rose Wild Flower Key. I had my hunch and it keyed out as I thought it might fairly well to Broad-Leaved Willowherb (Epilobium montanum). Except it doesn’t quite fit. The petals don’t look right to me (not notched), and the leaves, I didn’t mention the leaves.

The leaves are alternate up the main stem. Alternate and spiralling, like a willow. A Rosebay willowherb (Chamerion angustifolium) if you like. But it is definitely not Rosebay. The leaves are soft and slightly hairy, lanceolate, but not too skinny. They appear to clasp the stem just under the flower stalk but a closer look shows that there is a short petiole. The leaves are not dark and linear like Rosebay.

So I’ve browsed a few flower books and resorted to the time-honoured scientific tradition of thumbing through them aimlessly and looking at the pictures. I’ve had a play with the BSBI questionnaire. I’ve got a few ideas, but nothing fits. These spiral leaves are confusing me. Perhaps it thinks it’s a willow.

(Update: 5th June 2011) Thanks to Phil Gates for suggesting that this could be Sweet Rocket or Dame’s Violet (Hesperis matronalis). (Not just that, I’ve just noticed he’s got a blog entry on it!). It definitely ticks all the boxes and I’m sure this is correct. I shall revisit the flower next week and have a closer look.

Leaving Home

Perhaps, perhaps not. After a bit of fun with some parcel tape and a stick I was hopeful that the motion detection software might only detect motion, and not leaves, wind, sunlight or clouds. No such luck. 10,050 images this evening to browse through. That’s a lot of thumbnails. In amongst them though, some interesting … Continue reading “Leaving Home”

Perhaps, perhaps not. After a bit of fun with some parcel tape and a stick I was hopeful that the motion detection software might only detect motion, and not leaves, wind, sunlight or clouds. No such luck. 10,050 images this evening to browse through. That’s a lot of thumbnails. In amongst them though, some interesting behaviour …

I think what we’re seeing there is an adult feeding a very eager youngster who can’t wait to leave home. It was a hot sunny day today and this thin-walled birdbox faces due-south on a sunny wall. (There are plenty of other bird boxes to chose from but the blue tits chose this one, year after year. They don’t know that they’re not meant to.)

And every year on hot days like this I fret a little. Far more than the chicks I suspect.

I’m slightly intrigued by that last picture (above). Is it courtship feeding? Or one adult passing food to another to pass into the nestbox?

Then, (after discarding another few thousand thumbnails), it looks like the bold fledgling decides to see the world outside its window.

Sticky Backed Plastic …

… well, not quite. But a big long bit of wood, a (really) heavy planter (which I usually use to sit on), and some parcel tape. Nothing that the BBC Springwatch tech-crew will feel too threatened by but I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself. Sometimes thinking about things too much is a bad idea. I … Continue reading “Sticky Backed Plastic …”

… well, not quite. But a big long bit of wood, a (really) heavy planter (which I usually use to sit on), and some parcel tape. Nothing that the BBC Springwatch tech-crew will feel too threatened by but I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself.

Sometimes thinking about things too much is a bad idea. I wanted the webcam, away from the building, pointing at the nestbox. And I couldn’t work out how to do it. So I went for a walk. Around the garden, and around the garage. And 10 minutes later …

Looking good but despite tweaking with mask files and experimenting with the configuration for motion I still end up with over 10,000 images at the end of the day.

Workspace names in Linux Mint

Thanks to Google I found the answer to this (this post in particular) on my first attempt. I doubt I’d have worked it out on my own.

It seems that in Linux Mint (presumably Ubuntu too) that if you have any desktop effects enabled (Preferences / Appearance) then it’s not possible to give your workspaces individual names. i.e. Right-clicking on the workspace windows won’t offer the option to change workspace names unless Desktop Effects is set to None.

Starling investigates the blue tit nestbox

It must be pretty tough being a blue tit. Yesterday there was a magpie sitting on the roof. Today a starling tried to get in through the front door. The blue tit youngsters must still be in there (I saw an adult with food) and presumably the starling can hear them chirping inside. If the … Continue reading “Starling investigates the blue tit nestbox”

It must be pretty tough being a blue tit. Yesterday there was a magpie sitting on the roof. Today a starling tried to get in through the front door. The blue tit youngsters must still be in there (I saw an adult with food) and presumably the starling can hear them chirping inside. If the image below is going to be typical then leaving home for the blue tits is going to be a dramatic business.

I don’t know if starlings predate blue tit youngsters but I’ve no reason to assume they don’t. The starlings have been keeping an eye and a claw on the nestbox all day. I wonder how this one will play out …

 

rude boys

I’ve worked out that at 3 fat blocks, twice daily, I could easily get through 42 fat slabs a week. That’s alot of fat, and a lot of money, so they have to do with a fraction of that. Even so, every time I blink, the feeder is empty. It seems to be mainly the … Continue reading “rude boys”

I’ve worked out that at 3 fat blocks, twice daily, I could easily get through 42 fat slabs a week. That’s alot of fat, and a lot of money, so they have to do with a fraction of that. Even so, every time I blink, the feeder is empty. It seems to be mainly the starlings feeding their squabbling lazy youngsters …

Although the food is there for the taking the starlings prefer to screech to the adults to have the stuff physically shoved down their throats …

Although, occasionally, they still manage to look cute.

The screeching and squawking comes to an abrupt halt however. Not because the fat has run out, but because the heavies arrive …


you wouldn’t want to mess with that stare.

 

housekeeping script to remove dead images

I use mnemosyne daily to learn plant identification and make heavy use of images. All the images are stored in ~dougie/.mnemosyne/images and are referenced from the .mnemosyne config file in ~/.mnemosyne/default.mem. Sometimes I delete cards that I don’t like, are poorly phrased, or have something wrong about them. This doesn’t delete the corresponding image. I … Continue reading “housekeeping script to remove dead images”

I use mnemosyne daily to learn plant identification and make heavy use of images. All the images are stored in ~dougie/.mnemosyne/images and are referenced from the .mnemosyne config file in ~/.mnemosyne/default.mem.

Sometimes I delete cards that I don’t like, are poorly phrased, or have something wrong about them. This doesn’t delete the corresponding image.

I need to write a shell script to scan the default.mem file and extract all the filenames for the image jpegs, then check whether they exist. No, hang it, that’s the wrong way round. Although that would be useful too as sometimes I delete an image but not a card.

Ah, so it has to be a two-way script. Checking for orphans both ways. Are there images that are not in cards? And are there cards that reference images that aren’t there?

I should probably also wait until version 2.x of mnemosyne hits the streets in case there are any layout changes.
 

housekeeping script to keep jpegs manageable

This crops up periodically and it surprises me that with all the free tools you get with linux that there’s nothing (that I can find, at least) that will allow me to keep a folder tree within a manageable size. I did write a shell script to do this but I’ve lost it. With a … Continue reading “housekeeping script to keep jpegs manageable”

This crops up periodically and it surprises me that with all the free tools you get with linux that there’s nothing (that I can find, at least) that will allow me to keep a folder tree within a manageable size. I did write a shell script to do this but I’ve lost it. With a webcam using motion often triggering over 5000 images a day (four times that if it’s windy) I need to have some automated housekeeping to purge the older images.

I think what I had before was something that had a user-definable value (e.g. 5GB) and it would iteratively recurse a directory tree, deleting the older directories until the space taken up dropped below the threshhold. There are problems with this (e.g. accidentally Tagging or touching an old jpeg) that causes the directory time stamp to be updated. But all these thousands of jpegs are piling up and I’ll have to address this sometime soon.