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The Amazing Hummingbird Hawk Moth

Sunday, 24 February 2013

It hovers, it hums – but it is not a hummingbird. Take a look at one of, if not the most amazing, certainly the coolest insects on the planet - The Hummingbird Hawk Moth.

You hear a humming sound- is it a bird, is it a plane? At the risk of sounding frivolous it is difficult not to get excited at the sight of one of these astounding creatures. From a distance you would be forgiven – and this is no accident – if you thought that a host of hummingbirds had alighted in your garden. However, closer inspection would reveal a surprising lack of avian characteristics and you would be forced to re-assess the situation. With no legs or claws – and certainly no beak what you have here is a moth. No ordinary moth either – just take a look at that tongue. In truth, it isn’t actually a tongue. You may well ask, then, if it isn’t a tongue, what on earth is it?

Snow Games

Monday, 18 February 2013


This will make you smile, I hope. There have been a few videos recently of various animals playing in the snow – and here is another one to add to the collection.  This one, however, is a little different because the dog playing in the snow has been captured in slow motion.  Barolo, who owns filmmaker Andrey Blanco, has been filmed at 240 frames per second.  So, you get every jump, every leap and – you swear – a dog can smile!

Barolo is absolutely full of life – joie de vivre is in his every motion.  What a pleasure is must be to accompany him through life!

Why Does a Dog Lick Its Nose?

Saturday, 16 February 2013

When dogs are in their training stage a question that comes up a great deal is why do dogs lick their noses?  While it is tempting to simply go with the old chestnut of an answer – because they can – there are a number of reasons why a dog might lick its own nose. One thing is for certain sure, however: while they are doing it they often bring a smile to the faces of their human companions. As you can see from this spread of pictures, it is sometimes difficult to resist this particular canine photo opportunity.

You Don’t Frighten Me!

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Sometimes you have to whip your camera out in a second to get the photograph. When Flickr photographer Peretz Partensky was traveling the Silk Road in Tashkent, Uzbekistan he managed to capture this amazing shot. What we don’t see, however, is the way that the dog charged the cat and the way the ferocious feline stopped her in her tracks by hissing and thrusting a paw in the air. Yet this, taken a second or two afterwards captures the dramatic moment, in my mind, perfectly. This little cat is giving the dog her marching orders! You don’t frighten me!

The Birds of Troup Head


In June 2012 Cain Scrimgeour visited RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) Troup Head in Scotland, to produce a short promotional film for the RSPB. A week was spent filming on the high sea cliffs of the reserve, where he was privileged to be in the presence of the beautiful and prehistoric Northern Gannet, Morus bassanus. The close proximity allowed him to delve into the Gannets lives, witnessing the complexity of their behavioural traits.

Cain takes up the story: During the week the weather was by majority hot and sunny with flat seas, this proved to be challenging in terms of exposure whilst filming these large white birds, but it also meant that the majority of the Gannets kept to the cliff edges, never venturing above the cliff tops. Only two days did I experience wind which provided some interesting photograph and filming opportunities. The waves picked up, and began crashing into the base of the rocky cliffs, whilst the winds updrafts allowed the Gannets to gain height, congregating at the uppermost parts of the cliff face, gliding effortlessly above the horizon.

The Red Elephants of Kenya

Friday, 8 February 2013

Ask anyone what color an elephant should be and you may get a raised eyebrow (or two) but the answer will normally be grey or greyish – perhaps even black or brown. The more observant might say there is pinkness around some parts of the body such as the ears and trunk. Red would almost certainly not be the answer even though some would swear they had witnessed pink elephants on parade. Yet in the Kenyan National Park of Tsavo East you will find red elephants aplenty.

Alien Nations: Up Close and Impersonal with Insects and Spiders

Saturday, 2 February 2013

It is little wonder that many movie monster makers look to the alien world of insects for their inspiration. Here, with the aid of some amazing macrophotography, get up close and impersonal with some strange species that might not look too out of place in a sci-fi movie.

There are around ninety species of beetle backed flies – and this is one of them. Native to Asia and Africa they do are small sized insects but with macrophotography they do not look quite so small. The reason for its swollen appearance is not because it is about to lay eggs (or has just ingested something larger than itself which is enough to start off a gag reflex, possibly). Rather it has an enlarged scutellum. This is the triangular plate behind its pronotum, which is one of the three parts that makes up its thorax. Its wings are behind the scutellum.

Red Crab Migration on Christmas Island: Roadkill Era Over


If you have ever watched a documentary about the migration of red crabs on Christmas Island from the forest back to the sea to spawn, then you have probably seen enough crab carcasses to last you a lifetime.

As the crabs made their way back to the ocean they would inevitably have to cross one of the island’s roads. In the past motorists would try to swerve to avoid them (or not!) but often the crabs were simply too numerous and accidents inevitably happened.

However, it is hoped that these days the number of crabs being squished and squashed will be massively reduced, thanks to the efforts of the amazing staff of Parks Australia. They have created a number of ingenious methods to ensure that as many crabs get to the sand and the sea as possible. Take a look at this interesting video to find out more.

A Bird Ballet


Neels Castillon was filming a commercial near Marseille in France.  While he and his colleagues were waiting for a helicopter to shoot they noticed something else was going on – something quite wonderful.  It is known as a murmuration of starlings and it happens at dusk.  Many thousands of starlings take to the skies at the same time and form a giant cloud. They wheel, turn, plummet and soar in an incredible natural spectacle that makes you wonder, quite honestly, how they do it without colliding in to each other!

You may well wonder why they do this.  It seems that, as ever, there is safety in numbers and it is thought that this huge congregation of starlings all simultaneously on the move might help to confuse birds of prey. 

Don’t be fooled by the huge numbers seen here, however.  It has been estimated that starling numbers in the UK and France have plummeted by an incredible 70% in recent years.  We may be the last generation to witness this spectacle.

Amung Feedjit