First mosquitoes sighted, and the ants are up too

Snow is still all around but yesterday I saw two mosquitoes that were too small and quick to be photographed, and an anthill teeming with activity, which Alexandra captured with her camera. “Real” spring is close!

 

The eider book announcement

It is a pleasure for me to announce that my mate Alexandra’s mega-project of the last four or five years, the book on the relationship between the Common eider and Man, has its end in sight. My role was that of a translator and occasionally a lightning rod for the outbursts of the author’s anger at the world dearing to interfere with the process.

Below is a letter from Alexandra to all those interested in acquiring the book or perhaps helping financially in its printing.

more >>

The source of potable water

Local tap water will not kill you. At least not immediately. And if it does its destructive power will be in its taste rather than chemical content. It is a proven fact that tea and coffee taste better from water obtained from one of several springs around the city. Here is how it is done at the City Park on the left side of the Niva river..

Black, white, and pink

Somewhat belated Season’s greetings!

After a long grey fall, the real winter has set in, with short days and lots of fluffy snow. As to the color scheme, it has been reduced to just three: black, white and, in the brief hour or less the sun is up, pink.

 

more >>

Seen five White-throated dippers at a time

Normally this little and rare (several hundred pairs in the entire Murmansk Region) birdie lives in a rather dispersed fashion, with one to three pairs per 10km of stream. But today we have been observing at least five individuals at once, diving into bubbling water to get their bugs and worms and what not.

more >>

Intense aurora borealis right over Kandalaksha last night

Last night, October 7, at about 10 pm, we were treated to spectacular northern lights display clearly visible right over the town despite light pollution. That may have been the brightest display I’ve ever seen. First we even thought the building was on fire.

Here are some photos taken with an ordinary camera.

more >>

2018 Northern lights season has started

A few sightings of this phenomenon have been noticed starting as far back as two weeks ago. No, you don’t need it to be cold but darkness and clear sky are essential. See some of my old advice to those seeking to see Aurora, including a link to the local Kandalaksha group of Aurora hunters.

Today’s Honey agaric catch

The mushroom season is in full swing. Today we collected a bunch of honey agaric, and am not sure what to do with them as by this time I’m almost sick of eating mushrooms even though picking them remains fun. Probably we’ll marinate some of them, fry another part, and freeze the rest.

An encounter with Daphne mezereum

Ran into one yesterday while exploring the coast and picking mushrooms. Daphne mezereum (February daphne)is said to be highly poisonous, with five berries able to kill a grown man. It causes swelling of the walls of air passages and a rather unpleasant death from suffocation. No thanks. The post about Daphne in Alexandra’s Facebook resulted in quite a discussion.

Wild mushrooms

 

Despite recent month-long draught mushrooms started showing up. Picked up a bunch of brown cap boletus yesterday, relatively worm-free. Seems we are one good rain away from a major mushroom outcrop.