Saturday, 21 March 2015

Celestial photobomb

I took a bit of a gamble last week, nipping up to Aberdeen from Brighton to catch the eclipse... 


Picking up my friend Olly and with a few extra stops along the way, we drove to Balmedie Beach which is on the east coast of Scotland, just slightly north of Aberdeen. On Friday that unstable Scottish weather was on our side, with plenty of breaks in the cloud.

Budget eclipse viewing: holding a colander up to the sun helped to track the progress of the moon




We figured out that we could also track progress by watching the camera lens flare (looking at the digital screen of course, not through the viewer)...



Close up of lens flare - J.J. Abrams would be proud

When a cloud passed over, putting down the exposure as far as it would go worked well too.

9.38am: maximum coverage

This is my favorite shot, with the lens flare showing the maximum coverage

The price we paid for these great views was getting caught out in the open during a very cold, sudden rain shower...




When the sky rapidly cleared once more, I had wander around the sand dunes, seeing what I could turn up...


Quite like the landscape in the Ian Banks novel Wasp Factory, but no sign of any Scottish teenagers blowing up wasps here.

I think this is a Peltigera species of lichen, possibly Mat Felt (Peltigera malacea)

Dunnock singing lustily from the Gorse

Bird list:
Dunnock
Linnet
Skylark
Reed Bunting
Yellowhammer
Rock Pipit
Chaffinch
Blackbird
Magpie
Carrion Crow
Great Black-backed Gull
Herring Gull
Curlew

I also had a quick sift in the sand for some invertebrates...

I think this is Ero cambridgei, will need to get it checked

Some medium-sized ants in the dunes... no idea what they are

This wolf spider is a bit of a dune specialist - Arctosa perita


...and remember folks, its important to have all the right gear when viewing an eclipse.