*rugenius - , 07:28 - 0 Notes

How to Hatch Your Own Eggs

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Lately, you’ve seen our Wyandotte Chicks and our Mandarin Duckling swimming ~ our incredible editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw, has been busy adding poultry hatching and running a nursery for adorable baby chicks and ducks at home on top of her busy tasks with NOTCOT lately! So when Bing approached us to sponsor posts to share some of our expertise, this seemed like an amazing opportunity to share what the whole team here at NOTCOT has been learning about how to hatch poultry from Justine! So read on to see what she has to teach us! (As well as lots of fun pictures and videos!)

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*rugenius - 06.17.12 , 10:09 - 1 Notes

Duckling Swimming Underwater!

duckmain.jpg The latest dose of natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.

As a little side project, I’ve been helping hatch poultry for the always wonderful Mudchute Park & Farm and our most recent arrivals have been two beautiful Mandarin ducklings. You can find out more about their incubation and see the eldest just after hatching on the Mudchute blog.

Ducklings should be introduced to water early on as these mandarins would naturally have jumped from their nest in a hole in a tree and headed straight for the water with their mom. So we got a paint tray (they’re ideal because they are fairly shallow and graded, allowing the ducklings to get in and out of the water on their own and introduced the ducklings on their first day post-hatching. I expected the little ducklings to paddle contentedly at the surface, but to my surprise, the youngest duckling dove right in and began swimming underwater (more like you might expect from a gannet, puffin or penguin!). She does it in a crazed frenzy, swimming madly around, completely submerged then leaping out of the water entirely! It’s all a mad blur in real time, but photos capture the frenzy (and mess), her expression almost reminds me of the portraits of dogs underwater. More photos of our adorable little duckling splashing around on the next page!

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*rugenius - 06.07.12 , 02:30 - 1 Notes

From Tadpole to Toadlet

toadlet-main.jpg The latest dose of natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.

This spring, I had the opportunity to raise a number of toads from tadpole and track their development along the way! Metamorphosis is always fascinating and it’s incredible to see how much they change as they grow on their journey from tadpole to toadlet! More photos and video on the next page.

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*rugenius - 05.29.12 , 01:20 - 0 Notes

Breeding Jellyfish at the Horniman Aquarium

mainjelly.jpg The latest dose of natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.

In addition to showcasing beautiful displays, the staff of the aquarium at the Horniman Museum and Gardens also conduct fascinating research into the species in their collection, including coral reef diseases and embryonic development. The team have shared some gorgeous photos from their research into the breeding of Moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) with us and they provide a beautiful insight into this very complicated life cycle! More photos of the beautiful and otherworldly looking phases of developing jellies on the next page.

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*notcot - 05.23.12 , 19:03 - 3 Notes

Grow: Rare & Unusual Succulents in Cambria, CA

succu00.jpg We love succulents here at NOTCOT ~ remember the amazing patterns and incredibly gummy looking ones? The geometry of the patterns they create and emerge in are just mesmerizing… not to mention the colors and flowers and how tiny they start out and how adorably they evolve! Anyhow… while driving back down the 1 from Monterey to LA, we got curious and started pulling off to see the main streets of the towns along the way, including Cambria! And my eyes did a double take when i saw a bright, playful sign reading “Rare and Unusual Succulents” ~ we HAD to stop! And it is amazing. First you go through a house of garden goods… through their large patio… then you see it. Another house! With another “Rare and Unusual Succulents” sign on top… and within the Grow Nursery is loads of air plants (even in bubble gum machines!)… and out to ANOTHER patio FILLED with truly rare & unusual specimens. It was like a succulent wonderland, and we met the lovely Jan Moon, who blew our mind with her knowledge of them, rattling off scientific names and families and lots of information on which were new hybrids, what to expect, how to water, and more!

So check out the adorable and amazing space of Grow Nursery’s Rare & Unusual Succulents as well as the assortment we gave in to on the next page!

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*notcot - , 00:06 - 0 Notes

Environment Exhibitions at RHS Chelsea

environmental.jpg A little botanical inspiration from our London-based editor Justine Aw, who visited this year’s RHS Chelsea, which is open to the public from May 22nd to 26th.

The “Environment” section at RHS Chelsea was one of my favorite corners of The Great Pavilion. The section is new to the show and housed some of the most interesting displays that seemed so relevant to urban London, exploring how we can find green spaces in the city and manage to fit plants into our busy metropolis. From hydroponic air-lifted green soilless bottle walls to cress growing in a grid of bottle caps and even plants growing in old sneakers! See it all on the next page…

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*rugenius - 05.21.12 , 21:58 - 1 Notes

Carnivorous Plants at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

carnivorousmain.jpg A little botanical inspiration from our London-based editor Justine Aw, who visited this year’s RHS Chelsea, which is open to the public from May 22nd to 26th.

As you know, here at NOTCOT, we adore our carnivorous plants (remember our own cape sundew? and trips up to California Carnivores?). Well, the carnivorous plants on display at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show did not disappoint. Although I only spotted two stands of carnivores on display, they were both stunning with some remarkable specimens from glistening sundews, to delicately drooping pitcher plants. Enjoy more photos of carnivorous plants at Chelsea on the next page!

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*rugenius - , 21:50 - 1 Notes

The Westland Magical Gardens by Diarmuid Gavin

chelsea-main.jpg A little botanical inspiration from our London-based editor Justine Aw, who visited this year’s RHS Chelsea, which is open to the public from May 22nd to 26th.

My highlight of this year’s show was almost certainly The Westland Magical Garden designed by Diarmuid Gavin. The enormous structure is over seven stories high and home to over 3,000 plants. From the ground, it simply looks like an overwhelming fortress, a tangle of greenery and scaffolding from below, but is home to so many treasures and makes stunning use of the space and views! It is seven stories of surprises! Above all, it remains playful with swings, ludic furniture and an incredible slide all the way to the ground from the fifth floor!

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*notcot - 05.05.12 , 12:05 - 0 Notes

Gallery 1988 Melrose: Memes

ohnoes.jpg New show just went up at Gallery 1988 Melrose: MEMES! Yes, all the ridiculous internet silliness inspiring art! My favorite… Leontine Greenberg’s two pieces, Oh Noes and They be stealin’ my bucket”, inspired by the LOLrus and Bucket meme… see the original on the next page… and the full show here.

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*rugenius - 05.03.12 , 14:32 - 0 Notes

NOTCOT Supports: Penguin SatCam

mainpenguins.jpg Introducing NOTCOT Supports, a new series of posts where we put our money behind projects we love! This one comes from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Awtoday we have just adopted a penguin colony in Antarctica!.

That’s right, at the NOTlabs we still have our Puma Penguin Army… so now, we’ve just adopted our very own real life Antarctic penguin colony and hope to bring you updates from colony NOTCOT! It’s all part of an awesome new project by my former Zoology colleague Tom Hart, a self-described ‘penguinologist’ who has done some amazing research into penguin behavior and conservation over the past few years. Antarctica is the perfect environment for penguin colonies, but as the highest, driest, coldest continent on earth, it isn’t the easiest or most accessible to researchers. After piloting time lapse data collection, Tom is now looking to set up a series of time-lapse cameras in Antarctica and link them to a satellite phone, enabling researchers to gain access to remote areas accessed by humans only once every five to ten years. You can find out more about Penguin Lifelines and how to help this exciting new penguin research via the penguin cam RocketHub page where you can adopt a penguin colony yourself and even get the opportunity to go out to Antarctica for a mission!!!

We look forward to bringing you updates from the NOTCOT colony in the future, but in the meantime, here is some of that incredible footage from the team. Love the serenity of Antarctica and the stark contrast between the real time footage and frenzied time lapse of five months of furious penguin activity (and serious weather!).

Join us in supporting the Penguin Satellite Camera Project here, and see more pictures of the penguins and adventures on the next page!

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*rugenius - 05.02.12 , 12:58 - 2 Notes

From Egg to Chick

chicks.jpg The latest dose of natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.

Incubating your own eggs is something a lot of kids get to do in school, but something I’ve never actually done myself, so I was very excited to get the chance to incubate our own little brood! It was a fantastic birthday-present of sorts with a borrowed incubator and permanent home in the country all lined up.

I’ve always been fascinated by livestock breeds, so we’d thought a lot about what types of breeds we’d be after (those considering poultry in the UK, but confused about breeds should make a trip down to the incredible Domestic Fowl Trust). With a few favorites in mind, we were happy to find a few local breeders and picked up 6 Wyandotte hatching eggs (3 silver-laced and 3 gold-laced). We documented their 21 day journey from eggs to chick and hope you enjoy their journey as well as a live stream of the chicks as they grow over the next week or two! See it all on the next page!

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*rugenius - 04.24.12 , 11:45 - 0 Notes

Brains at the Wellcome Collection

brainsbanner.jpg The latest dose of natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.

Earlier today, I found myself surrounded by grey matter in the stunning exhibition Brains: The mind as matter at the Wellcome Collection. The exhibition is a triumph, offering a fascinating look into our understanding of the anatomy of mind both today and throughout history. The curators have brought together over 150 artifacts surrounding the theme of the brain and they have done a fantastic job of bringing together a wide range of perspectives, genres and media as well as capturing the brain both scientifically and as a cultural object. In ‘Brains’, historical anatomical illustrations complement modern imaging, photo series accompany an elegant audio listening station and modern art and preserved brain specimens all work together in the exhibition space. Somehow, despite the wide variety of displays, the exhibition holds together beautifully and is truly awe-inspiring, though there are certainly chilling moments as we look back on early surgical instruments and videos of electroconvulsive therapy.

The exhibition runs until June 17th and it’s definitely one to see if you’re in town. In the meantime, enjoy the photos courtesy of the Wellcome Collection. You can get a further peek at the exhibition at the exhibition’s online image galleries and you can even explore the surface of the brain in 360 degrees. See many pictures from the exhibition (provided by the Welcome Collection, since photos weren’t allowed) on the next page!

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*rugenius - , 06:01 - 0 Notes

Violet Oil Beetle and the Oil Beetle Hunt!

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The latest dose of natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.

Despite being a zoologist, I confess, I wasn’t 100% sure what this amazing creature was when I first caught sight of it. A bright glint of blue and purple in the sunshine, it didn’t fit with its surroundings and the Londoner in me immediately dismissed it as a stray bit of foil or plastic. But then we noticed it was moving on its own, waddling along in a very exposed position at the edge of a Dorset field.

On closer inspection, it looked a bit like a rove beetle with its half-sized elytra (those hard outer wings), but it far larger and more iridescent than any rove beetle I’d ever seen (some 30mm long)! So we snapped a few photos of the beautiful beetle for ID, then popped it back on the soil, where it started to dig. Check out our photos and find out more about these beautiful and fascinating insects on the next page!

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*rugenius - 04.12.12 , 09:50 - 1 Notes

Behind the Scenes at the Horniman Museum

mainhorn.jpg The latest dose of natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.

I am privileged to give you a glimpse behind the scenes at the Horniman Museum. I’ve been volunteering behind the scenes with the Horniman’s natural history department for the better part of a year now and never cease to be amazed by the depth of the collections that extends far beyond the specimens on display to the public.

For those not familiar with the museum, the Horniman is a true South London gem that combines stunning gardens with an outstanding range of collections including anthropological artifacts, musical instruments, natural history collection and aquarium. Though it seems to be missed off the typical London museum list, it’s definitely worth a trip south of the river. Where else can you find so many incredible collections under one (architecturally gorgeous) roof? But I digress! today’s look at the Horniman isn’t about the parts typically on display to the public (though you should definitely check them out). instead, it’s a glimpse at the Horniman’s off-site Study Collections Centre, which is only occasionally open to members of the public during tours, but a place I’m lucky enough to get to work! Take a peek through loads of pictures behind the scenes on the next page!

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*rugenius - 04.03.12 , 10:20 - 1 Notes

Animal Inside Out at the NHM with Body Worlds

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The latest dose of natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.

As soon as we heard about a new exhibition that would bring Body Worlds to animals, I knew we had to see what the fuss was all about. This morning we had our chance to check out Animal Inside Out, the awesome new temporary exhibit at the Waterhouse Gallery of the Natural History Museum in London that gives visitors a look beneath the skin of some of nature’s most spectacular animals. The exhibition is adapted from Gunther von Hagens’ Body Worlds and jointly presented by Body Worlds and the Natural History Museum. More photos of the exhibit and more details on how plastination works on the next page!

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