Entries tagged with: nature

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 Supports: Tom Hart's Penguin SatCam

mainpenguins.jpg UPDATE Nov 4, 2014: Two years later and nothing. No postcard. No photos. No videos. Hope the penguins are doing ok. Feeling pretty duped, but still hopeful to find more effective ways to help push research forwards…

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 in nature - 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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*notcot in playful - 0 Notes

Marc Newson's Rocky for Magis

horse1.jpg Magis’ Me Too collections always have such awesomely playful pieces… this year’s addition launched at Milan is Marc Newson’s Rocky. A rocking horse of course! The official info - “The second of Marc Newson’s designs for Children, Rocky is a modern take on a traditional object, a pop version taking its character loosely from medieval jousting horses. The parallelogram motion mimics the movement of a traditional rocking horse. It is made from rotationally moulded polyethylene chosen for both its durability and recyclability.” Adorable isn’t it? See another pic on the next page…

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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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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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*notcot in nature - 0 Notes

Natalya Zahn: Natural Illustrator

natalya1.jpg On amazing packages that just take your breath away, Natalya Zahn’s book, Tropical Forest, just arrived in this stunningly illustrated mailer! How beautiful is that Takin? Natalya Zahn is a natural illustrator based out of Cambridge, MA and a selection of her work and other nature related discoveries are on her blog, i (heart) odd-toed ungulates… the book, Tropical Forest, contains text and illustration from her blog between 2010 and 2011. They look stunning printed in this Blurb book! Take a peek inside on the next page!

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Amazonian Insects

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

The diversity of wildlife is astounding and nowhere more is that more evident than amongst the insects, a class that account for about 80% of the world’s animal species. As a ‘creepy crawly’ loving kid and amateur entomologist, I’ve been lucky enough to encounter a pretty wide range of insects, nonetheless I was blown away by the array of insect life we encountered during our trip to the Amazon rainforest. Despite the fact that the trip was not an explicit entomological expedition, far from it, we found our boat home to hundreds of incredible insects that were attracted during the night to our rather conspicuously bright white boat, the Captain Logan, as we traveled along the Rio Negro!

The Amazon is thought to be home to a staggering 20 million insect species, which just goes to show how tiny and insignificant a fraction of the region’s biodiversity these photos represent, but nonetheless capture the impressive variations in shapes, colors and textures evolved to fit a variety of lifestyles and offer a glimpse into the rainforest. I was paricularly amazed by the variety of moths who ranged from ultrasleek to heavily furred, from streamlined stealth bombers to complex origami masterpieces. More photos of these incredible insects on the next page.

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Poison Arrow Frogs at the London Zoo

zslfrogs-5.jpg The latest dose of natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.

There are so many species I love in the Reptile (and amphibian!) house at the London Zoo, but these two species were particularly fascinating to watch as they boldly courted around the enclosure. The black-legged or bicolored dart frog (Phyllobates bicolor) and the strawberry poison-dart frog (Oophaga pumilio) were chasing prospective mates and rivals around their enclosures and calling so loudly you could hear them over the din of school groups (a very impressive feat!).

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Slender Lorises at the London Zoo

slenderloris-1.jpg The latest from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.

I recently had the honor of spending a quiet weekday morning completely mesmerized by these incredible creatures at ZSL London Zoo. The beautiful grey slender loris (Loris lydekkerianus) is an incredible nocturnal primate and it’s hard to describe the experience of watching them. It’s simultaneously very relaxing and thrilling to see them moving with a unique combination of elegance and awkwardness with their long limbs stretching from branch to branch. At the London Zoo, these creatures live in the nocturnal house below the Rainforest exhibit and the zoo recently welcomed twins! See more pics on the next page!

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*notcot in nature - 0 Notes

East Camp Home Pillows

pillow1.jpg I love art as objects… there’s something fun about paintings and photographs as transformed into large pillows you can hug and squeeze… the change in texture changes the way you relate to the pieces (like these i’ve long loved from click for art)… the latest find are these beautiful pillows from East Camp Home Pillows featuring the creature photography of Valerie Shaff. The two initial collections are Exotics (Tigers and Crocs and Peacocks and such) and Fable (Doves and Snakes and Hawks and such)… see the gorgeous pillows on the next page!

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New Collections by Karl Zahn for Areaware

animals.jpg This season Areaware is launching this series of adorable new beech wood animals by Karl Zahn (who was also behind Areaware’s animal boxes. The new selections include a set of dovetail animals as well as stackable crocodiles! Each of the dovetail animals is composed of three segments, so you can mix and match parts from the five styles: dog, llama, elephant, horse and crocodile. More photos and a video of the new wooden animals on the next page.

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The Biodiversity Project from Joel Sartore

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A Linne’s two-toed sloth (Choloepus didactylus) at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo.

National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore is on a mission to capture our incredible biodiversity before it disappears. Using zoo animals to create stunning portraits of amazing creatures. The project began with amphibians (and the gallery includes some real gems), but now includes all sorts of creatures, totaling over 1,800 already. Find out more about the ambitious and stunningly beautiful The Biodiversity Project and see a selection of photos from the project on the next page.

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*notcot in nature - 4 Notes

Creatures of the Cal Academy of Sciences

calac0.jpg The latest from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.

I finally made it to the California Academy of Sciences in its new Golden Gate Park home! I have been looking forward to checking the new facilities out in person, ever since Jean visited (and posted about) it a few years back (see previous posts here, here and here). As expected, the facilities are incredible and the animals it houses are phenomenal. I can’t recommend visiting strongly enough. With a walkthrough rainforest filled with terarria and aquaria as well as the dedicated Steinhart aquarium, the Cal Academy is a real treat to visit and proved to be the perfect playground for a macro lens! Here are just a few of the academy’s incredible creatures. More pictures on the next page!

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Mosquito Caught!

carniv1.jpg Remember a few years back when i visited California Carnivores? Well my carnivorous plants that came home with me from that trip are still doing their thing happily… and the other day NOTCOT.org editor, Justine Aw, came by and noticed that this sundew (most likely the cape sundew, Drosera capensis) caught its own prey! Fascinating to see it in action up close as its little tendrils wrapped tighter and tighter… see her close ups on the next page as well as the BBC’s time lapse footage of the a sundew at work!

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*notcot in food+drink - 1 Notes

Chandelier Creative Surf Shack Honey

surfshack0.jpg Over the summer, our friend’s at Chandelier Creative had an awesome Surf Shack in Montauk… and around the surf shack, they also have beehives filled with 20,000 honeybees! Well, come new years, a fun jar of honey arrived (part of their 75 limited edition bottles)~ “Our Chandelier bees will each have flown over 500 miles: feeding in gardens from the McMansions in the Hamptons to the surf-side gardens. Our queen bees kept a loving eye over all their devoted workers ensuring they made the best honey possible. So from our hive to yours, we wish you a sweet 2012.” What a fun way to ring in 2012… take a peek at last summer and an unboxing of this playfully delicious honey on the next page!

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*notcot in design - 0 Notes

Ghosts of Gone Birds Identity

ghostsidentitymain.jpg Catch up with the latest from London with our UK-based editor Justine Aw.

You may noticed the little spectacled cormorant in our post on the Ghosts of Gone Birds exhibition. The cormorant is part of the visual identity of the exhibition, created by Peter Hodgson of Goodpilot. Having a strong visual identity throughout the show really helps tie all of the diverse pieces together. Here is a closer look at the visual identity work from the show, including the lovely logo and series of ghost stories and other materials. Read more about the stories behind the posters here.

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Macro Kingdom III

fiatvid2.jpg This featured video series on beautiful visual inspiration is brought to you by FIAT! Thank you FIAT for your support of NOTCOT!

Clemens Wirth’s Macro Kingdom III is a video poem of sorts diving into “a special place, unseen microcosmos within a unseen universe bind us together.” The way the sounds pull it all together is mesmerizing! See the video on the next page…

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Ghosts of Gone Birds

ghosts-mainpic.jpg Here’s the latest from our London-based editor Justine Aw

Naturalists and art lovers are in for a treat with the stunning exhibition Ghosts of Gone Birds. Ghosts is the brainchild of filmmaker Ceri Levy and Chris Aldhouse of Goodpilot and an exhibition which captures and celebrates extinct bird species and raises awareness and funds for conservation. The show includes over 300 pieces created by an army of 120 artists, writers and musicians (see the full list here and all proceeds from the show will aid conservation through Bird Life International.

Those who can’t catch the show in London can still purchase some of the gorgeous prints through the online shop, but I would strongly recommend heading down to see this amazing show in person if you can. The exhibition runs until November 23rd at the Rochelle School in Shoreditch, full details here. In the meantime, take a look at the show through our eyes with our photo gallery of personal highlights and Ghost’s facebook page.

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