Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Cape weaver bird

Just on the offchance blogger couldn't cope with an 160Mb video file, I've run it through Windows Movie Maker and saved it as a WMV file about 3% the size of the original and I'm uploading that. Having made a movie I'm reasonably pleased with, I had to find a way to inflict it onto you!

It was quite a windy day, and there's a bit of a gust right at the end.
video

While waiting for the movie to upload, I've been going through the South African photos, deciding which ones to put on the new web page I'm planning, and came across a photo I meant to put in yesterday's blog. Here it is. It's called a jointed cactus, and if you see one, I recommend you avoid it.
Each pink blob is about 5cm long, and is only very loosely attached to its neighbours. The spines are barbed, and there are lots of them, as you can see.

So I innocently walked across the verge to get a better view of some flowering aloes I wanted to photograph, and as I returned, I felt a prickling sensation in my left calf. I wish I'd had the presence of mind to photograph it now.

As your foot passes a cluster of these unpleasant characters, the barbed spines latch onto your shoes. You lift your foot in the natural process of walking, and the pink blobs are instantly transferred to your calves.

Fortunately, I was wearing jeans, and the spines didn't penetrate too far into my flesh. Even so, it took several minutes to rid myself of them.

It's what's known as a dispersal mechanism, and I imagine it's pretty efficient. An animal walks by and snags a few blobs. After a bit, it manages to dislodge them. With any luck (from the plant's point of view) the soil is just right for a jointed cactus to grow, so away it goes.

1 comment:

Can Bass 1 said...

Ah, so that's what you've been up to! Welcome back to Blighty, Mr Bones