The Encroaching Desert (Namibia)

It’s a harsh place this Namib desert.  Sandstorms obliterate, wind forever sculpts the sea of sand pushing it northwards. Referred to as world’s oldest desert some of the highest wind speeds are recorded in the south, particularly in the Sperrgebiet.  The dunes march across the landscape forming linear or star shapes or the classical barchan, depending on the wind direction and how it funnels through the valleys.

Kolmanskop is a deserted mining village near the harbour town of Luderitz. The last inhabitant left in 1956 and the village stands ghostly and abandoned as the sand reclaims the desolate buildings.

Kolmanskop

Another abandoned building in the middle of nowhere; like a stage setting for lost dreams and hopes, one can’t help wondering what happened to the inhabitants.

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Southern Right whales: nomads of the southern seas

They’re back!  The gentle giants – the Southern Right (Eubalaena australis) whales ply the seas from the Antarctic visiting the Cape shores between June and November.  Despite their size they have gymnastic tendencies.  Through leaping, tail lobbing and spy hopping they create fantastic shows with tremendous splash down .  They’re easily recognised by their callosities (sometimes mistaken for barnacles) that cover their heads and blowholes.  These patterns are like unique fingerprints particular to each individual.

They’re welcomed with joyful spirit by the many spectators who enjoy their exuberant antics.

WPC: Transient

The Narrow Beak

Puffin_Staffa_IslandFit for purpose, the bill of the puffin is narrowly shaped, designed to cleave through water.  But useful too in building it’s nesting burrow by cutting through the soil and then shovelling away the material with it’s feet.  It has a raspy tongue, an adaptation which enables it to hold multiple fish.  The fish are pinned  against the spines on the palate while allowing it to open its beak.  What a charismatic species.  We were fortunate to observe the colony on Lunga Island (Inner Hebrides), Scotland.

WPC: Narrow

Forces of Nature

There’s nothing quite like a sea storm to set the adrenalin rushing.  When you’re out there bobbing about on a boat, the  power of wind and waves can be a daunting experience.

01_waves Squall lines, galeforce

In this week’s photo challenge Brie Anne Demkiw challenges us to post images of the Forces of Nature, to see other examples click here.

Ephemeral: The Northern Lights

At the camp fire.
At the camp fire.

Ephemeral:  fleeting moments found in the dancing Northern Lights.   It’s been a trek to get here, I’m far from home  but I marvel at the chance to be here within the Arctic Circle at 71*N.  Nature put on a show the likes of which I’ve not witnessed before.  Night sprites flittered across the dark sky like genies released from a magical bottle.

Abstract light-shapes form and dissolve, this magnetic magic is caused by the charged particles from the sun striking atoms in the earth’s atmosphere.   This causes the electrons in the atoms to move first in a higher energy state then when the electrons drop back to a lower energy state they release photons which create the Aurora of the Northern Lights as seen in these scenes shot recently in Finland.  For more examples of “Ephemeral”  check out the WordPress site here.

Dancing Northern lights
Dancing Northern lights

© Liz Hardman – All rights reserved.