Saturday, 28 February 2015

Flowers of the Shingle Beach

Flowers that grow by the sea must cope with exposure to wind and salt spray. Those living on shingle beaches also have to adapt to shifting shingle and lack of nutrients; nevertheless, many species manage to flourish under these tough condition.

The number of multiple species of plants found on shingle foreshore is limited to about half a dozen species on any one beach. In fact it is more usual to find only two or three species. Surprisingly probably it is not a lack of fresh water that makes shingle foreshores such a difficult environment for flowering plants. The surface layers of shingle are actually well supplied with rain and dew, which provide a reservoir of fresh water that rests on the deeper salt water below. The pebbles seem able to hold this water on their surface and even in a drought the plants that live on shingle are green and fresh when inland plants may be wilted and brown. Nor does the salt spray or the exposure to wind pose any particular problem, for many plants living near the sea tolerate wind salt, yet cannot survive on a shingle foreshore.  

Well, the real difficulty is the instability of the substrate; the constantly shifting pebbles damage any seeds and seedlings before they can grow large enough to withstand such movements. It is only after the beach has become stabilized above the high tide mark, where the sea does not cause constant movement that large scale colonization can begin. 

Early colonists Lichens such as the black Verrucaria Maura and the yellow Xanthoria parietina are the first go appear, and gradually the spaces between the pebbles fill up with lichens, grit and shell fragments. A rudimentary soil begins to develop very slowly. But there is still one problem for colonizing plants lack of nutrients. Almost the only source of organic material, apart from dead lichens, is tidal drift. This explains why the spring high tide mark, with its line of dead seaweeds, driftwood and decaying skeletal remains, is one of the best places to look for the few flowering plants that can tolerate this harsh environment. Those that do grow here often have more than one adaptation to help them make the best of the conditions. 

Creeping rootstocks, complete plant cover does not form on shingle foreshores instead, individual plants are dotted along the strand line and above the high water mark. Sea campion is one of the most widespread of such plants, growing along with sea sandwort where there is sand mixed with shingle. These are both prostrate and low growing species, pressed to the beach to avoid the worst effects of the wind. Their creeping rootstocks penetrate the shingle in all directions and anchor the plants firmly. 

The sea campion forms spreading cushions of bluish leaves, and is covered with white flowers from May to July. Like many of the inhabitants of shingle beaches, it is not confined to this environment, but is rather an opportunist with an ability to survive in most maritime habitats. As a result it is not only found on shingle foreshores, but also on cliffs, sandy banks and at the edges of salt marshes all-round the British coastline. Norfolk and Anglesey, but it is now extinct in many of its southern localities. The root of this plant produces a multitude of white stolon’s (rooting creeping stems) which grow through the shingle to produce new plants each with several prostrate stems and large, blue green leaves. 

Root adaptation shingle foreshore plants usually have long, tough, woody roots, well able to withstand the friction of the pebbles. Many of the species, like sea pea, sea beet and curled dock, have tap roots that delve deep into the shingle, anchoring the plant firmly while remaining within the freshwater layer. The sea pea is locally abundant on the shingle beaches of the south coast, including Chesil Bank. It is a perennial, prostrate species, bearing purple flowers from May to August. Like the non-maritime members of the pea family, its tap root carries nodules containing nitrogen fixing bacteria. Gardeners and farmers make use of this characteristics when plant clover in fields and lawns; when these leguminous plants die, they have the soil enriched with nitrogen. 

In a nutrient poor environment like a shingle foreshore, this nitrogen fixing ability of the sea pea is especially valuable. Yet surprisingly, this does not seems to give the plant any great adventure and it is relatively rare, appearing only on shingle foreshores in the south and south east of England and north east Scotland. The sea beet, like the sea pea, is a rather straggling perennial. It is more common growing along the drift line on both shingle and sandy foreshores around most of Britain’s coastline. Its small green flowers appear in loose clusters from June to September. 

The maritime variety of the curled dock has a tall flowering stem which is surprisingly sensitive to salt spray. In flower from June to August, it can be killed by a summer storm. It overwinters by retaining a rosette of dead leaves survive through the winter and in spring side shoots begin to grow to replace the dead aerial parts. 

Sea kale has a large, fleshy rootstock that acts rather like a tap root. It is an unusual perennial plant, growing along the drift lines of shingle and sandy beaches around the coastline. It grows much larger than many of the other foreshore plants with larger, wavy, blue green leaves and dense heads of white flowers that appear from May to August. 

Water retaining leaves, thick stalks and fleshy water retaining leaves are among the adaptations to life on the shingle foreshore. Shrubby sea blite is rather different from most of the other shingle species, being a 90cm tall shrub rather than an herbaceous plant. It has fleshy, water retaining branches and leaves which are blue green in color. The solitary greenish flowers appear in the axil of the leaves from July to October. It grows only where the drainage is very good, so a shingle foreshore suits it well, although it also grows on the e borders of sea marshes. The seeds of this species are distributed by the sea and they germinate on the strand line when they are washed up on the beach. Shrubby sea blite is locally common Chesil Bank and certain shingle beaches in Norfolk being the best places to see it. 

Another shingle growing member of the same family, the Chenopodiacea, is the frosted sea oraches. This species takes it name from the frosted silvery appearance of reddish prostrate stems, fleshy leaves and greenish flowers. The flowers are unisexual, male and female appearing together on the same short spikes from July to September. Frosted sea-orache is an annual species, dying away in the autumn.  

Mirror Lake, Yosemite National Park.

The majestic Yosemite Valley is a glacial valley in Yosemite National Park in the western Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. The lovely valley is about 8 miles long and up to a mile deep, surrounded by high granite summits such as Half Dome and El Capitan, and densely forested with pines. The valley is drained by the Merced River and a multitude of streams and waterfalls including Tenaya, Illilouette, Yosemite and Bridalveil Creeks. Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in North America, and is a great attraction specifically in the spring when the water flow is at its peak. The valley is famous for its natural beauty, and is extensively viewed as the centerpiece of Yosemite National Park, enticing tourists from around the world.

The majestic beauty of this valley is the main attraction in the park for the majority of tourists, and a bustling hub of activity during "tourist season" in the summer months. However; in July 2, 2011 there was a record 20,851 tourists to the valley. Most tourists enter the valley from roads to the west and pass through the well-known Tunnel View entrance. Therefore; visitor facilities are located in the center of the valley. There’re both hiking trail loops that stay within the valley and trailheads that lead to higher elevations, all of which give glimpses of the parks many scenic wonders.

Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California 2005

If you like to to some thing different and very ambitious, you can climb to the top of this rock when it is available to the public (generally from mid-May or early June through Columbus Day weekend in October).  You will need a permit to climb the cable section near the top.  The dome elevation is 8,842 feet (2,695 meters) and is 4,800 feet (1,600 meters) above the valley floor.  Round trip hiking time from the valley floor is about 10 - 14 hours.  There are other trails allowing access from areas other than the valley floor.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Lake Braies,Italy

This alpine lake is located in the Val Pusteria nestled in the mountains, like a precious jewel of nature,its waters are surprisingly clear with incredible shades of blue and green, just breathtaking. This is an isolated location and its water reflecting the Dolomites overlooking will definitely make it one of the most beautiful lakes in Europe. Not far you open the Alta Pusteria, one of the largest and green all over South Tyrol, a point of reference for tourism in South Tyrol. The lake, which is often called the "pearl of the Dolomites lakes", owes its origin to the dam landslide. And during a relaxing trip coffin rowing on the lake, you can recharge your batteries and enjoy the beautiful landscape that surrounds you. And the more adventurous you can also dive into the icy water.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Brúarfoss The Icelandic Waterfall Perfect For All Seasons

Brúarfoss (Bridge Waterfall) is a lovely waterfall in Biskupstungur in the South West region. It is one of the hidden gems of Iceland because you can’t see it from the road and there are no signs directing you to it. It is in the Golden Circle area, and you should absolutely make time to see it if you are in the area. The waterfall derives its name from a natural stone arch that went over the river near the waterfall in earlier times. A legend says that early in the 16th century, the butler in Skálholt ordered the arch to be broken to prevent beggars and vagabonds from entering the Skálholt land. Poetic justice was served, as the butler drowned in Brúará River shortly after.

Tunnel Beach of New Zealand

Tunnel beach surrounded by sheer rocks is only accessible by the small tunnel dug through the rock down to the beach. Dunedin, Otago peninsula, South island of New Zealand. A nice private beach and walk to get to it, but the water is a little too cold. 
nice private beach and walk to get to it, but the water is a little too cold

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Grand Canyon Star Trails

One of the natural wonders of planet Earth, the Grand Canyon in the American southwest stretches across this early evening skyscape. The digitally stacked sequence reveals the canyon's layers of sedimentary rock in bright moonlight. Exposed sedimentary rock layers range in age from about 200 million to 2 billion years old, a window to history on a geological timescale. A recent study has found evidence that the canyon itself may have been carved by erosion as much as 70 million years ago. With the camera fixed to a tripod while Earth rotates, each star above carves a graceful arc through the night sky. The concentric arcs are centered on the north celestial pole, the extension of Earth's rotation axis into space, presently near the bright star Polaris.

Falls Creek Falls - Skamania County, Washington

Falls Creek Falls is among the largest and most powerful waterfalls in southern Washington. Fed by an extensive network of springs and streams originating on the Red Mountain plateau - itself a product of the volcanic eruptions which created nearby Big Lava Field - Falls Creek sends a considerable volume of water hurtling 335 feet over its valley's headwall in three distinct steps. The upper tier veils 109 feet in a broad fan-shaped fall which skips down the initial tier of the cliff.

Waipio Valley Hawaii USA

Waipio Valley on the Hamakua Coast is a beautiful valley surrounded by steep cliffs and waterfalls and fronted by a mile long black sand beach.The area has a rich history and is a sacred place for Hawaiians.Hi'ilawe Falls, the Big Island's tallest waterfall, cascades down 1,300 feet in the back of Waipio.

Sailor Lake in Montana's Tobacco Root Mtns; Middle Mtn. at left, Mt. Jackson at right.

Holland Falls - A Final Look Seeley, Montana

This 84 foot water fall is stunning in person. The hike isn't difficult, but you do have to climb some boulders at the end of the trail...makes it a little more interesting :)) I did not see a vantage point where a tripod could be used. These shots were taken while dangling from a downed tree that spanned the turbulent water.

The Victoria Falls is called “Mosi-oa-Tunya” by the local people, the smoke that thunders, and constitutes one of the best spectacular natural wonders of the world.

The Victoria Falls is called “Mosi-oa-Tunya” by the local people, the smoke that thunders, and constitutes one of the best spectacular natural wonders of the world. With its 1708 meters wide became it in the largest curtain of water in the world also by its remarkable falls. The waterfall is situated in southern Africa on the Zambezi River between the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe. It boasts of being the largest waterfall in the world with the most unusual in form and having the most diverse and easily seen wildlife of any major waterfall site.

Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA

The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River in the state of Arizona in the United States. It is contained within and managed by Grand Canyon National Park, the Hualapai Tribal Nation, the Havasupai Tribe and the Navajo Nation. President Theodore Roosevelt was a major proponent of preservation of the Grand Canyon area, and visited it on numerous occasions to hunt and enjoy the scenery.

Experiencing Sutherland Falls | Fiordland, New Zealand

Sutherland Falls is a waterfall near Milford Sound in New Zealand's South Island. At 580 metres (1,904 feet) the falls were long believed to be the tallest waterfall in New Zealand. However, Browne Falls cascades 843 metres (2,766 feet) down a mountainside in Doubtful Sound, leading some to view that as the tallest. The beautiful water falls in three cascades, the upper is 229 m tall, middle - 248 m, lower - 103 m tall. Vertical fall of 580 m is made over 480 m of horizontal distance, thus the mean grade of falls is approximately 56 degrees.

Devils Punchbowl Waterfall, Arthur's Pass National Park in New Zealand

Devils Punchbowl Waterfall, Arthur's Pass National Park in New Zealand is one of the most impressive waterfalls in New Zealand, Devils Punchbowl Falls is located in the heart of Arthur's Pass National Park. However the waterfall may be seen from the highway itself, it still better to walk up to the waterfall's base and enjoy the it's power.

Upper Ebor Waterfalls - Guy Fawkes River - New South Wales - Australia

Upper Ebor Waterfalls - Guy Fawkes River - New South Wales - Australia is a cascade waterfall on the Guy Fawkes River, located near Ebor and about 37 kms north-east of Wollomombi on Waterfall Way in the New England region of New South Wales, Australia. The falls is a famous tourist attraction within Guy Fawkes River National Park, with viewing platforms of the falls and walking tracks, a rest area with barbecues. Camping is not permitted at Ebor Falls, however camping is available at nearby Cathedral Rock National Park. The falls were first protected in a recreation reserve in 1895.  In September 2008 new lookout platforms were opened. These replaced platforms that were destroyed by fire in 2007.

Monday, 9 February 2015

The Cauldron Tree

Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve contains some of the oldest trees in Europe, veteran oaks five centuries old and the world-famous Major Oak, still producing acorns after standing at the heart of the forest for an estimated 800 years! The 450 acre country park is part of the Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve, designated in 2002 by Natural England, the Government agency responsible for safeguarding our natural environment.

Angel Falls Venezuela

this is the Angel of the jump the highest waterfall in the world. The most dizzy dip part of the planet from the plateau of Mount Auyantepui, in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, and dives to precipice in one of the densest vegetation on Earth. One of the most famous natural wonders and love of Venezuela.
Legend has it that this cascade of its discoverer, Jimmy Angel, a bizarre and adventurous American pilot who, while flying over with his plane in 1937 the region Venezuelan plane entered stranded and forced him to make an emergency landing on the mountain Auyantepuy. Unharmed, walked for 10 days along the Rio Carrao reaching the first inhabited place. Still on top of the waterfall there is a reproduction of the famous plane that flew over the jump.

Ruacana Falls

Ruacana Falls are waterfalls located near Ruacana on the Kunene River in Northern Namibia. The waterfall is 120 meters (390 ft) high and 700 meters (2,300 ft) wide in full flood. It is among the largest waterfalls in Africa, both by volume and width. The Epupa Falls on the Kunene River are located 135 km (84 mi) downstream on the border of Angola and Namibia.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

The Great valley

Not just a great valley, but a shrine to human foresight, the strength of granite, the power of glaciers, the persistence of life, and the tranquility of the High Sierra. First protected in 1864, Yosemite National Park is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more.

Detian Waterfall in China

Detian Falls is a collective name for two waterfalls on the Quây Sơn River, that straddle the international border between China and Vietnam; more specifically located between the Karst hills of Daxin County, Guangxi, and Trùng Khánh District, Cao Bằng Province. The waterfall is 272 km (169 mi) north of Hanoi. Below the waterfall is a deep pool to a width of more than 200 meters (0.12 miles) and a depth of over 30 meters (0.02 miles).

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Waterfalls Lakes Plitvice, Croatia (National Park) is among the 20 most beautiful lakes in the world to 17th place.

Waterfalls  Lakes Plitvice, Croatia (National Park) is among the 20 most beautiful lakes in the world to 17th place. The park covers an area of 33,000 hectares and includes 16 lakes in succession, connected by waterfalls.Plitvice is the oldest national park in Southeast Europa.All'interno the park there are also many caves of which only a small part is agibile.I lakes are formed by two rivers: the White River and the Black River, which flow in the river Korana. 

Sizir Waterfall - Sivas - Turkey

Sizir Waterfall is located on Goksu creek, near the large village of Sizir in Gemerek town of Sivas province in Turkey. This waterfall has a big tourism potential. Trout breeding establishments are located in the area. Sorts of carp fishes may be found at some parts of Goksu creek.

Amazing View of Rhododendron in National Park Retezat, Romania

Elabana Falls in Lamington National Park is one of the most stunning waterfalls.

Elabana Falls in Lamington National Park is one of the most stunning waterfalls. The NP which is located in the Gold Coast hinterland is massive and so green and lush with so many little tracks to explore. 

The Grand Canyon, USA

The Grand Canyon is one of the most remarkable natural wonders in the world. It is located in the state of Arizona, USA, and it is one of the deepest gorges on Earth with an average depth of one mile (1.6km) and an average width of ten miles (16km). The canyon was carved over the past 6 million years by the action of the Colorado River as it drops over 2,200 feet (670m) along the 277-mile (446 km) length of the gorge. For thousands of years, the area has been continuously inhabited by Native Americans who built settlements within the canyon and its many caves. The Pueblo people considered the Grand Canyon a holy site and made pilgrimages to it.

Bản Giốc fall - CaoBang - VietNam

The waterfall is located on the north of VietNam, 89km from Cao Bang town. This is considered the most beautiful waterfalls in Vietnam and is renowned as one of the famous scenic attraction in the world.

Angel Falls Venezuela, South America - Early Morning Light

Angel Falls - Early Morning Light by Ron Brinkmann.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Canadian Falls with Full Moon - Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

Niagara Falls is a Canadian city on the western bank of the Niagara River in the Golden Horseshoe region of Southern Ontario. From largest to smallest, the three waterfalls are the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls. The Horseshoe Falls lie on the Canadian side and the American Falls on the American side, separated by Goat Island. The smaller Bridal Veil Falls are also located on the American side, separated from the other waterfalls by Luna Island.

The Seven Wonder - Iguazu Falls, Brazil

Iguazu Falls are waterfalls of the Iguazu River on the border of the Argentine province of Misiones and the Brazilian state of Paraná. The falls divide the river into the upper and lower Iguazu.

American Falls at Night - Niagara Falls, NewYork

Niagara Falls is the collective name for three waterfalls that straddle the international border between Canada and the United States; more specifically, between the province of Ontario and the state of New York.

The American Falls at Night ~ Bridal Veil Falls, Niagara Falls, NewYork

The waterfalls of Niagara Falls are located on the Niagara River which connects  two of the five Great Lakes. Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Collectively the waterfalls are named Niagara Falls. They consist of three different waterfalls. The American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls in the USA and the Canadian "Horseshoe"  Falls in Canada.