Today a Quiz. Here are two super sharp photos of plants from very different families. What are they?
Quiz #1: The top photo is a focus stack of 100 images. In real life the image would be 2mm wide so I think it’s been magnified about 80 times. (This one is hard to guess. It helps to squint your eyes to make it look small.)
Quiz #2: The photo below is a focus stack of 70 macro images. What it is?
If you’re desperate for clues, click the links on the captions to view the photo descriptions. Here’s a clue for #2: It’s edible.
Have an idea? Leave a comment with your answer.
p.s. In case you’re curious … Focus stackingis a digital processing technique in which the photographer takes multiple images of the same object at different focal points, then digitally merges the photos to produce a completely in-focus image. The object has to hold still and so does the camera. It requires special software to merge the images.
This video shows how it works.
(photos and video from Wikimedia Commons; click on the captions to see the originals)
Now that the birds are singing again and more singers will arrive on migration, it’s time to practice identifying songs by ear. Yes, it’s hard to do but it’s easier if you can visualize the song.
Just like a sheet of music, a spectrogram of bird song shows how the frequency (pitch) goes up and down. The black dashes graph the frequency and length of the notes. The brown wave graphs loudness in decibels.
Play the matching audio to hear the graph: a song sparrow recorded by Ted Floyd, Xeno Canto XC374118.
Two quizzes follow the video or you can try them independently at the Bird Song Hero Challenge. TIP: Watch the sonogram as it plays! Some of them are tricky.
p.s. Did you know that birds sing harmonies we can’t hear? On the song sparrow spectrogram, above, there are tall vertical dashes during the fast part of the song. The bird is harmonizing with himself in the 12,000 HZ frequency. If you’re older than 30-something, you probably can’t hear it.
Here’s a puzzle. Don’t google it. Look at the photos to arrive at an answer.
In botany: What is a peduncle?
We encounter peduncles every day though we don’t use the word much anymore. Since 1950 the word has fallen out of common use and because it looks like pedophile+uncle the urban dictionary lists a raunchy meaning. But that’s not what it is.
Peduncle comes from ped (Latin for foot) plus -uncle (an Old French diminutive ending) so it literally means tiny foot.
Each photo on this page has at least one visible peduncle. Can you find it?
Here’s a clue. The number of peduncles in each photo above is:
Apples = 1
Black raspberries = 5 (three are hidden)
Elderberries = too many to count
Ginkgos = 9
Final clue: The photo below shows no fruit, but it has peduncles.
I found green eggs on stinging nettle on August 9 at Wolf Creek Narrows, Butler County, PA.
Are they eggs or something else?
And who laid them?
Post a comment with your answer.
I’ll reveal their identity later today.
THE ANSWER: 29 August, 3:15pm
This was a tricky quiz because the structures really do look like eggs. I thought they were butterfly eggs but they are too smooth. The butterflies most likely to lay eggs on nettle have very wrinkled eggs. For instance, click here to see the eggs of the small tortoiseshell butterfly.